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Differentiated use of wildlife resources by Ribereñho families in the Northeastern Peruvian Amazon

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Title:
Differentiated use of wildlife resources by Ribereñho families in the Northeastern Peruvian Amazon
Creator:
Espinosa Ch., M. Cristina
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English
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xvi, 279 leaves : ill. ; 29 cm.

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Subjects / Keywords:
Wildlife management -- Peru -- Amazonas (Region) ( lcsh )
Wildlife resources -- Peru -- Amazonas (Region) ( lcsh )
Conservation of natural resources -- Peru -- Amazonas (Region) ( lcsh )
Anthropology thesis, Ph.D ( lcsh )
Dissertations, Academic -- Anthropology -- UF ( lcsh )
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bibliography ( marcgt )
non-fiction ( marcgt )

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Thesis:
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Florida, 1998.
Bibliography:
Includes bibliographical references (leaves 270-278).
General Note:
Typescript.
General Note:
Vita.
Funding:
Electronic resources created as part of a prototype UF Institutional Repository and Faculty Papers project by the University of Florida.
Statement of Responsibility:
by Maria Cristina Espinosa Ch.

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University of Florida
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University of Florida
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Copyright M. Cristina Espinosa Ch. Permission granted to the University of Florida to digitize, archive and distribute this item for non-profit research and educational purposes. Any reuse of this item in excess of fair use or other copyright exemptions requires permission of the copyright holder.
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41875773 ( OCLC )
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Full Text
DIFFERENTIATED USE OF WILDLIFE RESOURCES BY RIBEREIHO
FAMILIES OF THE NORTHEASTERN PERUVIAN AMAZON
By
MARIA CRISTINA ESPINOSA CH.
A DISSERTATION PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF
DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA 1998




Copyright 1998
by
Maria Cristina Espinosa Ch.




To my daughters, Cristina and Marcela, the sunshine of my life, whose generous encouragement, understanding and sacrifices have made it possible for me to return to school after many years and fulfill a part of my dreams. To all the beautiful human beings I have met through the years in Gainesville, my dear friends, who will be forever in my heart, sharing the vision of an alternative way to relate to this sacred planet, and among men and women, young and elder, poor and rich, white and colored, transcending the illusions of our separation.




ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
The fieldwork that made this study possible was funded in 1996 by the Tropical Conservation and Development (TCD) Program at the Center for Latin American Studies, the Tinker Foundation and the Charles Dickenson Fund. The MERGE (Managing the Environment with Gender Emphasis) program funded my fieldwork in 1997, as part a comparative research project funded by the North-South Center. In addition, my participation with Katie Lynch as MERGE trainers in the Summer Field Course on Tropical Wildlife Management, organized by the TCD Program and UNAP, Iquitos, facilitated my entrance into the upper Tahuayo communities. I am also thankful to Dr. Jose Lopez Parodi, who allowed me to stay in the PPS project house in San Martfn del Tipishca, to interact with the PPS team and to gain many insights based on their experience. I have to thank many people in Iquitos, such as R.P.J. Joaquin Garcia, Director of CETA, Hans Heydra, Director of the SNV office in Iquitos, Arq. Eduardo Duran, country adviser for TNC and ProNaturaleza, Ing. Luis Benitez, Director of the Papaya-Samiria National Reserve, Dr. Miguel Donayre, legal adviser for PPS and SNV projects, for their time, information and interest in the study. Special thanks go to Donha Petronila, the owner of "La Pascana" Hostal, who made me feel a little at home every time I was in Iquitos. Thanks go to Julia Flores and Angel Sanchez in Buenavista, who offered their house, valuable contacts and information, their precious friendship and lots of fun.
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Appreciation goes to Ig. Marcial Trigoso, a friend of mine since 1991, who introduced me to Julia and Angel and the rest of the community, and shared with me his field experience in the region. I must particularly recognize the generous and patient contribution of each member of my committee, not only to this dissertation, but to my academic training in general. Their expertise and academic and professional excellence provided constant inspiration. They are truly energetic, beautiful, warm, sensitive, humorous and down-to-earth human beings. Special thanks go to Dr. Peter Hildebrand for helping me with the data analysis, to Dr. Sandra Russo for the editorial reviews of every draft, and to Dr. Marianne Schmink, my chairperson, for the freedom and trust she gave me, for the successive reviews of my drafts, and for critical encouragement that provided the necessary feedback to improve this dissertation. I must also mention James Penn, a graduate student at the Center for Latin American Studies, whom I met in Iquitos in 1991. Through his 13 years of fieldwork experience, he is, in my opinion, the "outsider" who best knows the local people of Loreto. Special thanks go to Jim who read the last draft of the dissertation, making important comments. Last but not least, no words can express my appreciation and my thanks to the men and women in San Martin and Buenavista, for their patience, their openness and trust, and their sense of humor (I still remember them teasing me every time I had to step into a canoe or to use a machete). I share their suffering, their hopes and strengths, as well as their sadness and impotence. I have tried to express their experiences and their interests in this study, in terms which can be understood by the academic community. I envision, however, a day in which
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they will not need any "translator" or researcher. They will be able to write their own books, make their own science, define their own agendas and speak with their own voices.
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TABLE OF CONTENTS
Page
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS ............................... iv
LIST OF TABLES i....................................xi
LIST OF FIGURES x....................................xiv
ABSTRACT ....................................... xv
CHAPTER
INTRODUCTION ................................ 1
Context .................................. 1
Goals of the Study ............................ 2
Methodology ................................... 4
Organization of the Chapters ........................ 5
2 THE RESEARCH ................................ 7
Research Questions .............................. 8
Methodology ................................... 11
Research Sites .............................. 11
Units of Study ............................. 12
Study Scope .............................. 13
Data Analyses .............................. 14
Conceptual Framework and Method ................... 15
Gendered Ppolitical Ecology ................... 17
Feminist Political Ecology ......... ........... 20
Rural Households and Market Dynamics ......... 22 Gender and Intra-Household Analysis ........... 28
Livelihood Strategies .... .................... 29
Gender and Ethnicity ........................ 32
Ethnicity of Riberefihos ............................. 38
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Page
3 THE REGIONAL CONTEXT OF LORETO .................. 44
Regional History ............................. 44
Colonial Period ......................... 45
The Early Republic ......................... 48
The Construction of the Amazon Space and Capitalist
Development at the National Level ............... 54
The Contemporary Situation for Conservation and Sustainable
Development: People, Markets, and the Environment ..... 73
Legal and Institutional Framework for Natural Resource
Management .............................. 74
Pacaya-Samiria National Reserve (PSNR) ............... 79
The Tamshiyacu-Tahuayo Regional Communal Reserve (TrCR) 85 Projects in the Protected Areas ....................... 89
Summary ................................. 93
4 THE PHYSICAL ENVIRONMENT AND RIBERENHO LIVELIHOOD
STRATEGIES .................................. 95
The M ilieu ................................ 95
Riberefiho Livelihood Strategies ...................... 101
The Case of the Communities of San Martin and Buenavista .. 110
San M artfn ............................ 110
Buenavista ............................ 119
Summary ................................. 126
5 MARKETS, HABITATS AND INSTITUTIONAL FRAMEWORKS: USE
OF NATURAL RESOURCES IN SAN MARTIN AND BUENAVISTA 127
Livelihood Strategies ............................. 127
Fishing .............................. 133
Hunting .............................. 137
Agriculture .............................. 144
Other Extractive Activities .................... 148
Domestic Organization ....................... 150
Summary ................................. 156
6 SOCIAL HETEROGENEITY AND USE OF WILDLIFE RESOURCES
WITHIN THE COMMUNITIES OF SAN MARTIN AND BUENAVISTA 159
Natural Resource Use and Wildlife Extraction ............. 159
Fishing ................................. 164
Hunting .............................. 170
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Page
Access to Means of Extraction, Personal Skills and Preferences 175 Restricted Access to Commercial Means of Extraction 177 Does Limited Access to Means of Extraction Prevent Further Resource Extraction?9.. .. .. .. .. .. .. ...179
Are Commercial Extractivists Economically Better-off in the Village?........................... 186
Summary.................................... 191
7 GENDER AND RESOURCE USE IN SAN MARTIN AND
BUENA VISTA..................................... 194
Gender, Division of Spaces and Relation with Nature.........194
Gender Roles and Division of Labor: Subordination and
Complementarity.............................. 200
Sexuality, Gender Identities and Reproductive Health.........209
Knowledge, Perceptions, Decision Making and Relation With
the Environment............................... 219
Gender, Socioeconomic Differentiation and Traditional
Cultural Backgrounds........................... 231
Summary.................................... 237
8 DISCUSSION...................................... 241
Study Findings and Implications for Conservation Management 241
Socioeconomic Differentiation Among Households and Wildlife
Resource Uses................................ 244
Different Users of Natural Resources, Different Needs .. 246 Subsistence Fishermen....................... 247
Commercial Fishermen...................... 247
Commercial Hunters........................ 248
Factors Affecting Wildlife Resource Pressure............. 250
Diversification of Livelihoods.................. 251
Conservation and Development................. 251
Community-Based Management................. 253
Gender and Traditional Cultural Backgrounds Shape Social
Dynamics and Resource Use....................... 253
Lessons Learned Regarding Conservation, Market Dynamics
and Riberefthos................................ 256
ix




