Observations on Natural Resource Use and Conservation by the Shuar in Ecuador's Cordillera del Cóndor
AbstractUnderstanding how indigenous people use and manage natural resources is essential for promoting conservation on indigenous lands. I evaluated how one Shuar indigenous community in the Cordillera del Cóndor of Ecuador use woody taxa in mature and secondary forest, cultivate swidden land, value natural resources and view changes to their environment. Field research, conducted from January February of 2003, involved ethnobotanical survey methods and interviews with 25 community members. A total of 104 plant species were classified according to ethnobotanical use. Food, forage, construction and fuel were the most common use categories for forest plants. In the swidden plot, most plants were used for food, with native trees protected among a diversity of cultivars, primarily to attract wildlife. Mining is considered the biggest threat to conservation in the Cordillera del Cóndor’s proposed Shuar Protected Area and will need to be addressed by the Shuar, supporting NGOs and the Ecuadorian government.
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