Microdemography and the Environment: Household Composition and Lifecycles Mediating Livelihoods, Deforestation and Land Use in the Amazon

Alisson F. Barbieri , Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais (UFMG)

Deforestation, poverty, land conflicts and the expansion of infrastructure and economic activities in the Amazon have increased concerned about the fate of the largest and more biodiverse forest in the world. Few studies however have investigated the role of the household demographic dynamics on these landscape changes and over the wellbeing of Amazonian populations. Nonetheless, complex patterns of demographic and socioeconomic change reflect a diversity of factors such as globalization, expansion of international market-oriented activities, infrastructure building and migration networks. This paper uses a microlevel approach to show how demographic change mediates farm household transitions over the lifecycles as well as livelihoods composition over distinct stages of frontier development. We review the extant literature to propose a theoretical framework of microdemography of rural and frontier areas, and test it based upon an empirical analysis of a twenty-five years panel of plots and households in the municipality of Machadinho, Brazilian Amazon. I use descriptive and multivariate statistics (Principal Components Analysis and Multiple Linear Regression) and land use classification to identify profiles of demographic composition and lifecycles over stages of frontier development, and associate them with specific household strategies and combinations capitals (human, financial, physical, natural and social) which define household livelihoods. The results provide evidences to advance a theoretical a framework integrating a set of theories focusing at the household level and which unveil how demographic dynamics (specifically in terms of household composition and lifecycles) mediates livelihoods, including land use changes and deforestation, over the development stages of frontier development.

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 Presented in Session P12. Demographic Transition and Environmental Change