The future of tropical rainforest i s currently taxing the politicians of environment with attention focused on the rapidly diminishing resources contained in several key tropical forest countries. Frequently blame is apportioned to national governments for indiscriminate exploitation of resources, to local people for poor husbandry practices, to the colonial powers for setting u p structures based on the mining of forests. However, all three books show that there is a complexity of factors which have led to the fragile state of tropical rainforests, and therefore there must be a complexity of responses. It is difficult to separate these three books which share a common approach to trying to understand the reasons for deforestation. Each book traces the development of the current political, social and ecological context of deforestation in the tropics through a detailed historical analysis of the causative factors. A striking parallel emerges between the history of exploitation in Latin America and Southeast Asia. The underlying feature is the control of land and therefore resources, both forest and minerals. The drive t o exploitation emerged in the nineteenth century with the full incorporation of these economies into the colonial world system. The driving force was the
Journal of International Development – Wiley
Published: Sep 1, 1993
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