Theme Notes for Human Geogrpahy.docx

Haiti and forest and soil degradation colonial cash

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Haiti and Forest and Soil Degradation - colonial cash crops (land not distributed well) - timber harvesting to pay off indemnity - small land holders with too small plots (too small to live off of) - pop. and resource pressure pushes small landholders onto slopes Haiti’s Woes - corrupt governments - crippling debt burdens to the US and Europe - bullying from the US - wrecked forest and soil - comparing Haiti and Canada: GDP per capita for Canada (2013) = 43,100 GDP per capita for Haiti (2013) = 1,300 (poorest country in Western Hemisphere, 80% of pop. living in poverty) Another Important Environmental Factor: Phosphorus Depletion - analogous to the oil reserve crisis and related to it too - in sub-Saharan Africa, 75% of the soils are phosphorus deficient - in 2007-2008, the price of phosphate fertilizers rose to 700% - created by rising demand for phosphate fertilizers in part due to the expansion of the biofuel industry in part due to the rise of meat consumption in China and India - energy needed to transport food all over the world - we are depleting our phosphate supply at an alarming rate (mostly in Madagascar, China, and US - only 25-30 year supply left in US) 2.4 Pesticide Danger - greatest for those working with them or downwind from application - concern over the health effects of pesticide residues on food: can affect the entire pop. lack definitive longitudinal studies on this but the concern is great enough to spawn (release) an organic food industry - there is enough concern for the ecosystem to ban pesticides on lawns in many municipalities Ryan Galt: “It just goes to kill Ticos” (local term for Costa Ricans, 2009) - is pesticide use greater on produce going to national and regional markets than to First World markets? all consumer markets now want and expect blemish free fruits and vegetables exporters to affluent countries monitor food for pesticide residues (spot check only 1%, penalties are ferocious (sometimes loss of whole shipment), violation record is 4.4% compared to 1.6% from US domestic sources) 9
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Costa Rica and Beyond - testing conducted in India, Kenya, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Egypt, Brazil, and Nicaragua shows pesticide residues in fresh produce in excess of both national and UN Food and Agriculture Administration safety standards for consumption - Galt’s testing in Costa Rica showed residues far higher than on the export crops Why produce food with high pesticide residue? - is it lack of knowledge or are there other things that force farmers to make decisions that are bad for local consumers? Three major kinds of pesticides: 1) Organophosphates and carbamates, which work for a long time and, therefore, leave a residue for much longer 2) pyrethroids and biopesticides that last less long, leave a much less residue (last 3 days most) 3) botanical, microbial, and organic pesticides—but they are beyond the price most developing country farmers can afford Different botanical rhythms - crops harvested once or twice: cabbage, broccoli, celery, lettuce, corn -
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