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Tropentag, October 5 - 7, 2004 in Berlin

"Rural Poverty Reduction
through Research for Development and Transformation"

Causes and Consequences of Low Farm Income and Land Use Change from 1990 to 1999: Agro-socio-economic Approaches in the Northern Ecuadorian Amazon

Bolier Torres1, Richard E. Bilsborrow2, Alisson F. Barbieri1

1Georg-August-Universität Göttingen, Tropical and International Forestry, Germany
2University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Department of Biostatistics and Carolina Population Center, United States


There have recently been a number of important studies on agricultural systems, land-use and land-cover change and their environmental impacts on deforestation and expansion of the agricultural frontier, especially in tropical rainforest areas of developing countries. However, there have been almost no studies of the rural poverty of households in the study regions. It is also interesting to examine and understand the degrees to which income levels are related to deforestation and land use. This could to contribute to the development of better policies to reduce rural poverty and improve the welfare of settler household, who are among the poorest in the country. The research to be reported on in this paper will be based on data from a detailed survey of migrant settler households in the Ecuadorian Amazon, collected from 1990 to 1999 by the University of North Carolina (UNC) and collaborating institutions in Ecuador. The detailed data collected permit the analysis of agricultural systems, land-use change and incomes of migrant colonist farm households in the northern three provinces of the Ecuadorian Amazon. This has been the main region of agricultural colonisation by migrants in Ecuador since the 1970s, following the discovery of petroleum in 1967. This paper sheds some light on the agro-socioeconomic situation, of those migrants. We first describe the data collection process and procedures used to estimate household incomes. We then provide basic data on settler household characteristics, including migration background, education, household size, plot size, land ownership and household incomes. The population in the study region has been growing rapidly, which is associated with substantial subdivision and fragmentation of plots in the 1990s, causing important changes in land use, off-farm employment, and household incomes. The latter will be compared for 1990 and 1999 to assess the causes of changes and develop policy recommendations for reducing rural poverty in the study region.

Keywords: Agricultural systems, Amazon, colonisation, farm household income, Ecuador, land use change, migration, rural poverty

Contact Address: Bolier Torres, Georg-August-Universität Göttingen, Tropical and International Forestry
current address: , e-mail: boliert@gmx.de

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