Intergenerational livelihood dependence on ecosystem services: A descriptive analysis of the ivory palm in coastal Ecuador

Jorge Salgado, Rommel Montúfar, Jacob Gehrung, Shady S Atallah

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Research on ecosystem services (ES) is heavily concentrated on ecological and economic indicators and values, with a much more limited understanding of communities’ dependence on cultural ES. That body of research is also typically focused on current generations and generates limited insights into the intergenerational dynamics of ES dependence. We use a survey of six palm harvesting communities in coastal western Ecuador to assess the livelihood dependence of four generations on 17 ES provided by the ivory palm, a near-threatened keystone species in Ecuador, Colombia, and Panama. Despite the historical prominence of the use of the ivory palm’s nut, we find that dependence is highest for regulating, supporting, and cultural ES, a result that holds across generations. We find a negative association between the current generation’s dependence on the ivory palm’s provisioning ES and that of their grandparents, who experienced the historical boom of the ivory palm’s nut exports. In contrast, respondents expect the future generation’s dependence to be positively associated with that of the grandparents’ generation. We find that provisioning ES have a complementary relationship with cultural ES and a substitutive relationship with supporting ES. Relationships across ES categories can be reversed from one generation to the next.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)301-319
Number of pages19
JournalAgricultural and Resource Economics Review
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 5 2023


  • ecosystem services
  • Q570
  • Q230
  • ivory palm
  • intergenerational dependence
  • Ecuador


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