Sabedores-sabedoras: Indigenous Methods of Recuperation, Preservation and Management of Forest Varzea, Amazonas – Colombia, Brazil, Peru, Ecuador

By Ann M. Mitchell, Blanca Vargas de Corredor, Alexander I. Gray and Andrés Corredor.

Published by The Sustainability Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

The sabedores (wise people) of the Amazon forest possess
the knowledge to sustainably manage their environment which
they have preserved and survived in for thousands of years.
This paper is an overview of our project Sabedores-
sabedoras which looks at the importance of researching and
giving credit to indigenous methods of recuperation,
preservation and management of the forest and varzea,
Amazonas – Colombia, Brazil, Peru, Ecuador. The information
presented is based on more than twenty years of field
research with the sabedores from the Amazon forest in
addition to two interdisciplinary projects (DEFRA-Darwin
Initiative 9008 and 12016). The project researchers have
worked directly with sabedores from a range of ethnic
groups including Uitoto, Muinane, Andoke, Yukuna, Tikuna,
Cocama, Quichua, Tukano, Yagua. A methodology of
participative observation together with the running of
interdisciplinary, intercultural workshops in Leticia and
in Indigenous Communities, Amazonas, Colombia was used.
The importance of maintaining and reviving indigenous
knowledge and identity, together with giving credibility to
the management techniques, was highlighted as a way forward
for the indigenous communities and the environment, in
particular the tropical forest, Amazonas.

Keywords: Cultural Identity, Traditional Indigenous Knowledge, Sabedores, Wise Men & Women, Field Research & Workshops in Leticia & Indigenous Communities, Amazonas, Rainforest Preservation, Forest & Environment Management, Sustainable Management of Ecosystems & Harvests, Amazon Forest Conservation

The International Journal of Environmental, Cultural, Economic and Social Sustainability, Volume 6, Issue 6, pp.129-166. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 2.946MB).

Dr. Ann M. Mitchell

Visiting Scientist, Teaching Fellow (Pharmacy/Herbal Studies), Natural Products Research Group, Strathclyde Institute of Pharmacy & Biomedical Sciences, University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, Scotland, UK

Pharmacist with more than twenty years of field research experience working on conservation and traditional medicine projects in the tropical forest Colombia, Peru, Brazil and Ecuador. Co-led two Darwin Initiative, DEFRA sponsored projects: “Preservation & Rehabilitation of the Colombian Rainforest by Indigenous People” (DI 9008) and “Indigenous methods to sustainable manage riverine plantations, Amazon region – Colombia/Peru/Brazil” (DI 12016).Since 1987 has worked on traditional medicine and conservation projects with the anthropologist Blanca de Corredor with different indigenous groups such as Uitotos, Muinanes, Andokes, Yukuna-Matapí, Tikuna, Cocama in the Colombian Amazon rain forest. Has had honorary research positions in the Pontificia Universidad Javeriana and Universidad de los Andes, Bogotá and has taught traditional medicine in the Universidad Católica, Quito, Ecuador. Currently is a teaching fellow at the University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, UK and an honorary research fellow in St Mary’s College and coordinates the Scottish-Colombia project at the Centre for the Study of Religion and Politics (CSRP), University of St. Andrews, UK.

Prof. Blanca Vargas de Corredor

Anthropologist, Universidad Nacional de Colombia, Bogota, Colombia

Anthropologist (Summa cum laude 1980), Universidad Nacional de Colombia. Thirty years field research experience working on traditional medicine and conservation projects with different indigenous groups such as Uitotos, Muinanes, Andokes, Yukuna-Matapi, Tikuna, Cocama in the Colombian Amazon Rainforest. Colombian leader of the projects “Preservation & Rehabilitation of the Colombian Rainforest by Indigenous People” (DI 9008) and “Indigenous methods to sustainably manage riverine plantations, Amazon region – Colombia/Peru/Brazil” (DI 12016). Prof. Blanca Vargas is an associate researcher at the Centre for the Study of Religion and Politics (CSRP), University of St Andrews. She is cofounder of the Colombian “Asociación para la Investigación Científica, Sociocultural y Ecológica (AICSE)”. She teaches post-graduate courses on traditional indigenous Medicine and related topics in the various institutions in Colombia including the Universidad Nacional de Colombia and Universidad Central, Bogotá.

Prof. Alexander I. Gray

Professor – in Pharmacognosy & Pharmaceutical Sciences, Natural Products Research Group, Strathclyde Institute of Pharmacy & Biomedical Sciences, University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, Scotland, UK

Joint UK leader of Darwin Initiative projects “Preservation & Rehabilitation of the Colombian Rainforest by Indigenous People” (DI 9008) and “Indigenous methods to sustainably manage riverine plantations, Amazon region – Colombia/Peru/Brazil” (DI 12016). Carrying out research in Pharmacognosy; Phytochemistry, Drug Discovery from natural sources with colleagues worldwide on Natural Substances. Research areas of interest include Extraction, Chromatography and other Separation Methods; Spectroscopy such as NMR & MS, for the Determination of Structure of Organic Molecules; Pharmaceutical Analysis; Analysis and determination of the structures of organic molecules; Isolation of Bioactive Compounds from Herbal Medicines and other Natural Sources; Chemical Ecology; Environmental Sciences; Collaboration with the Indigenous people & Academic researchers worldwide in the study of their Ecosystems & Traditional Medicines.

Prof. Andrés Corredor

Professor, Department of Art, Universidad Distrital Francisco José de Caldas, Bogotá, Colombia

Master in Fine Arts, Universidad Nacional de Colombia. Associate of Fine Arts, Institute of American Indian Arts, Santa Fe, N.M., U.S.A.; Lecturer in Plastic Arts, Universidad Nacional de Colombia. Currently studying for PhD, Universidad Andina Simón Bolivar, Quito, Ecuador. Andrés Corredor has many years experience working in the area of indigenous art. He led indigenous workshops in two Darwin Initiative, DEFRA sponsored projects: “Preservation & Rehabilitation of the Colombian Rainforest by Indigenous People” (DI 9008) and “Indigenous methods to sustainable manage riverine plantations, Amazon region – Colombia/Peru/Brazil” (DI 12016) in the area of indigenous art and conservation of the tropical forest.

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