Despondent Guatemalan coffee growers dream of US return

Many Guatemalans who spent years working in the United States to come home and set up a small coffee-growing business have seen their savings drained and their hopes dashed due to low coffee prices.

Three elephants found poisoned in Malaysia

Three elephants were poisoned to death near a palm oil plantation in Malaysia, officials said Friday, in the latest case of the endangered creatures being killed near human settlements.

Lawyer fighting palm oil among six to win environmental prize

When Alfred Brownell arrived in a remote Liberian village, the surrounding tropical rainforest had been leveled by bulldozers. Burial grounds were uprooted, religious shrines were desecrated and a stream people depended upon ...

Are coffee farms for the birds? Yes and no

Over 11 field seasons, between 1999 and 2010, ornithologist Cagan Sekercioglu trekked through the forests and coffee fields of Costa Rica to study how tropical birds were faring in a changing agricultural landscape. Through ...

Restore natural forests to meet global climate goals

International plans to restore forests to combat global warming are flawed and will fall far short of meeting 1.5C climate targets, according to new research by UCL and University of Edinburgh scientists.

Farming for natural profits in China

A new strategy being rolled out in China relies on the idea that farmers can harvest much more than crops. The idea is that well-managed, diverse agricultural lands can provide flood control, water purification and climate ...

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Plantation

A plantation is a large artificially established forest, farm or estate, where crops are grown for sale, often in distant markets rather than for local on-site consumption. The term plantation is informal and not precisely defined.

Crops grown on plantations include fast-growing trees (often conifers), cotton, coffee, tobacco, sugar cane, sisal, some oil seeds (notably oil palms) and rubber trees. Farms that produce alfalfa, Lespedeza, clover, and other forage crops are usually not called plantations. The term "plantation" has usually not included large orchards (except for banana plantations), but does include the planting of trees for lumber. A plantation is always a monoculture over a large area and does not include extensive naturally occurring stands of plants that have economic value. Because of its large size, a plantation takes advantage of economies of scale. Protectionist policies and natural comparative advantage have contributed to determining where plantations have been located.

Among the earliest examples of plantations were the latifundia of the Roman Empire, which produced large quantities of wine and olive oil for export. Plantation agriculture grew rapidly with the increase in international trade and the development of a worldwide economy that followed the expansion of European colonial empires. Like every economic activity, it has changed over time. Earlier forms of plantation agriculture were associated with large disparities of wealth and income, foreign ownership and political influence, and exploitative social systems such as indentured labor and slavery. The history of the environmental, social and economic issues relating to plantation agriculture are covered in articles that focus on those subjects.

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