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The life cycle of indigenous Amazonian households, livelihoods, and environmental impacts: changes over 20 years and future perspectives in Ecuador

Rosa Victoria Salinas, Universidad San Francisco de Quito
Richard Bilsborrow, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

The purpose of this research was to study the impact of indigenous households on the Amazonian forest over time based on a data from a large panel household and community survey in Ecuador, using a novel methodology. First, households are classified by phase in their life cycle (from initial formation to having births, growth of children, schooling, entering labor market, leaving household, aging of parents) into 6 phases. Then measures of household livelihoods are developed based on the economic activities of all members; this is associated with measures of their environmental impact based on land use, hunting, etc. All these are estimated from extensive data in the household survey (n>500). A theoretical model is developed to show how mediating factors (market access, institutional presence, etc.) affect household livelihood decisions, with a community survey (n=32) providing data for the measures. Modest changes over time are observed over 11 years between the surveys (2001-2012) in human impacts on the environment due to mediating factors leading to shifts in livelihoods to less forest-intense activities. A qualitative survey in 2019 extends the study to 20 years, and helps provide a basis for projecting future environmental impacts.

Keywords: Environmental studies, Panel studies, Decomposition analysis/methods, Demographic and social surveys

See paper.

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