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Household Demographic Factors as Life Cycle Determinants of Land Use in the Amazon

Stephen G. Perz
Population Research and Policy Review
Vol. 20, No. 3 (Jun., 2001), pp. 159-186
Published by: Springer in cooperation with the Southern Demographic Association
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/40230305
Page Count: 28
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Household Demographic Factors as Life Cycle Determinants of Land Use in the Amazon
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Abstract

This paper seeks to broaden the application of demography to environmental studies by complementing existing macro-level approaches, which feature aggregate populations, with a micro-level approach that highlights household life cycles. I take up the case of small farm households in the Brazilian Amazon to present a theoretical framework that identifies demographic characteristics which dispose families to engage in different forms of land use as household age structures change. Empirical models show that net of the effects of farmer background, neighborhood context, institutional context, and off-farm incomes, demographic variables indicative of the household life cycle exert significant effects on the prominence of land uses with distinct environmental ramifications. The findings not only reveal microlevel demographic factors which affect Amazon land cover, they yield implications for future changes in rainforest landscapes in northern Brazil, and suggest household life cycle models as an avenue for further demographic research on environmental change in Latin America and other contexts.

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