How green is green economic development?

Agriculture is a big contributor to deforestation. Rural populations use forest resources and cut down forests to meet subsistence and livelihood needs. In other instances, commercial agriculturalists clear vast swathes of forests often with the implicit backing of governments.
Over the past decade, governments of developing countries have instituted ‘green economy policies’ in an attempt to balance the needs of conservation and development. In a recent article published in the Land Use Policy, researchers explore the implication of such policies by studying the perspectives of farmers who switched from cultivating shifting rice to hybrid maize as a consequence of one such policy push by the government of Laos. By interviewing farmers in 2013, when they were increasingly growing maize, and then again in 2016, when many of the same farmers were abandoning maize, researchers shed light on how ‘green’ such policies actually are.
The article titled ‘The colour of Maize: Visions of green growth and farmers perceptions in northern Laos’ was a collaborative effort between centre researcher Grace Wong and researchers from the University of Helsinki, Center for International Forestry Research – Indonesia and the National University of Singapore. Maarit H. Kallio from the University of Helsinki was the lead author.

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