The Palm family (Arecaceae) is both ecologically and economically among the most important plant families in the tropics. Palms provide local people with edible fruits, oils, palm-heart, fibers, thatch, housing material and shelter, tools for domestic use and for traditional hunting and fishing, medicines, etc. In fact it is difficult to imagine traditional rural life in the tropics without the numerous products provided by these remarkable multiple-purpose plants.
The objectives of this study are to:
• Document and quantify the diversity of uses of palms in the Madidi region.
• Investigate the relationship between people’s knowledge regarding the uses of palms and socio-economic factors (gender, age, income, ethnic background, etc.).
• Investigate the relationship between people’s knowledge regarding palms and the diversity and abundance of palms in the vicinity of the individual communities.
The fieldwork will be carried out in the
Madidi National Park and Natural Area of Integrated
Management (PN-ANMI), located northwest of La Paz, Bolivia. Madidi
is one of the largest protected areas in
We will use qualitative and quantitative methods to investigate the uses and knowledge within the different communities about palms including: (1) Semi-structured and structured interviews to evaluate people’s knowledge about palms and their uses; and to evaluate differences in the knowledge related to socio-economic variables (gender, age, income, education, family size, time living in the community, etc.). (2) Transects (5 x 500 m) through the different locally recognized forest formations, to record the abundance of the different palm species. (3) Interviews of selected informants carried out in the transects, to collect information about the uses and common names of palms. (4) Statistical methods will be used to analyse the ethno-botanical and ecological information gathered, to evaluate the relationship between knowledge and palm diversity and abundance in the area.
We expect that the study wil provide information on:
• The diversity of palms species found and used in the area and the relative contribution of each species in the livelihood of the local people.
• The relationships between palm knowledge and socio-economic factors as well as the diversity-density (availability) of palms communities. This has practical importance concerning nature conservation, as it demonstrates which population segments exploit the most natural resources, and help describe the process behind resource exploitation and depletion.
• The results will provide elements to indigenous communities for the definition and implementation of management plants.
Participant Narel Paniagua Zambrana, supervised by Henrik Balslev & Mónica Moraes