Extractive activities in northwestern Ecuador

Material Information

Extractive activities in northwestern Ecuador the case of the Commune Río Santiago-Cayapas
Argüello Argüello, María, 1966-
Publication Date:
Physical Description:
xiv, 154 leaves : ill. ; 29 cm.


Subjects / Keywords:
Ivory-nut -- Economic aspects -- Case studies -- Ecuador ( lcsh )
Latin American Studies thesis M.A
Dissertations, Academic -- Latin American Studies -- UF
bibliography ( marcgt )
non-fiction ( marcgt )


Thesis (M.A.)--University of Florida, 1995.
Includes bibliographical references (leaves 147-153)
General Note:
General Note:
Electronic resources created as part of a prototype UF Institutional Repository and Faculty Papers project by the University of Florida.
Statement of Responsibility:
by María Argüello Argüello.

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To my beloved family, Dora, Angel, Augusto, Vicenta,
Patricia, Erlinda, Elena, John and Luis

I am very thankful with the people from the Commune Rio Santiago-Cayapas and will always be indebted for their willingness to participate in this research, for their patience to answer my never ending surveys and for their generosity to share their experiences and home with me. Without their help this study would not have been possible.
I would like to express my profound gratitude to Dr. Marianne Schmink, chairperson of my supervisory committee, who provided substantial contributions to the design of the study and the preparation of this thesis. Her critical reading and thoughtful comments improved the quality of my work. Dr. Peter Hildebrand patiently taught me how to unveil the mysteries behind Linear Programming. Dr. Richard Bodmer provided encouragement and stimulating comments.
I gratefully acknowledge the support of the US Agency for International Development (USAID), the Tropical Conservation and Development Program (TCD), Fundaci6n para la Investigaci6n y Desarrollo Socio-ambiental (CIDESA) and Fundaci6n Ecuatoriana de Estudios Ecol6gicos (EcoCiencia) that made this study possible.
I also wish to express my gratitude to the US Agency
for International Development for the grants that allowed my iii

enrollment in the Graduate School of the University of Florida.
I must also thank Rodrigo Calero from CIDESA and Luis
Suarez from EcoCiencia who provided interesting comments and suggestions for the design of this research. Sincere thanks also go to Holly Payne who reviewed the English version of this thesis.
I would like to thank all my friends whose love has
been a source of joy and support during this project and my studies, especially Galo Medina, Luis Suarez, Lorena Pastor, Consuelo Fernandez, Holly Payne, Michael and Gabriela Valqui, Cristina Dockx and Cristina Espinoza.

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS....... ... . .. .. .. .. .. .. ...
LIST OF TABLES............................viii
LIST OF FIGURES.............................X
1 INTRODUCTION.......................1
Theorethical Background..............6
Extractive Activities in the Ecuadorian
Political Ecology of the Region. ........15 Tagua Initiative Project . . . . . 20
Location of Study Site ...............23
Socioeconomic Description of The Commune*Rio*
Santiago Cayapas..............23
Biophysical Description of Commune Rio
Santiago Cayapas..............27
Hydrology .. .. .. .. .. ... ...27
Climate . .. .. .. .. .. ... ...27
soils . .. .. .. .. .. ... ..28
Vegetation . .. .. .. .. ... ..29
Research Design .................. 31
The survey ..................32
Focus group discussions............33
In-depth interviews..............33
Markets *.* .* .....* ....... 35
Linear programming...............35
Population Structure................38
Land Uses . .. .. .. .. .. ... ..40
Household Activities..............42
Age and Gender Roles in Household
Activities . .. .. .. .... . . 47
Income from Economic Activities........49 Expenditures......................53

Dynamics of Household Activities .....56
Spatial and temporal patterns in
household activities.. . . . 56
Seasonality of gender roles in household
activities . . 61
Comparison among four Case Studies with
Different Ecological Settings and
Access to Market . .*....... 62
Cayapas River Basin .......... 62
Santiago River Basin ... ........... 64
A Comparison of Typical Farms in the
four Villages Studied ......... 66
Conclusion . . . . . . . 71
FOREST PRODUCTS.... . . . 79
Introduction . ... .............. 79
Local Market ...... .. .. .. o 80
Non-timber Forest Products Extracted in the
Region ......................... ......* 80
Vegetable ivory: Phytelephas
aequatorialis . .. . 80
Rubber: Castilla elastica o . o 88
Palm heart: Euterpe chaunostachys . 91
Markets for Potential Extraction of other
NTFPs ..... .................. 93
Conclusion .. ........ ..... 96
Introduction ...................... .100
Linear Programming .. ............. 100
Characterization of one "Tagua Extractor"
Small Farm in the Commune Rio Santiago
Cayapas: The Mina Family o o .o. 102
Linear Programming Simulation of The Mina
Family's Farm ........ ... . 105
Alternatives for Improving the Family's
Revenue . . o *. il
Non-timber forest products extraction
(focus on tagua) . . . .. 1
Agroforestry production (focus on
cacao).. . 112
Linear Programming to Test Alternatives for
Improving Mina Family's Income . . 112
Linear Programming for the Mina Family
with a Long Term Management of Timber 114
Conclusion .... ............. . 123

QUESTIONNAIRE .. .. .. ... .. .....129
REFERENCE LIST....................147
BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH..................154

Table Page
1 Background Information of the
Heads-of-household ..... ............... .. 38
2.1 Demographic Information of Sample Population .........
0 39
2.2 Characteristics of the Households Interviewed. . 40
3 Land Distribution and Uses ............. 42
4 Household Activities. .............. 44
5 Fruit Tree Species in Agroforestry Systems and Home
Gardens ...... ................ o . o . 45
6 Age and Gender Roles by Activities . . . 48 7.1 Income Distribution per Household o . . 50 7.2 Income Distribution per Activity o 50
8 Tree Species Exploited for Timber ....... .. 51
9 Expenditures per Household per Category .. .. 55
10 Comparison of 4 Household Economies Regarding.
Different Ecological Settings and Access
to Market. . ................. . 69
11 Linear Programming for Mina family's Farm (with
family labor). . .............. . . 107
12 Linear Programming for Mina Family's Farm (with
"prestamanos") .. . . . . . 110
13 Linear Programming for Mina Family's Farm (with
fertilizer and prunning for cacao) . . .... 110
14 Linear Programming for Mina Family's Farm
(testing TI) .................... 113
15 Linear Programming for Mina Family's Farm (with
fertilizer and prunning for cacao and TI)..... 113

16 Net present value (NPV) of the total income stream
generated in the four systems over a period of 4,0 years with different rates of timber
depletion. .....................122

FigMre Page
1 Location of the study site .... ............ 25
2 Activities Calendar . . . . . . .. 58
3 Tagua Export from Ecuador 1925-1992 . . .. 85
4 Income stream, for selected years and various timber
extraction rates with a 40 year timber growth cycle;
with "prestamanos" . . . . . . . 116
5 Income stream, for selected years and various timber
extraction rates with 40 years timber growth cycle.
Fertilizer and pruning for cacao .. ......... ..117
6 Income stream, for selected years and various timber
extraction rates with 40 year timber growth cycle.
Tagua Initiative approach .... ............. ...119
7 Income stream, for selected years and various
timber extraction rates with 40 year timber growth
cycle. Fertilizer and pruning for cacao and Tagua
Initiative approach..... . . . . . 120

Abstract of Thesis Presented to the Graduate School
of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Master of Arts
Maria Arguello Arguello
August 1995
Chairperson: Marianne Schmink Major Department: Center for Latin American Studies
Extraction of many non-timber forest products (NTFPs) from tropical rain forests has been recognized as a promising alternative to deforestation. This study evaluates the validity of extractivism as a development and conservation strategy in the Commune Rio Santiago-Cayapas through a comprehensive understanding of the extractive economies at the community and household levels and the role that non-timber forest product extraction plays in these systems.
Since 1990, the Commune Rio Santiago Cayapas has been involved in the Tagua Initiative (TI) project. The underlying assumption of this project is that an increment in the income derived from the extraction of "tagua" or vegetable ivory, the palm nut of Phytelephas aequatorialis,

through an improvement in the terms of trade, will encourage people to maintain forests.
There are three NTFPs that are sold to obtain cash
income: vegetable ivory, rubber Castilla elastica and palm hearts, Euterpe chaunostachys. Together they represent 13 percent of the community's income. Among these, the gathering of vegetable ivory was the most important one, generating 12.5 percent of income. At the community level extraction of tagua was the third most important income generating activity while at the household level it occupied the eighth place among all activities. Palm hearts were the only product extracted from natural forests while the others were obtained from agroforestry plots. Variation of the economic importance of extractive activities was related to the availability of other types of more profitable activities, to the distance of the villages to the main market, to the history of the settlement, to the specialization in resource use and to the abundance of resources.
Market conditions have favored extraction of vegetable ivory. The commercialization for the rest of NTFPs has been very constrained by lack of markets or by competition. The behavior of a tagua extractor's farm model simulated through Linear Programming (LP) has shown that extraction of vegetable ivory is not the best alternative for forest dwellers in this region to avoid timber extraction.

Resume de Tesis para la Escuela de Postgrado de la
Universidad de Florida en Cumplimiento Parcial de los
Requisitos para el Grado de Maestria de Artes
Maria Arguello Arguello
Agosto 1995
Chairperson: Marianne Schmink Department: Centro de Estudios Latinoamericanos
La extracci6n de products forestalls no maderables (PFNMs) ha sido identificada como una alternative prometedora para evitar la deforestaci6n. Esta investigation evalda la validez de la extracci6n como una estrategia para el desarrollo y la conservaci6n en la Comuna Rio Santiago-cayapas, a trav6s del studio integral de las economies extractivas a nivel de la communidad y del hogar. La Comuna Rio Santiago-cayapas ha estado
involucrada en el proyecto Iniciativa Tagua desde 1990. La idea bAsica de este proyecto consisted en que un increments en el ingreso obtenido por la extracci6n de "taguall o marfil vegetal (el fruto de la palma Phytelephas aequatox-ialis), mediate una mejora en los t6rminos de comercio, impulsard a la gente a mantener sus mosques.

Tres PFNMs eran vendidos por la poblaci6n con el fin de obtener un ingreso monetario: marfil vegetal, caucho Castilla elastic y palmito Euterpe chaunostachys, los cuales conjuntamente representation el 13 por ciento del ingreso total comunitario. De fists, la recolecci6n de marfil vegetal fue la actividad que gener6 el mayor porcentaje del ingreso, el,12.5 por ciento. A nivel comunitario, la extracci6n de tagua ocup6 mercer pesto en la generaci6n del ingreso, en cambio, a nivel del hogar se coloc6 en octavo lugar entre todas las actividades econ6micas. El palmito fue extraido de mosques naturals mientras que el caucho y la tagua se obtuvieron de sistemas ag-oforestales. La importance de las actividades extractivas en la economic de la comunidad y de los hogares, dependi6 de la existence de otras alternatives generadoras de ingress, de la distancia entre los poblados y los mercados, de la. historic del asentamiento, de la especializaci6n en el uso de los recursos y de la abundancia de los mismos. Las conditions de mercado han favorecido la extracci6n de marfil vegetal mientras que la comercializaci6n del resto de PFNMs estuvo restringida por la falta de mercados o por la competencia con otros products. La simulac16n del comportamiento de un model de una finca de un extractivista a trav6s del Programa Lineal
(PL) ha demostrado que la extracci6n de tagua no es la mejor alternative econ6mica para los moradores de este mosque.

