This article contains a discussion of the effects of rural education on indigenous people's use of the rain forest. Ordinary schooling should have direct and indirect effects on people's use of the forest. In the short run, education probably enhances conservation by increasing the political leverage of communities to defend their rights. In the long run, education should reduce dependence on the forest by increasing rural income through the adoption of better agricultural technologies and off-farm rural work and by reducing population pressure through migration and lower fertility. I test these ideas through a qualitative discussion of education among the Sumu Indians of the tropical rain forest of Nicaragua. In the conclusion I suggest that estimates of social rates of return to rural schooling may be too low because they leave out the positive environmental externalities of schooling. Several policies are discussed at the end of the article.

This content is only available as a PDF.
You do not currently have access to this content.