This paper compares land use patterns of mestizo colonists and indigenous populations in the central Ecuadorian Amazon, based on data from a household survey covering mestizo colonist, Kichwa and Shuar households. As expected, colonists mostly engage in commercial agriculture and cattle ranching, but there are substantial differences in land use patterns between the Shuar and the Kichwa. The Shuar engage in cash cropping and cattle ranching, and on average, devote even more land to agricultural uses than mestizo colonists in this sample. In contrast, the Kichwa engage more in subsistence crop production and less in commercial agriculture. Such different patterns appear related to local conditions, earlier migratory and settlement patterns, and the level of exposure to markets. The implications of this for policy are explored in the conclusions.
Keywords:Off-farm employment Diversification of livelihood strategies Mestizos and indigenous populations Household survey Amazon Ecuador a b s t r a c t How do migrant colonists and indigenous populations differ in their land and labor allocation in the Amazon, and what does this imply for their income levels/livelihoods and the environment? We address this by analyzing patterns of on-and off-farm employment of rural populations, both mestizo and indigenous, in the Ecuadorian Amazon. We use data from an unusual survey that covers both mestizo and indigenous households. As elsewhere in rural areas of the developing world, off-farm employment is found to be the principal income source for 68% of the population and accounts for 53% of total household income on average. Within off-farm employment, farm wage employment is most common for the poor, who usually have little human (education) or natural capital (agricultural land). For educated individuals, in contrast, non-farm wage employment is commonly the choice. In the Amazon, the government (national, provincial, municipal) is the main employer, which is linked to recent large government investment in infrastructure and decentralization, leading to significant expansion of nonfarm employment opportunities for rural populations close to major towns. The implications of this for livelihoods, sustainable development and the environment are explored in the conclusions.
With data from a household survey covering migrant settlers and indigenous (Kichwa) communities in the Sumaco Biosphere Reserve (SBR), this study analyses the drivers of agricultural diversification/specialisation, focusing on the role of ethnicity and the livelihood strategies (LS) they follow. Data were collected using the Poverty and Environment Network methodology of the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR-PEN). In order to establish the drivers of agricultural diversification, the number of crops and the Shannon index of crops areas were used as the dependent variables in ordinary least square (OLS) models, while a multinomial logit model (MLM) was used to assess a household's degree of diversification. The results of the OLS regression provides evidence supporting the notion that households, with Livestock-based and Wage-based livelihood strategies (LS) are less diversified and more specialized than households with Crop-based LS. Ethnicity has a positive and significant effect on agricultural diversification, with Kichwa farms more diversified than those of their migrant colonist counterparts. The results of the multinomial logit model (MLM) show that large Kichwa households, with Crop-based and Forest-based LS are more likely to adopt a highly diversified agricultural strategy. Based on these findings, we recommend a redirection of agricultural incentives, towards the adoption of diversified agricultural systems, as a strategy to promote more sustainable production systems in the Ecuadorian Amazon Region.
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