By: Jill L Caviglia
Although sustainable agriculture was introduced to the Amazon area in the 1980s, it has been adopted by only a few farmers. This work explores the relationship between the land use choices of small-scale farmers and the rate of deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon. The author analyzes why suatainable agriculture has not been more widely adopted and offers policy prescriptions to address this problem. The major source of deforestation in the Amazon is the use of "slash and burn" agriculture by small-scale farmers. The adoption of sustainable agriculture by these farmers could reduce the rate of deforestation dramatically. The text uses original case studies of farms in the area to estimate the probability of the adoption of sustainable agriculture and, once the adoption decision has been made, the intensity of adoption. The author finds that this is influenced gretaly by farmer organizations and by providing the farmers with the knowledge that sustainable agriculture is a viable alternative to "slash and burn" practices.
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