Population and Deforestation in Costa Rica

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This paper addresses a central debate in research and policy on population and environment, namely the extent to which rapid population growth is associated with the massive deforestation currently underway in the tropics. We utilize the experience of Costa Rica during the last forty years to illustrate what the main issues are, discuss the history of deforestation in that country, and present results from conventional regression methods and from the application of spatial analyses. These analyses enable us to estimate the magnitude of the relation between population and deforestation and to identify the factors that are responsible for the linkage between them.

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