Year of Award


Document Type

Professional Paper

Degree Type

Master of Science (MS)

Degree Name

Resource Conservation (International Conservation and Development)

Department or School/College

College of Forestry and Conservation

Committee Chair

Laurie Yung

Commitee Members

Steve Siebert, Dan Spencer


livelihood security, yerba mate, smallholders, agroforestry


University of Montana


Smallholders in Southeastern Paraguay are threatened by the advance of mechanized farming, environmental degradation, and limited access to credit and inputs. Agroforestry initiatives have been proposed as a way to increase smallholder livelihood security in the face of such vulnerability. Yerba mate (Ilex paraguariensis) is a tree crop native to Paraguay that may be grown in agroforestry systems. While prices paid to farmers for yerba mate have increased in recent years, spurring interest and adoption of yerba mate production among some farmers, to this date, there have been no analyses of the effects that yerba mate production may have on livelihoods. This study, which was conducted April-July 2013 in the community of Libertad del Sur in Southeastern Paraguay, addresses this lack of research on yerba mate and livelihoods. Interviews were conducted with 23 households interested in cultivating yerba mate and six key informants on current livelihood strategies in Libertad del Sur and the potential effects of yerba mate production. Yerba mate production was found to be a profitable option for reducing certain sources of vulnerability, but the ability of households to invest in it was limited by several factors including high initial costs and lack of credit.



© Copyright 2014 Mason Robert Bradbury