LADIO Ana Haydee
Factors affecting local plant knowledge in isolated communities from Patagonian steppe: Metacommunity theory is revealed as a methodological approach
SANTORO, FLÁVIA ROSA; RICHERI, MARINA; LADIO, ANA HAYDÉE
PUBLIC LIBRARY SCIENCE
Año: 2022 vol. 17
The Patagonian steppe is a refuge for several indigenous peoples who live in relatively isolatedcommunities, depending heavily on natural resources for their activities, health, andfood security. The local ecological knowledge is a reservoir that generates full wellbeing andfor which it must be the object of protection and local development. In this study, we aimedto find which factors can influence local ecological knowledge from a metacommunity on thePatagonian steppe. We analyzed variation in knowledge about cultivated and gatheredplants used as medicinal, edible, and firewood according to multiple factors widely discussedin the ethnobiological literature: age, gender, formal education, occupation, indigenousidentity, contact with urban centers, use of biomedicine, hunting, and handcraftedtextile production. We conducted semi-structured interviews with local experts, accessed bythe snowball technique. We found that formal education is a key factor in the variation oflocal ecological knowledge among people. In addition, we found that knowledge variesbetween people who practice activities inside and outside the home, concentrating knowledgebetween cultivated and gathered plants, respectively. Our urbanization proxies did notpoint to an influence of this factor on local knowledge, but specialists living in a larger communitywith signs of internal urbanization processes had much less knowledge. Our resultsallowed us to visualize the importance of studying metacommunities as a whole, to verifycomplexities and intersections of overlapping factors. Studies in metacommunities open upa range of possibilities for ethnobiological analysis.