Increasing local capacities in rural Panama

Increasing local capacities in rural Panama


While Panama continues to have high levels of biodiversity, the country loss large swaths of forest between 1950 to 2000 primarily due to the expansion and intensification of cattle ranching. Drawing from their work with local ranchers, the authors review the emergence of cattle ranching in Panama along with potential solutions and unique approaches to halting these trends.

Conclusions & Takeaways

The article highlights the use of silvopastoral systems (SPS) as a means to prevent the conversion of forests to pasture and even to restore degraded lands. SPS aims to combine trees, forage shrubs and grasses with livestock production and provides ecological benefits while typically increasing productivity. Still, there has been barriers to local farmers for adopting such systems. The author's  argues that local capacity building is key to overcoming these challenges, drawing attention to APASPE, a local cattle ranching association that has actively adopted SPS with the help of ELTI. The paper concludes statingt that future initiatives aimed at addressingt these issues will require financial incentives, training in SPS and long-term leadership support for land-holders.


Slusser, Jacob L., Alicia Calle, & Eva J. Garen. (2014) "Increasing local capacities in rural Panama." European Tropical Forest Research Network (ETFRN) News.


  • Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute
  • Environmental Leadership and Training Initiative (ELTI)
  • University of California-Santa Cruz, California