17. Development strategies and natural resource management for humid tropical lowlands.
Report of Humid Tropical Lowlands Conference; Development Strategies for Fragile Lands (DESFIL), Panama City, Panama, 1991, 11 p.
Tropical deforestation is one of the major fragile land issues of the 1990s. Therefore, in late spring 1991 a conference has been organized in Panama, to examine strategies for and management approaches to the sustainable development of humid tropical lowlands in Latin America and the Caribbean.
The technical sessions are summarized as follows:
- Topics addressed under the "Stewardship of the Forest Lands" were agroforestry, biosphere reserves, conservation of biological diversity, and protected areas.
III. Different managment practices in Costa Rica, Mexico and Ecuador were discussed.
- Session IV dealt with "Nontimber Forest Products and Extractive
Reserves". In this session about 25 presentations on a variety of related subjects such as the Brazil nut industry, extractive reserves in Guatemala, palm products from Colombia, the value and diversity of plant medicines in Mexico, and the prospects of ecotourism in Costa Rica were discussed.
- In session V "Secondary Forest Management" speakers were invited to present papers on secondary forest ecology, line planting, silvicultural experimentation, and secondary forests in Trinidad.
Conversion". Papers covered four topics:
- indigenous agriculture,
The main results and conclusions are summarized as follows:
The causes of nonsustainable use of tropical forest resources are grouped in three broad categories:
High deforestation is an outgrowth of the interaction among these causes.
The necessary reforms for correcting institutional failures, particularly policy failures, are correction of constant underpricing of tropical forest resources, initiation of environmental accounting within national income frameworks and reduction in infrastructure projects encroaching upon tropical forests.
Activities designed to cope with natural resource degradation such as incentives for reforestation and soil conservation, should be functionally integrated into a particular country's economic development model.
A broad definition of "protected areas" must be used to describe examples that range from low impact agriculture to national parks. The "protected areas" and "natural parks" concept are accepted in Latin America as important tools for the establishment and management of large areas. The basic requirements for developing the human and physical infrastructure for managing natural parks areas are listed in priority order:
- On site staff with professional training in sufficient quantities.
A diverse array of products can be extracted from "protected areas" without adversely affecting the ecosystems: medicine, germplasm, fruits and nuts, craft materials, products for industrial uses, for instance fiber, ornaments, fish/game, etc.
Small-scale, tropical rainforest cultures developed a complex system of subsistence technologies that have permitted hundreds of years of continuous exploitation of the forests. Political, economic and technological changes in the last two decades, have disturbed these traditional patterns of exploitation.
The protection and management of the tropical lowlands must therefore involve the participation of the peasants and indigenous societies that exploit these fragile areas.
Indigenous management appears to be the next best thing to primary forests for species diversity, and the best for ethnobotanical species.
Apart from extracting products from forests, there exists the chance to enhance ecotourism as an instrument of sustainable development. In future, it is essential to guarantee that a certain amount of this money will be channeled to the conservation of nature.
1148 92 - 5/124
Latin America, Costa Rica, development strategies, environmental management, land settlement, crop diversification, community development, road rehabilitation, AID
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