Demographic change and livelihood diversification among indigenous populations of the Ecuadorian Amazon.

Jason Bremner, Population Reference Bureau (PRB)
Flora Lu, University of California, Santa Cruz

Throughout the Amazon new roads, infrastructure, oil pipelines, colonist settlements, and mechanized agriculture suggest an uncertain future for indigenous peoples. Case studies reveal that indigenous communities of the Amazon are undergoing intense socio-economic, demographic, and cultural changes. There has been limited quantitative inquiry, however, into the demographics and determinants of change occurring among indigenous populations. This paper is based on a survey of 500 indigenous households from 36 communities in the Northeastern Ecuadorian Amazon and examines patterns of fertility, migration, and non-farm employment among five different ethnic groups-- the Kichwa, Shuar, Huaorani, Cofan, and Secoya. Successful conservation/development policies that conserve biodiversity, promote sustainable livelihoods, and improve the lives of indigenous peoples depend on a better understanding of the complex dynamic of demographic, ecological, socio-economic, and cultural factors influencing indigenous resource use and livelihoods.

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Presented in Session 97: Population distribution processes and environmental change