The present project aims to evaluate the association between trade in non timber forest products (NTFP) and the diversity of products gathered for the subsistence of indigenous people and caboclos from the Amazon. Several studies have evaluated the effects of market exposure on the use of natural resources by autarkic and semi-autarkic societies. In general, studies from the agricultural domain show that increased access to markets leads to specialization in a few activities and products, although there is also evidence in the contrary. Despite the great importance of NTFP for the livelihoods of forest-based inhabitants, little is known about the effects of the exposure to the NTFP trade to the diversity of products gathered. The present project thus focus on this question, by studying six Amazonian communities from four Amazonian societies (Araweté, Asuriní, Caboclos and Tsimane'). The central hypothesis to be tested is that an increase in the household commercialization of NTFP would be associated with lower levels of NTFP richness and diversity gathered. To do that, we will use data gathered between 1999 and 2005 through survey techniques and systematic direct observation (weigh day and instantaneous sampling spot). Data analysis will be based on household models, by adopting techniques of multiple linear regression to assess the association between independent variables (i.e., income and effort into NTFP trade) and dependent variables (i.e., richness and Simpson's diversity index of products gathered). The project is relevant and innovative because expands the current scientific knowledge on the effects of market exposure to product diversification beyond the agricultural domain. Moreover, it has also policy implications, since it can contribute to understanding the effects of non-governamental and governamental policies for conservation and development based on the trade in NTFP.
News published in Agência FAPESP Newsletter about the scholarship: