The faint promise of a distant market: a survey of Belem’s trade in non-timber forest products uri icon

abstract

  • Increased trade in non-timber forest products (NTFPs) has been promoted as one possible means to slow tropical deforestation by increasing the economic value of intact forest. A market survey of NTFPs occurring in the Capim River basin in eastern Amazonia, Brazil demonstrated that the reality for many smallholder communities in frontier and remote regions includes chronic transportation difficulties, high variability in fruit production, perishable products and lack of market expertise. In some communities, declining abundance of NTFPs due to logging and fire has resulted in a lack of forest products to even meet subsistence needs. In areas close to cities where transportation is assured and where forest clearing has eroded the natural occurrence of some valuable native NTFPs, smallholders who manage and successfully market native fruit and medicinal species are overcoming these obstacles. In frontier regions undergoing rapid transformation, however, decline in locally used and regionally marketed NTFPs currently pose detrimental consequences for communities. Findings suggest that an overemphasis on NTFP marketing has diverted attention from local livelihood, resource access and subsistence issues.

publication date

  • 2002
  • 2002