Keywords: agricultural colonisation, development and the environment, tropical deforestation
Economy-wide sources of agricultural expansion in developing countries
Due to the past parochialism of environmental economists and development specialists alike, environmental problems in developing countries were long neglected. There is substantial agreement on the causes of one such problem - forest loss - in countries caught in a low-level poverty trap. Less well understood are the reasons why agricultural encroachment on natural habitats does not often abate very much once development commences. Recent experience in Thailand indicates that deforestation in the face of rising living standards has to do with changing demands for agricultural output and the agroclimatic advantages of frontier areas, among other factors. More than anything else, reconciling environmental concerns with rural income growth depends on the growth of off-farm employment.