Society for Economic Botany/BSA Economic Botany Section
Guel, Anel , Penn, Jim , Atías Vasquez, Gladis .
Use of the chambira palm (Astrocaryum chambira) in rainforest communities of the Peruvian Amazon: Household involvement in a commercial artwork for export and tourists.
Introduction Near a large new community reserve in the Peruvian Amazon, women in local communities have been involved in weaving chambira fiber artwork to raise household incomes and alleviate rural poverty. Despite the promotion of this expanding business as an ecofriendly activity that offers needed economic opportunities for ribereÃ±o women, no studies have been conducted on how women and their households become involved in this business, nor the economic impact on their households and communities. Moreover, there is no research demonstrating how they obtain the palm fibers, and if it is harvested in a sustainable manner. Objectives To determine the reasons why women became involved in chambira weaving, their income from artwork sales, where they obtain fiber, and if the fiber is harvested in a sustainable manner. The results of the study will give the women, their communities and development planners key insights about how the chambira artwork business can both help and hinder community development as they consider conservation priorities. Methods Structured socioeconomic surveys were conducted in 122 households from 5 different communities. Using GPS and ArcGIS 10, chambira harvest areas and gardens were surveyed and mapped out. With each survey, the density of chambira palms was determined and the harvest of new shoots was recorded. Results Household income from the sale of chambira artwork showed high variance between communities, along with levels of participation in the export program. Densities of chambira palms varied greatly across different landscapes. Harvest levels for the palms ranged from medium to very high, with most palms harvested form relatively small areas. Conclusion Current demand for chambira fiber far exceeds the available supply in community lands. Each of the five communities must plant more chambira to supply the expanding artwork market and lower harvest pressure on wild chambira. Participation must increase so that more women and their families can take advantage of the increased demand for chambira artwork and raise their household income.
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1 - Grand Valley State University, Department of Geography and Planning, 12 National Ave NW, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 49504, USA
2 - Grand Valley State University, Department of Geography and Planning, B - 4 - 205 Mackinac Hall, Allendale, MI, 49401, USA
3 - The Rainforest Conservation Fund , Peru
non-timber forest products
Presentation Type: Poster:Posters for Sections
Location: Khorassan Ballroom/Chase Park Plaza
Date: Monday, July 11th, 2011
Time: 5:45 PM