The cacoa tree, which produces the cocoa bean, is native to the understory of the tropical rainforest, and has been traditionally farmed there for centuries. A boom in cocoa consumption caused global production to nearly double in the 1980's and 1990's. In response to unprecedented worldwide demand, cocoa farming spread to 16.3 million acres, and full-sun cultivation began on estate-like plantations in cleared areas of rainforest. While uniform monocultures may produce initially bigger yields, they are an inhospitable environment for pollinators and biological pest controls, and also encourage the movement of fungal spores, the biggest inhibitor to cacoa growth. Increased vulnerability to pests and disease prompts the generous application of pesticides and fertilizers, and initiates a cycle of high-input, high-impact agriculture.
The Encyclopedia of World Problems and Human Potential is a collaboration between UIA and Mankind 2000, started in 1972. It is the result of an ambitious effort to collect and present information on the problems with which humanity is confronted, as well as the challenges such problems pose to concept formation, values and development strategies. Problems included are those identified in international periodicals but especially in the documents of some 60,000 international non-profit organizations, profiled in the Yearbook of International Organizations.
The Encyclopedia includes problems which such groups choose to perceive and act upon, whether or not their existence is denied by others claiming greater expertise. Indeed such claims and counter-claims figure in many of the problem descriptions in order to reflect the often paralyzing dynamics of international debate. In the light of the interdependence demonstrated among world problems in every sector, emphasis is placed on the need for approaches which are sufficiently complex to encompass the factions, conflicts and rival worldviews that undermine collective initiative towards a promising future.
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