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Knowledge and valuation of Andean agroforestry species: the role of sex, age, and migration among members of a rural community in Bolivia.

Brandt R, Mathez-Stiefel SL, Lachmuth S, Hensen I, Rist S - J Ethnobiol Ethnomed (2013)

Bottom Line: The age effects possibly result from decreasing ecological apparency of valuable native species, and their substitution by exotic marketable trees,loss of traditional plant uses or the use of other materials (e.g. plastic) instead of wood.These native species should be ecologically sound and selected on their potential to provide subsistence and promising commercial uses.In addition to offering socio-economic and environmental services,agroforestry initiatives using native trees and shrubs can play a crucial role in recovering elements of the lost ancient landscape that still forms part of local people’s collective identity.

View Article: PubMed Central - HTML - PubMed

Affiliation: Institute of Biology/Geobotany and Botanical Garden, Martin-Luther-University, Am Kirchtor 1, 06108 Halle/Saale, Germany. regine.brandt@botanik.uni-halle.de.

ABSTRACT

Background: Agroforestry is a sustainable land use method with a long tradition in the Bolivian Andes. A better understanding of people’s knowledge and valuation of woody species can help to adjust actor-oriented agroforestry systems. In this case study, carried out in a peasant community of the Bolivian Andes, we aimed at calculating the cultural importance of selected agroforestry species, and at analysing the intracultural variation in the cultural importance and knowledge of plants according to peasants’ sex, age, and migration.

Methods: Data collection was based on semi-structured interviews and freelisting exercises. Two ethnobotanical indices (Composite Salience, Cultural Importance) were used for calculating the cultural importance of plants. Intracultural variation in the cultural importance and knowledge of plants was detected by using linear and generalised linear (mixed) models.

Results and discussion: The culturally most important woody species were mainly trees and exotic species (e.g.Schinus molle, Prosopis laevigata, Eucalyptus globulus). We found that knowledge and valuation of plants increased with age but that they were lower for migrants; sex, by contrast, played a minor role. The age effects possibly result from decreasing ecological apparency of valuable native species, and their substitution by exotic marketable trees,loss of traditional plant uses or the use of other materials (e.g. plastic) instead of wood. Decreasing dedication to traditional farming may have led to successive abandonment of traditional tool uses, and the overall transformation of woody plant use is possibly related to diminishing medicinal knowledge.

Conclusions: Age and migration affect how people value woody species and what they know about their uses.For this reason, we recommend paying particular attention to the potential of native species, which could open promising perspectives especially for the young migrating peasant generation and draw their interest in agroforestry. These native species should be ecologically sound and selected on their potential to provide subsistence and promising commercial uses. In addition to offering socio-economic and environmental services,agroforestry initiatives using native trees and shrubs can play a crucial role in recovering elements of the lost ancient landscape that still forms part of local people’s collective identity.

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Research area. The research was conducted in the indigenous ruralcommunity of Tres Cruces (2,760–3,830 m.a.s.l.) in the province ofTapacarí, department of Cochabamba, Bolivia. Map elaborated with DIVA-GIS [40].
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Figure 3: Research area. The research was conducted in the indigenous ruralcommunity of Tres Cruces (2,760–3,830 m.a.s.l.) in the province ofTapacarí, department of Cochabamba, Bolivia. Map elaborated with DIVA-GIS [40].

Mentions: The present study took place in the indigenous rural community Tres Cruces(17°28′–17°30′ S,66°27′–66°29′ W, ~850 ha,2,760–3,830 m.a.s.l.) situated in the sub-central Waka Playa of theprovince of Tapacarí, Cochabamba, Bolivia (Figures 3and 4). This semi-arid region receives an average of600 mm of annual precipitation, with >80% of the rainfall occurring betweenNovember and March (Ramadas No. 401–17, 1971–2003, Bolivian NationalMeteorology and Hydrology Service, SENAMHI). Annual mean temperature is about11°C (Honorable Alcaldía Municipal de Tapacarí, Ajuste del plan dedesarrollo municipal Tapacarí 2003–2007). From a biogeographicalperspective, the study area extends over the Peruvian Puna Province, in transition tothe Bolivian-Tucuman Province, and includes both altitudinal levels puna and prepuna [39]. Natural vegetation of woody species, such as the frequently-growingBaccharis dracunculifolia and Cestrum parqui, consists of hedgesand shrublands on field margins, waysides, stony terrace walls, fallow land, and inravines [4]. Exotic trees and shrubs (e.g. Eucalyptus spp., Pinusspp., Spartium junceum) were heavily promoted during the course of aparticipatory rural development project (1999–2002). The population of TresCruces consists of 50 indigenous Quechua-speaking families, some inhabitants beingbilingual with Spanish. They depend on small-scale subsistence farming with 2 to6 ha land per household. They cultivate tubers (e.g. Solanum tuberosum,Ullucus tuberosum), cereals (e.g. Zea mays, Triticum sativum, Chenopodiumquinoa), vegetables and fruits, and rear livestock (ovine, caprine, bovine).Farming is complemented by temporary and permanent off-farm activities in thelowlands and urban centres.


