Ernst Lutz, Stefano Pagiola, Carlos Reiche
1994 The World Bank Research Observer  
Most countries in Central America and the Caribbean depend heavily on agriculture; efforts to sustain and improve the sector's productivity are therefore crucial to the region's economic development and to the welfare of its people. Land degradation is thought to pose a severe threat to the sustainability of agricultural production. Yet despite long-standing concern about this threat and dramatic claims of environmental damage, surprisingly little empirical analysis has been done on the causes
more » ... nd severity of land degradation problems in the region and on how best to tackle them. Meanwhile, many of the conservation programs designed to address the problems have fallen short of expectations. Often farmers have not adopted the recommended conservation practices or have abandoned them once the project ended. The research presented in this article attempts to bridge the empirical gap, using cost-benefit analysis to investigate the nature and severity of the soil degradation problem and to assess the cost-effectiveness of proposed solutions. Because soil degradation problems tend to be site-specific, the analysis is rooted in case studies, and because conservation programs stand or fall on the participation of farmers, the study's main focus is on the profitability of the measures and the deterrents to their adoption from the farmers' point of view.
doi:10.1093/wbro/9.2.273 fatcat:ay4odc5wb5b2lbcedcpmdfwfum