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Agricultural dynamics associated with forest recovery. A case study in Chorotega, Costa Rica

Bonin M., Camacho H., Le Coq J.F., Mora C., Saenz F.. 2016. San Francisco : AAG, 1 p.. AAG Annual Meeting, 2016-03-29/2016-04-02, San Francisco (Etats-Unis).

A forest transition is observed in many countries around the world (Barbier et al., 2010) and in particular in Central America (Reno et al., 2012). Many explanations have been given to the deforestation phase and to the reforestation that follows (Meyfroidt el al., 2010). Our research question is to investigate types of agricultural dynamics associated with forest recovery. Our theoretical framework is based on a typology of drivers of land use changes (Geist&Lambin, 2002). Our case study is in Costa Rica, characterized by a high reforestation rate, especially in the Región Chorotega (Calvo-Alvaro et al., 2009). Our methodology combines bibliographic review, satellite image analysis (Landsat in 2000; RapidEye in 2012), mapping of census data, and interviews with key actors. We identified three types of agricultural dynamics associated with reforestation: 1) expansion of the sugar cane agroindustry in irrigated zone at the expense of food production (rice) driven by the dynamic of private agroindustry and privileged access to public investment in irrigation infrastructure and a transition from pasture to forest; 2) the integration of a diversified agriculture within an integrated rural development in hinterland zone, with commercial forest plantations supported by rural development programs and local community organizations, and 3) abandonment of agriculture in coastal areas in favor of tourism development boosted by foreign investment. Our empirical evidences go beyond the duality intensification/abandonment and highlight the spatial diversity of agricultural dynamics to explain forest recovery emphasizing the role of stakeholders within the drivers of these dynamics (agro-industrials, rural community, foreign investors).

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