This book is about the politics of environmental change in the Third World, but does not claim to cover all aspects of this vast subject. Rather, our main aim is to explain the key concerns that arise in considering this subject from the perspective of political ecology. In an earlier work, one of the present authors suggested that the emergence of ‘Third World political ecology’ as a new research field in the 1980s was a reflection of the pressing need for ‘an analytical approach integrating environmental and political understanding’ in a context of intensifying environmental problems in the Third World (Bryant, 1992:12). The present study explores that research field in more detail to assess the contribution of Third World political ecology to a broader understanding of the causes and implications of environmental change in the Third World today.