Livelihood strategies and forest dependence: New insights from Bolivian forest communities

M. Zenteno, P.A. Zuidema, W. de Jong, R.G.A. Boot

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61 Citations (Scopus)


Total income and income from forest resources among rural dwellers in tropical forest regions are influenced not only by market access, prices, but also organizational, institutional, and social factors. These factors influence the diversity of resources to which the poor have access and result in specializations in livelihood strategies. We analyzed the relation between forest dependence and livelihood strategies in the Bolivian Amazon, applying the SLF. We tested for the differences across strategies with respect to financial, human, physical, social, and natural livelihood assets. Results show that forest income is highly related to cash income from Brazil nut, while income from agriculture and timber exploitation is associated with higher levels of education. Brazil nuts serve as a safety net and start-up capital for certain livelihood strategies in our study region. Livelihood strategies that are based on the commercialization of multiple products from forests and agriculture and services inside and outside communities depend less on forests. Livelihoods can be supported by investing in sustainable livelihood asset endowments. Our results demonstrate that activities that aim to support community forest management and to enhance household income should explicitly consider a differentiated support for different strategies. This will result in a more effective outcome of development efforts from which the poorest people would benefit most.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)12-21
JournalForest Policy and Economics
Publication statusPublished - 2013


  • brazilian amazon
  • developing-countries
  • conservation
  • products
  • household
  • deforestation
  • management
  • resources
  • framework
  • peasants

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