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close this book The Fragile Tropics of Latin America: Sustainable Management of Changing Environments (1995)
close this folder Part 3 : The Peruvian Amazon
close this folder Subsistence- and market-oriented agroforestry in the Peruvian Amazon
View the document (introductory text)
View the document 1 Introduction
View the document 2 Traditional agroforestry in north-eastern Peru
View the document 3 Swidden-fallow agroforestry among the Bora indians
View the document 4 Market-oriented agroforestry in Tamshiyacu
View the document 5 Conclusions and recommendations
View the document References

1 Introduction

1 Introduction

In recent years, researchers have demonstrated that indigenous Amazonians have a profound knowledge of agricultural soils, useful plants and animals, and productive agricultural and forestry techniques (Boom, 1987; Clay, 1988; Denevan and Padoch, 1988; Dufour, 1990; Posey, 1982, 1984, 1985; Prance, 1984; Vickers and Plowman, 1984; and others). Many of these researchers have suggested that indigenous knowledge and technologies can be incorporated into the planning of contemporary agricultural and forestry efforts in Amazonia. Data showing traditional practices to be economically attractive alternatives for recent colonists and other non-indigenous people who need and want market goods are, however, still very scarce. The paucity of demonstrated economic potential is among the most important factors that have recently prompted some experts to question the usefulness of indigenous patterns in future economic development (Redford, 1990).

Increased interest in studying the resource use patterns of indigenous or long-resident, but non-tribal communities of Amazonia, such as Peru's ribereños (de Jong, 1987; Hiraoka, 1985a, 1985b, 1986, 1989; Padoch and de Jong, 1987, 1989, 1990; Padoch et al.,1985) or the caboclos of Brazil (Anderson et al., 1986; Parker, 1985) may help fill this gap in the discussion of development alternatives for the region. These populations usually participate more actively in local and even export markets than do most tribal peoples, and have needs and expectations that more closely reflect national norms. ribereño and caboclo resource use practices show clearly that these frequently ignored people are inheritors as well as adapters of indigenous traditions. Examination of many traditional swiddenfallow agroforesty practices in the Department of Loreto, Peru, provides several examples of how indigenous patterns have been adapted to the market-oriented economy of ribereño villagers (Denevan and Padoch, 1988; Padoch and de Jong, 1987, 1989).