Page
APPENDIX
A SURVEY .................................. 258
B FISHING AND HUNTING PRESSURE ................... 267
REFERENCES .................................. 270
BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH ............................... 279




LIST OF TABLES
Table Page
3.1 Evolution of the Amazon Population 1940-1972 ................ 61
3.2 Demographic Indicators for Loreto ......................... 65
3.3 Indigenous Population Within Rural Population of the Peruvian
Northern Amazon ................................ 71
3.4 Wildlife Species Allowed to be Hunted ...................... 76
4.1 Flood Cycles of Main Rivers in Loreto ...................... 96
4.2 Seasonal and Spatial Patterns for Hunting and Fishing .......... 97
5.1 Yearly Seasonality of Activities and Events, San Martin del Tipishca 130 5.2 Yearly Seasonality of Activities and Events, Buenavista ......... 131 5.3 Most Prevalent Species Fished in San Martin and Buenavista ........ 136 5.4 Most Prevalent Species Hunted in San Martfn and Buenavista ...... 139
5.5 Average Total Weight, Meat and Prices for Main Game Species
in San Martfn and Buenavista ............................ 142
5.6 Average Cost of Hunting Expedition ....................... 144
5.7 Average Prices for Agricultural and Some Wildlife Products ...... 149
5.8 Time Allocation for Productive Activities, by Gender and Age, San M artfn ..................................... 152
5.9 Time Allocation for Productive Activities, by Gender and Age, Buenavista ..................................... 153
5.10 Reproductive Activities in San Martin and Buenavista, by Age and Gender .................................... 155
xi




Table Page
6.1 Age, Time of Residence in the Village and Commercial Fishing Catch 156 6.2 Family Size, Fish Consumption, and Commercial Fishing .......... 157
6.3 Perceptions and Attitudes, and Commercial Fishing .............. 159
6.4 Age and Time of Residence Associated with Hunting ............. 161
6.5 Family Size and Game Meat Consumption, Associated with Hunting 163
6.6 Perceptions and Attitudes Associated with Hunting .............. 166
6.7 Self Perceived Factors Related to Hunting and Fishing ............ 178
6.8 Main Families Identified by Villagers in San Martfn as Being Better-off 180 6.9 Main Families Identified by Villagers of Buenavista as Being Better-off 182 6.10 Criteria that Differentiate Wealthier Families from the Rest ....... 184 7.1 Gender Division of Labor for Extractive Activities .............. 194
7.2 Gender Division of Labor for Reproductive Activities ............ 194
7.3 Gender Division of Labor for Agriculture ..................... 196
7.4 Activities Considered Most Important for Family Consumption ..... 214 7.5 Activities Considered Most Important for Family's Cash Income .... 215 7.6 Hunting Activity as Perceived by Male and Female Informants ..... 216 7.7 Subsistence Fishing as Perceived by Male and Female Informants ... 217 7.8 Commercial Fishing as Perceived by Male and Female Informants ... 217
7.9 Decision-Making on the Fishing Catch, as Perceived by Male and
Female Informants ................................... 219
7.10 Reasons Associated With Commercial Extractivism in San Martfn ... 219 7.11 Reasons Associated with Commercial Extractivism .............. 220
xii




Table Page
7.12 Perceptions on the Status of Natural Resources (%) .. .. .. .. .. ....221
7.13 Attitudes Related to the Status of Natural Resources .. .. .. .. .. ....222
xiii




LIST OF FIGURES
Figure Page
2.1 Loreto's Region, Peru (Altarama, 1992) ................... 40
3.1 Sociodemographic and Territorial Patterns in Loreto ........... 69
3.2 Pacaya-Samiria National Reserve (INRENA-M, Agricultura, 1989) . 80 3.3 Tamshiyacu-Tahuayo Regional Communal Reserve (Bodmer et al., 1995) 82 4.1 Land Forms in Loreto (Padoch, 1988) .................... 100
4.2 Distribution of Households, Institutional Buildings and Plots
(Fieldwork, 1996) ................................ 112
4.3 Distribution of Households, Institutional Buildings and Plots,
Buenavista (Fieldwork, 1996) ......................... 121
6.1 Commercial Fish Catch and Net Access, San Martin del Tipischa . 181 6.2 Commercial Fish Catch and Net Access, Buenavista ........... 181
xiv




