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close this bookAgricultural Expansion and Pioneer Settlements in the Humid Tropics (UNU, 1988, 305 pages)
close this folder16. Organized settlement on the Amazon frontier: The Caquetá project in Colombia
View the document(introductory text...)
View the documentThe project
View the documentProject characteristics
View the documentTarget population
View the documentDevelopment or stabilizing strategy
View the documentThe environmental issue in Colombia
View the documentMaterial accomplishments of Phase II
View the documentProject investment and cost
View the documentSocio-political events in the project area
View the documentStability of the production model
View the documentEnvironmental effects
View the documentEnvironmental costs
View the documentFrontier stabilization alternatives
View the documentFrontier management technology

Environmental costs

INCORA and Bank evaluation documents coincide in concluding that "the loss of valuable timber by burning remains as one of the leading project costs" which, unfortunately, was not calculated at the time of the project's appraisal or evaluation, "for lack of reliable data and precise orientation for this type of analysis." The Bank recommends devising a methodology for appraising this cost in future projects of this nature.

After surveying the existing evidence of the greater costs to society-besides the "burnt timber," one cannot understand the prevailing view of government and World Bank experts who prefer separating or isolating production elements from the closely knit environmental chain. It is evident that from the beginning of the project the production component was separated from the conservation component. By being assigned separate funds and responsibilities for production and conservation research from the initiation of the project, both researchers and extension agents were prevented from developing management techniques and recommendations geared toward long-term self-sustaining production. This approach to the "stabilization of rural settlements" is definitely responsible for the presently distorted view of the Amazon frontier, where both the fragile nature of its soils and the indispensable nutrient replenishment chain are not properly appraised and thus their economic role in production schemes is not thoroughly recognized.