FROM THE DESK OF THE EDITOR-IN-CHIEF
The idea of floating this Journal first occurred to me in 1994 at an International Conference in the United States of America. Of all the Journals and books on display at this Conference, none was published in a third world country and contributions from researchers based in the third world were minimal. This threw me into a deep reflection during which it occurred to me that a few years before then, I could not afford to pay the page charge to a USA-based Journal after accepting my paper. The expected Institutional support was not there and the international value of the local currency made it impossible to pay from private funds. Back at home, I saw well-researched papers in locally based Journals which are hardly circulated beyond the immediate environment of the publishers. I also saw Journals which could not stand the test of time due to financial constraints and apathy from researchers in poorly funded universities and research centers. Still in my reflection, I saw Professors, who after climbing to the top of the ladder, lost interest in publishing not only locally but also internationally because of the frustration of not being able to achieve the standards they started with as young researchers. All of these constraints have their roots in inadequate financial resources interwoven with low values of local currencies in poor countries. Then Bingo! The idea clicked, like a voice from a Biosphere reserve in the tropical rainforest zone saying “Go and establish a Journal that will compete favourably with any international Journal in the world”. This led me to the drawing board and threw me into a decade of deeper reflections on how the Journal will contain broad-based, well researched articles, position papers, extensive reviews and above all, have and maintain an international outlook. It was indeed a decade of interpersonal contacts with experienced researchers all over the world on recruitment drive for a broad-based international Editorial Advisory Board. Being an environmentalist with a deep commitment to sustainable development, the choice of the name of the Journal was the easiest task compared with all others. ENVIRONTROPICA means nothing but the journal of the tropical environment where authentic reports of research into the inherent attributes of the tropical environment are available in all disciplines ranging from basic and applied sciences to the social sciences and humanities. The dream is that in another decade, ENVIRONTROPICA will be the most authentic Journal of the tropical environment that is based in the third world. It is my pleasure to invite all researchers on the tropical environment to submit articles to ENVIRONTROPICA as we sail along in the rough seas of knowledge acquisition and information dissemination in countries close to the equator, which in contrast to countries closer to the northern and southern poles, still have a lot of unexploited and under-utilized baseline data without which advancement in the applied field will be more problematic than building a house on a sandy foundation.
The first call for papers was made in January 2003. In that year alone, a total of 56 manuscripts were submitted from Africa, Asia and Latin America. 27 of these articles were accepted for publication in the maiden issues while many others are at various stages of review and revision. The 27 accepted papers have been separated into two broad groups. Those which are of general environmental interest are in this volume, while those which are direct reports of agricultural research were put together and presented in Volume 1, Number 2.