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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2006

Natural resources in indigenous peoples' land in Amazonia: A tragedy of the commons?

Sirén, Anders
Sirén, Anders (ed.)


Wild game and other renewable resources in tropical rainforests inhabited by indigenous peoples are currently often exploited in unsustainable ways. This article shows, for a Kichwa community in the Ecuadorian Amazon, that this can to some extent be explained as a 'tragedy of the commons'. However there are also other mechanisms at work. In particular, there has been some unawareness of the impact of hunting on game populations, and the expansion of fallows at the expense of old growth forest is a result of population growth that increases the need for farmland, and thus decreases the socially optimal area of old growth forest. Whereas many resources are harvested under conditions resembling open access, there have long been established rules for the harvest of thatch leaves, and the community has recently also adopted several measures in order to regulate hunting. Obviously, experiences of resource scarcity may spark conservationist thinking and behaviour. This is a process that scientists can and should support

Published in

International Journal of Sustainable Development and World Ecology
2006, Volume: 13, number: 5, pages: 363-374

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    UKÄ Subject classification

    Environmental Sciences related to Agriculture and Land-use

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