Abstract of Dissertation Presented to the Graduate School of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the
Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy
DIFFERENTIATED USE OF WILDLIFE RESOURCES BY RIBERENHO
FAMILIES IN THE NORTHEASTERN PERUVIAN AMAZON By
Maria Cristina Espinosa Ch.
August 1998
Chairperson: Marianne Schmink, Ph.D. Major Department: Anthropology
This study addresses the importance of factors in the natural and economic environment and broader regional context, and those differentiating social groups within communities, that affect wildlife resource use and the potential for sustainable management by local people. The study compares livelihood strategies of two communities near protected areas in the northeastern Peruvian Amazon, one of which participates in resource management planning. Members of the participating community were found to have significantly greater awareness and understanding of conservation issues and regulations, and to express greater willingness to organize around conservation issues. However, their actual resource use patterns, as measured by the amounts of fish and wild game harvested for sale, were higher than those in the other community. Findings of the study suggest that besides natural habitat differences, market influences in the participating community, which is more
xv




accessible to local markets, may override their greater conservation awareness. The unfavorable terms of exchange faced by both communities limit the viability of innovative conservation approaches to influence resource use patterns. Within each community, differences were found both among and within families in the amount of fish and game they harvest to sell and in their attitudes toward conservation. Men who have access to tools for commercial extraction, and cash to finance hunting and fishing expeditions, and whose participation in agriculture is limited, harvest more wildlife resources. The wealthiest families, however, are not the commercial extractivists, unless they have additional sources of cash. Poverty seems to be a factor inhibiting over-use of resources. Skills and preferences are also factors behind the choices of hunters to be heavily involved in hunting. While women do not participate directly in hunting and fishing, they are knowledgeable about these activities and often participate in decisions about resource use. They appear to be more concerned than men about conservation. However, female subordination is expressed in their lack of control over income generated by commercial extraction, affecting the purchase of food and basic goods for family needs, and the food security and well being of these families. These findings suggest that conservation programs might focus their efforts on improving agriculture and other alternatives for income and should work with specialized hunters and fishermen, incorporating women into designing management efforts.
xvi




CHAPTER 1
INTRODUCTION
Context
In a context of increasing concern for tropical ecosystems conservation, local populations are becoming more important for research, as the role they play in natural resource use and conservation becomes better understood (Little, 1994; Robinson and Redford, 1991). The works of Hiraoka (1985), Denevan and Padoch (1988), Schmink and Wood (1987; 1992), Posey and Balee (1989), Anderson et al. (1995), Brondizio et al. (1994), and Rudel (1995), among others, has emphasized the significance of Amazonia's local people to policy makers and conservationists. Many conservationists now accept the idea that preservation requires not only protection, but also involves sustainable use of resources by local people (Robinson and Redford, 1991; Bissonette and Krausman, 1995). However, due to the high degree of complexity and diversity of social groups within the Amazon region, research on socioeconomic and cultural dynamics influencing local resource use is still a challenge (Rodriguez et al., 1990; Little, 1994; Murphee, 1994; Kleymeyer, 1994; Strum, 1994; Kamaruzaman and Majid, 1995; University of Wisconsin-Madison, 1995).
This is especially true for the "Riberefihos," the local people who inhabit the northeastern lowlands of the Peruvian Amazon, and who represent 85% of this regional rural population. Even though they have been the focus of several studies
1




2
since the 1970s (see Chapter 3), which have contributed to a better understanding of their economy, most of these studies focused on Riberefiho agriculture, with less attention to the use of wildlife resources (the exceptions being Barham, Coomes, Craig and Tarasoff, 1995; Coomes, 1992; and Bergman, 1990). These studies were more focused on the ecological and economic aspects of Riberefiho practices and livelihoods, with little attention to gender or ethnic differentiation, nor to the reproductive aspects of livelihood strategies.
Wildlife extraction is important within Riberefiho livelihood strategies, for both income and family subsistence. The interaction of gender, class, markets and ethnicity shapes differential use of wildlife resources in Loreto. This study analyzes the use of wildlife resources at the household and community level taking into account the regional political ecology.
Goals of the Study
The goals of this research included:
1. To understand the regional political ecology as the context which explains the current use of resources by local people, and frames and limits conservation and development initiatives and possibilities.
2. To explore to what extent, when markets and economic environments are dynamic, the participation of communities in conservation management can decrease the pressure on wildlife resources, as compared to communities with no participation in conservation management, but in a less dynamic economic environment. For this




3
purpose, use of wildlife resources, in terms of amount and species caught, was compared for the two selected communities of the study.
3. To understand the economic and cultural rationality of wildlife resource extraction within Ribereftho livelihood strategies, and the factors shaping different resource use among families in each community, and between the two selected communities.
4. To explore the role of gender, socioeconomic differentiation and traditional cultural backgrounds, as well as other socio-demographic variables, in the structuring of social differentiation in regard to resource uses. To then explore the way these ideologies affect the knowledge, perceptions and identity of men and women.
Traditional cultural backgrounds and the discussion of ethnicity was not an important element of the original research design. Similar to other research, it was assumed that studying the mestizo Ribereiiho families did not require specific attention to ethnicity and/or traditional cultural backgrounds. However, the field experience revealed that traditional cultural background was an important element to understanding Riberetho livelihood strategies, use of resources, and gender hierarchies, since mestdzaje' is not a uniform and finished process but one full of contradictions and still on-going.
1Mestisaje in this study refers to the historic process of racial and cultural mixture that began in the context of economic, political, religious, spatial and cultural subordination imposed by the Spanish to indigenous populations; mestisaje also refers to the assimilation of native populations into a dominant society. However, this study suggests that this process is not linear or uniform, but ambivalent, and allowed individuals and social groups to elaborate responses and redefine their own identity. This term does not refer to the process of racial mixture in general, but in the particular context drawn in this study.




4
Methodology
The study was based on information gathered during two fieldwork phases conducted in the summers of 1996 and 1997, in two Riberefiho communities of Loreto, which are within the territory or at the border of protected areas: San Martin del Tipishca, located within the Pacaya-Samiria National Reserve; and Buenavista, in the periphery of Tamshiyacu-Tahuayo Communal Reserve. This case-study was based on 59 surveys applied in the summer of 1996 to men and women from 30% and 38%, respectively, of the households of San Martin and Buenavista. In addition, informal, in-depth and focus-group interviews were conducted in both communities, during 1996 and 1997. The small size of the sample and the coverage of the study are among the limitations of this study. Others limitations derive from the limited time frame of the study, since changes in Riberefiho livelihood strategies are associated with good or bad agricultural cycles of three or more years. For instance, 1996 and 1997 were particularly bad years for agriculture in the Tahuayo basin, and families in the lowlands were still recovering from the devastating floods of 1993 and 1994. To what extent this might increase the importance of extractive activities as compared to "good" agricultural years is an issue that requires long-term research. However, it is opportune to keep this time frame issue in mind. An additional limitation of the study comes from the "outsider" status of the researcher. Despite the statistical significance of the data and the methodology (discussed in Chapter 2), this study explicitly recognizes the subjectivity present in any study, as represented by the assumptions and sentiments of the researcher.




5
Organization of the Chapters
Chapter 2 presents the statement of the problem, research questions,
methodology and the theoretical framework that has guided this study, including a review of the most relevant literature related to the region and the research questions.
Chapter 3 discusses the regional context in terms of the historical evolution that has shaped the economic and socio-demographic structures, and the current institutional and legal frameworks that rule natural and wildlife resources. This chapter includes a description of the two protected areas where the study was conducted: Pacaya-Samiria National Reserve and Tamshiyacu-Tahuayo Communal Reserve.
Chapter 4 describes the ecological context of the lowlands, and the
characteristics of the communities of San Martin and Buenavista, while Chapter 5 characterizes the livelihood strategies adopted by Ribereftho families in San Martin and Buenavista. This chapter also includes an analysis of the wildlife use in each community, in terms of quantity, productivity and species caught.
Chapter 6 analyzes the role of different economic and socio-demographic variables to explain differences among households in terms of wildlife use, with special emphasis on the social access to means of extraction for the case of commercial fishing, and skills, preferences, and attitudes, in the case of hunting. The interactions between wildlife extraction, poverty and improved standard of living are analyzed for each community.




