"The Greening of Saint Lucia: Agricultural Decline and Rural Reforestation in the Caribbean"

Organização: CEF/CEABN

Data: 18 de abril :: 12h30 às 13h30

Local: Sala PF 1.6 (Auditório Florestal) 

Tema: "The Greening of Saint Lucia: Agricultural Decline and Rural Reforestation in the Caribbean"

Orador: Bradley B. Walters (Professor of Geography & Environment, Mount Allison University, Sackville, Canadá)


Abstract: Human-environment research is bedeviled by two key analytical challenges: integrating natural and social science information and demonstrating causal connections between proximate and distant influences. This paper reports on a research study of post-War land use and forest change in Saint Lucia, West Indies. It employed the research methodology, Abductive Causal Eventism (ACE), whereby causal histories of interrelated social and/or biophysical events are constructed backward in time and outward in space through a process of eliminative inference and reasoning from effects to causes, called abduction. Study findings reveal past periods of expansion and contraction of upland agriculture in Saint Lucia, but a general trend in recent decades of agricultural land abandonment and net reforestation across much of the rural uplands. These dramatic changes in the landscape were the causal-historical outcome of a complex interplay between local factors like topography and land tenure and wider demographic, economic and political influences, including migration events, shifting labour markets, and World Trade Organization trade rulings. Saint Lucia’s ‘forest transition’ is significant, but not entirely unique in the Caribbean as a number of other island states show evidence of widespread agricultural decline and forest gain. The study demonstrates that a causal-historical approach to analysis is especially advantageous where good explanations of environmental change entail consideration of diverse and contingent causes.