The relation between forest clearance and household income among native Amazonians: Results from the Tsimane' Amazonian panel study, Bolivia

Ricardo Godoy*, Victoria Reyes-García, Vincent Vadez, William R. Leonard, Susan Tanner, Tomás Huanca, David Wilkie

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations

Abstract

The Amazon rain forest harbors some of the world's richest biological diversity. During the twentieth century, two types of actors cleared that forest: native Amazonians and outside encroachers. Of the two actors, we know more about what drives outside encroachers to clear forest than about what drives native Amazonians to clear forest. The past research focus has served well because during the twentieth century outside encroachers cleared most of the Amazonian forest. But the past research focus needs to be expanded because native Amazonians are claiming de jure stewardship of the forests they inhabit, and with tighter jurisdiction over those forests will likely come changes in the amount of forest native Amazonians clear. Prior research in rural areas of low-income nations suggests that household income affects household forest clearance. To estimate the effects of household real income on the total forest area (old-growth + fallow) cleared by households we use a panel composed of five annual household surveys (2002-2006, inclusive) from 324 households of a native Amazonian society in Bolivia (Tsimane'). We control for household and village fixed effects and use an instrumental variable for household income. We find positive and significant household real income elasticities of forest clearance of 0.35 and 0.47 and an increase in forest clearance of 5.3%/year. The main finding stood up well to sensitivity analysis. These estimates suggest that in the near future, the forest in the Tsimane' territory will likely face increasing pressure from the Tsimane' themselves, not just from outside encroachers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1864-1871
Number of pages8
JournalEcological Economics
Volume68
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 15 2009

Keywords

  • Conservation
  • Deforestation
  • Forest clearance
  • Income-elasticity of forest clearance
  • Native Amazonians

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Economics and Econometrics

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'The relation between forest clearance and household income among native Amazonians: Results from the Tsimane' Amazonian panel study, Bolivia'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this