The role of ethnobotanical skills and agricultural labor in forest clearance: Evidence from the bolivian amazon

Victoria Reyes-García, Unai Pascual, Vincent Vadez, Tomás Huanca

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Abstract Research on the benefits of local ecological knowledge for conservation lacks empirical data on the pathways through which local knowledge might affect natural resources management. We test whether ethnobotanical skills, a proxy for local ecological knowledge, are associated to the clearance of forest through their interaction with agricultural labor. We collected information from men in a society of gatherers-horticulturalist, the Tsimane' (Bolivia). Data included a baseline survey, a survey of ethnobotanical skills (n = 190 men), and two surveys on agricultural labor inputs (n = 466 plots). We find a direct effect of ethnobotanical skills in lowering the extent of forest cleared in fallow but not in old-growth forest. We also find that the interaction between ethnobotanical skills and labor invested in shifting cultivation has opposite effects depending on whether the clearing is done in old-growth or fallow forest. We explain the finding in the context of Tsimane' increasing integration to the market economy. © Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences 2010.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)310-321
JournalAmbio
Volume40
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2011

Keywords

  • Ethnobotanical skills
  • Labor inputs
  • Market integration
  • Slash-and-burn agriculture
  • Tsimane (Bolivia)

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