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Sustainability of Smallholder Livelihoods in the Ecuadorian Highlands: A Comparison of Agroforestry and Conventional Agriculture Systems in the Indigenous Territory of Kayambi People

Author

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  • Raúl Córdova

    (Viikki Tropical Resources Institute (VITRI), Department of Forest Sciences; University of Helsinki, Latokartanonkaari 7, P.O. Box 27, 00014 Helsinki, Finland)

  • Nicholas J. Hogarth

    (Viikki Tropical Resources Institute (VITRI), Department of Forest Sciences; University of Helsinki, Latokartanonkaari 7, P.O. Box 27, 00014 Helsinki, Finland
    Helsinki Institute of Sustainability Science (HELSUS), University of Helsinki, 00014 Helsinki, Finland)

  • Markku Kanninen

    (Viikki Tropical Resources Institute (VITRI), Department of Forest Sciences; University of Helsinki, Latokartanonkaari 7, P.O. Box 27, 00014 Helsinki, Finland)

Abstract

Smallholder farming constitutes an important but marginalized sector, responsible for most of the world’s agricultural production. This has a significant influence in the land use/cover change process and agrobiodiversity conservation, especially in mountainous regions of the developing world. Thus, the maintenance of sustainable smallholder farming systems represents a key condition for sustainable land management and to safeguard the livelihoods of millions of rural households. This study uses a combination of biophysical and socioeconomic data based on household interviews to compare 30 highland agroforestry systems and 30 conventional agriculture systems, to determine which system provides better conditions to support sustainable livelihoods for smallholder farmers. The interview data is based mainly on the perceptions of Kayambi indigenous farmers who use these farming systems to support their livelihoods. Independent-Samples t Test and descriptive statistics were applied to analyse the data from 60 farms. The results indicate that agroforestry systems contain greater agrobiodiversity; more diversified livelihoods; better land tenure security and household income; more diversified irrigation sources and less dependency on rainfall than conventional systems. These findings highlight the role of agroforestry systems in supporting sustainable livelihoods of smallholder farmers in mountainous areas.

Suggested Citation

  • Raúl Córdova & Nicholas J. Hogarth & Markku Kanninen, 2018. "Sustainability of Smallholder Livelihoods in the Ecuadorian Highlands: A Comparison of Agroforestry and Conventional Agriculture Systems in the Indigenous Territory of Kayambi People," Land, MDPI, vol. 7(2), pages 1-31, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:gam:jlands:v:7:y:2018:i:2:p:45-:d:140451
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    2. Ermias Debie & Amare Wubishet Ayele, 2023. "Perceived Determinants of Smallholder Households’ Resilience to Livelihood Insecurity in Goncha District, Northwest Highlands of Ethiopia," SAGE Open, , vol. 13(3), pages 21582440231, July.
    3. Beatrice Nöldeke & Etti Winter & Yves Laumonier & Trifosa Simamora, 2021. "Simulating Agroforestry Adoption in Rural Indonesia: The Potential of Trees on Farms for Livelihoods and Environment," Land, MDPI, vol. 10(4), pages 1-31, April.
    4. Shahzad Ahmad & Zhang Caihong & E. M. B. P. Ekanayake, 2021. "Livelihood Improvement through Agroforestry Compared to Conventional Farming System: Evidence from Northern Irrigated Plain, Pakistan," Land, MDPI, vol. 10(6), pages 1-18, June.
    5. Raúl Córdova & Nicholas J. Hogarth & Markku Kanninen, 2019. "Mountain Farming Systems’ Exposure and Sensitivity to Climate Change and Variability: Agroforestry and Conventional Agriculture Systems Compared in Ecuador’s Indigenous Territory of Kayambi People," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 11(9), pages 1-30, May.
    6. Carla Marchant Santiago & Paulina Rodríguez Díaz & Luis Morales-Salinas & Liliana Paz Betancourt & Luis Ortega Fernández, 2021. "Practices and Strategies for Adaptation to Climate Variability in Family Farming. An Analysis of Cases of Rural Communities in the Andes Mountains of Colombia and Chile," Agriculture, MDPI, vol. 11(11), pages 1-22, November.
    7. Claudia de Brito Quadros Gonçalves & Madalena Maria Schlindwein & Gabrielli do Carmo Martinelli, 2021. "Agroforestry Systems: A Systematic Review Focusing on Traditional Indigenous Practices, Food and Nutrition Security, Economic Viability, and the Role of Women," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 13(20), pages 1-20, October.

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