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The Common Property Regime of the Huaorani Indians of Ecuador: Implications and Challenges to Conservation

Citation

Lu, Flora E. (2001). The Common Property Regime of the Huaorani Indians of Ecuador: Implications and Challenges to Conservation. Human Ecology, 29(4), 425-47.

Abstract

This paper shows that the Huaorani Indians of the Ecuadorian Amazon possess a long-standing common property management regime fostered by secure ownership status of the land, the small size and kinship ties of residence groups, the existence of mutual trust and reciprocity, and culturally sanctioned rules of behavior. This regime, however, was focused on maintaining harmonious relationships between residents of the nanicabo and not on resource conservation (although it may have fostered epiphenomenal conservation). It cannot be presumed that communal management of resources invariably leads to conservation; other factors need to be present, such as a perception of resource scarcity. The common property regime was designed for a situation of plentiful resources, low population density, clear membership, and behaviors held in check by respect for kin and the desire for good standing. It was a sufficient and simple system for delimiting common property resources from private property, based on implicit social boundaries and cultural understandings. Now, confronted by powerful external forces, population growth, and intermarriage with non-Huaorani, the system is faltering. Conservationist practices, however, can be encouraged by adapting the earlier system to reflect current conditions.

URL

https://doi.org/10.1023/A:1013193821187

Reference Type

Journal Article

Journal Title

Human Ecology

Author(s)

Lu, Flora E.

Year Published

2001

Volume Number

29

Issue Number

4

Pages

425-47

Reference ID

2637