Is timber management a realistic conservation alternative for indigenous Amazonian communities?




Community forest management, gender participation, Kakataibo, local perception, multivariate analysis


Indigenous people, who are often economically, socially, and culturally dependent on forests, represent important stakeholders in forest management. Due to high costs, indigenous communities partner with external institutions to harvest timber, often resulting in forest degradation within their territories, internal and external conflicts, and disinterest in starting new timber management projects. Using a standardized methodology to investigate the outcomes of previous community forestry projects presents an opportunity to better understand and potentially resolve further issues. To investigate this issue, we conducted research in the Sinchi Roca I native community in Peru. Our objectives were: (1) to describe the process of timber harvest; (2) to analyze gender differences in local perception of timber management; and (3) to evaluate the outcomes of the timber activity, applying socioeconomic criteria and indicators. Data collection included in-depth interviews, focus group discussions, and intra-household surveys. We found that locals partnered with a company for timber harvesting, which led to a sanction from the Peruvian government. Timber harvesting was negatively perceived in the community, with 83.75% of survey respondents dissatisfied with the activity and 88.75% reporting internal and external conflicts due to the presence of the company. Moreover, women did not have a major role in timber harvesting, nor did they actively participate in planning meetings. Results suggest that improving future timber management projects in indigenous communities requires that projects be adapted to local realities and encourage local participation, including training for locals in governance, administration of documents, and negotiations with external stakeholders.

Author Biographies

Lucia Alejandra Fitts, University of Minnesota (USA). Universidad Nacional Agraria La Molina (Peru)

Ph.D. candidate in the Natural Resources Science and Management program at the University of Minnesota Department of Forest Resources.

Forest Engineer, Universidad Nacional Agraria La Molina. Research Assistant in the Silva Lab, Department of Forest Resources, University of Minnesota

Forest engineer with an interdisciplinary background. Wide fieldwork experience in different parts of the world working with people from different cultures and backgrounds. Experience working with native communities. Data management and quantitative skills focused in statistics, modelling and remote sensing. Project management. Qualitative skills focused on surveys, interviews, and focus groups. Teamwork oriented and leadership capacity. My passion for art provides me with creative and innovative skills.


Zoila Aurora Cruz-Burga, Universidad Nacional Agraria La Molina

Doctor in Environmental Science, with a Bachelor in Forestry Engineering with 22 years experience, teaching at university level and consulting in various projects with multi-national organization. Good multi-tasking and organizational skills, proactive, responsible, adaptable to new situations and enjoy working in multi-disciplinary and multi-cultural teams, with a great interest in the social aspects of forest conservation and cooperative ecosystem management and its effects on the improvement of the livelihoods of local people.

Hannah Legatzke, University of Minnesota

PhD Student in Natural Resource Sciences and Management, Department of Forest Resources

María de los Ángeles La Torre-Cuadros, Universidad Científica del Sur

I have a particular interest in quantitative ethnobotany (non-timber forest product systems), traditional ecological knowledge, and floristic composition of the forest types in relation to different rainfall conditions, soils, altitude, geographic position and sustainable use of natural resources by indigenous people or locals and environmental education.


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How to Cite

Fitts, L. A., Cruz-Burga, Z. A., Legatzke, H., & La Torre-Cuadros, M. de los Ángeles. (2022). Is timber management a realistic conservation alternative for indigenous Amazonian communities?. Ethnobiology and Conservation, 11.



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