Economic Botany

, Volume 58, Issue 3, pp 420–434 | Cite as

Cultivated plant species diversity in home gardens of an Amazonian peasant village in Northeastern Peru

  • Oliver T. CoomesEmail author
  • Natalie Ban


Research on agrobiodiversity points to the importance of home gardens in situ conservation, yet few studies to date explicate the origins and dynamics of plant species diversity. In this paper, we examine inter-household variations in cultivated plant species diversity among house gardens in a traditional peasant community, near Iquitos, Peru. In-depth household interviews (n = 24) and garden/field surveys reveal that home gardens are clearly the site of highest plant diversity in farmers’ field portfolios, and that substantial differences exist in garden composition, plant diversity, and the sources of garden planting material across households. Statistical analyses indicate that home garden diversity is related strongly to specific garden characteristics, household socioeconomic features, and access to planting material including seeds, cuttings, and suckers. The role and implications of differential access to planting material in the development and maintenance of crop species diversity is signaled as an important theme for future study in economic botany.

Key words

Amazon kitchen gardens dooryard gardens germplasm in situ conservation agrodiversity 


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Copyright information

© New York Botanical Garden Press, Bronx, NY 10458-5126 U.S.A 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of GeographyMcGill UniversityMontrealCanada
  2. 2.Fisheries Centre, Lower Mall Research Station, 2259 Lower MallThe University of British ColumbiaVancouverCanada

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