Forest dwellers have traditionally used many forest
products to meet subsistence needs and to supplement income. The broad range of non-timber forest products (NTFPs) harvested by local dwellers includes fruits, medicinal plants, fodder, fuelwood and building and industrial materials. In conditions of limited access to other resources, difficulties in trading agricultural products and poor wage opportunities, local dwellers depend more on extractive resources for their livelihoods.
Current rates of deforestation driven by economic and political forces have destroyed resources of global and local importance. Environmental concern has focused on the development of strategies that allow forest dwellers to maintain forest resources as well as to improve their livelihoods. Extraction of many NTFPs from tropical rain forests has been recognized as a promising alternative to deforestation. Extraction activity values standing forests and may be an economically viable option for avoiding the conversion of forests.
Because of the enthusiasm created for this approach, Conservation International (CI), an international NGO, and

CIDESA, an Ecuadorean NGO, launched in 1990, the Tagua Initiative Project (TI) with the people from the Commune Rio Santiago-Cayapas, in northwestern Ecuador. The underlying assumption of this project is that an increment in the income derived from the extraction of "tagua" or vegetable ivory, the palm nut of Phytelephas aequatorialis, through an improvement in the terms of trade, will encourage people to maintain forests. In addition,. this project tries to diversify the resource base for extraction in the household economy.
The suitability of extractivism to meet development and conservation goals has been debated in the last 10 years. However, lack of research on extraction has impeded a complete evaluation of this approach. From the controversy generated about extractivism, it is agreed that the replicability of this strategy is constrained by ecological, social and economic factors.
In this study I evaluate the validity of extractivism as a development and conservation strategy in the Commune Rio Santiago-Cayapas through a comprehensive understanding of the extractive economies at community and household levels. The purpose of this study is to determine if the goals of this approach, improving living conditions of forest dwellers while maintaining the forests portrayed in TI project, have been meet; and to assess the factors that

have impeded these achievements and; the potential of this strategy in the region.
In chapter 2, I contextualize this research in the
debate on extractivism as an approach for the tropics, in Ecuador and in the region of the Commune Rio SantiagoCayapas. First, I review the controversy about this strategy. Second, I analyze the history of extractivism in Ecuador. Then, I describe the political ecology and current scenario where extractivism has been implemented and the features of TI. In chapter 3, I provide background information--social, economic and biophysical--of the research site and describe the methodology utilized for this study.
In chapter 4, I characterize the community of tagua extractors by describing its demographic features, land uses, subsistence and market oriented activities, gender and age roles in the household economy, income and expenditures. In chapter 5, I describe the local and regional market for NTFPs to determine the current and potential constraints to develop extraction in the region.
In chapter 6, I test the approach of extractivism in a linear programming (LP) model built on a local system of production where extraction takes place: a tagua extractor's farm. I use LP to compare the present and future behavior of this system under TI intervention and other promising land use alternatives.

Finally, in chapter 7, I conclude the study analyzing the overall approach of extractivism and the viability of this strategy in the context of the Commune Rio SantiagoCayapas.

Extractivism has been identified as a promising
alternative to simultaneously promote forest conservation and rural development. Based on the fact that most forest dwellers around the tropics have been involved in the commercial exploitation of NTFPs to earn supplementary income, this strategy is intended to improve the income generated from this activity. However, the degree of rural people's involvement in extraction is as diverse as are the tropics. Forest dwellers are embedded in a particular matrix where ecological, social and economic factors are operating.
In this chapter I analyze the debate about the validity of extractivism as a conservation and development strategy showing the relevant points to this research. Then, I put this study in the Ecuadorean context at two levels: first, at national level, describing the status of the commercial exploitation of NTFPs in the country. Second, at the local level, depicting the history of resource use and the most important driving forces of this process in the Commune Rio

Santiago-Cayapas. Finally, I describe how extractivism is portrayed in the TI project.
Theoretical Background
Defenders and developers of tropical forests became aware of the potential of the ancient practice--variably termed as "NTFP extraction", "extractivism" or "extractive exploitation"--as a conservation and development strategy when in the late 1980s the Brazilian government granted the rubber tapper movement the continuity of their harvest of forest products in "extractive reserves" (Nepstad and Schwartzman 1992).
The relevance of NTFP extraction in tropical regions has been debated by defenders and developers of forests. However, the lack of basic research has hindered a systematic evaluation of this strategy (Hecht 1991, Nepstad and Schwartzman 1992). The gathering of rubber, nuts, palm fruits, medicinal and fiber plants has been little studied in comparison with other uses of tropical forests, such as timber harvest, slash and burn agriculture, permanent agriculture and pasture production.
Initially, discussions on the economic value of
tropical forest focused mainly on the issue of the economic viability of sustainable extraction of NTFPs. Some researchers maintain that extraction generates higher financial returns than most conventional and destructive

land uses (Anderson 1990, Anderson and loris 1992, Hecht et al. 1988, Peters et al. 1989a, 1989b, Pinedo-Vasquez et al. 1990, Prance et al. 1987). Others argue that for most tropical forests, extractive activities require high economic returns to capital and labor invested, heavily favoring predatory exploitation (Browder 1992). Still others maintain that the historical record of extractive economies shows inviability for persisting over the long term because of the domestication of forest products and the development of synthetic substitutes (Homma 1992).
From the controversy around this issue, even the
defenders of extractivism acknowledged the limitations of this strategy. Extraction as a conservation and development strategy still may be suitable in certain ecological, social and economic contexts. The model of extractive reserves based on the NTFP extraction system emerged in particular circumstances that may be difficult to find in other settings. The ecological constraints on extractive activities are, first, the density at which the desired species occurs. Density tends to be inversely related to the diversity of the ecosystem as a whole. When the density of a given product decreases, the search, travel and carrying time increases and thus, the overall return from the product decreases (Charnov 1976). A second factor is the productivity of edible fruits. In a comparison between "terra firme" forests and palm-rich swamps, it was found

that wild fruits, as a measure of the relative quantity of food produced per area, are inferior to all forms of traditional and commercial agriculture in the neotropics, with the one clear exception of cattle ranching (Phillips 1993). Substantial food production through extraction is found mainly in palm-rich swamps and frequently inundated floodplains where agriculture is difficult or even impossible (Peters et al. 1989a, 1989b). Only in these relatively rare forest types, is forest fruit collecting clearly a productive land use option on an area basis, and indeed most commercial forest fruit collection for local markets depends on such forest types (Peters et al. 1989b). The availability of a forest product throughout the year limits the maintenance of an extractive system. Ideally it should be based on a mix of products whose demand and availability occur throughout the year (Salafsky et al. 1993).
Finally, extractive systems are most likely to fail if harvesting results in killing individuals of a species and depressing its regeneration rate. In addition, the removal of a certain product might upset delicate balances in the ecosystem (Terborgh 1988). Many non-timber products contain substantial concentrations of limiting nutrients, and over the long term it is possible that the export of these nutrients may be unsustainable (Jordan 1985).

Among social factors, a critical problem regarding the extraction activity is the lack of incentives to maintain the availability of the resources in the long term. This lack is mainly related to unclear land rights over resources that forest dwellers exploit. They are not willing to conserve forests that they do not own or to which they are not legally granted access. Local inhabitants extract forest products mainly from publicly owned forests where forest products are regarded as open-access resources; thus, their use often is not governed by formal or even informal rules (Ciriacy-Wantrup and Bishop 1975). The market stimulates overexploitation, so "when a large demand is generated for a particular fruit, harvesting practices change" (Vasquez and Gentry 1989, 362). In their private plots, local inhabitants will probably collect fallen fruits instead of felling palms. In contrast, fruit for sale will be collected from state-owned forests where harvesters are more likely to cut palms (Bodmer and Moya 1990).
The availability of physical infrastructure is also a major requirement in the extraction activity. Harvesters need to be able to transport forest products from the source to consumption or market places. For market-oriented forest products, a social infrastructure, that is a wellestablished chain of middlemen and export companies, is also required (Padoch 1987, Salafsky 1993). Perhaps the major constraint for extractive systems is the lack of local and

international markets for non-timber forest products. Even when a market is established, it could fall sharply due to synthetics or agricultural substitutes, when demand originates from fads, or when new sources are introduced in the market (Pendelton 1992, Salafsky et al. 1993).
Most of the discussion has focused on extractive
activities as an isolated system, overlooking the fact that there are few rural households that derive their entire cash income from the extraction of natural forest products. The extractive approach has failed to recognize the historical linkage between extractive activities and the other activities carried out by forest dwellers. Furthermore, the discussion generated about the constraints to extractivism reveals that forest dwellers are immersed in a matrix of ecological, social and economic forces for which they have developed a localized system of production and that the importance of extraction changes as these factors vary.
In this sense, extractivism is a specific approach for a very particular situation. No extraction activity by itself has allowed forest dwellers to meet all subsistence needs in the long term. Moreover, many NTFPs are cultivated rather than collected solely from native forest. In general, local inhabitants make their living through several activities such as agriculture, livestock raising, hunting, fishing and extraction of timber and non-timber forest products (Hecht et al. 1988, Hiroaka 1992, May 1990).

Therefore the term "extractor" is itself debatable (Hecht 1991). The links between forest extraction and conservation of natural forests are more complex than what has usually been assumed.
The roles that native vegetative formations and
extractive products play in the reproduction of rural and agricultural systems has been neglected until just a few years ago (Hecht et al. 1988). A major impediment to the development of a replicable model of extractive systems is the lack of a single role model of extraction among rural households (Browder 1992). An incipient body of research is emerging to understand the multiple arrangements inside the households and the role that extraction activities place in it. Some researchers argue that extraction is among the less remunerative uses of forest land (Browder 1992). In contrast Hecht et al. (1991) maintain that these activities are very important to extremely impoverished households in rural areas of tropical Brazil and that the income generated by small-scale extraction might be roughly equivalent to wage labor and to agriculture in its contribution to household income. Arnold and Falconer (1989) have shown that forest foods are critical to people, particularly during lean seasons. Because the forest serves as an insurance policy to poor people, it yields a value even when not in use. The lack of comprehension of the diversity of forms extraction can take has restricted the range of

possible initiatives for conservation and development purposes.
This research intends to add more information about the rural economies involved in extractive activities and the role that extraction of a variety of NTFPs plays in them. A better understanding of these economies will provide a more realistic basis to evaluate the potential of this strategy in the forest dweller household economies and the possible changes in the household economy when facing political, social and economic forces. Therefore this thesis will serve as an information tool for the development of strategies that include the conservation of forests resources and the improvement of living conditions of local dwellers.
Extractive Activities in the Ecuadorean Context
The commercial exploitation of plants in Ecuador has a long but not particularly strong tradition. From Colonial times, there are records of several palm products of commercial value. Wax from Ceroxylon spp. was used to make candles, a practice that ended recently. The fruits or seeds of Iriartea deltoidea were sent to Lima where it was "a custom to have it embedded in gold, just because of the beauty of it." Seeds of vegetable ivory, Phytelephas aequatorialis, were used to make fine figurines, carvings

and saints which are presently very valuable as antiques (Velasco 1789).
Among indigenous people, forest products were and still are traded between different tribes. Blowguns made from Bactris gasipaes and Iriartea deltoidea and blowgun darts from Maximiliana maripa were traded among Achuar, ShuarCanelos and the Shuar Indians (Karsten 1935 cited in Borgtoft Pedersen and Balslev 1992).
In the past, vegetable ivory or tagua was one of the most commercially important forest products. Beginning in 1870, tagua export increased, reaching its highest level by 1909 when it ranked as the country's second most important exported product. "Panama hats" made from the leaves of Carludovica palmata were the third most exported product. The export of vegetable ivory decreased dramatically during World War II and became almost non-existent after the war, as synthetic materials came into use for making buttons, the main use of tagua (Acosta Solis 1944, Barfod 1989, 1991).
Currently, strangely enough, the tradition for
extractivism in Ecuador seems to be much weaker than in other South American countries. A palm such as Mauritia flexuosa is exploited commercially on a large scale in nearby Iquitos, Peru, for its edible fruit, and in Brazil fibers from the same palm are marketed. However, in Ecuador, despite the fact that the palm is very common in the eastern lowland, no commercial use of this palm has been

