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Pichón, Francisco J. (1992). Agricultural Settlement and Ecological Crisis in the Ecuadorian Amazon Frontier: A Discussion of the Policy Environment. Policy Studies Journal, 20(4), 662-678.


This article discusses several structural factors in the policy environment of Ecuador thought to determine the process of occupation by agricultural colonists of the country's segment of Amazonia and the emerging land settlement patterns in the region. These factors are fundamentally concerned with (a) national sovereignty interests over remote, peripheral territories characterized by low population density and ill‐defined land ownership, (b) the reduction of demographic and social pressures in other regions of the country, and (c) the extension of the agricultural frontier. For economic and geopolitical reasons, the Ecuadorian state is likely to maintain a moderate and rather ineffectual set of incentives supporfted by the current legislation to allow the occupation of the Amazon region. Consequently, as migrants continue to flow into the easily degradable areas of the Amazon, and without increased population carrying capacity outrside the Amazon, some conversion of the rainforest environment of eastern Ecuador to other uses is certain to continue. A more detailed microlevel understanding of the interrelationship among factors influencing land‐use decisions by settler farmers is needed to find policy‐entry points.


Reference Type

Journal Article

Year Published


Journal Title

Policy Studies Journal


Pichón, Francisco J.