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Cruz-Garcia, Gisella S. [1], Lore, Vael [2].

Wild food plants in a mestizo community in the Peruvian Amazon: Management versus deforestation.

Wild food plants constitute an essential component of the food basket of rural households around the world, playing an essential role for their food security and nutritional diversity. Given alarming deforestation rates, wild food plant gathering is more frequently occurring in anthropogenic ecosystems, where local communities manage these species to ensure their availability and access. This is certainly the case of Ucayali, which is one of the regions in the Peruvian Amazon with the highest deforestation rates, where local people are constantly trying to adapt to the loss of biodiversity. The objective of this presentation is to discuss the results of a study conducted with a mestizo community in Ucayali, where the forest area has dramatically decreased in the last decades. Focus groups were conducted in order to document the types of wild food plant management practices, and their associated gender roles. A total of 30 wild food plant species were documented: 70% of these species are gathered from agricultural fields (chagra), 57% from forests (monte), and 43% from home-gardens. Contrarily to what has been documented by studies conducted in other regions of the world, more than 40% of the wild food plants are gathered only by men, and 37% by both men and women. Two thirds of the species are managed. Regarding the species that are managed, 90% are transplanted, 35% weeded, 20% fertilized, three species are watered, three pruned, and one is protected. Women are mainly responsible to manage the species that have been transplanted to the home-garden, whereas men usually take care for those growing in the agricultural field. The study concludes that ongoing processes of in situ management of wild food plant species are critical for assuring the food security of rural families in contexts of deforestation and biodiversity loss.


1 - Botanical Research Institute of Texas (BRIT), Carrera 27 6123 Apt. 803 torre 1, Las Mercedes, Palmira, NA, NA, Colombia
2 - University of Ghent

Keywords:
Native edible plants
management
Amazon
food security
gender
deforestation.

Presentation Type: Oral Presentation
Number:
Abstract ID:64
Candidate for Awards:None