Human Ecology

, Volume 35, Issue 3, pp 371–377 | Cite as

Economic Development and Local Ecological Knowledge: A Deadlock? Quantitative Research from a Native Amazonian Society

  • Victoria Reyes-GarcíaEmail author
  • Vincent Vadez
  • Tomás Huanca
  • William R. Leonard
  • Thomas McDade
Brief Communication


Despite the growing interest in the topic, there has been little quantitative research about the causes and rate of acquisition and loss of local ecological knowledge. Some researchers have linked the loss of local ecological knowledge to the expansion of the market economy (Godoy et al., 1998; Ross, 2002; Reyes-García et al., 2005a), others have found persistence in local ecological knowledge despite large socio-economic changes (Zarger and Stepp, 2004), and still others have found that integration into the market economy through an economic activity based in the natural environment could accelerate the acquisition of local ecological knowledge (Guest, 2002). The debate matters for policy-making because if integration to the market erodes local knowledge, there would be no possibility of simultaneously achieving conservation of local knowledge and economic development. In contrast, if integration to the market economy does not affect or does not alwaysaffect local...


Market Economy Personal Income Theoretical Knowledge Wage Earning Wage Labor 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



Research was funded by the National Science Foundation (grants BCS-0134225 and BCS-0322380) and the Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research (Gr-7250). We thank L. Apaza, E. Conde, J. Dávila, H. Rivas, Y. Lobo, P. Pache, E. Tayo, S. Cari, J. Cari, M. Roca, D. Pache, J. Pache, and V. Cuata for help collecting the information and for logistical support. We also thank H.R. Bernard, R. Godoy, F. Putz, and three anonymous reviewers for commenting on earlier drafts, and ICRISAT-Patancheru for providing office facilities to Reyes-García.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Victoria Reyes-García
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Vincent Vadez
    • 2
  • Tomás Huanca
    • 2
  • William R. Leonard
    • 3
  • Thomas McDade
    • 3
  1. 1.ICREA and Institut de Ciència i Tecnologia AmbientalsUniversitat Autònoma de BarcelonaBarcelonaSpain
  2. 2.Sustainable International Development Program, Heller School for Social Policy and ManagementBrandeis UniversityWalthamUSA
  3. 3.Department of AnthropologyNorthwestern UniversityEvanstonUSA

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