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close this bookThe Fragile Tropics of Latin America: Sustainable Management of Changing Environments (UNU, 1995)
close this folderPart 1 : The ecological outlook
close this folderEcological prospective for tropical Latin America
View the document(introductory text...)
View the document1 Introduction
View the document2 The current condition of the tropical Latin American ecosystems
View the document3 Modelling ecological changes
View the document4 The reference scenario
View the document5 The sustainable scenario
View the document6 Conclusions
View the documentAcknowledgements
View the documentNotes
View the documentReferences

6 Conclusions

The elements presented in this paper suggest the technical and ecological feasibility of an environmentally sustainable scenario for the region. While its economic feasibility has not been investigated in depth, our preliminary estimates of the costs specifically associated with the necessary changes in land use range between US$ 2,300 and 3,500 million per annum for the whole region (Winograd, 1989a) - not an exorbitant figure.

As a general conclusion, it can be stated that the ecological future of Latin America, and the possibilities of benefiting from the ecological opportunities while minimising the constraints, are much more directly tied to the great social options adopted in the region than to the search for new knowledge and new ecosystem management techniques. Unfortunately, the more recent trends in the region are going in the direction of the reference scenario, with a disordered abandonment of the regulating role of states (rather than true modernization and increasing pressures to produce for export, neglecting internal social needs.

The prospects of a sustainable scenario for Latin America will depend also to a large degree upon the attitudes adopted by the industrialized countries, and their willingness to assume their full share of the responsibility for the reversal of the worldwide ecological degradation and social impoverishment.