Determinants of agricultural diversification in a hotspot area: Evidence from colonist and indigenous communities in the Sumaco Biosphere Reserve, Ecuadorian Amazon
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 andWage-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.