Environmental issues and the impact of development
Introduction The environment is perceived, measured and assessed in human terms. The physical, chemical and biological elements of environment are considered as resources for or constraints on human progress. In this chapter, the balance is explored between resource exploitation on the one hand and the buffering capacity of the environment to absorb disturbance on the other. South and Central America have the unusual distinction, within tropical and sub-tropical latitudes, of retaining a greater undisturbed proportion of their environment - though the rate of exploitation and impact is fast levelling the balance.