Essay on Gy325 Week 2

Submitted By weesujin
Words: 1070
Pages: 5

A downward spiral? Research evidence on the relationship between poverty and natural resource degradation (Sara. J. Scherr, 2000)

* Agriculture remains the principle livelihood of the rural poor * Challenges to achieving both environmental improvements and rural poverty reductions * Downward spiral = constrains development options * Nexus of poverty, agricultural production and environment = critical triangle of development objectives * Environmental concerns associated with agriculture relate mainly to the sustainability of the resource base for agricultural production (soil quality), protection of biodiversity and habitats, and environmental services of resources influenced by agricultural land use. * Wealthier farmers, developer and multinational corporations typically control greater total land area and play a prominent role in many types of environmental degradation. The poor play a significant role in unsustainable agricultural intensification, expansion of farming into marginal lands and vegetation overexploitation and the consequences for their livelihood can be more serious because they lack assets to cushion the effect. * Poverty is recognized as a significant constraint on agricultural growth because of the poor people’s need to concentrate resources on lower-value food crops to ensure subsistence security and their difficulties in mobilizing production and investment resources. * ‘Downward Spiral’ of poverty and environmental degradation * Poor people place increasing pressure on the natural resource base * Results o population growth, limited access to land or access only to poor quality or fragile lands, or limited resources for investment and sustainable resource management. * Results of degradation lead to declining consumption, human health and food security. * Policy responses = control of population growth, resettlement, controls on resource access and use by the poor, environmental education, subsidies for conservation investments by the poor, and non- farm income growth. * Degradation can result from natural forces rather than human mismanagement; indigenous technology developed to control degradation; local communities implemented land use controls to stabilize vegetative cover; or farmer diversified activities to reduce degradation while maintaining income. * Templeton and Scherr 1999 showed that as the cost of the land relative to labor increased, people changed their methods of managing plants and animals and made land improvements to offset the declines in productivity resulting from more intensive land use * Sustainable livelihood – the capabilities, assets and activities required for a means of living. * When livelihood can cope with and recover from stresses and shocks, maintain or enhance its capabilities and assets, while not undermining the resource base. * Considers welfare poverty and ecological poverty * Studies of livelihood strategies have revealed that although the rural poor have limited resources, they still have considerable capacity to adapt to environmental degradation, either by mitigating its effects on their livelihoods or by rehabilitating degraded resources. * Need for coping mechanisms to deal with the environmental stress further impoverishment (need to reduce consumption, move or depletion of household) * Can increase off-farm employment/ exploit common property resources * Solutions: need to improve natural resources and reduce household poverty by protecting and preserving the asset base, diversifying and improving on-farm production, taking out credit to invest in future production or resource protection * As population or market pressures increase, farmers first experience degradation and its welfare effects. As effects become more pronounced farmers will seek innovations to stabilize or improve the resource base or to compensate the