6
Chapter 7 explores the gender hierarchies and ideologies in their interactions with gendered division of roles and spaces, and how these affect the use of natural resources. Subordination, conflict, and cooperation within families are analyzed. in addition to gender roles, female access to knowledge of male extractive and economic activities was used as a proxy to measure gender communication and cooperation between couples. The process of decision-making regarding resource use and ways to meet family needs was used to explore gender conflict and cooperation.
Chapter 8 discusses the major results of the study and their implications for further research as well as for conservation and development initiatives in the region.




CHAPTER 2
THE RESEARCH
In recent years, the importance of indigenous and local peoples as stewards of tropical rainforests, on which their survival relies, has been recognized. This concern has led to community-based conservation management initiatives. One of the issues that emerged from the discussion of this experience is the awareness that communities are complex and heterogeneous entities, whose internal differentiation in terms of class, gender, and ethnicity, influences the use of resources and the dynamics of community-based management (Western et al., 1994; University of Wisconsin, 1995; Bissonette and Krausman, 1995). On the other hand, communities are part of local, regional, and national contexts that affect their economy, society, and culture, including the use of resources. Among these contextual elements, institutional frameworks and market dynamics have been identified as key issues to understanding community behavior (Coomes, 1992; Murphec, 1994; Strum, 1994). Natural resource use is part of complex, variable livelihood systems that change over time, according to habitats and market integration, life span, and gender, among other variables. Individuals within communities are situated within age, gender, socioeconomic, and cultural groups that give them different power and social access to natural resources, and whose ideologies affect the views, perceptions, and attitudes related to resource use and conservation. This study attempted to discern different
7




8
resource uses as part of livelihood strategies that are affected by market dynamics, as well as shaped by gender, socioeconomic differentiation, and traditional cultural backgrounds, within and between households.
In the northeastern Peruvian Amazon region, the protected areas include a National Reserve, Pacaya-Samiria, created in 1972, and a Regional Communal Reserve, Tamshiyacu Tahuayo, created in 1991. Research conducted in both areas (Bodmer et al., 1994; Soini et al., 1996) has addressed the need for further biological research to complete an inventory of wildlife populations and their demographic dynamics in order to establish sustainable harvest levels of wildlife extraction. Studies have also addressed the need for additional socio-economic research to better understand the rationality of resource uses by local communities within and around the protected areas. This study contributes information and analysis on social differentiation affecting the use of resources.
Research Questions
The first set of research questions addressed in this study emerged from
previous research in the region, which suggested the importance of market dynamics in shaping specific livelihood strategies as well as resource uses (Agreda and Espinosa, 1991; Espinosa, 1994). A similar concern was expressed by Coomes (1995) after presenting a regional environmental history from Western Amazon with special focus on the Tahuayo Basin. Coomes (1995) called attention to the "dynamic economic environment" and the forces of markets that are "beyond the influence of




9
local groups, whether they be patrons or communities" (117). In addition, Hiraoka (1984) defined Riberefihos as a social group that has been able to adapt traditional strategies to market dynamics. Several studies (Chibnik, 1987; de Jong, 1987; Padoch, 1988) have established the importance of market dynamics for Riberefiho livelihood strategies, either in terms of agriculture, non-timber products, and/or extractive activities. Other studies have identified the economic importance of specific activities for Riberefiho communities according to their physical and economic environment (Agreda, 1991; Barham et al., 1995). However, the interactions between community participation in conservation management and market dynamics have not been explored as they affect the use of resources.
The question derived from the existing research is whether the institutional framework for community participation in conservation management can overcome the potentially negative impacts of market articulation. In other words, can communities involved in community-based conservation, while at the same time being embedded in a more dynamic economic environment, make more sustainable use of natural resources, especially wildlife? How do their resource use patterns compare to those in communities which do not participate in conservation management but which are in a less dynamic economic environment? The study explores this issue by comparing the quantity and species of wildlife harvested by families of Buenavista and San Martin, each community representing one extreme of this dichotomy. Differences in resource use, between the two communities, are discussed in Chapter




10
6. As an introduction to this topic, a description of livelihoods in both communities is provided in Chapter 5.
The second set of research questions is as follows: What is the degree of
differentiation among families in regard to natural resource use, especially in terms of wildlife resources? What are the factors, processes, and variables associated with the differential use of resources? While linkages with the market have been addressed by several researchers, few studies have focused on the connections between market dynamics and internal differentiation, especially in regard to resource use. On the other hand, some studies have addressed the importance of intra-gender differences as well as perceptions and attitudes in regard to resource use and internal differentiation (Bonnard and Scherr, 1994; Warner et al., 1995). This study explored the role of socio-demographic variables, as well as class, ethnic, and gender differences in regard to different resource uses. In addition, the study aspired to relate the role of wildlife extraction to the process of social and economic differentiation within each community. Do those families who extract more wildlife have a higher standard of living in their communities or are they among the poorest? Is poverty preventing local people from extracting resources in a more intensive way or is poverty pushing them into more extractive activities? Chapter 6 is focused on this exploration.
The third research question contemplated the way gender intersects with
socioeconomic differentiation and traditional cultural backgrounds to shape the way men and women relate to each other, to the environment, and what perceptions, knowledge, and attitudes are associated with these hierarchies and ideologies.




11
Chapter 7 discusses the connection between traditional world views and gender hierarchies and division of spaces and roles in the context of cultural and social subordination.
Methodology
Research Sites
San Martin del Tipishca, within the Pacaya-Samiria National Reserve, and Buenavista, near the border of the Tamshiyacu-Tahuayo Communal Reserve were selected as the two communities in which to conduct the study. Considering the high degree of heterogeneity among communities in this region, the enormous territory, and the communication problems in terms of cost, availability, and security, the reasons these two communities were selected was quite simple. First, their location in regard to market dynamics and to research logistics was ideal. Market dynamics were an important component of the first research question. Therefore, it was necessary to compare two communities with very different types of articulation into market dynamics. San Martfn represents a case of relative isolation, whereas Buenavista represents integration into a dynamic economic environment. The second reason was that these two communities presented advantages in terms of the research logistics. 1
1San Martfn was one base for the Programa Pacaya-Samiria (WWF-AIF/DK) and they offered to allow me to stay at their project house; technicians travel in and out of San Martin with some regularity; therefore, there is a small motor boat that periodically connects that remote community with the main route of the large public boats, something important to consider when traveling by myself to an unknown remote area




12
Units of Study
The study considered households as important units linking individuals with the community and with regional structures, centralizing resources and decisions and instrumentalizing the livelihood strategies. For that reason households played an important role in this study. However, since households are differentiated units, the study chose individuals as the basic units to collect information, applying the survey and interviews to both men and women at each household, as much as possible. Women were first interviewed alone for the questionnaire or for interviews, and their husbands were interviewed later. This was done in order to avoid biases in women's answers.
This disaggregation of the sample facilitated a comparison of male and female information for every question of the survey. The first draft of the questionnaire was developed based on previous research experience among Riberefihos, readings and discussions held in courses related to tropical resource use, and as part of the design of the gender and community component of the Summer Field Course on Tropical Wildlife Conservation, organized by TCD/MERGE/UNAP in the TamshiyacuTahuayo Communal Reserve. During this course, we had the opportunity to test the instrument, to reformulate it, and test it again until it worked smoothly. A sample of the survey is included in the final appendix. Each interview took between 1.5 and 2
with a limited budget. Buenavista is one of the four communities which participates in the management of the TT7CR and the next community close to the Communal Reserve, after Chino. In addition, a technician I knew since 1989 was working in Buenavista and had agreed to introduce me to the families and to the communal meeting.




