Oil Extraction and Indigenous Livelihoods in the Northern Ecuadorian Amazon

Matthew Bozigar, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Clark Gray, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Richard Bilsborrow, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

In the Amazon Basin and elsewhere, the large-scale extraction of mineral resources and fossil fuels is increasingly penetrating into isolated regions inhabited by indigenous peoples, potentially threatening biodiversity, ethnodiversity and indigenous well-being. To date few studies have used survey and statistical methods to investigate these processes, relying instead on small-scale approaches that prohibit generalization. To provide new insight, we draw on a unique longitudinal survey dataset collected in the Ecuadorian Amazon over a ten year period from 480 indigenous households with varying exposures to oil exploration and extraction. We use fixed and random effects regression models to investigate the consequences of exposure to oil activities on various livelihood outcomes such as assets, off-farm employment, and wild product harvesting. The results reveal mixed effects that are not consistent with conventional narratives of this process.

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Presented in Session 56: Measurement in Population and Environment