observed (Borgtoft Pedersen 1994). The same seems to be true for many other forest products. If the potential for extractivism in the Ecuadorean forests is to be exploited, this land use form needs much more attention from the Ecuadorean government (Borgtoft Pedersen 1994).
Among the relatively few examples of extractivism in
Ecuador, palms play an important role. At present 12 native palms from 10 genera are known to be commercially exploited and increasingly important in the cash economy of Ecuador. Euterpe chaunostachys from the coastal lowlands and Prestoea trichoclata from the western slopes of the Andes are harvested for their palm hearts, which are canned and sold on both Ecuadorean and international markets. Beverages and ice cream made from the fruits of Euterpe chaunostachys are sold in the Esmeraldas province. Vegetable ivory, 'tagua', from seeds of Phytelephas aequatorialis furnish the raw material for the booming button industry in Manta and souvenir-workshops in Quito, Riobamba, Guayaquil and Salinas. Aphandra natalia, from eastern Ecuador, provides the fibers used in most Ecuadorean broom producing factories. This palm also produces edible fruits which are marketed locally. The seeds of Atalea colenda, from the coastal plains, are used to extract oil in Manta. Oil is also extracted from the mesocarp of Jessenia batahua, and the oil as well as its fruits are occasionally sold in the lowlands. Hammocks and nets are made from Astrocaryum

chambira and are sold in the towns in eastern Ecuador and in the souvenir shops in Quito. Young leaves, harvested from Astrocaryum standleyanum in the province of Esmeraldas, are used for making hats. Small baskets and other types of handicraft are made of the young leaves from Ceroxylon spp. and sold in the highlands at Easter time for the celebration of Palm Sunday. The trunks of Iriartea deltoidea are cut and sold to plantations to be used as support for banana plants. The hard black wood of this palm is also used in small furniture industries.
Political EcoloQy of the ReQion
The marginality of the Esmeraldas Provinces during the Tahuantinsuyo Empire and under the Colonial period explains its current status as the last remanent of tropical rain forest in the western part of Ecuador. Given its remoteness and harshness, it was not considered a suitable place for settlements or economic expansion (Rivera 1986).
During the Colonial period, there were two factors that hindered the integration of Esmeraldas to the national economy. First, the closeness of ports in Panama and Guayaquil, in Ecuador, limited the creation of a new port in Esmeraldas even though there were many attempts to open a road to this region. Second, after the Spanish conquest, new inhabitants arrived in Esmeraldas. They were liberated slaves who saw Esmeraldas as a territory of freedom, from

which they could not be removed. While Esmeraldas remained marginal and basically untouched, the rest of western Ecuador faced the beginning of the conversion of tropical rain forest through farming and urban settlements in the Guayas River basin and the dry region of Manabi, as the northernmost front of expansion.
During the 19th and early 20th centuries, the
Republican period, most of the region was still sparsely populated and access was normally by waterway following the routes of major rivers. Political conflicts among powerful economic groups delayed again the integration of Esmeraldas to the incipient Republic. The interest of elites from Guayaquil in controlling the maritime trade impeded the creation of a new port in Esmeraldas, which due to its geographic position would have favored elites from Quito, the capital.
Deforestation in western Ecuador accelerated rapidly in the 1960s, when a dense network of primary and secondary roads was developed, especially the Santo Domingo highway, to link the biggest city in Ecuador, Guayaquil, and the capital, Quito. In 1964, land reform efforts prompted construction of new penetration roads, following the national plan to "develop" and put in production all "nonproductive" lands. Therefore, still more colonists flocked to the region after the road connecting Santo Domingo with Esmeraldas, on the northwestern coast, was

improved. The Ecuadorean Institute for Agrarian Reform and Colonization (IERAC) has legalized more land holdings flanking this highway than in any other frontier region (Southgate et al. 1992a).
Colonization policies and land tenure insecurity also favored forest conversion (Southgate et al. 1992b). Inappropriate property arrangements and governmental interference with market forces both reward those who convert forests into agricultural land. IERAC adjudicated a claim for private tenure if at least 50 percent of the plot was cleared and converted into "productive uses". The uncertainty of land tenure provided little incentive for long-term management. The many years that IERAC requires for adjudication is bound to make settlers feel that their property rights are tenuous. Settlers respond by asserting claims on resources in the traditional manner: by converting forests into crop land and pasture as soon as they can.
Even though prospects for the geographic expansion of Ecuadorean agriculture are clouded, at best, the country continues to convert tropical forests and other natural environments into cropland and pasture at accelerated rates. Ecuador has one of the highest rates of land use conversion in this hemisphere, approximately 2.3 percent of standing forests per year (WRI 1990). Deforestation in the northwestern part of Ecuador is currently one of the highest within the country. In this zone, untouched primary forests

remain intact only in those few parts of western Ecuador that remain totally inaccessible. By contrast, deforestation has not yet reached the same stage in the Oriente. The principal catalyst for land clearing is now the wood products industry, which is cutting new roads to facilitate timber extraction. Immediately after logging, settlers clear the land for crop and cattle production (Southgate et al. 1992c).
Throughout history it is c lear that state control over natural resources has failed. There is a gross imbalance between the public sector's extensive claims on tree-covered land and its limited capacity either to manage or to control access to resources. Around two million ha of northwestern and northeasternEcuadorean forests are state-owned forest, but no field personnel are assigned to those areas. The Ecuadorean government tried to profit from the forests while still owning them, through concessions to private parties. This has greatly contributed to deforestation because the lack of both governmental control and economic incentives has reduced private attempts to manage existing forests and to establish new tree stands. It should come as no surprise, for instance, that only 60,000 ha had been reforested as of 1985. This area is much less than annual deforestation, either before or since (Palacios 1993). Forest concessions were banned in 1982 in an attempt to protect these forests from colonization. By now

colonization has become an integral part of the timber industry's supply system (Fondo para el Medio Ambiente Mundial 1992).
Since 1945, around 92 percent of western forests have been deforested (Dodson and Gentry 1991). The remaining eight percent covers part of the Esmeraldas Province. Ecuador's timber industry is fully aware that forests in this region will be gone in twenty years or so if current rates of clearing continue. The timber industry depends on undisturbed or very lightly disturbed primary forests that have been recently settled by colonists or are in indigenous reserves and communal lands.
With 100 years of settlement in the region and the
struggling to acquire legal access to natural resources, the Afroamerican population of the Commune Rio Santiago-Cayapas has recently been granted land rights which made them able to cope with the threat of deforestation and colonization. However the decline of subsistence and small scale agricultural productivity, poor terms of trade for their products, and few opportunities for wage labor, have encouraged forest dwellers to be part and victim of deforestation. For them, timber extraction is the most accessible source of cash income.
The lowland tropical forests of northwestern Ecuador belong to the Choco, a biogeographic region that has been considered one of the most biologically diverse areas on the

earth (Dodson and Gentry 1991). It is one of the world's rain forest "hotspots" (Myers 1988); therefore, its conservation is a top priority (Tangley 1993). In the face of environmental change, strategies are needed to promote sustainable land use practices that make local communities more self-sufficient while maintaining the forests. The promotion of extractive activities has been identified as one alternative. The TI project, launched by CI and CIDESA, in the area of the Commune Rio Santiago-Cayapas is based on this promising alternative.
Taqua Initiative Project
In 1990 TI was launched by Conservation International
(CI), an international NGO, in partnership with CIDESA, a national NGO. The objectives of the Tagua Initiative are to manage tropical forests in an alternative way by responding simultaneously to the necessity of preserving available resources and the needs of local dwellers (Calero 1992, Tangley 1993). There are two working levels in this project: in the United States, Conservation International is opening a market for tagua. This organization is trying to attract consumer preferences toward these renewable natural resources managed by the producers themselves. In Ecuador, CIDESA is providing technical support to the Rio SantiagoCayapas Commune. The TI comprises two phases: Phase I which is already finished, has involved the commune in the direct

marketing of raw tagua on national markets. Phase II consists of the development and diversification of tagua marketing and production as well as conservation and management activities of tropical forest resources.
The objectives in Phase II rely on two realities:
first, although tagua is the best known extractive product, the potential for diversification in the extraction of forest products in the zone is high. Foster (1992) reports an average of 25 tappable forest species and 13 fruit species of potential agro-industrial use in the Commune Rio Santiago-Cayapas reserve. Similarly, in forests that surround the reserve, Barford et al. (1988) recorded 19 species of palms known and used by other ethnic groups. Most uses of these palms are for building, thatching and weapons as well as for food. In the second place, CI recognizes the need to avoid the economic dependence on just one product such as tagua, whose market behavior is linked to variable buyers' preferences.
Extractivism as a conservation and development strategy is aimed to improve the livelihood of forest dwellers while maintaining the forest. However, its applicability is constrained by ecological, social and economic conditions. Moreover, the replicability of this strategy has been hindered by misconceptions about the role of extractivism in the livelihood of local dwellers. Knowledge about extractive systems is still incipient. This research aims

to fill these gaps and provide information to design suitable strategies that will achieve conservation and development goals.

Location of Study Site
The Commune Rio Santiago-Cayapas is located in the
northwestern province of Esmeraldas in Ecuador, between 10 10' 20" N latitude and 790501 36" W longitude and at an elevation of 20 m above sea level (Figure 1). The southern part of the territory borders on the Cotacachi-Cayapas Ecological Reserve; therefore, the Commune is included in the buffer zone of this protected area.
Socioeconomic Description of The Commune Rio Santiago Cavapas
The Commune is an agrarian organization of AfroAmerican population. It enjoys legal standing, and is comprised of 52 member communities that are settled in an area of about 63,000 ha. In Ecuador, a Commune is a category of social organization applied to any type of settlement that does not fall in formal state categories. To be legally recognized and protected by the State, a settlement has to organize following the "Ley de Organizacion y Regimen de las Comunas". Through this law, the state grants land, owned by common property, to the

ft-r; "C"A COUM NAV
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Figure 1. Location of the study site

Commune. In addition, the Commune has to have formal authorities, the "Cabildo Comunal", which is the only institution recognized by the state. Rules to access and use of natural resources are determined, without state intervention, by the commune members and their authorities.
People have lived in this area for more than 100 years (Comuna Rio Santiago-Cayapas 1990). They are descendants of slaves brought during the Spanish Conquest and Colonial period for gold mining. once freed they settled in the region, where they have practiced subsistence agriculture and gold mining. In 1885, they bought the land to ensure a territory to live freely. During the 1950's, when the state promoted the formation of communes throughout rural Ecuador, this Afro-American population adopted the new modality and became the only commune in the province and probably in the whole of Western Ecuador that has owned a huge extension of land for more than one century. The settlement pattern in the comuna is fluvial widespread. Villages are located following main rivers and streams. People do not live on their farms, but are concentrated in the villages. Every day they walk to work on farms, sometimes for hours. In addition they maintain small home gardens surrounding households where they can gather medicinal plants, natural condiments and some fruits.
The annual population growth rate is 3.7 percent. Life expectancy is 50 years of age because of the incidence of

tropical diseases and the lack of basic services (Calero 1992, Tangley 1993). The average monthly income per family is under US$ 80 (Comuna Rio Santiago-Cayapas 1990). The main economic activities of the commune are agriculture, logging and extraction of forest products. With the exception of palm heart, other non-timber extractive products are harvested from cultivated agroforestry plots, rather than from native forest. The communal land is divided into individual farms and the comunal reserve which are used for different purposes:
(1) Individual farms are used in three ways: first, the agroforestry plot where 20 to 22 agricultural, forest and multipurpose products are grown. The main crops cultivated are cacao, plantain and fruit trees. Extraction is also carried out in agroforestry plots; species include commercial products such as tagua or vegetable ivory (Phytelephas aequatorialis), rubber (Hevea brasiliensis), the royal palm (Attalea colenda); commercial forest species, such as laurel (Cordia alliodora) and cedar (Cedrela montana) are kept up or planted. A second zone is the "plot reserve" covered by a less disturbed forest and where very valuable timber is taken from sande (Brosimum utile) and chanul (Himiriastrum procerum). This area is also used for hunting. A third and less frequent type of usage is "pasture" for cattle grazing, in areas that have been completely deforested,

