Environmental governance and implications of small-scale logging: the case of the indigenous groups in the Ampiyacu Basin in the northeastern Peruvian Amazon
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Small-scale logging by indigenous people in Amazonia remains little studied despite the importance of this activity to forest communities and its relevance to the implementation of conservation initiatives. Previous studies in the region have given an overview of small-scale logging and the role of local institutions in the management of timber resources. This study provides insight into the local institutions that govern the use of timber resources and the timber extraction practices of indigenous communities in Amazonia. Timber extraction was examined through a regional case study of indigenous people along the Ampiyacu River, an affluent of the Amazon near Iquitos, Peru. An analysis of the actors within and outside of the Ampiyacu Basin involved in timber harvest and the local institutions for regulating access to forest resources provides the context for examination of local arrangements in small-scale logging. Detailed information about local institutional arrangements was collected through a mixture of qualitative methods, including archival research, focus groups, structured interviews, and direct observation. An analysis of timber practices and the sustainability thereof in extraction areas for the 13 villages of the region allowed a characterization of small-scale logging practices and revealed the most relevant factors in timber extraction strategy and economics. Local arrangements were explained by policy, proximity to an urban market, and access to funding. Most loggers are poor, earning less than $ 496/year in cash, although income levels varied widely within type of funding. The higher income loggers are specialists who log more than the permissible quota and have greater access to funding. Timber was the central economic activity of all local residents. The implications of these findings are discussed for local arrangements and future research on small-scale logging by indigenous peoples of Amazonia.