Behind the headlines about the loss of tropical forests in Latin America lies a complex and fascinating story of the social pressures which cause it. Trees, People and Power looks at the various groups, interests and conflicts involved, and explores the repercussions for forestry, the environment and the livelihoods of the rural and urban poor.
Until the social and political dimensions of deforestation and forest protection schemes are understood, measures to prevent or slow deforestation are likely to involve technical interventions which will prove ineffective in the long run, and may well result in further impoverishment and environmental degradation. Peter Utting takes a critical look at the experience of forest protection and tree planting in a number of countries and considers how social and political factors affect the feasability of such schemes. Many environmental projects and programmes have failed to balance concerns for the environment with those of human welfare. Until they do, it is unrealistic to expect any significant progress towards sustainable development.
Peter Utting is a senior researcher coordinator with the United Nations Research Institute for Social Development. He is the author of Economic Adjustment under the Sandinistas (UNRISD, 1991) and Economic Reform and Third World Socialism (Macmillan, 1992).
Originally published in 1993