(2) The communal reserve of approximately 12,000 ha, in the center of the Commune is mainly used for hunting, extraction of some medicinal plants and fibers and palm heart occasionally for logging.
Biophysical Description of Commune Rio Santiago Cavanas Hydrology
The Commune has two principal rivers which exhibit very different characteristics. The Rio Cayapas is a slowmoving, slow changing, deep river with tidal fluctuations for most of its length in the Commune. The Rio Santiago is subject to tides only for the first few kilometers after which it becomes a fast meandering river with oxbows, alternating with rapids as it bounces between the bluffs of high hills (Foster 1992). Both rivers converge in the town of Borbon and then meet the Pacific Ocean. The amount of rainfall determines the depth of these rivers, the summer being the season of lowest levels of flowing water and the winter the season of occasional floods (Rivera 1986).
The climate of this region is classified as tropical
wet. It is characterized by high levels of humidity with a maximum of 85%. Values of precipitation and temperature are available for the period between 1965 and 1983 from two meteorological stations: Borbon, located inside the area;

and Cayapas, the closest station. The mean annual temperature is 25.7 C0 in Borbon and 25.6 CO in Cayapas. The mean annual precipitation registered is 2,151.5 mm and 3,486,9 mm, respectively.
The orografic precipitation caused by El Nifto Current occurs throughout the year. However, it is possible to distinguish two different seasons: winter, from January to May, characterized by high levels of precipitation; and summer, from July to September, with low levels of rainfall. There are no strictly dry months (CIDESA 1992).
According to the US Department of Agriculture
classification system, the predominant soils in the region of Commune Rio Santiago-Cayapas are Distropepts, suborder Tropets, order Inceptisoles.
These soils of sedimentary origin are of two types:
old, with sandstones, clays, conglomerate slime; and recent alluvial with sands, slime, clays and small rounded stones. The first type occurs in excavated surfaces of mesas and coastal hills; these soils are reddish gray or reddish yellow, deep, leached and aluminum toxic. The alluvial type occurs in flat or almost flat surfaces of terraces and coastal alluvial valleys; these are gray to reddish gray soils, deep and sometimes badly drained with irregular distribution of organic matter.

Soils suitable for agriculture occur in a strip of 500 to 1,000 m from the bank inland along each river. They are susceptible to mechanization, and their major problem is drainage. The rest of the soils in the region have major constraints for agriculture such as topography, depth, texture, low fertility, salinity and flooding susceptibility.
The Commune Rio Santiago-Cayapas has three main
physiographic habitats: river floodplain, low sandy-clay hills (mostly less than 100 m alt.) and high red clay hills (mostly 100 m to 300 m alt.). Even though there is an overlap in the flora in these habitats, the community composition of these areas is different.
The original floodplain forest was totally exploited
and what remains is a managed forest of species with current economic use. The meanders of the Rio Santiago have many of the typical successional species of neotropical rivers: Gynerium saggitatum, Ficus insipida, Citharexylum poeppigianum, Erythrina poeppigii, Sapium, Triplaris, Cecropia, etc. These are absent or less common on the Cayapa River. Both rivers have Pithecellobium longifolium and Calliandra angustifolia. The floodplain contains some areas of swamp frequently dominated by Euterpe chaunostachys which is commercially exploited for edible palm heart. In

the seasonally or rarely flooded areas there is a mixture of garden crops, a mixed stand of trees of economic value-cultivated or derived from the original forest--and many patches of cocoa Teobroma cacao and 'guava' Inga spp. Occasionally there are remanent individuals from the original forest such as 'laurel' Cordia alliodora, Carapa guianensis, Virola dixonii, Vochysia macrophylla and Castilla elastica (Foster 1992).
The low sandy-clay hills, which with the floodplain dominate the northern half of the Commune, have forest characterized by a great abundance of Brosimum utile, Otoba spp., Virola spp. and palms such as Wettinia quinaria and Jessenia batahua. Within a kilometer or two of every river the forest of these hills has been cut down. On the Santiago River, regeneration has been managed, favoring tree species of commercial value, especially Cordia alliodora which sometimes occurs in solid stands. On the Cayapas River, the hill forest is less disturbed and regeneration seems to be unselected; the forest features a great abundance of Trichospermum galeottii (Foster 1992).
The steep high hills are found mostly in the southern part of the Commune, but with an isolated hill in the center, La Tunda hill. This forest has a canopy 35-45 m high and a diversity of large-trunked trees. The most common tree species is Humiriastrum procerum; other important species are Persea rigens and Ocotea cernua. Most

of the high hills still have intact forest, the last remnant of Pacific lowland forest in its southernmost location. This forest is approaching extinction in Ecuador and Southern Colombia. The Commune Rio Santiago-Cayapas is the seaward edge of the largest remaining contiguous piece of this forest (Foster 1992).
Research Design
This study was carried out during three months, from May to August 1994, in the Commune Rio Santiago-Cayapas. The study focuses on the households whose members extract tagua and benefit from TI intervention. The population comprises 331 families that for the purpose of this study will be considered as households.
The main objective of this study is to evaluate the feasibility of extractivism in the Commune Rio SantiagoCayapas. The specific questions of this research are:
-What are the main features of the community and household economy of this tagua extractor population;
-How important are extractive activities in the community and household economy;
-What are the roles of household members (by gender and age) in the extraction of NTFPs products during different seasons of the year;
-What are the current and potential market for NTFPs in the region;

-What is the current and potential behavior of a tagua extractor system of production when extractivism is implemented.
To answer these questions five methodological tools were used: survey, in-depth interviews and focus group discussions, market interviews and linear programming.
The survey
The primary instrument used in this study was a
structured oral interview in a survey form. The survey was designed to gather information either from each head of household, or people who could provide the information. Surveys were carried out during the months of June and July.
Because of time and economic constraints, I applied the survey to a sample of 60 households which represent 18% of the all households. To ensure a representative sample I selected households at random, by making a list of all families benefited by TI and, with the aid of random computer numbers, drawing a random sample of households from this list. The 60 households were located in the villages of San Agustin, Colon Eloy, Valdez, Timbire, San Jose de Tagua and Selva Alegre along the Santiago River Basin. In the Cayapas River Basin, people from Punta de Piedra, San Jose del Cayapas and Telembi were also interviewed.
The information recorded in surveys included: household composition, number of members, age, gender, educational

level, total area of the farm, area under different land uses, area in fallow and age of fallow; annual, spatial pattern, division of labor by age and sex of subsistence-and economic activities; income and expenditures for economic activities, transportation and commercialization methods, management of extractive activities and general household expenditures (Appendix 1).
Focus group discussions
I also conducted five focus group discussions with small organizations in San Agustin, Valdez, San Jose de Tagua and Punta de Piedra. These organizations were willing to share with me'their perceptions about the problems within their community.
In-depth interviews
After the survey I conducted eight in-depth interviews, in four different locations, two per site. The in-depth interviews were carried out in August. The criteria to select those interviewed were provided through the survey and interviews with personnel from the TI. During the survey, two trends were identified. overall, the basins of the two major rivers exhibit different environmental conditions for agriculture. In the Santiago River Basin cacao is a well established crop while in the Cayapas River Basin, cattle ranching is more developed. Second, tagua

groves were a feature of villages close to Borbon. When asked about this issue, people identified market access as their main criterion. With this lead, two villages were chosen from each river, one of them close to Borbon and the other, further away. The villages selected were Colon Eloy and Selva Alegre in the Santiago River, and Punta de Piedra and Telembi in the Cayapas river.
Beginning with information formerly obtained in the survey, I selected two families in each village. When possible, the families selected were those dedicated to the typical activities in the village. However, I selected families (in a reliable range) who were more willing to spend two days for in-depth interviews. The in-depth interviews provided me with a deeper understanding of resource use dynamics, including gender and age issues, flow of products and wastes among enterprises and agroecosystems, flow of cash and material outputs between household and market, and seasonality of activities.
With the help of the whole family, we drew maps of land and resource use for all of the farmers' activities. These maps recorded information about type of land use in private and common property resources (farming systems, communal forests, grasslands, rivers, etc.) and type and quality of the land resource exploited for each economic activity (agriculture, cattle raising, extraction of NTFPs, agroforestry).

The data collected by in-depth interviews were
confirmed and complemented by participant observation. For this purpose, one of two days was dedicated to visiting farmers' plots.
I carried out six interviews with middlemen working in Borbon in order to determine the type and volume of NTFPs marketed, prices and profits as well as the fate of purchased products. In addition, I interviewed middlemen working for the TI project in the villages of San Agustin, Colon Eloy, San Jose de Tagua and Punta de Piedra. Secondary information about costs, benefits and commercialization of vegetable ivory, rubber, and palm heart were used to complement the data obtained from interviews.
Linear Programming
I used the information obtained from the survey, indepth interviews and focus group discussions to build an economic model of a tagua extractor's farm. In addition, to calculate the potential productivity of certain crops in the region, I interviewed local experts working in agriculture, timber extraction and livestock raising. The linear programming model was used to analyze different alternatives recommended for the region, including sustainable extractive activities.

Since 1990, the Commune Rio Santiago-Cayapas has been involved in the TI project. These forest dwellers have lived in this region for more than 100 years. They have developed strategies to survive in a harsh environment. Their system of production responds to the local and external factors they face. In this system, extractive activities play a role in meeting subsistence and cash household needs.
Extractivism, through the TI project, has been
implemented in the Commune Rio Santiago-Cayapas to promote conservation and rural development. This strategy is based on the improvement of the linkages between the community that is using forest products and the market for them. However a lack of understanding of extractive economies and their dynamics has limited appropriate applications of this strategy. Moreover, the extractor population has not a precise definition as a discrete social category because there is a lack of a single role model of extraction throughout the tropics (Browder 1992). In particular, the combination of natural forest extraction and cultivation of 36

forest species in agroforestry systems complicate the assumed link between forest product marketing and natural forest conservation.
In this chapter I will characterize the community of
tagua extractors of the Commune Rio Santiago-Cayapas and the role that extractive activities play in the community and household economy.
Population Structure
Heads-of-household averaged 47 years old, with ages
ranging from 27-70 years. This distribution portrays an old population in which the younger people, more-women than men, are out-migrating to big cities. Among households interviewed there were no established young couples under 27 in the villages. Most respondents observed that a lack of job opportunities, lack of services, and hope for a better life prompted young people to move to Guayaquil, Quito and Esmeraldas. Moreover, most families had some relatives living in these cities facilitating the out-migration.
Almost all heads of households were male (97%) (Table 1). The low percentage of female-headed households (3%) represented households where a male had died or abandoned the family. The average education of the heads-of-household was third grade. Survey results indicate that the heads-ofhousehold were mainly farmers involved in extraction, logging, fishing and hunting.

