This paper considers the needs for alternatives to usual agricultural practices in environmentally degraded areas, particularly when ecological conditions may not naturally support agriculture, e.g. in arid environments. Growing demand for food and increasing pressures on natural resources call for new approaches to land use that integrate economic and environmental considerations, particularly in less developed nations. This paper conducts cost-benefit analysis of the investment in cultivated mesquite plantations for the purposes of both pod products and lumber. Under all scenarios, investment in mesquite yields positive returns, but highest returns are obtained when trees cultivated for pods and lumber are intercropped rather than either being produced in isolation.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
The authors wish to acknowledge the assistance of participating graduate students including Peter O’Connor and Hector Flores, and the valuable advice offered by Dr Peter Felker. The research reported herein was supported by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency through the Southwest Center for Environmental Research and Policy Studies.
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- Alternative agriculture
- Cost-benefit analysis
- Environmental degradation
- Sustainable agriculture