Quantifying Sustainable Development

Quantifying Sustainable Development

The Future of Tropical Economies

1st Edition - June 28, 2000

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  • Editors: Charles Hall, Patrick Van Laake, Carlos Perez, Gregoire Leclerc
  • eBook ISBN: 9780080492216

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Until recently, the phenomenal economic development of the Asian tigers, Chile, and Malaysia, as well as the sustained economic growth of the United States, painted a very desirable and optimistic picture of free markets, fiscal responsibility, and, more generally, the entire dogma of neoclassical economics. As of the fall of 1998, however, the economies of many tropical countries have contracted severely, and the enthusiasm of the developing tropics for the free market and all of its ancillary policies is decidedly cooler. Have our traditional approaches to economics been failing the developing world? This interdisciplinary book covers the conditions of the developing tropics, the resistance of some of their problems to earlier attempts at solutions, and the use of new tools to develop a much more comprehensive and empirical framework for analysis and decision making. It also presents the development of cutting edge technology that links GIS and modeling approaches with extensive databases on meteorology, soils, agricultural production, and land use. The book discusses whether development is sustainable through a synthesis of demographic, economic, and resource-specific considerations. Costa Rica is uniquely suited to this study because of its size, stage of development, democratic institutions, and national databases.A CD-ROM containing all data and programs, color images, animated models, large data tables, and references accompanies the book.

Key Features

  • Links economic and biophysical analyses of sustainability
  • Presents new tools and approaches for analysis and decision-making
  • Includes a CD-ROM containing data and programs, color images, animated models, and references


Landscape ecologists; macroeconomists; resource economists; policy analysts concerned with third-world development issues; agronomists interested in third-world agricultural issues; and GIS developers.

Table of Contents

  • Contributors
    Foreword by Lester C. Thurow
    Section I: Introduction: The Tropics-Paradise Imperiled?
    1. The Changing Tropics
    2. A Brief Historical and Visual Introduction to Costa Rica
    Section II: Development and Sustainability
    3. The Theories and Myths that Have Guided Development
    4. Data on Sustainability in Costa Rica: Time Series Analysis of Population, Land Use, Economics, Energy, and Efficiency
    5. Land, Energy, and Agricultural Production in Costa Rica
    Section III: Adding a Spatial Dimension: Tools for Dynamic Geographical Analysis
    6. The Derivation and Analysis of National-Level Geographical Information: A New Model for Accessibility and an Easy-to-Use Micro GIS Program
    7. Geographical Modeling: The Synthesis of a GIS and Simulation Modeling
    Section IV: Building a Geographical Database for Costa Rica
    8. Developing a Nationwide Topographical Database
    9. Synthesis of Costa Rican Meteorological Information in a Geographical Context
    10. Properties, Geographic Distribution, and Management of Major Soil Orders of Costa Rica
    11. Remote Sensing and Land Use Analysis for Agriculture in Costa Rica
    Section V: Application to Sustainability Issues for Costa Rica's Natural Resources
    12. Temporal and Spatial Overview of Costa Rican Agricultural Production
    13. Biophysical Agricultural Assessment and Management Models for Developing Countries
    14. Geographical Synthesis of Data on Costa Rican Pastures and Their Potential for Improvement
    15. The Extent and Economic Impacts of Soil Erosion in Costa Rica
    16. Land Use and Cover Change in Costa Rica: A Geographic Perspective
    17. Gradient Analysis of Biomass in Costa Rica and a First Estimate of Countrywide Emissions of Greenhouse Gases from Biomass Burning
    18. Forestry in Costa Rica and an Estimate of Energy Potentially Available from Forests
    19. Assessing the Role of Parks for Protecting Forest Resources Using GIS and Spatial Modeling
    Section VI: Biophysical Analysis of Major Components of the Economy
    20. The Costa Rican Banana Industry: Can It Be Sustainable?
    21. The Costa Rican Coffee Industry
    22. Costa Rican Industry: Characteristics, History, and Potential for Sustainability
    23. The Internationalization of the Costa Rican Economy: A Two-Edged Sword.
    24. An Assessment of the Effectiveness of Structural Adjustment Policies in Costa Rica
    25. Comparative Estimates of Sustainability: Economic, Resource Base, Ecological Footprint, and Energy
    26. The Myth of Sustainable Development
    Appendix I: Low Cost Mapmaking
    Appendix II: A Free Micro GIS Program
    Supplement: CD-ROM of Pictures, Programs and Data

Product details

  • No. of pages: 761
  • Language: English
  • Copyright: © Academic Press 2000
  • Published: June 28, 2000
  • Imprint: Academic Press
  • eBook ISBN: 9780080492216

About the Editors

Charles Hall

Affiliations and Expertise

Sate University of New York, Syracuse, U.S.A.

Patrick Van Laake

Affiliations and Expertise

Proyecto MAG/FAO, San Jose, Costa Rica

Carlos Perez

Affiliations and Expertise

Ministero de Agricultura, San Jose, Costa Rica

Gregoire Leclerc

Affiliations and Expertise

Laboratorio de Analisis Geografico, CATIE, Turrialba, Costa Rica

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