Smallholders in the Amazon: Interaction between Ecosystem and Social Systems in the Utilisation and Protection of Tropical Rainforests


Eastern Amazon, smallholder fallow systems, sustainable land use, technical innovations, institutions, policies




The project evaluates new, fire free, agricultural technologies that offer prospects for sustainable land use for smallholders in the Eastern Amazon. Specifically, the project analyses (1) the profitability of these technologies, (2) the impact on factor input, household income and local markets, (3) the additional benefits for the environment, and (4) perspectives, strategies and the institutional set-up for the dissemination of the technologies. Furthermore, policy options are to be defined and the transferability of the results to other Amazon regions is studied.


A multitude of methodological approaches are applied. These include

  • a private and a social cost benefit analysis of alternative farming technologies
  • a bio-economic modelling approach to depict land use decisions of different farm-household types considering alternative policy scenarios,
  • an analysis of institutions relevant for the diffusion of agricultural technologies
  • an analysis of agricultural and environmental policies that impact on smallholder agriculture
  • a comparative analysis to assess the significance of the results for other areas in the Amazon
Main Cooperation Partners

  • NAEA (Núcleo de Altos Estudos Amazônicos), Federal University of Pará, Belém
  • EMBRAPA Amazônia Oriental, Belém
Main Funding Partners

  • Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung (BMBF)
  • Brazilian National Council for Research (CNPq) under the bilateral research programme SHIFT (Studies and Human Impact on Forests and Floodplains in the Tropics)
Further information

Planning and Coordination Workshop at NAEA, Belém, Dec. 18-21, 2001

Duration of the Project

02/2001 - 01/2004


  • Prof. Dr. Klaus Frohberg (ZEF, Department of Economics and Technological Change, Project Leader)
  • Prof. Dr. Francisco de Assis Costa (NAEA, Project Leader)
  • PD Dr. Thomas Hurtienne (ZEF, Project Coordinator based in Brazil)
  • Dr. Bettina Hedden-Dunkhorst (ZEF, Project Coordinator based at ZEF)
  • Arisbe Mendoza-Escalante (ZEF, PhD student)
  • Jan Börner (ZEF, PhD student)
  • Carlos Freitas (NAEA, PhD student)
  • Prof. Dr. Rámon López (University of Maryland, External Advisor
  • Prof. Dr. Stephen Vosti (University of Davis, External Advisor)


Klaus Frohberg

Prof. Dr. Klaus Frohberg


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