Large scale labor migration from Olancho, Honduras to the United States, accelerated after 1998, when Hurricane Mitch devastated the region and resulted in the United States offering Temporary Protective Status (TPS) to affected Hondurans. As growing numbers left for the United States, the loss of productive youth to migration and the development of new local economic opportunities combined to create shortages of labor available for traditional uses of local natural resources in rural communities. Remittances from abroad and sentimental factors also contributed to the erosion of local labor supplies, leading some rural producers to phase back on mixed crop-and-livestock strategies and focus more exclusively on cattle production for milk, other dairy products, breeding stock, and meat. This transition has, in turn, had repercussions for local land use, contributing to deforestation for pasturelands at the same time new demands for wood for carpentry workshops has emerged.



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