Volume 30 Number 3
Published: March 4, 2016
Summary This article assesses the environmental implications of the Asian financial crisis in South‐East Asia and Melanesia, covering the period from mid‐1997 until early 1999. It examines the implications for agricultural development, natural resource management, industrial pollution, corporate activities, and state environment budgets and implementation. It shows that the crisis has contributed to extensive environmental changes. There are, however, considerable variations across sectors, areas, and time. For some environmental issues, such as water quality and conservation, the crisis has (in some instances) aggravated environmental mismanagement in the immediate term. In others, such as agriculture, plantations, and fisheries, it has created powerful incentives to expand export‐oriented production to earn foreign exchange. And in still others, most notably commercial timber and urban air pollution, it has created temporary respites and windows of opportunity for environmental reformers, although if reforms are unsuccessful, environmental management is likely to worsen in the long term. Finally, the article points to the need for further research to help the countries of the Asia‐Pacific address the immediate and future implications of the present crisis, as well as build a set of analytical tools for policymakers, donors, and development specialists to analyse the environmental implications of globalisation as well as future financial crises.