Livelihood strategies in the buffer zone of La Amistad Biosphere Reserve, Costa Rica

Schuit Pascale. 2011. Livelihood strategies in the buffer zone of La Amistad Biosphere Reserve, Costa Rica. Wageningen : WAU, 88 p. Thesis MSc : International development studies : Wageningen Agricultural University

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Encadrement : Le Coq, Jean-François ; Saenz, Fernando ; Schipper, Rob

Abstract : The way a household makes a living depends on the available options in terms of assets, activities and the context in which a household operates. People in the buffer zone of La Amistad Biosphere in Costa Rica live under conditions that differ from the national standard. While many are cultivating a piece of land, the remoteness of the area makes it unprofitable to cultivate for the market and limits access to public services. In order to fulfil basic needs many households in rural areas depend on goods collected from nature such as food, timber and medicine. The households in the buffer zone of La Amistad Biosphere Reserve are restricted by law, in cultivating and collecting food products and timber on land that was previously freely available to them. Hunting is forbidden and for lodging permission is necessary. Knowledge on the different types of livelihood strategies that exist, and comprehending the driving factors of each livelihood strategy is crucial for improving mechanisms creating a better balance between nature conservation and poverty alleviation. After conducting a hierarchical cluster analysis, a non-hierarchical cluster analysis was performed on the basis of income shares of different activities. Five distinct livelihood strategies were identified. A Non-parametric test showed that there is no significant relation between livelihood strategies and outcomes in terms of gross annual income, except for day labourers. Day labourers are significantly poorer compared to those who earn income from non-farm activities and coffee producers. Non-farm workers are on average the richest group and have higher education and more often a loan, if compared to the other strategies. Assets between those pursuing strategies based on agriculture (coffee production, day labour, niche market) differ not significantly. The binary choice model determining what factors influence the choice for forest conservation revealed that nonfarm- income is insignificant. Thus, agriculturalists are not less likely to conserve forest than those pursuing non-agricultural strategies. Yet, total farm size and owning land with a legal title is significantly positively affecting the choice for forest conservation. (Résumé d'auteur)

Mots-clés Agrovoc : Réserve naturelle, Ménage, Niveau de vie, Conservation des ressources, Pauvreté

Mots-clés géographiques Agrovoc : Costa Rica

Classification Agris : E12 - Labour and employment
E50 - Rural sociology
E16 - Production economics
P01 - Nature conservation and land resources

Axe stratégique Cirad : Axe 6 (2005-2013) - Agriculture, environnement, nature et sociétés

Auteurs et affiliations

  • Schuit Pascale, Wageningen University (NLD)

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Source : Cirad - Agritrop (

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