13
hours, since the questionnaire was not directly applied, but filled out more in the way of an informal conversation.
When the field work started in each selected community, I had the chance to introduce myself and my study at communal meetings. That was very beneficial in obtaining collaboration of the local populace. In addition, before the interviews began, the goals of the study were explained again and permission was requested to ask "a few questions," a euphemism used by all researchers. The survey was applied to 29 individuals in San Martin, representing 30% of the households, and to 30 individuals in Buenavista, representing 38% of the households. The sample was randomly selected, based on the Communal List. Since in San Martin, this list of families followed a geographical order (from the first house in the northern limit of the village to the southern last house), the same geographical pattern was maintained to organize the list and select the sample in Buenavista. Study Sco
The limited coverage of the study and the small size of the sample make this a case study. The exploration of gender, class, markets, and ethnicity affecting the use of resources at the community and household level, with a gender-disaggregated sample had no empirical antecedent for the region, and required in-depth interactions and observations. It was decided to sacrifice the statistical representativeness, which, due to the large number and high degree of heterogeneity of communities in the two protected areas, would require a large sample, a team of surveyors and a special budget to mobilize and feed. I wanted to be able to remain longer in a single place,




14
instead of spending time traveling or supervising other people applying my survey. I wanted to analyze information that I collected and to take advantage of every interaction and opportunity to make observations. Due to this characteristic of the study, results cannot be inferred for the whole region; they can be taken as implications for discussion among people and institutions dealing with conservation, gender, and/or sustainable development in the region. Findings of this study also can serve to design further research to test and expand the preliminary results. Data Analyses
Statistical tests of significance are included in the tables in Chapters 6 and 7, to provide additional information regarding the data and analysis provided in this study. The data base was analyzed using Quatro-Pro for Windows. The statistical analyses included common indicators of distribution, such as average and standard deviation. For the nine selected variables presented in Chapter 6, regression analysis was used to explore the association between variables. In addition, the KruskalWallis test was run to evaluate the statistical significance of the data. This test uses the ranks of the observations rather than the actual values and was selected because
(1) data distribution appeared to be non-normal, and (2) the sample size was smaller than normal.
2(muskalWallis test was used instead of chi square and F-test, since both are used assuming normality in the distribution of the values (chi-square is used to compare two variables and F-test, more than two), and the data showed a non-normal distribution with a high variation within each group. The Kruskal-Wallis test assesses statistically significant differences when the p-value is less than 0.05.




15
Conceptual Framework and Method
The conceptual framework and method that guided this study was known as gendered political ecology as discussed and developed within the MERGE program since 1992, and within the MERGE Student Research Group, between 1996 and 1998 (Schmink, 1997). This approach resulted from the confluence of the political ecology of natural resource use (Redclift, 1987; Schmink and Wood, 1987; Peet and Watts, 1993) and the gender analysis developed within the frame of gender and development (Poats et al., 1988; Feldstein and Poats, 1989).
A political ecology approach recognizes that political, social, and economic processes and institutions mediate interactions between humans and the environment (Bryant, 1992; Peluso, 1992; Schmink, 1997). Gendered political ecology acknowledges the importance of power structures at the public and private spheres, market dynamics and patterns of capital development on regional and global scales, as well as the interactions of class, gender, and ethnic hierarchies affecting the use of resources at local macro and micro levels. Even though the focus may be at the local level--as in the case of this study--it is necessary to take into account the larger picture, the social relations that shape local practices in regard to natural resources, and the whole set of social, economic, demographic, and political processes at the regional level, affecting local practices and interactions. This approach perceives local people neither as passive victims of degradation nor as pure environmentalists, rather it encompasses the whole set of contradictions that affect local behavior in




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regard to natural resources, including a true concern for natural resource depletion while facing the need to make a living based on their extraction.
Asymmetric power, resistance, and competition' are key features of the social context in which local actors relate to each other and to natural resources, in a process of bargaining, resistance, making alliances and competing. As Schmink and Wood (1987) show in the case of Brazil, a complex and changing context offers different conditions at different historic moments, for social movements to resist the power of dominant groups. What seemed impossible in the 1970s--the creation of extractive reserves for local people--was achieved in the 1980s, when the global and national context and economic crisis had eroded the power and legitimacy of the State and its support to dominant groups, and international environmental concerns, economic pressures, and criticism of deforestation and cattle ranching could no longer simply be portrayed as imperialist intrusion. Beyond the will of social actors at the local level, there are forces acting at the macro level that, in turn, are not monolithic blocks, but dynamic alliances and contingencies of power that may change in the course of time.
This approach is extremely important to understanding the underlying forces of unsustained uses of resources and the structural limits to sustainable alternative uses of natural resources. These forces and trends have to be targeted in order to
ISchmink and Wood (1987:14) define competitive conflicts as those occurring between members of the same power stratum, while resistance is the attempt made by members of the subordinate group to challenge attempts or ways of resource use imposed by the dominant group.




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overcome the current vicious circle of poverty and resource degradation. The logic of capital accumulation and the law of decreasing profit that obliges capital to constantly search and expand new markets are maintaining the patterns of uneven and unsustainable economic growth, as analyzed by Redclift (1987).
Political ecology (Schmink and Wood, 1987:13-14) defines social groups as collectives of people sharing similar access to productive resources and similar social relations to make a living. These common material grounds shape shared visions and perceptions in regard to their own situation and the way to improve it, and these elements of daily life are what allow concerted actions and the transformation of individual actors into political collectives. This definition goes beyond a corporative or formal notion of social group, in the sense that explicit recognition or belonging is not a prerequisite for the existence of a given social group, but rather the existence of common forms of access to resources and similar social relations. There are a variety of social groups within the Amazon social space. Schmink and Wood (1987:13-15) divide them into dominant or subordinate strata, with distinct degrees of power-understood as their capacity to impose their will on another group--based on physical, economic, political, or ideological resources. These different bases of power allow the establishment of dominant groups that are not homogeneous, as well as subordinate groups that are highly heterogenous. Gendered Political Ecology
For the identification of social heterogeneity among local people as users of natural resources, gender analysis provides an additional entrance to look at the




