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Beyond Malthus and Perverse Incentives: Economic Globalization, Forest Conversion and Habitat Fragmentation

  • S. F. Siebert
Part of the Ecological Studies book series (ECOLSTUD, volume 162)

Abstract

Forest conversion and habitat fragmentation are widely believed to result from overpopulation and perverse government policies. Since the time of Malthus, demographic pressures have been identified as a cause of natural resource degradation. More recently, the role of perverse government policies (i.e., programs that undervalue and/or subsidize natural resource extraction and degradation) and market failures has been recognized as another crucial explanatory variable. While the sheer number of human beings and perverse government policies/market failures unquestionably contribute to land degradation and resource exploitation, this paper argues that these factors are inadequate to explain the rate, pattern and extent of contemporary forest degradation and habitat fragmentation. Furthermore, continued focus on Malthusian population pressures and an uncritical belief in the curative power of government policy and market reforms, obfuscates understanding other causal factors. I argue that the economic world order that has arisen in the past two decades and its associated policies and programs are an important, but largely overlooked cause of forest conversion and habitat fragmentation. Furthermore, these pressures are likely to increase in the future given contemporary economic growth rates and global institutionalization of“free” (unregulated) market principles.

Keywords

Habitat Fragmentation Forest Patch Transnational Corporation Forest Conversion Tropical Deforestation 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2003

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  • S. F. Siebert

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