Tropical Forests Provide Gendered Insurance against Illness

Yoshito Takasaki, Oliver T. Coomes and Christian Abizaid


Tropical forest peoples rely on wild resources to cope with adverse shocks, i.e., natural insurance; however, research has shown its limited scope against health shocks that constrain labor supply responses. This paper examines natural insurance against illness through the lens of gender. We conducted a large-scale household survey in the Peruvian Amazon, where wild resource harvesting is mostly done by males. We find that fishing and nontimber forest product gathering increased against female illness and remittances increased against male illness, suggesting that the scope of natural insurance and risk sharing against illness is shaped by gender in a complementary way.