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community and household level. Gender, identified as social constructions shaping the interactions between men and women (Poats et al., 1988; Feldstein and Poats, 1990) was a conceptual step that partially helped to overcome the limitations of the WID approaches (either the welfare, efficiency or equity approach as addressed by Moser, 1989). While the focus of WID had been to increase the participation of women and make development more effective, the gender and development approach (GAD) often looked for the potential in development initiatives to transform unequal social and gender relations, including in the analysis, the re-examination of social structures and institutions affecting projects and gender hierarchies. However, the focus of gender analysis sometimes has been on instrumentalizing gender inclusion and evaluation in projects, and there is a tendency to limit gender analysis to the project scope and life. As GAD became institutionalized in the 1990s among most bilateral agencies and NGOs, this trend to operate within the institutional framework of development agencies has limited the critical capacity of GAD to review the regional and global context affecting gender, among other hierarchies (Braidotti et al., 1995:78-87).
The use of gender analysis within the framework of political ecology makes it possible to recapture the more radical nature of gender as an initial theoretical formulation and as a tool to identify gender hierarchies and ideologies not only among the subjects of research, training and/or gender planning, but also between them and the researchers, trainers, and planners. This approach questions the whole set of power relations established in those processes and the nature of institutions in charge




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of development (Kabeer, 1994:64-304). The political ecology approach can provide a powerful tool to analyze power based on economic and political structures and interests at the regional level as they affect gender and class dynamics at the local level. This analysis enhances the understanding of the processes and structures affecting gender and the underlying project's scope and dynamics.
In this study, gender is understood as a social construction that is transmitted by the immediate social group through the process of socialization. Therefore, gender ideologies that legitimize gender hierarchies are deeply rooted in the unconscious and may justify gender hierarchies as "natural" rather than socially constructed. This social construction shapes the behavior, roles, identity, expectations and power relations and interactions between men and women in the productive and reproductive spheres, and besides the economic level, at the social, psychological, sexual, political and cultural levels including interactions within the household, community and the larger society. The gender construction in terms of hierarchies and ideologies may vary according to the family situation in class and ethnic structures, and it is also recreated or redefined at the individual level, according to personal history, in terms of access to formal education and income, primary and secondary socialization agents, as well as personal characteristics and choices. While gender ideologies and hierarchies might have common elements for a social group, each individual experiences her or his gender in a particular way. This study focused on understanding the ways gender, class and ethnicity intersect and shape the use of natural resources and affect the equity and effectiveness of Riberefiho livelihood




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strategies. In this sense, the exploration of gender is limited to its more instrumental aspects.
Feminist Political Ecology
The gendered political ecology (GPE) as briefly presented, differs from
feminist political ecology (FPE) (Rocheleau et al., 1996) in which the latter brings a feminist perspective to political ecology. That is, it refers to the interests of women in a context of female subordination, as a key focus point. Feminist political ecology addresses three main topics for analysis: gendered knowledge, gendered environmental rights and responsibilities, and gendered environmental politics and grassroots activism. The word "gendered" is primarily used to stress the situation and interests of women in regard to environmental issues, instead of focusing on the interactions of men and women among them and with the environment.4
Even though many common elements are present in both gendered political ecology and feminist political ecology, such as the integration of global perspectives with local experiences, the issue of power mediating the interaction of men and women with the environment, among others, the FPE is committed to a feminist point of view and, for that reason, more open to include epistemological and philosophical critiques, for example challenging dominant ways of producing knowledge and of understanding "nature" and recovering the "science of survival." It also is more connected to other feminist traditions, such as feminist environmentalism, socialist
4The main literature presented or included as references in Rocheleau et al. (1996) is definitively focused on women instead of gender.




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feminist and feminist poststructuralism, and more closely situated within a tradition of feminist studies. The FPE acknowledges the insights from feminist cultural ecology, political ecology, feminist geography and feminist political economy. This feminist perspective leads FPE to treat gender as a "critical variable in shaping resource access and control, interacting with class, caste, race, culture and ethnicity to shape processes of ecological change and the struggle of men and women to sustain viable livelihoods . ." (Rocheleau et al., 1996:4). "While there are several axes of power that may define people access to resources, their control over their workplace and home environments and their definitions of a healthy environment, we focus on gender as one axis of identity and difference that warrants attention" (Rocheleau et al., 1996:5, underline is mine).
The GPE is more flexible in not pre-establishing the main contradiction for a given situation, using gender analysis as a way to open the exploration of the whole set of social contradictions affecting the use of resources and the interactions between men and women, recognizing that it may be or not the main focus of conflict, and therefore, of research. More participation by economists, sociologists, anthropologists, and biological scientists in developing this approach has kept it more in the limits of what is sometimes referred to as a positivist and reductionist approach to science. These two last characteristics make this approach more suitable to the research questions of the study, the formal requisites of a dissertation and the




22
necessary freedom to go to the field without a predetermined research agenda.' Within MERGE we are strongly considering the interconnections among gender, class and ethnicity in every case study; however, we recognize that in some cases gender may not be the main focus of the research, and women may not always be the most appropriate social category for analysis.
Rural Households and Market Dynamics
Very important concepts linking the macro and micro level of analysis are the notions of family and household. Family and household are intermediate institutions which situate individuals in specific class, gender and ethnic hierarchies. Families are in charge of the socialization process that prepares individuals to accept and legitimate these different hierarchies as well as their roles within the household, the community and the larger society. The notion of family and the notion of household are not the same, even though they may perform similar roles. Family is a group of people bonded by blood and kinship ties, while household is a group of people who share a common pool of resources, such as living under the same roof, sharing food supply and preparation and usually labor, to achieve their material reproduction (Schmink,
'The nexus established by the Feminist Political Ecology with environmental feminism, feminist poststructuralism and deep ecology among others do resonate and appeal to me at a more personal level, as part of the search for linkages between my own spirituality, daily life practice and the critique of social structures underlying gender, class and ethnic hierarchies, including the violence exerted toward nature. The feminist critique of the production of knowledge and the challenged role of researchers were very present in my mind during the fieldwork. However, I find it difficult to conduct research based on those frameworks, and difficult to transcend my own empirist-reductionist academic framework that over more than 20 years has left its imprint on me.




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1974:89). A family can be a nuclear family that is formed by only the parents and their children, or can be an extended family when other members such as the grandfather or grandmother, sister or brother in law, nephews or grandchildren are part of the family group and part of a single household. Household is a category that is usually used to refer more to the economic aspects of group livelihood, while family refers to socialization, roles and authorities.
The interactions between households and markets have been conceptualized in different ways by the most important paradigms used to study rural households. Households are considered by neoclassical economics as corporate units which behave as any other economic agent, making rational decisions in order to maximize their utility. According to this model, households choose the alternative that gives them the most benefit, value or satisfaction, in a context of limited or scarce resources which have alternative uses. In this context conflict and subordination are not considered in the interaction of households and markets (Folbre, 1989; Plattner, 1989). Rural households are considered by neoclassical economics as atomized and homogeneous units, responding to market dynamics in order to maximize benefits or low costs.' Internally, they are considered to be corporate units in which the interest of the members are not in conflict (this assumption will be discussed in the next section, gender and intra-household analysis). This neoclassical paradigm is based on the assumptions that people are calculating cost and benefits of their options--that is
'The rational decision-maker will use factors or inputs to the point where marginal value equals marginal cost, which is where profit is maximized (Plattner, 1989).




