IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Are Poor Farmers To Blame For Environmental Degradation? Results From The Peruvian Altiplano


  • Swinton, Scott M.
  • Quiroz, Roberto


Links between poverty and natural resource degradation are examined in the context of soil erosion, fertility loss and overgrazing in the Peruvian Altiplano. Multiple regression analysis of 1999 farm survey data examines 1) what agricultural practices affect natural resource degradation, and then 2) what factors affect farmers' choices of those agricultural practices. Soil erosion and fertility loss appear reduced by increased fallow in crop rotations. Overgrazing and range species loss are affected by changes in herd size and rotational grazing. The effect of investment poverty on natural resource outcomes is not clear. However, social and human capital variables both tend to favor the choice of more sustainable agricultural practices. Natural resource conservation policies that build on traditional social institutions may offer promise in areas with strong social fabric where farmers tend not to invest financially in natural resource conservation.

Suggested Citation

  • Swinton, Scott M. & Quiroz, Roberto, 2002. "Are Poor Farmers To Blame For Environmental Degradation? Results From The Peruvian Altiplano," Staff Papers 11627, Michigan State University, Department of Agricultural, Food, and Resource Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:ags:midasp:11627

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Templeton, Scott R. & Scherr, Sara J., 1999. "Effects of Demographic and Related Microeconomic Change on Land Quality in Hills and Mountains of Developing Countries," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 27(6), pages 903-918, June.
    2. Duraiappah, Anantha K., 1998. "Poverty and environmental degradation: A review and analysis of the nexus," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 26(12), pages 2169-2179, December.
    3. Clay, Daniel & Reardon, Thomas & Kangasniemi, Jaakko, 1998. "Sustainable Intensification in the Highland Tropics: Rwandan Farmers' Investments in Land Conservation and Soil Fertility," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 46(2), pages 351-377, January.
    4. Swinton, Scott M., 2002. "Capturing household-level spatial influence in agricultural management using random effects regression," Agricultural Economics, Blackwell, vol. 27(3), pages 371-381, November.
    5. Lutz, Ernst & Pagiola, Stefano & Reiche, Carlos, 1994. "The Costs and Benefits of Soil Conservation: The Farmers' Viewpoint," World Bank Research Observer, World Bank Group, vol. 9(2), pages 273-295, July.
    6. Reardon, Thomas & Vosti, Stephen A., 1995. "Links between rural poverty and the environment in developing countries: Asset categories and investment poverty," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 23(9), pages 1495-1506, September.
    7. Lau, Lawrence J., 1986. "Functional forms in econometric model building," Handbook of Econometrics,in: Z. Griliches† & M. D. Intriligator (ed.), Handbook of Econometrics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 26, pages 1515-1566 Elsevier.
    8. Mink, S.D., 1993. "Poverty, Population, and the Environment," World Bank - Discussion Papers 189, World Bank.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Tumusiime, David Mwesigye & Vedeld, Paul & Gombya-Ssembajjwe, William, 2011. "Breaking the law? Illegal livelihoods from a Protected Area in Uganda," Forest Policy and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 13(4), pages 273-283, April.
    2. Daniel Etongo & Ida Nadia S. Djenontin & Markku Kanninen, 2016. "Poverty and Environmental Degradation in Southern Burkina Faso: An Assessment Based on Participatory Methods," Land, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 5(3), pages 1-23, June.
    3. Liebenow, Danielle King & Cohen, Matthew J. & Gumbricht, Thomas & Shepherd, Keith D. & Shepherd, Gemma, 2012. "Do ecosystem services influence household wealth in rural Mali?," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 82(C), pages 33-44.
    4. Zenebe Adimassu & Simon Langan & Robyn Johnston, 2016. "Understanding determinants of farmers’ investments in sustainable land management practices in Ethiopia: review and synthesis," Environment, Development and Sustainability: A Multidisciplinary Approach to the Theory and Practice of Sustainable Development, Springer, vol. 18(4), pages 1005-1023, August.
    5. Abebaw, Degnet & Kassa, Habtemariam & Kassie, Girma T. & Lemenih, Mulugeta & Campbell, Bruce & Teka, Worku, 2012. "Dry forest based livelihoods in resettlement areas of Northwestern Ethiopia," Forest Policy and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 20(C), pages 72-77.
    6. Shone, Bryan M. & Caviglia-Harris, Jill L., 2006. "Quantifying and comparing the value of non-timber forest products in the Amazon," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 58(2), pages 249-267, June.
    7. Mamo, Getachew & Sjaastad, Espen & Vedeld, Pal, 2007. "Economic dependence on forest resources: A case from Dendi District, Ethiopia," Forest Policy and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 9(8), pages 916-927, May.
    8. Soltani, Arezoo & Angelsen, Arild & Eid, Tron & Naieni, Mohammad Saeid Noori & Shamekhi, Taghi, 2012. "Poverty, sustainability, and household livelihood strategies in Zagros, Iran," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 79(C), pages 60-70.
    9. Khan, Shaheen Rafi & Khan, Shahrukh Rafi, 2009. "Assessing poverty-deforestation links: Evidence from Swat, Pakistan," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 68(10), pages 2607-2618, August.

    More about this item


    Environmental Economics and Policy;


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:ags:midasp:11627. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (AgEcon Search). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.