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

@introbul:Key Features @bul:* 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 Preface 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


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© 2000
Academic Press
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About the authors

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


"Hall et al. look behind the financial symbols of development to produce a critically needed empirical framework for integrating economic theory with biophysical realities." --Herman E. Daly, University of Maryland, School of Public Affairs "The modeling system summarized in this book is simple ... I recommend this book to all readers of this journal." ECOLOGICAL ECONOMICS "I strongly recommend the book to economists, ecologists, geographers, agriculturists, biologists, engineers, agronomists, and others interested in development and preservation of environmental integrity ..." --David Pimentel, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Cornell University, BIOSCIENCE, January 2001, Vol. 51, No. 1 "Includes a CD packed with images, data, and software, allowing the user to explore and adapt the GIS-based simulation model." --Tom Richard, Journal of Industrial Ecology