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Cows versus rubber: Changing livelihoods among Amazonian extractivists

Geoforum
Volume 38, Issue 6, November 2007, Pages 1233-1249
Theme Issue: Geographies of Generosity

David S. Salisburya, Corresponding Author Contact Information, E-mail The Corresponding Author and Marianne Schminkb, E-mail The Corresponding Author

aGeography and Environmental Studies Program, University of Richmond, Richmond, VA 23173, United States
bTropical Conservation and Development Program, Center for Latin American Studies, University of Florida, 319 Grinter Hall, P.O. Box 115530, Gainesville, FL 32611-5530, United States
Received 31 May 2006; revised 3 March 2007. Available online 4 June 2007.

Abstract

The livelihood strategies of former rubber tappers in the Amazonnext term region are rapidly shifting from extraction of non-timber forest products to mixed systems based on agriculture and small scale cattle ranching. Using a combination of participatory methods and Geographical Information Systems, a case study in western previous termAcre, Brazilnext term explores how rubber tapper livelihood strategies may be changing, and the implications of these changes for land use and forest cover. Field (cattle pasture and agriculture) expansion and the decline of forest extractivism present challenges to many regional conservation and development projects such as sustainable settlement projects and extractive reserves seeking to develop forest-based livelihood alternatives to limit deforestation. Sustainability goals require researchers and policy makers to address the still experimental status of these forest-based organizational units, the heterogeneity and dynamism of extractivist livelihoods, and the necessary importance of small-scale cattle ranching for insurance and income generation among many former and current extractivists.
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