Coffee: Economically Important or Environmentally Destructive? Draft # 1

This topic submitted by Amy Barton ( at 8:46 PM on 3/24/04.

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Tropical Field Courses -Western Program-Miami University

Often times countries struggle between economic growth and environmental protection. Costa Rica’s coffee production is a perfect example. The production of coffee, Costa Rica’s primary exporter, is very important to its economy, but it is also a major source of pollution and deforestation. I think that it will be very interesting to research this opposition and Costa Rica’s solution to the problem. The way that Costa Rica’s solved this problem could be applied elsewhere in the world. Also, this topic applies my focus (environmental law) and will allow me to see how other countries are solving their environmental problems through the use of environmental law.


I) Background Information
A) Ideal climate and soil
B) European influence
II) Economic Benefits
A) Primary exported good
B) International trade
C) Governmental encouragement of coffee production
III) Environmental Degradation
A) Deforestation
B) River Pollution
IV) A Happy Medium?
A) Environmental law
B) Sustainable coffee production
C) International Help
V) Example for the rest of the world
VI) Conclusion


Coffee and Environment. TED Case Studies. Accessed World Wide Web March 23, 2004.

Evans, Sterling (1999). The Green Republic. Austin: University of Texas Press.

Gudmundson, Lowell 1986). Costa Rica Before Coffee. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press.

Hall, Charles (2000). Quantifying sustainable development : the future of tropical economies. San Diego: Academic Press.

Paige, Jeffery (1997). Coffee and Power. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press.

Skutch, Alexander ( 1971). A Naturalist in Costa Rica. Gainesville: University of Florida Press.

Steinberg, Paul (2001). Environmental Leadership in Developing Countries. Camridge: The MIT Press.

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