Emerson Javier Jacome, Alexander Rodríguez Berrio, Rafael Hernández Maqueda


Background. As a strategy to design actions aimed at sustainable development at the local level, it is necessary to carry out a thorough diagnosis of the social, economic and environmental dimensions that affect the sustainability of a community. Objective. With that in mind, this research evaluated the sustainability of the natural resource management of the productive units in the Yungañan River micro-basin in the Ecuadorian Andes in order to identify the strengths and weaknesses of their actions as well as the possible internal differences between the different management systems. Methodology. For the execution of this work, 25 indicators were developed in a participatory manner, organized into 8 attributes that respond to the social, economic and environmental dimensions, following the methodology proposed by Sarandón (2002). These indicators were evaluated in the field through interviews and the results were weighted on a scale of 0 to 4 for analysis. In order to verify similarities and differences between the different productive units, a cluster analysis was carried out and a t-test was performed to verify significant differences between the indicators evaluated. Results. If we consider each dimension analyzed, the economic dimension reached an average value of 2.14, the social dimension 1.65 and the environmental dimension 1.80. Consequently, the average of all the indicators measured through the General Sustainability Index (GSI) was 1.86, which indicates deficient sustainability in the sector, with critical values for the social and environmental dimensions. With respect to internal differences, two groups were identified that were mainly conditioned by differences in the economic dimension. Implications. The main aspects to be addressed in the sector to improve its sustainability were identified and the usefulness of the methodology employed for studies of similar characteristics was highlighted. Conclusions. In order to design an effective strategy for the community’s development, the strengths detected in this study must be taken into account, such as the relatively efficient management of the community’s crops, and weaknesses, such as the lack of technical training, the lack of association and the difficulties of access to the sector, as well as the internal differences detected between the different productive units.


Ecuadorian Andes, Natural Resource Management, Sustainability Indicators

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