The Struggle for Land and The Fate of The Forests
Edited by Marcus Colchester & Larry Lohman
The World Rainforest Movement and with ZED Books
ISBN: 1-85649-13900 (Hb.) 1-85649-140-4(Pb.)
402 pages, 14x21.5cm
Third World: US$11.00; Others: US$17.00

Deforestation, they tell us, is caused by 'poverty', 'over-population' and 'under-development'. The solutions are therefore obvious-fewer people and more development. This book challenges these assumptions. Deforestation, it argues, is an expression of structural inequalities within tropical countries and in their relations with the industrial North. Throwing aid money into the development pot will only accelerate forest loss if these structural issues are not simultaneously addressed. Based on six country studies from Latin America, Asia and Africa to illustrate the real complexity of the problem and the diversity of situations that exist, this book shows how land concentration, land speculation and landlessness are the main causes of improvident land use. Poor people, denied land and livelihood, are being forced into the forests in ever increasing numbers for sheer survival, often encouraged by government and development agency funding. Meanwhile the lands they have been forced to abandon are turned over to agribusiness producing cash crops for export.

Agrarian reform must be moved to the top of the global agenda. Without land and food security, rural communities will become increasingly destabilised and impoverished and vulnerable ecosystems will be destroyed. Local people must be allowed to regain control over their land and their economies, and Third World debt cancelled.


Part One

Introducing the Issues

Colonizing the rainforests: the agents and causes of deforestation, Marcus Colchester
Against the myths, Larry Lohmann
Backgroung to Agrarian reform: Latin America, Asia and Africa, Roger Plant
Forest peoples and sustainability, Marcus Colchester

Part Two
Case Studies

Guatemala: the clamour for land and the fate of the forests, Marcus Colchester
Brazil: land ownership and the flight to Amazonia, George Monbiot
Brazil: landlessness, land speculation and pasture-led deforestation, Susanna Hecht
Zaire: landlessness and deforestation, John Witte
Thailand: land, power and forest colonization, Larry Lohmann
Indonesia: land rights and development, SKEPHI and Rachel Kiddell-Monroe
The Philippines: dwindling frontiers and agrarian reform, Marvic M.V.F. Leonen

Part Three

The international response: policies of the international agencies, Marcus Colchester
Future options: pushing on a piece of string? Marcus Colchester

Appendix: The New York Declaration
About the Authors