Table 1. Background Information of the Heads-of-household. DEMOGRAPHIC INFORMATION NUMBER PERCENTAGE
27 39 years old 16 26.67
40 59 years old 31 51.66
60 years and older 13 21.67
Male 58 97.00
Female 2 3.00
Illiterate 12 20.00
Elementary 40 66.70
Complete Elementary 6 10.00
High School 2 3.30
Farmer 60 100.00
Source: Survey by the author
In the sample population of 302 people, 59 percent were males and 41 percent females. Of the out-migrants afroamerican women obtained jobs more easily than men. Data from the age distribution table (Table 2.1) confirm the outmigration of people of ages 16 and older. Most of the people in the categories of 16 to 30 years old were men. The number of people in age categories from 16 to 30, decreased dramatically. The average education level of the sample population was second grade. Three people (1.2%) had completed high school. Of the villages, only Selva Alegre and Colon Eloy have a high school. Some of the other villages have a one-room school house where one professor teaches all grades. Most parents in better economic

Table 2.1. Demographic Information of Sample Population
_________________________ HOUSEHOLDS THE TOTAL
1 5 years old 48 15.80
6 10 years old 57 18.90
11 15 years old 50 16.60
16 20 years old 16 5.30
21 25 years old 6 1.99
26 30 years old 10 3.31
31 35 years old 19 6.29
36 40 years old 18 5.96
41 45 years old 17 5.63
46 50 years old 18 5.98
50 years and older 43 14.20
Male 178 58.94
Female 124 41.06
Illiterate 39 15.73
Elementary 175 70.56
Complete elementary 22 8.87
High School 9 3.63
Complete High School 3 1.21
Source: Survey by the author
situations sent their children to either Borbon or
Esmeraldas to complete high school.
The number of people living in the households
interviewed averaged 5, with a range of 1 to 11 (Table 2.2).
The average number of children was 3, ranging from 0 to 9.
Ninety four percent of the households were nuclear families,
including the spouses and their children. The rest of the
households were extended families, including several
generations plus the nuclear family.

Table 2.2. Characteristics of the Households Interviewed.
1 5 people 33 55.00
6 10 people 26 43.33
More than 10 1 1.67
1 5 children 51 85.00
6 10 children 9 15.00
Nuclear 54 90.00
Extended 6 10.00
Source: Survey by the author
Land Uses
Land in the Commune Rio Santiago-Cayapas, called "tierras comunales", is owned in common property. All commune members have rights of access to one or two pieces of land. Formally, access to land is ruled by a juridical institution called "Cabildo Comunal". However, commune members can trade land among themselves without consulting formal authorities. All transactions are known and respected by the families involved in such a way that no written agreement is needed. Previously used lands are respected and new rights are established in unused "tierra communal". Commune members select a piece of land near the village and over time they expand it inward to the informal borders of other member's plots. Afterwards, land rights are determined by inheritance.

The total land area used by the 60 households is 1320 ha. The average land area per household is 22 ha. Most households manage these areas in three different plots, each of which averages 7.3 ha. Usually people work in one plot and leave the rest either in fallow or in restricted use, collecting the remaining cacao, plantains or fruits. Most households (56.7%) have plots between 5 20 ha (Table 3). These plots represent 32 percent of the total land. This type of land distribution might be explained in terms of labor force per household and the length of settlement of family and relatives in the region. Formally, all commune members have the same rights .to access land, however not all of them have the similar capacity to use that land. Therefore, within the Commune, expansion of agriculture plots seems to be related more to an availability of labor and capital than to land scarcity.
Most land was dedicated to agroforestry production (47%). Each agroforestry system was a cornucopia of products where cultivation, gathering of NTFPs and timber extraction is carried out. Cacao trees, plantains, fruit trees and mandioca are cultivated. Rubber trees, tagua palms and other different palms are maintained and enhanced through a management of the species regeneration; all are used for extraction. Finally some timber trees are either kept or favored through regeneration for future needs of cash. This is the area where almost all extractive

activities were 'carried out with the exception of some
medicinal plants and fibers which are gathered in the
communal forest. In addition palm heart extraction occurs in
swamps which belong to communal land. A large part of the
plots remained as forest cover (37.6%). This area called
"the plot reserve" was mainly for logging. The livelihood of
Table 3. Land Distribution and Uses
_______________________ _________ HOUSEHOLDS CATEGORY
0 5 ha 6 10.00 23.50 1.78
5 10 ha 12 20.00 101.00 7.65
10 20 ha 22 36.67 321.00 24.32
20 30 ha 8 13.33 203.00 15.38
30 40 ha 4 6.67 132.50 10.04
40 50 ha 5 8.33 237.00 17.95
50 > 3 5.00 302.00 22.88
Agroforestry 60 100.00 619.55 46.94
Monoculture 18 26.67 13.95 1.06
Psture 15 25.00 66.00 5.00
Fallow areas 26 43.33 124.00 9.39
Forests 31 51.00 496.50 37.61
Source: Survey by the author
forest dwellers primarily depended on the maintenance of
these land uses from which most income was derived.
Household Activities
Besides the production of foodstuffs and other goods
for personal consumption and household needs, forest
dwellers were engaged in the production of market items. A

fine line separates subsistence and market oriented activities. The difference in use emerges out of the production, availability of labor and market demand for a given product rather than from a very well planned system of household production. In response to socioeconomic forces, households have defined multiple survival strategies. Household economies are linked to the market through cash crops but they also engaged in non-market crops, to meet household needs (see Table 4).
Cacao extraction, tagua gathering, rubber tapping, palm heart extraction, logging and off-farm activities are all carried out for cash. Among those mentioned, cacao seeds were processed for daily consumption throughout the year but were only used as a luxury item. Tagua seeds were not used by households but other products such as tagua leaves, the seed mesocarps and immature fruits were commonly utilized for household needs. Under the category of "Others", activities such as gold mining, canoe-building and carpentry helped people to obtain supplemental cash.
To meet subsistence needs, people in the Commune fish, gather medicinal plants and fibers and extract fuelwood for household consumption. In the case of fishing, the scarcity of the resource has hindered access to cash. Medicinal plants seemed not to have a local market in the region. Neither Borbon nor Esmeraldas had market stands for medicinal plants. Fibers such as "piquigua" (Heteropsis

integerrima) "rampira" (Cardulovica palmata) and "chocolatillo" (Ischnosiphon arouma) are gathered to make baskets for use in household activities. No households sold fibers; only in very few cases were baskets traded to obtain cash.
In between the extremes of cash-oriented and
subsistence-oriented activities, there were those mainly for
Table 4..Household Activities.
Cacao 60 55 100.00
Plantains 60 42 70.00 18 30.00
Fruit 48 37 61.66 11 18.33
Monocultures 18 15 25.00 3 5.00
Tagua 60 60 100.00
Tagua leaves
Rubber 13 9 15.67
Palm Hearts 3 3 5.00
Medicinal plants 60 60 100.00
Fibers 4 60 100.00
Fuelwood 51 60 100.00
LOGGING 29 29 48.33
HUNTING 36 7 11.67
FISHING 53 53 88.33
OTHERS 47 35 58.33
OFF-FARM 12 12 20.00
Source: Survey by the author

subsistence but when production exceeded subsistence levels, the surplus was sold. This category included plantain production, fruit extraction, monoculture cropping, animal raising, hunting and the subcategory "Other". Plantain is a critical product for household consumption; in fact the land use pattern of each household was mainly determined by plantain production. When it surpassed household requirements, plantain could be sold.
Fruits were an important component of agroforestry systems and home gardens and each household maintained a variety of fruits (see Table 5). Fruit production was low
Table 5. Fruit Tree Species in Agroforestry Systems and Home Gardens.
Aguacate Persea americana
Caimito Pouteria caimito
Fruta de pan Artocarpus altilis
Guaba Inga edulis
Guaba machetona Inga spectabilis
Guayaba Psidium guajava
Jobo Spondias purpurea
Madrofto Rheedia acuminata
Papaya Carica papaya
Sapote Matisia cordata
Source: Survey by the author due to low densities and poor management practices. Only in a few cases did fruit production surpass what was needed for households so that some fruit could be sold.
People in the Commune cultivated rice, maize and sugar cane as sole crops. Rice has been cultivated during the

last 10 years in the Commune, mainly for the market. However, low capital investment and lack of appropriate technology have resulted in very low production per unit of land. Maize production follows the same pattern. In the case of sugar cane, almost all production is processed to make "panela", a raw sugar; and "guarapo" or "aguardiente", alcoholic drinks. Production of the two, in rustic and small factories, is prohibited due to health standards. Nevertheless, there are no authorities to control either the production or the marketing.
Forest dwellers in this region raised chickens and pigs principally for household consumption. These were sold only during lean seasons or when money was urgently needed. They represented savings for people in the Commune. Animal production was low due to pests and low quality animal feed. Medium and small wild animals such as red brocket deer (Mazama americana), "guanta" (Agouti paca), "guatusa" (Dasyprocta punctata), "tatabra" (Tayassu tajacu), "armadillo" (Dasypus novemcinctus) and the spiny rat (Proechymis steerei) were hunted to provide animal protein in the households. Part-time hunters preferred to dry and salt surplus wild meat, saving it for future needs, while permanent hunters tended to sell their surplus. Hunters also shared wild meat with relatives as a means of reinforcing family ties.

Under the category of "Others", handcrafting and sugar cane processing were activities mainly for subsistence needs. Almost all households made baskets to transport products from the agroforestry systems and home gardens. They also made "catangas" or shrimp traps. A few skilled handicrafters made baskets or catangas on commission.
Age and Gender Roles in Household Activities
Under conditions requiring intensive labor, all
household members were involved in household activities starting at an early age (Table 6).
Men were involved in all economic activities with the exception of animal raising and gold mining which were women's activities. Men controlled the marketing of almost all products and therefore the family income.
Women and female children engaged in harvesting and
processing the majority of home garden products. They were actively involved in cacao and tagua extraction. Women engaged more frequently in gathering of NTFPs such as medicinal plants, fibers and fuelwood, for household needs. Rubber and palm heart were male oriented activities.
Male children participated in most activities except
those requiring strength or threatening their safety such as logging and rubber tapping. Moreover, male children were initiated at a young age into hunting activities. When the

Table 6. Age and Gender Roles by Activities
Cleaning A 0 F N
Harvesting A F F S
Processing S F F S
Marketing A 0 N N
Harvesting A S F 0
Marketing A 0 0 0
Fruit trees
Harvesting F S F S
Marketing A 0 0 0
Tagua seeds
Harvesting F F F S
Processing F F S S
Marketing F S 0 0
Tagua leaves
Harvesting A N 0 N
Processing A N 0 N
Harvesting A N 0 N
Processing A N N N
Marketing A N N N
Palm hearts
Harvesting A N 0 N
Marketing A N N N
Medicinal plants
Extraction 1 0 A 0 F
Extraction 2 A 0 0 N
Extraction 1 F A F F
Extraction 2 A N F N
Processing A F 0 0
Fuelwood S F F F
Timber extraction A N N N
Marketing A N N N
Care A 0 S 0
Marketing A N N 0
Care N A 0 A
Marketing 0 A N S

Table 6--continued.
Sugar cane processing F F N N
Handcrafs F F N 0
Carbon production N A N F
Gold mining A N 0 N
Source: Interviews by the author
Key: A: Always
F: Frequently
S: Sometimes
0: Occasionally
N: Never
: Home gardens and agroforestry plots.
2 : Communal reserve and plot reserve.
men were absent or engaged in other economic activities, women shared the control of marketing.
Income from economic activities
The average annual income per household was 1,997,350 sucres (US$ 929) with a range of 122,500 sucres (US$ 57) to 9,386,900 sucres (US$ 4366) (Table 7.1). This average is somewhat lower than 2,064,000 sucres (US$ 960), the average annual income reported for the region (Comuna Rio SantiagoCayapas 1990). Of the households, 46.67 percent earned less than 1,204,000 sucres (US$ 560), the official minimum annual wage in Ecuador.
Household members performed a variety of activities to make a living. Survey results indicate that 43.5 percent of

