Abstract

Central America is facing serious problems concerning erosion and poor management of natural resources. Poverty is usually the source and cause of such problem as well as the high population growth. One major problem is the intense usage of mountain slopes in the production of basic grains under traditional migratory agricultural methods. It is a well established tradition to consider these areas as a source of cheap labor force and also as a region of subsistence for a rural impoverished population. Nevertheless, a high percentage of both the population and agricultural production of Central America is to be located in such areas, and mountain slopes constitute over 80% of the regional extension. This document presents an anylisis of the perspectives for sustainable development in the mountain slops of Central America and the challenges faced by researchers and by those in charge of planning and implementing development policies in the area. With different degrees of intensity, all area countries are facing the same problems in their mountain slope areas; as a result, it is necessay to generate information on the development of new methods, adequated to the exploitation of mountain slops, the formulation of local and national policies, the coordination with institutions which take into account the local reality and the need of a sustainable development of the region.