During the recessionary period that followed the boom in commodity prices and production of the late 1970s, most developing countries removed growth stimuli such as subsidized credit, tax and land concessions, with a view to reducing fiscal and external imbalances. Often this implied a reduction in public and social investment. Moreover, debt pressure forced Governments to adopt liberal exchange rate policies and encourage the production of trade commodities. There was pressure to expand output. Although the depressing impact of these measures on world commodity markets is clear, the impact on the environment and sustainable development is not as readily quantifiable. Although it may be suggested that recession may be more environmentally benign that malign (it lowers resource use), case studies show that this is not necessarily the case. Among the specific environmental effects of recessionary tendencies are: higher vulnerability to attacks for pests and disease owing to financial inability to protect crops adequately; disinvestment in environmental control technology, particularly in processing; and abandonment of arable land or diversification into cash crops with distinctly more negative environmental effects.