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Abstract Detail

70 Years After Schultes: Economic Botany from the Andes to the Amazon

Williams, Sophie [1].

Cultivation of harvested species as a conservation strategy.

The harvesting of plants from the wild is a major component of the livelihoods and subsistence for many people throughout the world. However, over-exploitation threatens many harvested plant populations. One option to combat over-exploitation is the cultivation of a species, effective only if the cultivation substitutes for wild harvesting.Xate (Chamaedorea ernesti-augustii) is harvested illegally in Belize by Guatemalans and exported to the US and Europe for use in the floricultural industry. The industry is estimated to be worth approximately US $4 million in 2000 and the levels of harvest are thought to be unsustainable. In Guatemala, community initiatives have begun to establish xate plantations. In 2004 a training programme coordinated by Belize Botanic Garden taught Belizean farmers xate cultivation techniques. The aim of this research was to assess the impact of the training programme upon the relationship between Belizean farmers and the xate palm. Using questionnaire surveys and semi-structured interviews we evaluated the knowledge farmers in relation to xate, investigate whether the training made people more likely to cultivate xate (accounting for socio-economic predictors), and qualitatively assessed the barriers to xate cultivation. Trained farmers had a higher knowledge of xate cultivation than farmers not trained (t = 9.85, p=<0.01, df= 79). Training was an important predictor of xate cultivation. Older people who are trained and own forest are the most likely to be cultivating xate. The primary barrier to cultivation was access to seeds to establish plantations. The lack of market to sell xate when harvested also deterred people from growing xate.Training can influence knowledge and behaviour of participants. However, there are barriers other than knowledge that restrict xate cultivation. To develop cultivation as a conservation strategy these barriers need to be addressed. The next stage in the research is to identify the conditions under which cultivation of xate would reduce pressure on the wild harvested populations using a bio-economic modelling approach.

Broader Impacts:

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1 - Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew and Bangor University, School of Environment, Natural Resources and Geography, Thoday Building, Deinol Road, Bangor, Gwynedd, LL57 2UW, UK


Presentation Type: Symposium or Colloquium Presentation
Session: SY07
Location: Maryland Room/Chase Park Plaza
Date: Tuesday, July 12th, 2011
Time: 3:00 PM
Number: SY07007
Abstract ID:44

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