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Rural Poverty and Soil Degradation: Some Evidences from a Land Reform Settlement in the Brazilian State of Goiás

  • Alcido Elenor Wander


  • Cleyzer Adrian Cunha

    (FACE-UFG, Ciências Econômicas)

  • Maria Izabel dos Santos

    (FACE-UFG, Ciências Econômicas)

  • Rodrigo da Silva Souza

    (FACE-UFG, Ciências Econômicas)

  • Agostinho Dirceu Didonet

    (FACE-UFG, Ciências Econômicas)

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    In different continents there is a paradigm of a vicious circle of poverty and natural resource degradation. However, there are cases where this may not be true. Thus, the central objective of this study was to analyze the relationship between rural poverty and soil degradation in land reform settlement in the Brazilian Center West region. Therefore, farmers were interviewed and data was analyzed through an econometric analysis of the probit model. Our hypothesis was that environmental degradation can worse the rural poverty in the farm enterprises. The binary and dependent variable was the adoption of natural resource saving practices like agroforestry systems and crop rotation. As independent variables that explain the probability to occur (y=1 or y=0) we considered the total (farm and nonfarm) income, the total herd size of cattle, the land ownership and the education level of farmers (years of school visit). We expected positive signs for all estimated coefficients in the probit model, i.e. the higher the values of independent variables the more likely the conservation practices to be adopted. The estimated model was significant at 5% level. The independent variables explain 50.41% of the variation in the probability of adoption of crop rotation in the farms. Three of the independent variables had negative signs: total income, herd size and land ownership, meaning that increasing the values of those variables decrease the probability of the adoption of conservation practices. This result evidences an opposite relationship between rural poverty and environmental degradation. On the other side, the education level of farmers was positively related to the likeness of adoption of soil conservation practices. Thus, there was no relationship between rural poverty and soil degradation. However, there is a clear positive relationship between the education level of farmers and the likeness of adoption of natural resource conservation practices.

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    Paper provided by Curso de Ciencias Economicas da Universidade Federal de Goias - FACE in its series Working papers - Textos para Discussao do Curso de Ciencias Economicas da UFG with number 010.

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    Length: 7 pages
    Date of creation: Nov 2009
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:ufb:wpaper:010
    Contact details of provider: Postal:
    Universidade Federal de Goias UFG - Campus Samambaia (Campus II) Rodovia Goiania/Nova Veneza, Km 0 CEP 74690-900, Goiania, Brasil

    Phone: 55-62-3521-1821
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    1. Holden, Stein & Shiferaw, Bekele & Pender, John, 2005. "Policy analysis for sustainable land management and food security in Ethiopia: a bioeconomic model with market imperfections," Research reports 140, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    2. Waquil, Paulo D. & Finco, Marcus V. A. & Mattos, Ely Jose, 2004. "Pobreza Rural e Degradação Ambiental: uma Refutação da Hipótese do Círculo Vicioso," Brazilian Journal of Rural Economy and Sociology (RESR), Sociedade Brasileira de Economia e Sociologia Rural, vol. 42(2), June.
    3. Tahmina Khatun, 2009. "Measuring environmental degradation by using principal component analysis," Environment, Development and Sustainability- A Multidisciplinary Approach to the Theory and Practice of Sustainable Development, Springer, vol. 11(2), pages 439-457, April.
    4. Vosti, Stephen A. & Witcover, Julie & Carpentier, Chantal Line, 2002. "Agricultural intensification by smallholders in the Western Brazilian Amazon: from deforestation to sustainable land use," Research reports 130, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
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