Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Environmental Studies (MES)


Geography & Environmental Studies


Faculty of Arts

First Advisor

Barbara Carmichael

Advisor Role

Thesis Supervisor


Jamaica is currently experiencing the highest rate of deforestation in the world, with severe environmental consequences attendant to the loss of its ecologically significant forests. It also possesses extreme rural poverty and the intense need for development. In Jamaica, as throughout much of the tropics, peasant farmers are blamed as the primary agents of forest colonization. The purpose of this thesis, therefore, is to elucidate how the development and land use decisions of peasant farmers at a study site are constrained by external forces. The goal is to assess how progress towards environment and development (or ‘sustainability’) goals in rural Jamaica are affected by its political economy. The approach of the research is three-fold: employing an interview-based survey by at a site to reveal how farmers understand their constraints and rationalize their decisions, using a literary statistical review to assess Jamaica’s political economy, and progressively contextualizing the farmer’s perceptions within the broader framework to which they are inevitably linked. It is concluded that in Jamaica, even in a very hopeful case study like Long Road, environmental goals will ultimately subordinate to the development of needs of an impoverished, underdeveloped people until there is a more equitable distribution of the nation’s land and resources.

Convocation Year


Convocation Season