Neoliberal Policy and Deforestation in Southeastern Mexico: An Assessment of the PROCAMPO Program
A lingering question in economic geography is the degree to which there is a link between neoliberal policies and environmental degradation. Research is needed to relate such policies empirically to local-level decision making, both to evaluate their consequences and to contribute to an understanding of how cross-scalar dynamics drive processes of land-use change. This study examines the environmental impacts of a Mexican rural support program, referred to by its Spanish acronym, PROCAMPO, which was introduced in 1994 as part of a comprehensive agenda to liberalize the agricultural sector. Using both descriptive analyses of the study region’s political ecology and econometric modeling, we draw on a panel of farm-household data spanning 1986–1997 to assess the impact of PROCAMPO on land-use change in southeastern Mexico. The results indicate that the program has had the unintended effect of fostering deforestation and has led to an only modest increase in market production. These findings suggest that alternative mechanisms may be needed to achieve the market integration and agricultural modernization sought by neoliberal policies and that such policies may have to be restructured to avoid unintended environmental impacts. By connecting macro-level economic phenomena with regional and local environmental impacts, this study addresses the linkages of cross-scale human-environment interaction.
Klepeis, P. and C. Vance (2003), Neoliberal Policy and Deforestation in Southeastern Mexico: An Assessment of the PROCAMPO Program. Economic Geography, 79, 3, 221-240