Management of the palm Astrocaryum chambira Burret (Arecaceae) in northwest Amazon
Acta Botânica Brasílica
We studied the management of the fiber-producing chambira palm Astrocaryum chambira by indigenous people in the Colombian Amazon. Between 2009 and 2012, we visited four communities and two marketing centers, where we interviewed 12 people. In addition, we specifically observed A. chambira harvesting, processing, and commercialization; studied palm populations at five localities; measured leaf production rate; and integrated secondary data. At least 21 aboriginal groups in the Colombian Amazon
... Colombian Amazon use chambira fiber. The palm grows in association with human communities, and it has been widely used and managed in past agroforestry systems. The fiber is obtained from the unexpanded leaves of juvenile or adult palms, and harvesting is often unsustainable because of overharvesting acaulescent palms or of cutting down adult palms. This is leading to a depletion of palm population. Annual leaf production rate was 1.59-2.89 leaves/palm year −1 , which is lower than that reported in other studies. Based in our results, we recommended a harvest of 1 leaf/palm year −1 in acaulescent palms, and 1-2 leaves/palm year −1 in stemmed palms. Chambira-derived products are mostly handicrafts for marketing, and their trade represents 40%-100% of artisan household cash income. Improving the management of chambira palms requires the introduction of non-destructive harvest techniques and a wider use of the palm in agroforestry systems. An analysis of traditional management practices and of the role of chambira among Amerindian people indicates that A. chambira was an incipient domesticate at the time of the European conquest.