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Economic Development of Central America Econ. 4200 - Spring 2004 – Dr. Taylor - page 144 / 153

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 Much of the assault on the forests typically has been dictated by economic necessity and/or greed. In one all-too-common scenario, a small- or middle-size cacao grower discovers that his crop has been decimated by a blight.

Confronted by disaster, he will usually farm the forest surrounding his property for timber and then torch the remainder. Ultimately, he will likely sell his land to a cattle rancher, who will transform what had once been rain forest or dry forest into pasture.

 In an effort to break this devastating pattern, the Costa Rican government has devised a workable plan to save the forests: Farmers are introduced to a variety of cash crops so that they will not be totally dependent on a single crop. Also, in the case of cacao, for example, the farmer will be provided with a disease or blight-resistant strain to lessen further the chances of crop losses and subsequent conversion of land to cattle pasture.

All of this is supported by specially targeted state funding and an active public extension service.

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