Project MUSE - From the Editor

MARN El Salvador

MARN El Salvador

This issue once again demonstrates the variety and richness of geographical research in Latin America. The first article illustrates the impact of disease in urban and rural Northwest Argentina in the early twentieth century, emphasizing its spatial incidence and relationship to water bodies of various types, a truly innovative analysis. Our focus is to move to Xochimilco, Mexico, where a research project reports on the environmental impact of the extraction of sub-surface water. Given that very few United States geographers are now working on physical geographic topics, it's good to see that our Mexican colleagues persist in their very practical research.

In the next article we are exposed to the issues of changing production systems in Honduras, where developing cash economies threatening longstanding swidden agriculture and the rural labor force, a key developmental phase that is becoming a critical factor in national integration. From Honduras we shift to eastern lowland Bolivia where we are introduced to the significance of the consumption of river turtles, their market potential and their role as wealth indicators. How rare and good it is to find a researcher assessing the significance of the fauna of Latin America!

Another lowland context, this time in Mexican Veracruz, provides the locale for an analysis of the impact of the coffee commodity crisis on small-scale production systems. The government's attempt to regulate production via the notion of agricultural viability is discussed, and the impact of neo-liberal reforms and globalization effects are seen to be key components of development in the region.

MARN El Salvador
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The final two articles of this issue are, at least I would argue, exceptional in the sense that the first deals with racial and social issues in early nineteenth-century French Guiana, and the impact of one very significant person. When did one last read a geohistorical article on French Guiana? Equally innovative is the account given by the technical director of the Naval Museum of Madrid in the final study, an examination of an almost forgotten Spanish expedition to produce an atlas of the Caribbean in the last decades of the eighteenth century.

Our thanks to all authors for their collegial acceptance of ideas, suggestions, and criticisms of the editorial team. Once again, we have a sample of the wealth and variety of research done in the field of Latin American geography.

The first article demonstrates the impact of diseases, especially malaria, in the urban and rural areas of northwestern Argentina in the first decades of the twentieth century, emphasizing their spatial incidence and their relationship with various types of water sources. Likewise, our attention moves to Xochimilco in central Mexico, where a group of researchers provide a detailed report on the environmental impact of groundwater extraction. From the perspective of geography in the United States, where few geographers are investigating physical issues, it is to congratulate our Mexican colleagues for their interest in such practical matters.

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