Emilio Bonifaz’s Los Indigenas de Altura Del Ecuador (1979) is an agricultural history of Ecuador’s northern highlands in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, told from the viewpoint of one of the country’s wealthiest elites. While much of the social analysis of indigenous communities is based on now-discredited theories of scientific racism, his study of the region’s agricultural history has more value.
Bonifaz, who experimented at the turn of the twentieth century with exotic grass and tress species to control erosion at his family’s hacienda, Guachalá, argued that by 1700, deforestation caused by sheep ranching and the farming of hillsides had begun sparking environmental catastrophes, such as flooding and desertification that overwhelmingly impacted indigenous communities.
Bonifaz, Emilio. Los Indigenas de Altura Del Ecuador. Tercera Edición. Quito: Publitecnica, 1979.
By N. H. Gill