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Determinants of Agricultural Diversification in a Hotspot Area: Evidence from Colonist and Indigenous Communities in the Sumaco Biosphere Reserve, Ecuadorian Amazon

Institute of Forest Management, Department of Ecology and Ecosystem Management, TUM School of Life Sciences Weihenstephan, Technische Universität München, 85354 Freising, Germany
Facultad de Ciencias de la Vida, Universidad Estatal Amazónica, Km 2 ½ vía Tena (Paso lateral), Pastaza 160101, Ecuador
Facultad de Ciencias Agrícolas, Universidad Central del Ecuador, Quito 170129, Ecuador
Thünen Institute of International Forestry and Forest Economics, 21031 Hamburg, Germany
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Sustainability 2018, 10(5), 1432;
Received: 23 February 2018 / Revised: 26 April 2018 / Accepted: 2 May 2018 / Published: 4 May 2018
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Agriculture, Food and Wildlife)
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With data from a household survey covering migrant settlers and indigenous (Kichwa) communities in the Sumaco Biosphere Reserve (SBR), this study analyses the drivers of agricultural diversification/specialisation, focusing on the role of ethnicity and the livelihood strategies (LS) they follow. Data were collected using the Poverty and Environment Network methodology of the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR-PEN). In order to establish the drivers of agricultural diversification, the number of crops and the Shannon index of crops areas were used as the dependent variables in ordinary least square (OLS) models, while a multinomial logit model (MLM) was used to assess a household’s degree of diversification. The results of the OLS regression provides evidence supporting the notion that households, with Livestock-based and Wage-based livelihood strategies (LS) are less diversified and more specialized than households with Crop-based LS. Ethnicity has a positive and significant effect on agricultural diversification, with Kichwa farms more diversified than those of their migrant colonist counterparts. The results of the multinomial logit model (MLM) show that large Kichwa households, with Crop-based and Forest-based LS are more likely to adopt a highly diversified agricultural strategy. Based on these findings, we recommend a redirection of agricultural incentives, towards the adoption of diversified agricultural systems, as a strategy to promote more sustainable production systems in the Ecuadorian Amazon Region. View Full-Text
Keywords: crops-livestock; Shannon diversity index; indigenous; OLS; MLM crops-livestock; Shannon diversity index; indigenous; OLS; MLM

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Torres, B.; Vasco, C.; Günter, S.; Knoke, T. Determinants of Agricultural Diversification in a Hotspot Area: Evidence from Colonist and Indigenous Communities in the Sumaco Biosphere Reserve, Ecuadorian Amazon. Sustainability 2018, 10, 1432.

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