Household Demographics Mediating Livelihoods, Deforestation and Land Use in the Amazon

Alisson F. Barbieri, Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais (UFMG)

Deforestation, poverty, land conflicts and the expansion of infrastructure and economic activities in the Amazon have increased concerns about the future of the largest and more biodiverse forest in the world. However, few studies have investigated the role of household demographics and livelihood dynamics on the evolution and transitions in rural frontier settings such as the Amazon. The main objective of the paper is, based on the revision of the extant literature, to propose a synthetic theoretical framework that unveils how farm household composition and lifecycle transitions mediate livelihoods strategies over distinct stages of frontier development. The secondary objective is to illustrate an application of the theoretical framework with a study case of twenty-five years of frontier evolution in the municipality of Machadinho, Brazil. It is the only study area in the Amazon with quality survey data for the same plots since the very onset of occupation and for so long, capturing distinct stages of frontier settlement over three decades. I combine descriptive and multivariate (Principal Component) analysis to show the extent and conditions in which household and individual demographic changes mediate livelihoods strategies, including land use changes and deforestation, over different stages of frontier development in Machadinho.

Keywords: Theory, Demographic and social surveys, Environmental studies, Age structure

See extended abstract.

  Presented in Session 173. Population Shifts and Environmental Change: Past Trends, Current Conditions and Future Scenarios