New book on rain forests, slash-and-burn agriculture

12/01/05

UC Davis economist Stephen Vosti is co-editor and co-author of a new book assessing the environmental, economic and social impacts of farming in tropical rain forests.

"Slash-and-Burn Agriculture: The Search for Alternatives" details the causes and consequences of the annual destruction of 80,000 square miles of rain forest. The forests are cleared by rural farmers to feed their families and by other interests seeking to convert forests to agriculture. The loss of the forests threatens Earth's biodiversity and climate.

The new book also identifies the costs and benefits of alternative uses of forests and cleared land in several benchmark sites throughout the developing world. It is based on the first decade of work by the Alternatives to Slash-and-Burn consortium, which was formed in 1992 by a group of concerned national and international researchers. Its authors include agronomists, foresters, economists, ecologists, soil scientists, anthropologists and representatives of many other disciplines.

Vosti, formerly a research fellow at the International Food Policy Research Institute, is associate director of the Center for Natural Resources Policy Analysis at UC Davis and an adjunct professor in the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics. His co-editors are Cheryl Palm, a senior research scientist at the Earth Institute at Columbia University; Pedro Sanchez, director of tropical agriculture at the Earth Institute; and Polly Ericksen, a science officer fellow with the research institute Global Environmental Change and Food Systems.

"Slash-and-Burn Agriculture: The Search for Alternatives" is published by Columbia University Press. Hard copies are $79.50; paperback copies are $39.50.

Source: Eurekalert & others

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