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A tale of two roads: Land tenure, poverty, and politics on the Guatemalan frontier

Abstract

Agricultural frontiers are hot spots for the most dramatic land cover change in the history of humankind: forest conversion to agriculture. They are also areas of unusually rapid population growth and acute poverty, with scant access to public services and infrastructure. Although a large body of literature explores the determinants of land cover change on the frontier, one issue that has been largely unstudied is that of frontier political and socio-economic development. This paper reports on data from 28 communities along an agricultural frontier in a core conservation zone of the Maya Biosphere Reserve (MBR), where the predominant land tenure systems at the community level appear to be related not only to land use, but also to political organization and human development indicators. (c) 2005 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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