Ethnobotanical knowledge and crop diversity in Swidden fields: A study in a native Amazonian society

Victoria Reyes-García*, Vincent Vadez, Neus Martí, Tomás Huanca, William R. Leonard, Susan Tanner

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations

Abstract

Crop diversity protects food consumption in poor households within developing nations. Here we estimate the association between crop diversity on swidden fields and ethnobotanical knowledge. We conducted research among 215 male household heads from a native Amazonian society. Using multivariate regressions, we found higher crop diversity among households that depend on agricultural production for household consumption. We also found a statistically significant and positive, but low, association between the ethnobotanical knowledge of the male household head and crop diversity. Doubling the stock of ethnobotanical knowledge of the male household head is associated with a 9% increase in the number of crops sown by a household. The association remained after we controlled for the household level of market exposure, but vanished after we controlled for the social capital of the male household head. Future research should compare the association between ethnobotanical knowledge and crop diversity across different agricultural systems (i.e., home gardens, fallow fields).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)569-580
Number of pages12
JournalHuman Ecology
Volume36
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 2008

Keywords

  • Crop diversity
  • Ethnobotanical knowledge
  • Household food consumption
  • Indigenous people
  • Latin America
  • Swidden agriculture

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology
  • Anthropology
  • Environmental Science (miscellaneous)
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Sociology and Political Science

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