Economic Botany

, Volume 53, Issue 3, pp 237–260 | Cite as

Ethnobotany of the Tacana: Quantitative inventories of two permanent plots of Northwestern Bolivia

  • Saara J. DeWalt
  • GeneviÈve Bourdy
  • Lia R. ChÁvez de Michel
  • Celin Quenevo


We present ecological and ethnobotanical descriptions of two permanent 1-ha plots located in Amazonian forest near two Tacana communities situated north and west of the Madidi National Park in the Iturralde Province, Department of La Paz of northwestern Bolivia. We interviewed 13 Tacana men and women to identify and enumerate uses of all of the trees, palms, and lianas ≥ 10 cm dbh in these plots. Of the 185 species found in both plots, 115 species are used by the Tacana: 59 species for construction, 9 as sources of fiber, 33 for technology and crafts, 66 as firewood, 32 for food or water, 40 for medicine, 8 for hunting or fishing, 9 for commercial purposes, and 11 for miscellaneous uses. Sixty-four percent of useful species had multiple uses. This utilization of the forest corresponds with that of other Amazonian indigenous groups and shows a high reliance on the forest for vegetative materials, especially medicine, technology and crafts, and construction.

Key Words

Amazonia Bolivia ethnobotany permanent plot Tacana 

EtnobotÁnica de los Tacana: Inventario Cuantitativo de dos Parcelas Permanentes del Noroeste de Bolivia


Presentames descripciones ecológicas y etnobotánicas de dos parcelas permanentes de 1-hectárea localizadas en bosque amazónico cerca de dos comunidades de Tacana situadas al norte y al oeste del Parque Nacional Madidi en la Provincia Iturralde, Departamento de La Paz del noroeste de Bolivia. Entrevistamos a 13 hombres y mujeres Tacana para identificar los nombres y usos de los árboles, palmeras y bejucos ≥ 10 cm dap en las parcelas. De las 185 especies que encontramos en ambas parcelas, 115 especies son utilizadas por los Tacana: 59 especies se utilizan para constructión, 9 como fuente de fibra, 33 para tecnología y manualidades, 66 para leña, 32 para comida o agua, 40 para medicinas, 8 para caza o pesca, 9 para usos comerciales, y 11 para usos misceláneos. El 64% de las especies de provecho tienen usos múltiples. Los datos relevantes al modo de utilizatión del monte corresponden a otros grupos amazónicos étnicos, y demuestran una alta dependencia de los recursos naturales vegetales del bosque, especialmente en cuanto a la medicina, tecnologia, artesanía, y constructión.


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Copyright information

© The New York Botanical Garden Press 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Biological Sciences, 202 Life Sciences Bldg.Louisiana State UniversityBaton RougeUSA
  2. 2.ORSTOM, CasillaLa PazBolivia
  3. 3.Herbario Nacional de Bolivia, CasillaLa PazBolivia
  4. 4.Consejo Indígena del Pueblo TacanaTumupasaBolivia

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