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The Effects of Sedentarization on Agriculture and Forest Resources in Southern Venezuela

Research report

Research report

Itinerant indigenous peoples in Venezuela increasingly moved to permanent settlements during the last quarter of the twentieth century. Using a single village as a case study, this paper identified the changes associated with the new sedentary lifestyle. Schools, health services, markets and electricity were all gained, but the losses were many: deforestation, scarcity of edible wild flora and fauna, more frequent fires, reduced diversity of cultivated foods and greater labour requirements for agriculture. Some effects were multi-faceted, for example people's nutrition deteriorated not only because bush meat and wild fruits were less abundant but because the new markets meant that it was better to sell than to consume collected produce.

Mary Melnyk