Deforestation in Honduras
The Cattle Boom
It can authoritatively be stated that the cattle industry expansion in the south informed much of deforestation in Honduras. While there are many factors that essentially informed the cattle boom, the World Bank loans that were allotted to farmers for agriculture as well as livestock projects in the early 60s all the way to the early 80s stimulated the preference of beef for purposes of export. Further, it is during this period that the returns that farmers got from agricultural products declined heavily and in that regard, people started relying more and more on livestock. Further, it is important to note that at the time, farming was increasingly becoming unattractive due rainfall that was largely erratic. It is with this in mind that farmers had to reallocate their lands top cattle rearing as opposed to cotton or grain farming.
It can be noted that to create land for cattle grazing, vast forest lands had to be cleared for purposes of cattle rearing (Vayda 2009). Further, landowners also converted much of the land t pastures from forest due to the existing inequalities and wealth disparities that made it easier to lay claim to unclaimed land space. Further, hill-land was largely rented out to peasants who were poor. Those who rented these pieces of land ended up cutting trees so as to cultivate sorghum as well as maize which were considered or taken at the time to be principal subsistence crops. With the declining fertility of lands after some cultivation years, landowners often compelled those who had rented the hill-lands to include grasses for pasture in between sorghum or maize. This in most cases effectively converted lands previously under forest cover into cattle grazing fields.
Vayda, A.P. (2009). Explaining human actions and environmental changes. Rowman
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