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they have the information, the capacity and the willingness to calculate their alternatives. Typical neoclassical studies neglect the reproductive aspects of household dynamics and focus on monetary aspects of livelihood strategies. They also tend to ignore the constraints on small scale livelihood systems in which household is an integral part of the system.
The assumptions that markets operate within perfect competition, and that
economic agents are homogenous, neglect the fact that competition in real markets is never perfect. Economic agents that compete in markets have different control over market conditions, as well as different productive conditions and locations. That is the reason that markets are mechanisms that accentuate differentiation among economic agents, reproducing and aggravating their differences. For instance, producers of urban basic goods establish their prices, usually operating as concentrated enterprises that control national markets, as in the case of two enterprises that produce canned milk for the whole Peruvian market. By contrast, rural households are atomized and numerous. They do not control the prices for their products, and usually they cannot hold their products and wait for better prices. That is one of the reasons why terms of exchange are so unfavorable to farmers. In addition, rural households have different locations, yields, type of products, seasonal supplies, etc., that make them compete in the markets with different returns. As the peasant economy becomes more monetarized or more linked to the markets, the process of differentiation among rural households increases.




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The Marxist-Leninist paradigm (Lenin, 1899) understood peasant households in their subordination to markets. Its analysis focused on the process of economic differentiation within peasantry, characteristic of capitalist development, that would eventually convert peasants either into proletarians or bourgeoises. The focus of this analysis was on the linkages peasants as a class kept with the larger society, especially the commoditization of the economy that subordinated peasants to markets, affecting land rents and increasing technification of agriculture and its costs. These processes created increasing differentiation among peasants. This analysis did not take into consideration processes and differences internal to families and households. The persistence of peasantry in the third world in the 1960s and its increasing impoverishment challenged both paradigms in their predictions and facilitated a revision of the theoretical assumptions and limits of both models. The translation and "rediscovery" of Chayanov in the late 1960s (Thorner et al., 1966; Shanin 1973) and his focus on the internal rationality of peasant families, together with the work of Schultz (1953) opened the field of peasant studies, in which economists, sociologists and anthropologists tried to understand the complex logic behind economic behavior of peasants. Chayanov focused on the demographic dynamics of peasant families that was variable through their life span, in terms of family consumption and provision of labor, affecting their use of resources and their economic behavior. The consumer/worker ratio within families was used to explain differentiation among peasantry in terms of temporary adjustments to family needs. A wide debate followed the rediscovery of Chayanov, and its discussion goes beyond the limits of this




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chapter. However, it is important to recognize Chayanov's contribution to the notion of internal economic rationality to explain economic behavior of peasant families. The weakness of Chayanov analysis, however, was the lack of consideration of market dynamics as an element contributing to the internal differentiation of farmers. He conceptualized peasants as isolated from markets and larger society and also ignored the demographic pressure limiting land availability, among other issues. After the 1970s debate between campesinistas y decampesinistas,7 as increasing globalization expanded market integration of rural people, and as empirical studies exposed the diversity and complexity of peasants throughout the world, consensus was achieved on the need to understand both the internal dynamics of families and households, as well as the linkages they establish with market dynamics and broader contexts, and their mutual interactions (Plattner, 1989). Economic anthropology has made use of both neoclassical and Marxist theories, and as empirical research has been developed, the usefulness and limitations of both paradigms to explain specific phenomena in non-Western and Western societies have become more clear. At the same time, the limits of non-critical use of distinct paradigms and the lack of a stronger methodological design for anthropologists have been pointed out by Gladwin (1989).
7A debate in the 1970s around the prediction made by Marx and Lenin that the peasantry would disappear as a class, challenged by those who agreed that it would remain as a distinctive social and economic category (called campesinistas) (de Janvry and Deere, 1979).




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Regarding the interactions between rural households and the markets, one of the contributions of Marxist theory is its central concept of production, as a social process of transformation of nature through specific patterns of social relations that include production, circulation, distribution and consumption. This way production and reproduction become linked, the same way forces of production (the relations people establish with nature) are linked with relations of production (the relationship people establish among themselves).
How are these abstract notions related to the interactions between households and markets? They provide holistic understanding of the different dimensions of livelihood strategies, understanding the connections between monetary and nonmonetary aspects of family reproduction; between circulation (commercialization) and distribution (access to surplus or economic benefit); between technology and social access to it. Some studies tend to focus on the role of different activities including the extraction of natural resources in the formation of household income but ignore the whole cycle of circulation, distribution, and consumption, especially the reproductive aspects of livelihood strategies. This study tried to incorporate the role of extraction for family reproduction, including subsistence and income needs. For example, analyzing income provided by hunting activities, without considering the dependence of hunters on buying food supplies due to their lack of involvement in agriculture, would lead to different results, than an analysis that considers monetary and non-monetary needs, productive and reproductive dimensions of livelihood strategies. On the other hand, understanding forces of production not only as




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technology but as social relationships with nature helps to elucidate the ways social differentiation may affect access to tools and means of production and extraction, and this way, may affect the process and the results of either production or extraction. This approach calls attention to the effects of market dynamics on the internal differentiation of social groups, based on their access to resources, means of production and extraction, and economic benefits derived from these activities. This is an important issue explored by this study and is related to the notion of livelihood strategies.
Another important element to consider in the interaction between households and markets is the effect market dynamics have on the internal organization of households and their livelihood strategies. These issues are explored in the next sections.
Gender and Intra-Household Analyses
One of the main breakthroughs of gender studies has been to overcome the assumption that households and families are corporate units in which common interests coincide with the interests of each member. Gender studies have documented for many different regions, and within different types of families and households, how inequalities are present in terms of labor allocation and access to its benefits among others, mostly in terms of female subordination (Bruce, 1989; Folbre, 1989; Katz, 1992). There are also several studies showing the limits of gender analysis, when it is restricted to gender roles in terms of who does what. Mayoux (1995) critiques the implicit assumption that incorporating a gender perspective into




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participatory development will contribute to the equity of the project's impact, calling attention to the need to link local participants with wider movements for social change. Bonnard and Scherr (1994) question the importance of gender alone as a useful variable to understand agroforestry practices in Kenya, showing marital status of women as a variable differentiating species choice, tree product marketing and soil conservation, and fertility practices, which are not clearly differentiated by gender. Warren et al. (1996) analyze the case of northern Ghana in the context of traditional kinship structures and roles; they also provide a case study in which marital status and seniority of women are very important in explaining the different work loads of women in reproductive tasks and their possibility to be involved in market activities and to access cash.
There is an increasing emphasis on the need to expand the notion of gender in order to include its complexity associated with class, kinship, life span and ethnicity at the local level, while linking the household dynamics with the larger economic, social and political context.8
Livelihood Strategies
An important notion used within GPE as discussed in the MERGE Student
Research Group, is the notion of livelihood strategies.' It refers to the articulation of many different activities by different members of the household, in order to make a
'This concern has been present in the MERGE discussions, and this study tries to incorporate the intersections of gender, class and ethnicity in shaping the use of natural resources.
'Known in Spanish as Estrategias de Supervivencia.




