Pasture preferences: The ecology and economics of Andean farmers’ decisions


B. Diamond

Type of Document:
Research Brief


SANREM CRSP, University of Georgia

Date of Publication:

Place of Publication:
Watkinsville, GA


The brief addresses the questions: What drives farmers’ resource management decisions in fragile marginal environments? Are the subsistence activities of small farmers in tropical regions a major threat to tropical biodiversity? Can environmental and livelihood Goals be reconciled and directed to preserving natural resources?

This brief illustrates how ethnographic research can provide insights into the criteria and processes that shape farmers’resource management decisions. The study focuses on selection of pasture grass species among Andean farmers in the SANREM CRSP Ecuadorian site. An analysis of farmers’ statements indicates that their choices are the outcome of rational calculations that balance resource constraints and livelihood needs, and that the latter are not incompatible with maintenance of ecosystem functions.

This brief is derived from:

Rhoades, R. 2001. Bridging Human and Ecological Landscapes: Participatory Research and Sustainable Development in an Andean Agricultural Frontier. Dubuque, IA: Kendall/Hunt Publishing Company.

Additional Bibliographic Information

Diamond, B. 2002. Pasture Preferences: The Ecology and Economics of Andean Farmers' Decisions. SANREM CRSP Research Brief No. 10.

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