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Distribution of Agrobiodiversity in Home Gardens along the Corrientes River, Peruvian Amazon

Abstract

Distribution of Agrobiodiversity in Home Gardens along the Corrientes River, Peruvian Amazon. This paper examines crop species diversity in home gardens of traditional communities along a remote tributary in northeastern Peru. A large-scale survey was conducted of 300 gardens in 15 villages along a 150 km reach of the Corrientes River. Study villages vary notably in community size, ethnicity of residents (Achuar, Urarina, mestizo), and proximity to the regional town (Trompeteros) as well as to oil wells. Gardens were inventoried and interviews conducted with garden tenders to provide data on socioeconomic characteristics of the household and contextual conditions. Multiple regression analyses identified the determinants of species diversity. Results indicate high crop diversity—the highest yet reported for sites in the Amazon basin—particularly among the Achuar people. Garden species diversity is greatest in larger villages and, surprisingly, in those villages located nearer to the oil company. Within villages, households with larger land holdings (and gardens), more in-house labor, and garden tenders who are older and female tend to have more diverse gardens. A small number of households (15/300) were found to hold exceptional diversity, often older and land-wealthier households located on the outskirts of villages. These farmers held, on average, three times the number of species as a typical village garden and 60% of all species encountered in the study.

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Acknowledgments

This study was conducted with the financial assistance of the Fonds pour la Formation de Chercheurs et l’Aide à la Rercherche (FCAR) and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC). We are much indebted to Dr. Carlos Manrique, Padre Louis Castonguay, Victor Villalobos, to the managers, field staff, and medical team of Pluspetrol, and to the researchers of the Instituto de Investigaciones de la Amazonia Peruana in Iquitos for their generous logistic and technical support. Our deepest gratitude to Jaime Salazar, Reynerio Macahuachi, and the residents of the Corrientes River, whose trust, hospitality, and unfailing patience made this study possible. Our manuscript benefited significantly by the insightful and constructive comments of two anonymous reviewers and the editor, Dan Moerman.

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Correspondence to Oliver T. Coomes.

Appendix

Appendix

Appendix. List of 100 most common home garden plants, Corrientes River, Peru.

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Perrault-Archambault, M., Coomes, O.T. Distribution of Agrobiodiversity in Home Gardens along the Corrientes River, Peruvian Amazon. Econ Bot 62, 109 (2008). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12231-008-9010-2

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Key Words

  • Cultivated plant diversity
  • home gardens
  • huertos
  • indigenous peoples
  • Peru
  • Amazonia