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DAAD, Fiat Panis
Political ecology of the resilience of livelihood systems and land-use patterns of indigenous communities from the Paraguayan Chaco region
I am conducting an ethnographic research in one indigenous community located in the western part of the central Paraguayan Chaco. In a similar way of what is happening in other countries, indigenous people from Paraguay are involved in long standing land struggles. Despite the indigenous territorial dispossession took place mainly during the last century, there is an increasing pressure and an ongoing process of deforestation and destruction of resources on which some indigenous communities depend. The current pressure is mainly driven by the expansion of large scale cattle ranches, owned by Paraguayans (including the European descendant Mennonites), Brazilians and Uruguayans, among others. At a regional level, large scale transgenic soy bean plantation expansion is pushing cattle ranches toward the Paraguayan Chaco Region, where land is cheaper and where soy beans plantation are only recently starting. As the Paraguayan Chaco Region was still mainly covered by forest, rich in biodiversity, the cattle ranches expansion translates in incredibly high deforestation rates, which reached in October 2014 a rate of more than 2464 hectares per day.
The main objective of this research is to analyse, through a case study, how indigenous people from the Chaco region, Paraguay, are responding to socio-cultural, economic, political and environmental challenges to their livelihood system and what role social institutions play in this processes. Using an political ecology approach, I will: a) describe the community current livelihood strategies; b) identify, with the community participation the main sociocultural, economic, political and environmental challenges; c) compare current and past livelihood strategies in order to analyse how the community is responding to changes; and d) explore what role do social institutions play in these processes.
Prof. Dr. Ernst Halbmayer
Dr. Irit Eguavoen
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