Record Details

McDaniel, J.;Kennard, D.;Fuentes, A.
Smokey the Tapir: Traditional fire knowledge and fire prevention campaigns in lowland Bolivia
Society & Natural Resources
Journal Article
bolivia indigenous fire knowledge tropical savannah ecology resource-management australia savanna forest burn mali Tapir Bibliography
Severe wildfires devastated the southeastern Bolivian lowlands during 1999-2001. In response, the Bolivian government instituted an education campaign to reduce rural burning. Working with Chiquitano Indians in the southeastern lowlands, we were interested in finding out (1) the level of knowledge of fire behavior and the ecological role of fire in shaping forest and savannah ecosystems, and (2) current attitudes in Lomerio toward fire as a land management tool. We conducted key informant interviews in the Chiquitano territory of Lomerio to document Chiquitano knowledge of and attitudes toward fire practices. Informants expressed knowledge of fire behavior and effects, recognizing the effects of wind, relative humidity and fuel moisture on fire intensity, and the effects of fire intensity on soil fertility. Informants revealed a complex understanding of the role of fire in maintaining the structure and composition of savannahs and how fire interacts with changing cattle production, climatic, and demographic conditions.
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