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Friday, October 6, 2000

Caviglia-Harris Receives NSF Grant

SALISBURY, MD---Dr. Jill Caviglia-Harris, assistant professor of economics in the Franklin P. Perdue School of Business at Salisbury State University, recently received a $73,039 grant from the National Science Foundation to study land-use choices by small farmers in Brazil and the impact those choices have on tropical deforestation in the region.

The objective of the project, "Diffusion of Sustainable Agriculture in the Amazon: A Time Series Analysis," is to gather farm-level time-series data in Ouro Preto do Oeste Rondonia, Brazil.  This is the second stage of an earlier data collection project that was initiated in September 1996.  During the first stage, 196 farmers were interviewed to assess the impact of past and current government policy on agricultural practices in the Amazon as well as investigating individual land-use decisions in Rondonia and their implications for deforestation.  The survey also sought to determine if sustainable farming techniques were adopted, which farmers adopted them and the reasons they were adopted.

In the second stage of the project, further interviews with farmers will attempt to examine how deforestation is influenced by farmers who live in the region and the impact of choosing between sustainable and non-sustainable agricultural techniques.

The major source of deforestation in Rondonia is the use of slash-and-burn agriculture by small-scale farmers.  Sustainable methods of agriculture can reduce deforestation drastically, according to several studies, if utilized by a majority of farmers.  Results from Caviglia-Harris’ initial research indicated only a few farmers use sustainable agriculture.  However, her research also showed that farmers are likely to adopt sustainable agriculture as the benefits of the farming methods are shown.

"Local farmer organizations and cooperatives," said Caviglia-Harris, "were found to play an important role in the decision to adopt sustainable techniques.  These results suggest that national and regional policies, that provide information about sustainable agriculture and support local farm organizations, can greatly increase the diffusion of sustainable agriculture in Ouro Preto do Oeste and similar settlements in the Amazon."

 

            

 

  SSU Public Relations - 410-543-6030

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