Saving a Rainforest and Losing the World by Gregory M. Thaler


An unflinching investigation of the false promises of land sparing, exposing how its illusory successes mask the failures of green capitalism
For two decades, the concept of land sparing, the claim that agricultural intensification can spare land by preventing forest clearing for agricultural expansion, has dominated tropical forest conservation. Land sparing policies transform landscapes and livelihoods with the promise of reconciling agricultural development with environmental conservation. But that land sparing promise is false.
Based on six years of research on agrarian frontiers in Indonesia, Brazil, and Bolivia, this book traces where and how land sparing becomes policy and charts the social and ecological effects of these political contests. Gregory M. Thaler explains why land sparing appears successful in some places but not in others and reveals that success as an illusion achieved by displacing deforestation to new frontiers. The failure of land sparing exposes a harsh truth behind assurances of green capitalism: capitalist development is ecocide.

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