This article uses farm-level data to assess the role of ecological factors, household characteristics, and policy factors in shaping overall land-use strategies among settler farmers in the Ecuadorian Amazon. The survey data which form the basis for the analysis were collected by the author in 1990 from a probability sample of 450 colonist households. A descriptive cluster analysis is used to highlight the differences across and within the observed land-use strategies regarding the underlying resource base available to farmers, the socioeconomic characteristics of farm households, and the policy environment that affect them. The findings question the inevitability of a generalized pattern of forest clearing over time constrained by a "straitjacket" of natural resources and suggest that the range of land-use options open to farmers is narrowed or widened under different socioeconomic circumstances and policy factors. The results given are exploratory and intended to stimulate further discussion.

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