Smallholders, Forest Management and Rural Development in the Amazon: 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Smallholders, Forest Management and Rural Development in the Amazon

1st Edition

By Benno Pokorny


248 pages | 15 Color Illus. | 35 B/W Illus.

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The ongoing debate concerning the Amazon's crucial role in global climate and biodiversity is entirely dependent upon sustainable development in the region. Recognizing that forests are an integral part of the social fabric in the region, initiatives such as community forestry, small-scale tree plantations and agroforestry, as well as payments for environmental services have aimed at conserving the natural forest landscape. At the same time these attempt to protect and enhance the well-being of poor local smallholders including indigenous groups, traditional communities and small farmers.

Against this background, this book analyses numerous promising local tree and forest management initiatives taken by smallholders in the Bolivian, Brazilian, Ecuadorian and Peruvian Amazon to better understand the key success factors. The insights gained from more than 100 case studies analyzed by researchers from Latin-America and Europe in cooperation with local stakeholders reveal the need for critical reflection on the initiatives targeting poor Amazonian families.

The book discusses an operational vision of rural development grounded on the effective use of smallholders’ capacities to contribute to a sustainable and equitable development of the region. It provides helpful information and ideas not only for scientists, but also for development organisations, decision makers and all who are interested in one of the major challenges facing the Amazon: to combine equitable development with the conservation of its unique ecosystems.


"This is a book about profoundly good intentions, and how things didn’t work out as planned, and about who bore the risks and paid the costs.While elements of it are heartening, the structural questions remain largely unsolved, and, as is often the case in the tropical world, the function, continuity and maybe even viability of field NGOs bears a sharp reprove and reexamination in the graveyard of so many failed projects. This book has a strong empirical basis of comparison and also provides insight into methodology construction and important caveats about how socially diverse Amazonia remains. It is an excellent field guide to smallfarm development in Amazonia, but it’s not really for the casual reader since it assumes quite a bit of knowledge. It is a very rewarding book …" - Susanna Hecht, University of California, Los Angeles, in The Journal of Peasant Studies.

Table of Contents

Foreword by Imme Scholz

1. The Forlive Project

2. Smallholders' Actions and Activities

3. The Potential of Smallholders to Create a Stable Landscape

4. Marginalization of Smallholder

5. The Challenge of Supporting the Smallholders

6. Experiences with Local Development Initiatives

7. Barriers to Equitable Local Development

8. Rural Development Rooted in Local Culture: Proposals for Action

About the Author

Benno Pokorny is Assistant Professor at the Faculty of Environment and Natural Resources, University of Freiburg , Germany. Previously he was a researcher at the Centre for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), based in Belém, Brazil.

About the Series

The Earthscan Forest Library

The Earthscan Forest Library

This series brings together a wide collection of volumes addressing diverse aspects of forests and forestry and draws on a range of disciplinary perspectives. Titles cover the full range of forest science and include the biology, ecology, biodiversity, restoration, management (including silviculture and timber production), geography and environment (including climate change), socio-economics, anthropology, policy, law and governance. The series aims to demonstrate the important role of forests in nature, peoples’ livelihoods and in contributing to broader sustainable development goals. It is aimed at undergraduate and postgraduate students, researchers, professionals, policy-makers and concerned members of civil society. Authors or editors of potential new titles should contact Hannah Ferguson, Editor (

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
NATURE / Ecosystems & Habitats / Forests & Rainforests
NATURE / Natural Resources
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Human Geography
TECHNOLOGY & ENGINEERING / Agriculture / Forestry