Human Ecology

, Volume 11, Issue 1, pp 47–68 | Cite as

A comparison of the diversity of Jivaroan Gardens with that of the tropical forest

  • James Boster


The proposition that tropical polycultural gardens simulate the structure and dynamics of the surrounding forest is examined in the light of research on Jivaroan manioc cultivation. Garden transects were used to measure the diversity of intercropped species and of locally recognized varieties of manioc. Huambisa and Aguaruna Jivaro gardens have much lower species diversities than the surrounding forest, even though crop compositions reflect the age, topography, and soil type of the swiddens. Furthermore, the number of manioc varieties is far greater than that of all other crop species combined. It is argued that a pure stand of Jivaroan manioc can itself be considered a polycrop of distinct cultivars with differing branching patterns, leaf shapes, and growth periods.

Key Words

Intercropping manioc Jivaro diversity 


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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1983

Authors and Affiliations

  • James Boster
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of AnthropologyUniversity of KentuckyLexington

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