Keywords: agriculture, deforestation, Latin America, property rights
Information and the subsistence farmer's decision to deforest in Latin America
This paper investigates the role that information plays in the decision by subsistence farmers to deforest, and generates a body of evidence from three Latin American studies demonstrating that information about agricultural techniques and general agricultural education are important to tropical land-use decisions. Based on a growing body of literature, inadequately defined property rights clearly play a central role as a potential source of excessive deforestation. While property rights are important, the implementation and enforcement of property rights will not in itself resolve the deforestation problem, if informational market failures are present. We hypothesise that long-time forest residents have more knowledge about sustainable uses of the forest (compared with recent migrants from non-rainforest areas), and that the regions where the long-time residents reside experience less deforestation, independent of property rights. We conclude with a discussion of the results.