Table 7.1. Income Distribution per Household
(US $)
Less than 560 28 46.67 8,554.72 15.35
560.00 650.00 4 6.67 2,378.37 4.27
650.00 750.00 2 3.33 1,384.88 2.48
More than 750 26 43.33 43,411.91 77.4
Source: Survey by the author
Table 7.2. Income Distribution per Activity
Cacao 23,577.76 43.50 55 428.69
Plantain 5,910.33 10.92 18 328.35
Fruit colec. 420.86 0.78 11 38.26
Monoculture 77.21 0.14 3 25.74
Tagua 6,727.93 12.41 60 112.13
Rubber 119.30 0.22 9 13.25
Palm heart 186.05 0.34 3 62.02
LOGGING 10,377.23 19.18 29 357.83
CATTLE RANCHING 1,207.35 2.23 5 241.47
ANIMAL RAISING 663.20 1.23 5 132.64
HUNTING 245.35 0.45 7 35.05
OTHERS 2,773.49 3.47 12 231.12
OFF FARM ACTIV. 1,877.21 5.13 12 156.43
Source: Sufivey by the author

the total income for the community was from cacao production (Table 7.2). The market for cacao seeds has been stable since the 70's. This product had the highest price in the region, attracting forest dwellers into the activity.
Logging was the second most important activity
representing 19.2 percent of the total income for the community. Forests in the Commune and in the adjacent Cotacachi-Cayapas Ecological Reserve have more valuable timber per area than similar forests in eastern Ecuador. It is not surprising that the commune forests experience great pressure from the four timber companies established in Borbon. Through their sawmills, timber companies bought mainly crude log timber. In addition middlemen working in Borbon purchase timber in planks, the best form for transport. In recent years, demand for timber has diversified and many species are now taken (Table 8).
Sande Brosimum utile Most valuable timber
in the region
Chanul Himiriastrum procerum ne of the most
valuable timber in
the region
Laurel Cordia alliodora Less valuable but
very abundant due to
rapid rates of
Tangare Carapa guianensis regeneration
Cuangare Otoba gordoniifolia
Charviande Virola dixonii
Source: Survey by the author

Tagua is the third most economically important product yielding an average of 12.4 percent of the total household income. This is by far the most important NTFP in the region. Tagua extraction revived five years ago due to an increase in the world demand for "green products", the basis for TI efforts. Tagua market is analyzed in the next chapter. Plantain, the forth activity in importance, is a critical product for food. All households have plantains in their agroforestry systems and when the harvest is more abundant than household needs, a portion can be sold.
Off-farm activities played an important role in an
environment where cash availability was very low. Yet only 16.67 percent of households had jobs outside the farm. These jobs were mainly with timber companies working in the region. Three heads-of-household worked trading baskets made by indigenous people, the Cayapas. The rest of the activities were very restricted due to a variety of factors. For example, canoe-building and carpentry, were constrained by low demand and handcrafts were constrained by strong competition. Traditionally, Cayapas are more skilled at basketmaking than Afro-American people, who instead prefer trading with Cayapas baskets in Quito and Guayaquil. Most respondents expressed interest in cattle ranching but lack of access to credit has hindered this activity from expanding in the region. Because of pests and wild animals, raising pigs and chickens was a difficult task.

The average incomes per activity for the community are different from the average incomes per activity in the household economy (Compare columns 2 and 4, Table 7.*2). Although data presented only reflect the average income per activity per household regardless of amount of land, it is assumed that most crops occupied the same amount of land in the agroforestry plots. Therefore, these averages, with limits, provide information about the role of each economic activity in the household economy.
Cacao production and logging remained the most
important activities for the household budget. However tagua dropped to the eighth economic activity in importance yielding US$ 112.13 on average for each household. Surprisingly, other activities more profitable than tagua are only carried out in few households. Lack of labor and capital as well as different habitats have impeded the expansion of these activities in the Commune. Forest dwellers who worked temporally in other cities represented a cost to the household economy because of the lack of their labor. Forest dwellers worked outside of their farms when they needed to, and economic returns from their jobs enabled them to abandon the household.
Expenditure figures are drawn from 48 surveys because data in 12 were not reliable enough to be considered in the

final results. The average annual expenditure per household was 1,126,707.50 (US $524.05). Figures represent expenses for subsistence activities. Results from the surveys show that most money, 63.5% of the total subsistence expenditure, was assigned to food expenses (see Table 9). Forest dwellers purchased agriculture products that were not cultivated in the region, such as rice and beans. In each village there were small general stores that provided commune members with salt, vegetable oil and sugar. Costs of transport and supply made the prices of those products higher in the villages than in Borbon.
Availability of fuelwood in a wet environment is very low, therefore expenses for cooking with gas and illuminating the house with kerosene lanterns were significant, representing 10 percent of the household budget. Purchasing clothing was closely related to the number of children in each household.
Transportation was expensive for forest dwellers in this region. Access to Borbon was only by waterway following both rivers. Obviously costs are directly related to the distance between Borbon and each village. To reach Borbon from distant places such as Selva Alegre in the Santiago River, and Telembi in the Cayapas River cost 26,000 sucres (US $ 12.09), while from Colon Eloy in the Santiago River and Punta de Piedra, the closest villages, a round trip cost 3,000 sucres (US $ 1.40). Because of these

expenses, villagers travelled to Borbon strictly when needed.
Table 9. Expenditures per Household per Category.
(US_$ 0__________FOOD 323.93 63.53
CLOTHING 37.58 7.17
MEDICINE 23.40 4.47
OTHERS 5.18 0.99
(medicines and pasture
HUNTING (ammunition, 28.37 5.41
FISHING (fishing gear) 4.76 0.91
MONOCULTURE(seeds) 0.10 0.02
Source: Survey by the author
All households were involved in spiny rat trapping, using natural materials available in the forests. Twenty four households were involved in hunting, but only seven had sold part of the wild meat. The rest of the households hunted for subsistence, investing 5.4 percent of the household budget into ammunition or maintenance replacement of shotguns.

Low expenditures in medicines did not reflect a healthy population; on the contrary, it showed the lack of health services in the region. There were two clinics, one in each river, with permanent doctors. However, medical supplies were restricted to tropical diseases such as malaria, river blindness or leishmaniasis. Women took care of minor health problems using medicinal plants extracted from the forests. For major diseases, villagers traveled to either Borbon or Esmeraldas, but the expense of travelling caused them to wait until the very last minute before making the trip.
Dynamics of Household Activities
Spatial and temporal patterns in household activities
Throughout the year people in the Commune work in their agroforestry systems to which each household has rights (see Figure 2). During each year, forest dwellers of the Commune Rio Santiago-Cayapas interchangeably use different areas of their communal land. The complexities of this system illustrate how cultivation and management of forest species are intermixed.
Agricultural work was reduced to one or two weedings per year. The target of agricultural labor was the improvement of cacao and plantain harvests. Pruning cacao trees would also increase production; however, households do not have enough labor to carry out this agricultural practice. Similarly, although people believe that two

weedings are needed they frequently can only afford to do one. Sometimes the head of the household asked for help from other commune members in the form of "prestamanos", to do even the one weeding. In compensation he would help others in their plots when required. Generally, the first weeding was carried out in January when most cacao trees were fruiting. People would weed the plot in June only if labor was not needed for other household activities or if "prestamanos" could be found to help. During the harvest, from September to January and later in April, people usually gathered cacao on a bi-weekly basis. overall, cacao production was well under the average production in Ecuador, 400 to 600 pounds per hectare.
Villagers gathered plantains every week throughout the year. When plantain production was exhausted on any of their three plots, a new plot was opened on the communal land. Frequently, when possible, they cleared adjacent forests. When their plots bordered on another commune member's plot, they looked for communal land further away. They preferred to do this during the dry season, "summer", when rain would not damage plantain seedlings. When opening and establishing a new home garden, valuable timber and useful palms were kept and their seedlings planted between the plantain seedlings. They also planted fruit trees. Due to soil fertility, plantain usually produced well for three to four years and the production gradually decreased. At

(Harvest) PLANTAIN (Harvest) FRUIT (Harvest) LOGGING TAGUA
(Harvest) RUBBER
Source: Interviews by the author. Key: major harvest
minor harvest
Figure 2. Activities Calendar

this point farmers generally planted cacao seedlings among the plantain. After four to five years, cacao seedlings exceeded the plantains which died off due to shading. If cacao production diminished, they left the plot in fallow for eight to ten years, then usually started the cycle again. Between the cycle cacao-plantain and fallow, forest dwellers managed regeneration of other useful plants. Tagua seedlings arnd rubber trees are liberated of competition by weeding. In addition fruit trees are planted arnd protected during fallow periods.
People in the Commune harvested fruits, such as
oranges, avocado, "caimito' and grapefruits in the months of January, February, July, August and September. Only a few households produced enough to surpass household-needs and sell some fruit in the villages.
Forest dwellers gathered tagua seeds when labor was
available throughout the year from their plots. During the harvesting of cacao and plantains, tagua gathering was considered as a secondary activity. Local inhabitants concentrated all labor on cacao and plantain production. However, in February and March and from May to August, they visited agroforestry systems once or twice month to gather tagua seeds.
Villagers in Selva Alegre tapped rubber under
commission. In 1994 commissioners asked for rubber twice in

April. According to commune members, in former years there was one commission per month to tap rubber.
Trapping of spiny rats and small mammals was carried out in agroforestry plots and plot reserve while larger mammals were caught in the communal land. Communal resources, such as rivers for fishing, were used mainly during the "winter", a rainy season. In the summer, fish become scarce. Unfortunately, some of the villagers used dynamite in this season to obtain the few fish in the rivers. Although this practice is not well accepted by all commune members, they have not organized to stop it nor to support state authorities to punish the culprits.
Communal land was also used for logging, an activity
mainly restricted to winter months but occasionally carried out during the summer months. Forest dwellers need to meet certain conditions to ensure that logging is a profitable enterprise. First, they extract timber from nearby streams or rivers and tie up the logs in groups to float them. They improvise small camps on the logs and transport the timber by river current to Borbon. During the winter months, water levels on the rivers and streams facilitate timber mobilization. However, during the summer, cash availability decreases and people begin to make arrangements with timber companies to log in their nearby forests. Sometimes they take the wood out in planks. Under these conditions, the costs of personnel and machinery increase while profit for

forest inhabitants decreases. When those arrangements are not possible, they extract the wood out in planks using rented horses or mules.
Seasonality of gender roles in household activities
Gender roles were maintained throughout the year,
however when off-farm activities required males to leave, women engaged in most activities. Logging is a very demanding activity. Males need to devote entire working days for two or three weeks. In those cases women assumed the plantain extraction, cacao harvesting and tagua gathering. In 1994, in January, February and June, women had to control and handle all household activities. Similarly rubber tapping in most cases demanded total male absence for two or three weeks. Thus in April of last year, female and adult males were in charge. If off-farm activities overlapped with agricultural labors, the latter were either delayed or implemented with help of "prestamanos". overall, June, July and August seemed to be the least labor demanding months. only fruits and tagua were harvested in this period, and even fishing decreased at this time.

