Human Impacts on Amazonia: The Role of Traditional Ecological Knowledge in Conservation and Development / Edition 1

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From the pre-Columbian era to the present, native Amazonians have shaped the land around them, emphasizing utilization, conservation, and sustainability. These priorities stand in stark contrast to colonial and contemporary exploitation of Amazonia by outside interests. With essays from environmental scientists, botanists, and anthropologists, this volume explores the various effects of human development on Amazonia. The contributors argue that by protecting and drawing on local knowledge and values, further environmental ruin can be avoided.

Columbia University Press

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Editorial Reviews


A very intelligent presentation... Highly Recommended.

Southeastern Naturalist

Of great value to anyone interested in policies influencing the future of the Amazon basin.

Environmental Conservation
An outstanding collection on the cultural and political ecology of native Amazonians and other traditional inhabitants of the region.

— Thomas Ludewigs

Environmental Conservation - Thomas Ludewigs

An outstanding collection on the cultural and political ecology of native Amazonians and other traditional inhabitants of the region.


A very intelligent presentation... Highly Recommended.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780231105897
  • Publisher: Columbia University Press
  • Publication date: 7/4/2006
  • Series: Biology and Resource Management Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 392
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Darrell Addison Posey (1947-2001) was director of the Traditional Resource Rights Programme, Oxford Centre for the Environment, Ethics, and Society, and of the University of Oxford Centre for Brazilian Studies. He is the author of several books, including Beyond Intellectual Property: Toward Traditional Resource Rights for Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities and Indigenous Knowledge and Ethics: A Darrell Posey Reader.Michael J. Balick is vice president for research and training and director and philecology curator at the Institute of Economic Botany, The New York Botanical Garden. He is the author or editor of sixteen books, including Plants, People, and Culture: The Science of Ethnobotany (with Paul Alan Cox); Useful Palms of the World (with Hans T. Beck); Rainforest Remedies: One Hundred Healing Herbs of Belize (with Rosita Arvigo); and The Subsidy from Nature: Palm Forests, Peasantry, and Development on an Amazon Frontier (with Anthony B. Anderson and Peter H. May).

Columbia University Press

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Table of Contents

Thoughts on the future of Amazonia : the region, residents, researchers, and realities 1
1 Romance and reality : the first European vision of Brazilian Indians 5
2 Constructing tropical nature 17
3 Demand for two classes of traditional agroecological knowledge in modern Amazonia 33
4 Fire in Roraima, 1998 - politics and human impact : what role for indigenous people in Brazilian Amazonia? 51
5 The Cerrado of Brazilian Amazonia : a much-endangered vegetation 85
6 A review of Amazonian wetlands and rivers : valuable environments under threat 98
7 Fragility and resilience of Amazonian soils : models from indigenous management 122
8 Is successful development of Brazilian Amazonia possible without knowledge of the soil and soil response to development? 146
9 Fragile soils and deforestation impacts : the rationale for environmental services of standing forest as a development paradigm in Amazonia 158
10 Concurrent activities and invisible technologies : an example of timber management in Amazonia 172
11 Institutional and economic issues in the promotion of commercial forest management in Amerindian societies 181
12 Collect or cultivate - a conundrum : comparative population ecology of Ipecac (Carapichea ipecacuanha (Brot.) L. Anderson), a neotropical understory herb 193
13 Extractivism, domestication, and privatization of a native plant resource : the case of Jaborandi (Pilocarpus microphyllus stapf ex Holmes) in Maranhao, Brazil 210
14 Peasant riverine economies and their impact in the lower Amazon 222
15 Conservation, economics, traditional knowledge, and the Yanomami : implications and benefits for whom? 238
16 The commodification of the Indian 248
17 Euphemism in the forest : ahistoricism and the valorization of indigenous knowledge 273
18 What's the difference between a peace corps worker and an anthropologist? : a millennium rethink of anthropological fieldwork 286
19 Traditional resource use and ethnoeconomics : sustainable characteristics of the Amerindian lifestyles 307
20 Enhancing social capital : productive conservation and traditional knowledge in the Brazilian rain forest 328
App Findings and recommendations 345
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