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Health-livelihoods-environment interactions: health and culture in livelihood decision-making and consequences for the environment in Indonesia




Clarke, Melinda M., author
Galvin, Kathleen, advisor
Boone, Randall, committee member
Ojima, Dennis, committee member
Vaske, Jerry, committee member

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This research examines the role of perceived health status in the livelihood decision-making of rural households and associated impact on the environment. I drew on three social-ecological frameworks to conceptualize relationships between health, livelihoods, and environment. The primary hypothesis examined is that changes in health status result in livelihood strategies that depend on increased natural resource extraction. Qualitative and quantitative data were collected in twelve villages of the Dumoga Valley, North Sulawesi, Indonesia from 2015 to 2016. These data were used to develop an agent-based model that acts as an experimental context to examine health-livelihood-environment over a longer timeframe than was captured through field data collection. Illegal, artisanal gold mining is the primary resource extraction activity included in livelihood strategies. A surprising effect identified in qualitative data analysis was that different ethnic groups in the study site display different responses to health status change and have distinct livelihood strategies. Quantitative data analysis demonstrates a relationship between landlessness and engagement in illegal gold mining, but no relationship between mining and health. Dynamics in the agent-based model suggest that health does affect both the number of miners and amount of land cleared. In addition, the model suggests that natural resources play an important role in short-term livelihood strategies developed in times of ill health.


2020 Fall.
Includes bibliographical references.

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agent-based model
social-ecological systems


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