Comparison among four Case Studies with Different
Ecological Settings and Access to Market
Cavapas River Basin
Punta de Piedra. Punta de Piedra is a village of 12 households. It is 30 minute boat ride from Borbon. Although the village has a small school, it sometimes remains closed due to lack of permanent teachers.
Stimulated by TI, the people have organized a committee to work with the project and to handle community issues. The project has built a tagua store used by a local middleman who constantly purchases vegetable ivory for the project. Prices paid for tagua are the highest in the village due to low costs of transport. Eventually, the committee will assume the whole market process for vegetable ivory.
Villagers are mostly dedicated to cacao and tagua. In this region of the commune, the land is flat and along nearby rivers, swamps with stands of Euterpe chaunostachys are common. The people extract palm heart as part of their living. In addition, forests with valuable timber surround the village. Logging is very common. In August, the committee signed a concession with a timber company. For subsistence, all households are involved in hunting. During the winter, people are actively engaged in trapping shrimp.
Telembi. Telembi is a village of 30 households. It is two and one half hours from Borbon by boat. There is a

small school in the village. Institutional capacity is weak and there are no formal or informal organizations. There is an elected representative of the Cabildo Comunal in the village, but this has caused more conflict than unification. In this region, the land is hilly, making agriculture difficult. Forests have been intensively cleared and converted to agriculture and pasture. Cacao production is lower in this river and for this reason approximately half of the population has not had enough cacao to sell in the market. Out of 30 households, 12 are involved in tagua extraction even though the volumes are far lower than the average. During the tagua boom, people used to have tagua groves. When the demand for tagua decreased, they converted these groves to pasture or agriculture. With the improvement of the tagua market, there are currently still not enough tagua groves to make tagua extraction profitable. In addition, transportation costs are high given the distance to Borbon. People from Telembi have diversified their economies. They are actively involved in logging, sugar cane processing and trading of Cayapas baskets. Hunting is only a subsistence activity because wildlife in this area has been under high hunting pressure by AfroAmerican and Cayapas people. Fish are scarce and the use of dynamite is frequent.

SantiaQo River Basin
Colon Eloy. There were 50 households in the village of Colon Eloy. It is a 30 minute walk from the Santiago River with an additional 30 minute boat ride to Borbon. Colon Eloy is linked to Maldonado, located on the bank of Santiago River, by non-paved road. There are two trucks that made two weekly trips between these villages.
Colon Eloy has an elementary school and a high school. People have organized in different groups for various purposes. There is a committee to work with the TI project. Seven women have formed a group of "botoneras", to provide TI with handmade buttons. In addition, there is a group of "prestamanos" composed of 6 heads-of-households who also helped each other with agricultural labor. Women have also grouped to provide primary health services to this and surrounding villages.
Land in Colon Eloy is mixed: near the river it is flat, while inland it is hilly. Households in this village were actively engaged in cacao and tagua extraction. The Colon Eloy cacao and tagua groves are the largest. After the tagua boom, most people were able to maintain tagua groves without converting them to plantain or cacao crops. TI is working with two middlemen situated in the village who permanently buy tagua. Because of the road, logging occurs non-seasonally, either individually or by arrangement with timber companies. Logs were taken out of Colon Eloy and

floated to Borbon using the Santiago river current. Most people were engaged in logging to make a living. All households were involved in hunting as a subsistence activity. Fishing was also carried out by the whole community but it was restricted to the streams surrounding the village where shrimp are abundant.
Selva Alegre. This village, located on the banks of Santiago River, was inhabited by 60 households. To reach Bourbon, the main market of the region, takes hours by boat during the summer and 2 hours during the winter. There is one taxi boat that makes a trip once a week. A round trip costs approximately US $ 13. This village has both an elementary and a high school. The school owns a boat that made a weekly trip on Sundays. The boat was available for the whole community and the price of the trip was cheaper than the other commercial boats. Organization in the community was very weak; there were no formal or even informal institutions in the community. There was a committee working with TI, however it only functioned in the beginning of the TI project. Currently, the only representative of TI is the middleman who works with the project. There were two more middlemen situated in the village who mainly bought cacao and gold and supplied groceries for the village.
Land in the community is mainly flat but inland it
becomes slightly hilly. People are involved in cacao and

tagua extraction, however levels of extraction were low by community standards. Levels of extraction are not restricted due to lack of tagua groves since there are big tagua groves remaining from the tagua boom, but for the distance to Borbon. In the past, heads-of-household were heavily engaged in rubber extraction, but currently because of a low demand, half of the households tap rubber only when requested by commission. Most people extract timber from the communal land. Selva Alegre is surrounded by the largest part of communal forest that remains in the Commune. From this area, valuable timber is taken out to Borbon by river. These trips last from a few days to a week according to river water levels. All households are involved in hunting in the reserve, where wildlife is more abundant than in the rest of the Commune. All households fish in the Santiago River and during the summer they frequently use dynamite. Income in this community is among the lowest in the Commune; for this reason some comuneros have migrated to Quito and Guayaquil looking for better opportunities.
A Comparison of Typical Farms in the four VillaQes Studied
The diversity of ecological habitats, social and
economic factors, access to market and the histories of each village have shaped the socio-economic structure of the villages and ultimately the system of production in each household. Therefore, villages and households in the

Commune Rio Santiago-Cayapas are characterized by a great variety of combinations and forms which have allowed them to survive in an environment characterized by harsh conditions and isolation from the rest of the country while facing the forces of acculturation into the national system. It is difficult to discuss typical villages or households; however the main trends might be identified in the following comparison of four household economies (Table 10).
First of all, the difference in income among the
settings are evident. Households in Punta de Piedra and Colon Eloy, the closest villages to Borbon, have the highest income. These figures do not consider the cash value of subsistence activities. Therefore, it might be possible that Telembi and Selva Alegre, the more distant villages, rely more on subsistence activities than on income generating activities due to their distance from market.
Reliance on income generating activities varied in each setting. For all of them, except Punta de Piedra, cacao was the activity that yielded the most income. Probably soil fertility impedes more development of cacao production. Of the agricultural activities, income is generated through plantain production only in Colon Eloy and Selva Alegre. The Santiago River Basin is known for having better soils for plantain production. In addition, during the banana boom in the late 40s, the Aztral Company rented communal lands nearby Colon Eloy and hired many commune members for

plantain production. Because of the high demand and high prices of plantain, many households invested in this activity to make a living. After the boom, some plantain plots were cut down but many were maintained in anticipation of improved market conditions. Similarly, most commune members engaged in the monoculture modality demanded for this activity. This new modality in the household system of production has remained to some extent and mixed with the agroforestry approach of most commune members' farms.
Punta de Piedra was the only place where tagua was more important than cacao. Tagua groves were well developed and widespread in the village's land. In addition, marketing of tagua was facilitated by the short distance to Borbon and the existence of a daily transport service. Regarding nontimber forest products, the extraction of palm heart and rubber was highly localized in the Commune; Punta de Piedra and Selva Alegre were the only places where those extractive activities were carried out.
Timber extraction tended to be more important in Punta de Piedra and Colon Eloy due to facilities in transportation and proximity to Borbon. Probably there was more valuable timber available in Selva Alegre which was close to remnant old growth forest. In the case of Telembi, forests have been largely exploited by both Afro-Americans and Chachis, the indigenous people of the river. Undisturbed forest is

Table 10. Comparison of 4 Household Economies Regarding Different Ecological Settings and Access to Market.
TOTAL INCOME 1,179.30 686.88 1,185.98 93.95
COSTS 167.44 3.12 93.75 6.20
CACAO 236.79 20.08 340.07 49.51 446.24 37.62 208.14 42.14
PLANTAINS 0.00 0.00 1.28 0.18 100.56 8.47 62.02 12.56
FRUITS 0.00 0.00 1.33 0.19 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00
MONOCULTURE 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00
SUBTOTAL: 236.79 20.08 342.68 49.89 546.80 46.09 270.16 54.70
TAGUA 535.08 45.37 34.82 5.07 178.74 15.07 90.19 18.26 0
RUBBER 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 8.27 1.67 %D
PALM HEARTS 16.74 1.42 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00
SUBTOTAL: 551.82 46.79 34.82 5.07 178.74 15.07 98.46 19.93
LOGGING 390.70 33.13 95.90 13.96 308.71 26.03 67.80 13.72
CATTLE RANCHING 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 36.48 3.07 0.00 0.00
ANIMAL RAISING 0.00 0.00 14.42 2.10 0.00 0.00 23.10 4.68
HUNTING 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.52 0.04 0.78 0.16
OTHERS '0.00 0.00 98.74 14.37 3.10 0.26 6.72 1.36
0FF-FARM ACTIV. 0.00 0.00 100.33 14.61 111.63 9.41 26.93 5.45

present only in the Cotacachi-Cayapas Ecological Reserve and small Chachis' forest reserves.
The Cayapas River Basin is supposed to be a cattle ranching region; however, of the four households only in Colon Eloy, in Santiago River Basin, did this activity generate some income for the household economy. In Colon Eloy, villagers' organizations had allowed them to accede to credit sources available from governmental and nongovernmental projects. In contrast, in Telembi where livestock raising was widespread among households, the absence of capital had impeded forest dwellers from profiting from this activity.
Households in Telembi had a more diversified economy. Animal raising and the category "others" provided some income, 16.47 percent of the total. Under "others", activities such as sugar cane processing, andbasket making were carried out to complement the household budget. Sugar cane processing to make alcoholic drinks is a long tradition among people in Telembi and the Cayapas River Basin in general.
Forest dwellers's involvement in off-farm activities was related to the availability of jobs in the area and to their capability of working in other areas.

Extractive products represent 13 percent of the total
household income in the Commune Rio Santiago Cayapas. There are three NTFPs that are sold to obtain cash income: vegetable ivory, rubber and palm hearts. Only palm hearts are extracted from natural forests and even these are anthropogenic, heavily managed forests. Among these extractive products, extraction of vegetable ivory is the most important. Rubber tapping and extraction of palm heart occur infrequently, providing little money for each household.
In the whole community economy, extraction of vegetable ivory is the third most important economic activity. This figure is almost four times lower than cacao seed gathering, the most important product for forest dwellers. Several studies have shown that the economic importance of extractive activities varies according to local situations. In fact, studies on the role of extraction in household economies provide very different figures. Schwartzman (1989) maintains that in the case of rubber tappers, cash income is largely generated through the sale of rubber and Brazil nuts. Anderson and Ioris (1992) in Combu Island, Brazil found that the sale of fruits and palm hearts from Acai (Euterpe oleracea) represented 84.56 percent of the total household income. In contrast, Hecht et al. (1988) in their study of babassu palm (Orbiginya phalerata), found

that the proportional importance of kernel sales in the household income was 29.9 percent. Gunatilake et al. (1993) found that NTFP extraction contributed only 5.3 percent of the income for 3 communities of Sri Lanka. My findings for the Commune Rio Santiago-Cayapas are the lowest with the exception of those for Sri Lanka.
Non-timber forest product extraction is not the only source of income for forest dwellers in the Commune Rio Santiago-Cayapas. They are involved in several other subsistence and market-oriented activities. Similar to most forest dwellers around the tropics, local inhabitants in the Commune Rio Santiago-Cayapas are engaged in small scalefarming, livestock production, handicraft production and wage labor. They are forced to carry out, in a spatial and temporal pattern, a non-specialized production based on the principle of diversity of resources and productive practices. This production implies the generation of a wide variety of products. The strategy is to maximize the variety of products produced, in order to provide basic household necessities throughout the year. Forest dwellers face natural and social constraints. They are economic actors within a social, ecological and economic context.
The degree to which people will engage in NTFP
extraction depends on the availability of other types of more profitable activities (Browder 1992, Godoy and Bawa 1993). This availability is linked to the existence of

strong markets in the region as well as to the existence of an abundant resource base. In the Commune the most profitable activity is cacao seed gathering. Cacao seeds have had a strong market in Ecuador and in the region since 1948, and prices have gradually increased over the years. Forest dwellers favor this activity due to its profitability and market stability, even in the absence of care-taking. In comparison, prices and markets for NTFPs are relatively low. Even for tagua, the most important NTFP in the region, the price is virtually worthless. One hundred pounds of tagua provides 10 times less than the same volume of cacao. Moreover, the tagua market after World War II dropped drastically, only reviving in recent years. Although the TI intervention has resulted in a better price and demand for tagua, it is still not enough to make this activity the most remunerative. In the case of C. elastica rubber, the comparative advantages of rubber from Hevea brasiliensis have reduced its viability on the market for Castilla, leaving rubber tappers in the Commune with only an occasional activity for cash. For palm hearts, prices and scarcity of the resource have hindered more involvement by forest dwellers in this activity. For these NTFPs, economic and ecological factors have determined the importance of extraction in the household economy. Nevertheless, people in the Commune use NTFPs for many subsistence needs, foodstuffs, fuelwood, building materials, hunting and

