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LOCAL KNOWLEDGE IN THE MANAGEMENT OF NATURAL RESOURCES: THE SHIPIBO CONIBO ETHNIC GROUP OF THE UCAYALI RIVER, PUCALLPA,

PERU L. Arvalo. N. Luque, and J. Alegre World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) Pucallpa, Peru INTRODUCTION The Shipibo Conibo ethnic group belongs to the Pano Linguistic group. These people are majority among the inhabitants of the Ucayali Region. The main activity of these people for several decades has been based on fishing, hunting, fruit picking, medicinal plants, and others. At the same time, they did some subsistence farming of plants such as yucca (cassava) and bananas in small plots to complement their daily food needs. However, they know how to manage their resources rationally. They know the species at their disposal, how much to fish, hunt, or harvest, and what is the best time of the year to do so. They also know the diverse tree species to use for wood and other uses. In the last decade, due to their access to culture, they found other needs for the next generations in keeping with the evolution of time. Among the most important needs were education and health issues. To satisfy these requirements, members of this ethnic group were forced to diversify their activities, which made them dedicate more time to harvesting their crops, looking for products that would allow them to generate extra income to benefit their families. From this we can deduce that they are just beginning to know market related agriculture. This groups agricultural practices are based on harvesting crops on alluvial soils. These soils are flooded annually during 2 to 3 months. During the flooding season the people dedicate themselves to hunting and fishing. They go back to agriculture after the flooding season (8 to 9 months) taking advantage of the nutrients left in the soil by the rivers flooding. The purpose of this paper is to rescue the ethnic groups local ecological knowledge about the management of natural resources, flooded ecosystems, type and soil fertility, flooding, species tolerant to flooding, annual crops, plagues, clear-felling and burn techniques, fishing and hunting. Methodology Among the 12 ethnic groups settled in the Ucayali Region, we have selected the Shipibo Conibo ethnic group for various reasons, including the fact that it is the most representative group in the Ucayali Region, the time it has been settled there, their distribution in the zone under study, and their big population. Within this ethnic group, we have selected some of the communities located in sectors equidistant from the city of Pucallpa, which is the capital of the Ucayali Region.

The native communities selected were seven: Limngema, Santa Isabel de Bahuanisho, Palestina and Puerto Bethel, Panaillo, Patria Nueva and Saposoa. The first four communities are located upstream of the Ucayali River. The three remaining communities are located downstream of the same river. The central point of reference is the city of Pucallpa. Palestina and Puerto Bethel are located in a tipishca, (an old river curve ) where the river used to slide by. Today it is like a pond. This has influenced the communities recent activities. Panaillo community is located at Aguaita River mouth, where it joins the Ucayali River. This nearness causes the community to be flooded totally during the rainy season when the river water levels are high. Information on these seven communities was collected in various phases. The first phase was that of reconnaissance or first sight. This first phase allowed us to identify persons or groups as well as community authorities that could be interviewed. In the case of communities located upstream of the Ucayali River, 2 or 3 people were identified in each of them as possible interviewees. In general, the selected people were the leaders, in other cases, community authorities, people with a long permanence time in the community or farmers ready to dialogue. We always look for those people with more know-how about managing the natural resources of the area. If the interviewees showed willingness to talk, the interview continued. In many cases, this did not work out. In some communities, we were able to interview 1 or 2 people, in other cases we were unable to interview any person at all. Sometimes this was because of the time spent in each community. In this same phase, but within the communities located downstream of the Ucayali River, the interviews that took place were both individual and in groups. During group interviews, in many of the questions asked, the group members entered a discussionconversation session between them before giving an agreed-upon answer. This was duly annotated in the present work. These visits took place together with NON NETE NGO, an institution made up of members of that ethnic group. They helped in the interviews with an interpreter to improve our communication and direct understanding. A total of 24 people were interviewed, of which 13 were selected to create the database of local ecological knowledge. In the Panaillo, Saposoa, and Patria Nueva communities training work on management of vegetable farming in tropical climates in the agricultural schools took place, as well as tomato farming (lycopersicum sculenta), cucumber (cucumis), cabbage (Brassica campestris), radish (Raphanus sativum), caigua (Cyccclanthera pedata), spring onion (Allium spp). In the second phase or second visit in both sectors, we looked for information on the farmers selected. The interviews took place with new questions or complementary questions to those already obtained to clarify answers already given due to the fact that in some cases there were contradictions in the assertions made by the farmers and contradictions in the literature examined. Additionally, we visited the farm plots during working days and reviewed the information obtained periodically . The most important factor being the availability of working hours for interviews so as to acquire the required

