Knowledge and Consumption of Wild Plants: A comparative study in two Tsimane' villages in the Bolivian Amazon

Victoria Reyes-García, Vincent Vadez, Tomás Huanca, William Leonard, David Wilkie


Researchers have often equated ethnobotanical knowledge
collected through interview questions with actual uses of plants, but knowledge and uses of plants might or might not move in lockstep. Using data from 132 adults living
in two villages of a foraging-farming society in the Bolivian
Amazon, the Tsimane´, we compare ethnobotanical knowledge with uses of wild and semi-domesticated plants. Villages differed in proximity to the market town and in dependence on forest resources. We find that people
in the more remote village knew and used more plants than did people in the accessible village. We also find that individual ethnobotanical knowledge correlates positively with uses of plants in the pooled sample and in the isolated
village, but not in the village with less dependence on forest resources. Researchers could use the gap between ethnobotanical knowledge and actual uses of plants to study erosion of ethnobotanical knowledge.

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Ethnobotany Research and Applications (ISSN 1547-3465) is published online by the Department of Ethnobotany, Institute of Botany, Ilia State University.
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