From the local to the global : the ecology of agricultural development in St. Lucia, West Indies
Seares, Jessica Amber
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I explored the relative impacts of globalization and development on small-scale farmers in St. Lucia, West Indies. In order to do this, I employed combinations of ecological and anthropological approaches to characterize agricultural biodiversity, farming methods and practices, and relative dependency on the global economy among farmers in the three regions in St. Lucia. In order to gain an understanding of vulnerability associated with monocultural production systems, I evaluated the impact of a tropical storm on these three regions. In general, this study confirmed the unsustainable aspects, such as increased vulnerability to natural disturbances, of pursuing development strategies that maximize for single-commodity, export-oriented modes of production. However, my work also revealed some potentially sustainable responses to globalization that have emerged in the last ten to fifteen years in St. Lucia, such as increased on-farm biodiversity and social networks, similar to cooperatives, of on-farm labor exchange. The divergence between socioeconomic benefits of banana farming and the environmental consequences of this type of production are discussed. In order to accomplish this study, I relied heavily on both agroecological and anthropological approaches to formulating questions, gathering and analyzing "data," and forming conclusions. I hope this model will serve as a tentative framework for future ecologists who seek to integrate "natural" and "people" based approaches in their research.