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Research Report

Forest use and timber markets in the Ecuadorian Amazon

Elena Mejía
Pablo Pacheco
Copyright Date: Jan. 1, 2014
Pages: 104
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Table of Contents

  1. (pp. 1-3)

    Several studies have analyzed the situation of the forestry sector in Ecuador, with different focus. For instance, Owen and Thiel (2006) assess the influence of policies on the economic dynamics of the forestry sector. Ibarra et al. (2008) explore the implications of forestry legislation in small-scale forest management by smallholders. Añazco et al. (2010) adopt a more comprehensive perspective to consider the current problems faced by the forestry sector and indicate the challenges to advance towards sustainable forest management. Unlike these, the analysis here is centered in the dynamics of timber harvesting in the Amazon undertaken by smallholders, colonists and...

  2. (pp. 4-15)
    Elena Mejía and Pablo Pacheco

    The Republic of Ecuador has an area of 256,370 km². It has four clearly differentiated geographical regions, namely: the coast (Costa) along the Pacific coastline of the country, the Highlands (Sierra) covering the Andean mountain range going across the center of the country north to south, the east (Oriente) involving the lowlands in the Amazon region, and the island region of Galapagos islands. The country is administratively divided into 24 provinces , which in turn are divided into cantons and parishes. The Amazon is the largest region, taking up 45% of the overall area of the country (115,613 km²).¹ This...

  3. (pp. 16-27)
    Elena Mejía, Pablo Pacheco, Johanna Morocho and Santiago Alarcón

    The discussion on state control over the forest resources started in 1990, when policies on protected areas and wildlife conservation were adopted (Vinueza, 2012). At the end of the decade, together with the process of state modernization, the system of forest control outsourcing was adopted, through which key monitoring and control activities were transferred to third parties, as stated in chapter 2. The system was in force until 2006, when it was replaced by the National Forest Control System (Sistema Nacional de Control Forestal) (FAO, 2006; MAE, 2006; Navarro et al., 2009; Mejía, 2010). This proposal was focused on the...

  4. (pp. 28-46)
    Alfredo Carrasco, Cristian Terán, Emilia Crespo and Elena Mejía

    This chapter analyzes the magnitude and dynamics of harvesting and of the different timber trade flows according to official information from SAF for 2011, which is complemented with information from the Internal Revenue Service (SRI for its acronym in Spanish). While information from SAF shows the volumes harvested and transported per origin and destination, SRI information makes it possible to determine the characteristics of legal and natural persons, according to the Tax Identification Number (RUC for its acronym in Spanish), registered in the system. The combination of these data helps provide a more comprehensive perspective regarding the main characteristics of...

  5. (pp. 47-68)
    Aymé Muzo, Filippo del Gato, Pablo Pacheco and Bolier Torres

    Forest resources, particularly timber, contribute significantly to income generation for small farmers (Angelsen, A. et. al., 2001). Studies on natural resources and livelihoods have paid more attention to the decisions that contribute to shape land use in smallholdings, with special emphasis on forest conversion to agricultural uses, rather than to understanding the decisions that influence on forest management (Southgate, et al., 1991; Bilsborrow, et al., 2004). This chapter analyzes the factors that explain the use of forest resources, especially timber, and their contribution to incomes of small farmers’ households located in the provinces of Napo and Orellana in the Ecuadorian...

  6. (pp. 69-81)
    Elena Mejía, Guido Fernández, Marco Vinueza and Álvaro Fuentes

    Native forests should be harvested in compliance with the forest legislation, which is briefly discussed in chapter 3. Legislation on forest harvesting provides for the implementation of a Logging and Harvesting Program in smallscale operations, usually associated with timber chainsawing and legal land conversion plans. However, as suggested in chapter 4, a significant part of timber harvesting does not occur under approved management programs.

    An aspect associated with small-scale timber harvesting consists of benefit distribution between different actors involved in forest operations, especially smallholders who own forest land. On one hand, Mederski (2006) and FAO (2012) suggest that smallholders’ profits...

  7. (pp. 82-84)

    Forests, mainly timber, provide an important source of income for the households in the area under study in the Ecuadorian Amazon. Like other households around the world (Mamo et al., 2007; CIFOR, 2011; Angelsen et al., 2011), the households analyzed in Napo and Orellana depend to some extent on money in cash from timber sales. Harvesting is carried out mainly in primary forests and agroforestry systems. This indicates that families own lands with native forests and trees within the intervened areas. Both are equally important for the family economy, since they are adapted to the different biophysical and political situation...