level of confidence. The interviews centered on the elected topics and sometimes, it was possible to note their great knowledge about medicinal plants and their use (recollections). The interviews were not formal, they were taped with the interviewees permission, and, in some cases, were written down so as to enable the recognition of names and shipibo terms. The shipibo language is the official vehicle of communication of the Shipibo Conibo ethnic group. The information acquired was loaded into the AKT5 database. Constant revisions took place identifying the source (farmers name), and the name of the community. Then we proceeded to elaborate a schematic presentation of the information utilizing AKT5 software, thus elaborating the knowledge base. The third phase of the study, also called the verification phase, consisted in selecting, at random, 25% of the questions asked in the interviews of the first two phases and going back to the communities to interview other inhabitants that did not participate in the previous interviews Results Results obtained are presented according to the subjects studied. These results reflect the knowledge that different members of the communities interviewed have, no matter their location with respect to Pucallpa, the capital of the region. Soil Fertility In figure 1 it is possible to observe the reasons the natives attribute to the fertility of the soil, and at the same time, the causes or relations for little fertility and the consequences that originate from low fertility soil. They attribute good fertility to dark non-clayer soil, soils with humidity and organic content. The presence of river water volume (larger volume of water in the rainy season) has an influence in the increase in nutrient content of the soil and, therefore, in the soils fertility. The decomposition of leaves increases the soils fertility. Additionally, the time the soil rests have an influence on existing nutrient content. They also said that a low fertility soil originates changes in the development of crops, such as Indian corn, yucca or cassava (Manihot esculenta ), and bananas (Musas spp. which are native communities main crops). When the soil has poor fertility, the main weeds that indicate such condition are shuashui (scientific name not identified), arrocillo (Rottboellia exaltata), and gramalote (Brachiaria mutica). Mapu mai (hard soil) and mai joshin (red soil) are very low fertility soils where, although crops do grow, they recognize that and observe that the fruit does not develop, like for example, corn stalks are small, plants are small, banana clusters have small quantities of fruits, and are low in quality. Therefore, production is low since the crop is less.

Figure 1 - Graphic of soil fertility relations analyzed with the AKT5 program

Soil Types The Shipibo Conibo ethnic group identify the following types of soil: -Camanin Non floodable land -Maicon Floodable land apt for agriculture -Tasba Canin Floodable land, floodplain -Mai huiso Black land -Mai joshin Red land -Mana mai High non-floodable land -Naco Mud -Mapo mai Clayer land -Mashi mai Sandy land The first column gives the name of soils in the Shipibo Conibo language. Floodable Lands The management of natural resources by the communities that live next to the Ucayali River centers around the flooding periods that take place annually. Each river growths during the months of December to April. When the river moves back, it leaves black soil with greater humidity and therefore, with better fertility. It also leaves beaches that the

people use to sow their annual crops such as Indian corn (Zea maiz), rice (Oryza sativa), caupi (Vigna unguiculata )and peanuts ( Arachis ipogea) (fig. 2) The common varieties of bananas do not tolerate flooding due to their superficial roots system, which tends to rot and the plant tends to fall. This does not happen with the sapucho and campen varieties, which tolerate these flooding periods. In some communities tuberous roots such as sachapapa (Dioscorea sp) and dale dale (Calathea allouia) are not cultivated due to the flooding. They said that these native crops are very important to their diet. The type of yucca (cassava Manihot sculenta) to be sown has to do with the flooding periods. They prefer using the six-month variety or varieties with vegetative periods of less than a year. The Shipibos prepare themselves for this lack of food period by preparing faria, made out of yucca flour.

Figure 2 - Important relations relative to land flooding Species tolerant of flooding periods The following species of fruit trees have been identified as tolerant of flooding periods: Bread Tree (Artcarpus sp.) Champion Banana (Musa sp.)

Sapucho Banana (Musa sp.) Mango (Manguifera Indica) Camu Camu (Myrciaria sp.) Coco (Cocos nucifera) Poma Rosa (Sysigium jambos) Caimito (Pouteria caimito) Shimbillo (Inga sp.)

For these two last species contradictions arose between communities. In some communities they said that both species tolerated flooding. Others did not. According to the literature revised, only the caimito species is tolerant of flooding. These are the contradictions established based on the knowledge of the communities, as well as the information found in the literature. Wood Species Within the wood species tolerant of flooding the farmers identified the following: Bolaina (Guazuma crinita) Capirona (Callycophyllum spruceanum) Quinilla (Manilkara bidenta) Lupuna (Chorisia sp.) Caoba or Mahogany (Swithenia macrophila) Moena (Ocotea sp) Cedro or Cedar (Cedrella spp) Catahua (Hura crepitans)

Clear-felling and burn The Shipibo Conibo people carry out clear-felling and burn according to the number of tree trunks and stakes the plot has. This activity helps all farm tasks such as sowing and weeding. Also, the ashes that result from the burning contribute to the soils fertility, increasing the nutrient content ad making some plagues such as termites disappear. (Figure 3). Plagues The most important plague is the curuince (Atta cephalotes), a type of defoliating ant that attacks yucca crops and fruit species. This plague only exists in places where there is no flooding (Figure 3). Communities where flooding is total do not have problems with this plague.

Figure 3. Relationship between clear-felling and burn in the different productive processes in flooding soils. Conclusions and Recommendations Resources management is based on flooding periods and flooding soils. The Shipibo Conibo agricultural knowledge is not very old, that is why, they have a medium knowledge about the types of soil. Conflict of knowledge between farmers and farmerliterature were found, as well as local and scientific knowledge. This helps to investigate a number of assertions from all sources of information. The Shipibo Conibo people have a great knowledge of medicinal plants and their principal activities are hunting and fishing, which are the most important sources of food in their daily lives. In recent years, they have been learning more about agriculture, an activity to which they are dedicating more time. Our recommendations are as follows: To study more about the flow of knowledge: ancestral, experiences, extentionist, etc. To clarify why there is a conflict of knowledge. To compare knowledge basis in contrasting places.