Knowledge and valuation of Andean agroforestry species: the role of sex, age, and migration among members of a rural community in Bolivia.

Brandt R, Mathez-Stiefel SL, Lachmuth S, Hensen I, Rist S - J Ethnobiol Ethnomed (2013)

Research area. The research was conducted in the indigenous ruralcommunity of Tres Cruces (2,760–3,830 m.a.s.l.) in the province ofTapacarí, department of Cochabamba, Bolivia. Map elaborated with DIVA-GIS [40].
© Copyright Policy - open-access
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4120936&req=5

Figure 3: Research area. The research was conducted in the indigenous ruralcommunity of Tres Cruces (2,760–3,830 m.a.s.l.) in the province ofTapacarí, department of Cochabamba, Bolivia. Map elaborated with DIVA-GIS [40].
Mentions: The present study took place in the indigenous rural community Tres Cruces(17°28′–17°30′ S,66°27′–66°29′ W, ~850 ha,2,760–3,830 m.a.s.l.) situated in the sub-central Waka Playa of theprovince of Tapacarí, Cochabamba, Bolivia (Figures 3and 4). This semi-arid region receives an average of600 mm of annual precipitation, with >80% of the rainfall occurring betweenNovember and March (Ramadas No. 401–17, 1971–2003, Bolivian NationalMeteorology and Hydrology Service, SENAMHI). Annual mean temperature is about11°C (Honorable Alcaldía Municipal de Tapacarí, Ajuste del plan dedesarrollo municipal Tapacarí 2003–2007). From a biogeographicalperspective, the study area extends over the Peruvian Puna Province, in transition tothe Bolivian-Tucuman Province, and includes both altitudinal levels puna and prepuna [39]. Natural vegetation of woody species, such as the frequently-growingBaccharis dracunculifolia and Cestrum parqui, consists of hedgesand shrublands on field margins, waysides, stony terrace walls, fallow land, and inravines [4]. Exotic trees and shrubs (e.g. Eucalyptus spp., Pinusspp., Spartium junceum) were heavily promoted during the course of aparticipatory rural development project (1999–2002). The population of TresCruces consists of 50 indigenous Quechua-speaking families, some inhabitants beingbilingual with Spanish. They depend on small-scale subsistence farming with 2 to6 ha land per household. They cultivate tubers (e.g. Solanum tuberosum,Ullucus tuberosum), cereals (e.g. Zea mays, Triticum sativum, Chenopodiumquinoa), vegetables and fruits, and rear livestock (ovine, caprine, bovine).Farming is complemented by temporary and permanent off-farm activities in thelowlands and urban centres.

Bottom Line: The age effects possibly result from decreasing ecological apparency of valuable native species, and their substitution by exotic marketable trees,loss of traditional plant uses or the use of other materials (e.g. plastic) instead of wood.These native species should be ecologically sound and selected on their potential to provide subsistence and promising commercial uses.In addition to offering socio-economic and environmental services,agroforestry initiatives using native trees and shrubs can play a crucial role in recovering elements of the lost ancient landscape that still forms part of local people’s collective identity.

View Article: PubMed Central - HTML - PubMed

Affiliation: Institute of Biology/Geobotany and Botanical Garden, Martin-Luther-University, Am Kirchtor 1, 06108 Halle/Saale, Germany. regine.brandt@botanik.uni-halle.de.

ABSTRACT

Background: Agroforestry is a sustainable land use method with a long tradition in the Bolivian Andes. A better understanding of people’s knowledge and valuation of woody species can help to adjust actor-oriented agroforestry systems. In this case study, carried out in a peasant community of the Bolivian Andes, we aimed at calculating the cultural importance of selected agroforestry species, and at analysing the intracultural variation in the cultural importance and knowledge of plants according to peasants’ sex, age, and migration.

Methods: Data collection was based on semi-structured interviews and freelisting exercises. Two ethnobotanical indices (Composite Salience, Cultural Importance) were used for calculating the cultural importance of plants. Intracultural variation in the cultural importance and knowledge of plants was detected by using linear and generalised linear (mixed) models.

Results and discussion: The culturally most important woody species were mainly trees and exotic species (e.g.Schinus molle, Prosopis laevigata, Eucalyptus globulus). We found that knowledge and valuation of plants increased with age but that they were lower for migrants; sex, by contrast, played a minor role. The age effects possibly result from decreasing ecological apparency of valuable native species, and their substitution by exotic marketable trees,loss of traditional plant uses or the use of other materials (e.g. plastic) instead of wood. Decreasing dedication to traditional farming may have led to successive abandonment of traditional tool uses, and the overall transformation of woody plant use is possibly related to diminishing medicinal knowledge.

Conclusions: Age and migration affect how people value woody species and what they know about their uses.For this reason, we recommend paying particular attention to the potential of native species, which could open promising perspectives especially for the young migrating peasant generation and draw their interest in agroforestry. These native species should be ecologically sound and selected on their potential to provide subsistence and promising commercial uses. In addition to offering socio-economic and environmental services,agroforestry initiatives using native trees and shrubs can play a crucial role in recovering elements of the lost ancient landscape that still forms part of local people’s collective identity.

Show MeSH
Related in: MedlinePlus