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Collective action without collective ownership: community associations and logging on the Amazon frontier

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Migrants to the Brazilian Amazon frontier arrive individually, but the formation of effective community associations can bind these families together and speed socio-economic development. In this paper we study how formal logging contracts between smallholders and the timber industry affect one aspect of development and organization on the forest frontier: community associations. We ask whether these contracts encourage smallholders to participate in associations and whether the associations with formal logging contracts appear to be more effective. We find that individuals in communities with formal logging contracts are more likely to participate in their respective associations, and are also more likely to rank the association positively, compared to individuals living in other communities. Although the world of social and economic development on forest frontiers is complex and this result far from definitive, it demonstrates the potential for improved logging contracts to be a positive influence on community cohesion.
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Keywords: Brazil; forest management; frontier settlement; smallholders

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: The Woods Hole Research Center, USA; Instituto de Pesquisa Ambiental da Amaznia, Brazil. 2: Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, USA. 3: International Institute for Environment and Development, UK. 4: Instituto de Pesquisa Ambiental da Amaznia, Brazil. 5: Instituto de Pesquisa Ambiental da Amaznia, Brazil; Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, USA.

Publication date: 01 June 2006

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