fishing traps, animal foods and medicines. Unfortunately, this study was not intended to provide figures for those uses but their economic importance in the household budget cannot be denied.
Findings from this research support the argument that extraction is among the least profitable uses of the forest (Browder 1992). In the whole sample, tagua extraction represented the third most important product in the household economy, after cacao and logging. However, in the average income per activity per household, extraction of vegetable ivory became the eighth most important product. Nevertheless, with of lack of transport and credit sources, extractive activities are key to local inhabitants' survival. Labor and capital investment is minimal for tagua production. Moreover, tagua production occurs throughout the year while cacao production, the main product, is restricted to six months. When cacao harvest declines or is ruined, as happened in several months during 1994, tagua extraction became the most important cash product. Therefore, my results confirm the argument of Arnold and Falconer (1989) that forest products, those extracted from natural forests and agroforestry systems, are critical for people, especially in lean seasons. Logging is also important in these times, however valuable timber is becoming scarce in places where it can be transported by waterway. In addition logging requires certain labor and

capital investment. The low input, sustainable agricultural and household production system is almost unimaginable in the region without contributions from extraction. Hecht et al. (1988) also found that extractive activities support and complement agricultural practices.
Forest dwellers mainly derive their income from other
activities. In the case of Commune Rio Santiago-Cayapas, in spite of low levels of care, the income contribution from cacao production was around 50 percent of the total household income. To increase cacao productivity, major labor and capital inputs are required. Meeting these requirements is a difficult task for people in the Commune Rio Santiago-Cayapas.
Analysis of the roles of women and children has been neglected for extractive activities. Women are especially prominent in extractive systems. Results of this study show that all women are involved in tagua extraction and processing. These results are similar to what Hecht et al. (1988) reported for the babassu economy. They showed that 84 percent of babassu collectors and processors were women. In the Commune Rio Santiago-Cayapas, when men were engaged in logging or off-farm activities, women and children extracted tagua. In contrast, rubber tapping and processing is mainly a male activity. These findings corroborate the notion that women's labor is not conspicuous in rubber extraction systems (Weinstein 1982 cited in Hecht 1991). In

addition, my findings show that women are involved in almostall household activities. They contribute to agroforestry production, livestock harvesting, animal raising and fishing. They control animal raising and medicinal plant collection. They are part of almost every kind of cash and subsistence activities; therefore, their role in the household economy is extremely important.
In spite of the limits of drawing results from a small sample of households, the eight in-depth interviews provide initial insights about the diversity found among household residents in each villages and the region in general. Information about the roles of minor forest products in the household budgets and activities is virtually non-existent. In the four villages compared, when the opportunity to profitably produce or engage in other economic activities is available, extraction of NTFPs usually becomes relatively less important. Padoch (1987) has also found this trend in her study in the villages of Iquitos. She recognized that involvement of local dwellers in extraction varies considerably and is determined, among other factors, by the suitability of the area for intensive annual cropping and the opportunities a offered for other economic activities.
Location of the villages in relation to Borbon and costs of transportation accounted for variation in the volume of NTFPs extracted and therefore, the profit derived. Households in villages further away extracted much less

tagua from their agroforestry systems. Occasional transport services in Selva Alegre and higher costs in Selva Alegre and Telembi impeded villagers from profiting more from extraction. Many authors (Anderson 1990, Fearnside 1989, Padoch 1987, 1988, Salafsky et al. 1993) have pointed out that access to market is one of the main obstacles for NTFP extraction. In the villages of Colon Eloy and Punta de Piedra, logging is favored due to the distance from Borbon and the availability of roads, as in Colon Eloy.
Another determinant of the type of economic activities, levels of production and marketing appears to be the history of settlement and specialization of the area. The village of Selva Alegre has a long tradition in rubber tapping and villagers are the most skilled rubber tappers in the region. All households' agroforestry plots in the Commune have rubber trees but only people from Selva Alegre tap the latex. Villagers from Selva Alegre tap rubber from other farms sharing the profits with the owners. In Telembi, villagers have been processing sugar cane to make alcoholic drinks since the establishment of the village. They supply the village and the Commune with these beverages. Income generated from this activity under the category "Others", represented as much as logging for the household economy.
With these and many other factors affecting the
patterns of production and marketing products, communities in the Commune Rio Santiago-Cayapas obviously differ

greatly. There are no "typical villages" or "typical households".

One of the main constraints of extractivism has been the lack of market for NTFPs. In the past, seeds from Phytelephas aequatorialis, and leaves from Cardulovica palmata represented the second and third most exported products in Ecuador. The advent of synthetics and changes in consumers' preferences restricted the market for these products. Currently, in Ecuador, there are no strong local or regional markets for this activity like in Peru or Brazil.
The purpose of this chapter is to analyze the marketing process of the most important NTFPs commercialized-vegetable ivory, rubber and palm heart--in the Commune Rio Santiago-Cayapas. In order to do this, I depict the local market. In addition, before analyzing the market relations of these forest products, I describe their biology, uses and harvesting techniques. Finally, I identify the potential and limitations in the extraction of other promising NTFPs in the region.

Local Market
Access from the villages to the main market in the
region, Borbon, is only by waterway following the Santiago and Cayapas rivers. There is no road to link these villages to Borbon. Within the Commune there is a five kilometer road that connects Maldonado to Colon Eloy.
Boats on the Santiago River and Cayapas are scarce. In Cayapas, there is a river taxi which makes one trip per day for passengers. Overall, the lack of regular service has hindered the commercialization of products by the producers themselves. Very few forest dwellers own outboard motors and trips from the villages to Borbon, by canoe, last anywhere from four to 24 hours. For these reasons, most producers sell their products to four middlemen, based in Borbon, who travel down both rivers two or three days per week. These middlemen mainly buy cacao and occasionally tagua. Plantain, fruits and game meat are generally sold in the villages.
Non-timber Forest Products Extracted in the Region Vegetable ivory: Phvtelephas aequatorialis
BioloQgy. P. aequatorialis is a dioceous palm: there are a male and a female palm. The tallest individuals, which reach up to 15 m, are encountered in the submontane forests. Such individuals may be over 200 years old (Barfod et al. 1990). P. aequatorialis is a slow growing species (Barfod

1991a). It begins to flower about ten years after germination (Acosta Solis 1948). In areas where the climate is seasonal, the flowering is synchronized with the onset of the wet season and occurs in an annual cycle. The process of ripening is slow; it lasts more than one year (Acosta Solis 1948, Barfod 1991a,b). In places where annual precipitation is high and evenly distributed, such as in the Commune Rio Santiago-Cayapas, tagua palms flower throughout the year.
The dispersion of mature seeds of phytelephantoid palms is through water because of their capability to float. In addition, many animals such as Dasyprocta sp. and Agouti paca may be involved in the dispersal of this species. They probably feed on the inner fleshy part of the seed (Barfod 1991b). Forest dwellers in the Commune are mainly involved in the management of regeneration rather than in seed planting of this species.
Uses of tagua. For traditional purposes, settlers harvest leaves from palms of P. aequatorialis to thatch houses; sometimes this practice may include felling some of the palms. Although they recognize that leaves should be harvested from male palms, to not affect fruiting, most settlers use leaves from female palms as well. Forest dwellers do not harvest all leaves from a palm, rather they usually leave two or three leaves per male palm and seven or eight leaves per female palm.

Immature fruits are watery and as they ripen they
become milky, curdy and gelatinous. It is then that they are used as a drink. The mesocarp of the seed is used as a bait in traps for fish and spiny rats (Proechymis sp.). This mesocarp is also used to feed domestic pigs. The palm heart is also eaten by some forest dwellers. The roots are used as a diuretic, and have contraceptive properties. The solid stem has a very hard external cover, and because of this property is used, after being split longitudinally, to build floors, in the same manner as Iriartea deltoidea.
Vegetable ivory has been gathered for commercial
purposes in northwestern Ecuador. since the Colonial period. Initially tagua was used for handcrafting. Richard Spruce, a botanist who traveled to Ecuador in 1885, recorded that tagua seeds are "extensively used in the Sierra [highlands] to make dolls, saints and staffs" (Spruce 1908). From 1865 to the beginning of the present century, great quantities of vegetable ivory were exported from Ecuadorian ports to the United States and European countries for manufacturing buttons.
Harvesting tagua. In the beginning of tagua extraction and export, gathering of vegetable ivory affected the natural populations of this palm. During the peaks of tagua trade, Acosta Solis (1948) pointed out that local inhabitants in Ecuador viewed the tagua palms as a "natural and freely exploitable wealth". The method employed to

collect tagua was destructive. Harvesters used the striking method which implied cutting the fruit when it was still tender, before maturation. Often when the demand was high and the nuts were not accessible, "tagueros" felled the female palm to obtain the nuts. Most of the time, the vegetable ivory acquired by both techniques was too immature to be used (Barfod 1991b). In Ecuador the decline of the tagua market induced the clearing of immense areas of forests to establish banana plantations, the promising new economic product at that time. In this way, many of the natural habitats of tagua were destroyed, leading the tagua populations to an even more endangered situation than that caused by the previously destructive exploitation of vegetable ivory (Acosta Solis 1948, Barfod 1989). Some tagua palms were kept, and because an steadily increase of tagua market, regeneration of tagua palms in forest dwellers' farms has been favored. Currently with a demand still low, forest dwellers in the Commune Rio Santiago-Cayapas gather ripened tagua from the ground of their agroforestry plots.
Market. The statistics on tagua exports from the Ecuadorian port of Esmeraldas are provided in Figure 3. From these statistics it is evident that the decline of the tagua market coincided with historical events such as World War I, the Great Depression in the United States, and World War II. In 1887 the export of vegetable ivory from the port of Esmeraldas was worth about three percent of the total

exported products in Ecuador. Ecuador was the major exporter of tagua when production was at its highest point, that is, in the late 1920s and early 1930s (Acosta Solis 1948, Barfod 1989). During the 1920s, the peak of tagua production, Ecuador earned $5 million a year. overall a major percentage of the ivory nut imported by the United States came from Ecuador.
By the beginning of World War II the demand for tagua started to decline and during the war the tagua market was completely inactive. This was not only the result of the war and the market instability it created, but also a result of the advent of synthetic materials. These new materials constituted an inexpensive alternative for manufacturing buttons. Plastics replaced the use of some raw materials such as tagua and rubber which were the basis of the economy in many countries.
After World War II the international tagua trade
practically disappeared. However, in Ecuador and Colombia, small factories processing tagua can still be found. In Ecuador small scale extraction has continued to supply raw material for a few national button and handicraft factories. Currently, in the Ecuadorian province of Manabi, a few factories founded before World War II have subsisted and still produce buttons from tagua. The buttons are exported to several industrialized countries, mainly Japan, Germany and Italy where they are used for fashion clothing. The

16,000 .000 ......... - - - -I N 1 N 1l 90 1
12,0000 - - -- --
193 190 150 16 $970 190 90
Figure 3. Tagua Export from Ecuador 1925-1992 Source: From Coles-Ritchie, M. and P. Salazar. 1994. Estudio sobre la Produccion, Comercializacion y Exportacion de Tagua en el Ecuador. IDEA, Documento T~cnico No. 60. Page 5.