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living. This notion originally was used to describe the ways urban poor found a way to make a living, as a structurally marginal social segment. The concept of survival strategies recognized their active role in creating their own jobs and income, overcoming the portrait of poor and passive "victims" (Torrado, 1981; Jelin, 1982). This notion also allowed researchers to examine differential responses of different social groups and individuals facing similar structural conditions (Schmink, 1984). It was later used and expanded to understand the rationality of family goals and behavior within the farming systems approach (Brush, 1988; Mayer, 1979).
Disaggregation in terms of gender, generation, marital status, role within kinship and/or community structures, among other variables, has contributed to a better understanding of the concept of livelihood strategies as a phenomenon that is not restricted to economics. For the case of Peruvian farmers, Aramburu and Ponce, (1987) compared different regional contexts of market dynamics, access to land and to formal education, and found that associated with economic strategies tending toward either productive diversification or specialization, are demographic strategies tending either toward family fission (family members emigration) or fusion (family members remain and some relatives are added). Some results for Riberefiho families at the Napo River suggest (Espinosa, 1994) that families located in more distant villages rely more on subsistence agriculture, fishing and hunting, with high rates of emigration and more complementarity and female involvement in agriculture. By contrast, villages more integrated into market dynamics show less emigration of family members and families rely more on commercial agriculture and commercial




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extraction of natural resources done by males. Women are more specialized in income-generating activities such as domestic livestock and handicrafts, have more independent income, and have more weight in the domestic economy management. Agreda and Espinosa (1991) found that associated with the differential importance of specific activities according to different habitats and access to land forms, the household composition seemed to play an important role, for Riberehhos in the upper, middle and lower Napo River. While most households headed by males focused either on agriculture, fishing or hunting as main activities, domestic livestock were more important in those areas with more prevalence of women headed households.
There is always a strong articulation of the economic, demographic and social dimensions of livelihood strategies, and there are also different discourses or ideologies validating specific patterns of access, control and benefits, for family and household members, in terms of gender, age, seniority, access to formal education and so on. What cannot be generalized, but rather must be discovered for every particular setting, is the logic of livelihood strategies, the asymmetries and the conflicts, and the base for cooperation and solidarity between men and women, and among families, since conflict and cooperation are both present. This study uses a rendered political ecology instead of a feminist political ecology approach and, therefore, does not assume that gender asymmetries are always the most important element to be addressed.




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Gender and Ethnicity
The connections between gender and class have been more incorporated into GPE than have the interactions of gender and ethnicity. For that reason, a review of some literature addressing these interconnections is presented in this section. In general, there is a mutual exclusion of ethnicity as part of the gender analysis mainstream, while discussion of ethnicity does not incorporate a gender perspective. Many researchers consider that ethnicity in regard to natural resource use is relevant only when studying indigenous people. The following literature review will reveal the need to use a more inclusive and flexible notion of ethnicity and of the process of social and individual construction of identity.
Within anthropology, two major deterministic approaches to ethnicity can be identified: one which considers ethnicity as somehow intrinsic, something one is born with and which remains, even though one may de-emphasize or downplay it. Ethnicity is the product of basic (primordial) feelings of common descendence (Epstein, 1978). The other perspective of ethnicity is more instrumentalist and considers that ethnic groups are collectives of people who share some patterns of normative behavior, who belong to a larger population, in a context of competition for scarce resources; ethnicity is a way to better organize the struggle for certain resources. In this perspective (Cohen, 1974) states that what is important is not the content of ethnicity but its capacity to organize and mobilize people. The question is, according to Barth (1969), why groups or individuals want to distinguish themselves from other groups. The establishment and maintenance of boundaries and the




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rationality of activating (or deactivating) their ethnic allegiance is associated with a certain utilitarian rationality of maximizing the benefits of belonging or not to their ethnic group. In this perspective, ethnicity plays an important role in structuring behavior, particularly in new contexts. The analysis of both Barth and Cohen operate at the level of social groups, assuming their internal homogeneity.
Webster (1991) analyzes the case of the people of Thongaland, in the border of Mozambique. He provides an alternative approach, in which gender differentiated attitudes toward their Thonga origins--spurned by men and embraced by women--are explained at the individual level, as part of their gender struggle. His analysis shows how ethnic roles are changing and flexible according to certain social contexts and certain social interactions: for example people play Thonga roles within the community, but use Zulu to deal with the outside world, sensing that somehow, being Thonga is inferior. With increasing male emigration and integration into labor markets and public domains there is a trend among the Thonga to identify more with the dominant Zulu and to deny their Thonga roots.
Instead of analyzing "who the people really are," Webster describes a situation in which people have a "repertoire of ethnic features to draw upon and they make a skillful and sometimes imaginative use" of them (Webster, 1994:249). The fact that Thonga culture offers more status and power to women than does Zulu, explains why women prefer to use Thonga kin terms to define and control any social encounter, while men try to impose their own version, usually in Zulu idiom. Gender




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differentiated interests may allow different subcultures to exist, and different members of a family to have a different ethnic affiliation.
This notion of changeable roles is also presented by Paulson (1996) for the case of Bolivian Andean women and Mizquenho families. Paulson understands the interactions between gender and ethnic hierarchies as part of the dynamic construction of identity in the midst of the tension between modernity and tradition, the last understood not as a frozen heritage but as an ideological construction that is used in different spaces and moments. Diversity and mobility of Mizquenhos families, and the absence of a corporative identity, challenge concepts of ethnicity as ascribed or characteristic of a given group.
The redefinition of ethnicity as a dimension of identity experienced by people in their specific situation in class, gender and other hierarchies may help to understand the complex identity of people in the Third World, taking into account what is significant to them, even though it has been marginal to many studies and policies. Asher (1996) focuses on the mutual exclusions existent in both the gender and the ethnicity approaches to identity, as she discusses the notion of identity as something that is not just the result of social structures but something that also is constructed, changed and modified by social actors. Asher focuses on the importance of women in the transmission of ideologies of ethnicity, and in the fact that men and women might have different ethnicity in terms of experience and discourse. Gender and ethnicity should be approached as part of how people experience and reshape their identity as a set of strategic responses to their socio-economic conditions, and as




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a process of negotiation that is subjective, conflictive and depends on contingencies, rather than teleologic and linear. The "multiplicity of differences" limits the use of single categories to define something complex such as identity; at the same time this multiplicity of differences allows a bridge between gender and ethnic identities and an understanding that an individual can have more than one identity or can use them differently in different contexts. Paulson (1996) reports that Bolivian peasant women play different ethnic roles within and outside the community changing their dressing code, body language, spoken language and social behavior. She addresses the instrumental way in which women use these different ethnic roles to obtain better results in their tasks of harvesting and selling their potatoes.
Webster (1991), Asher (1996), and Paulson (1996) agree not only in that
different ethnic identities can be used by men and women in different social contexts, but in the dynamic rather than passive role of individual actors, not defined by rigid structural limits. De la Cadena (1992) explores the role of ethnicity and gender hierarchies shaping internal differentiation in a community of the Peruvian highlands, analyzing the subjective and objective practices of men and women either in personal interactions or in regional and national social and political movements. Since ethnic identities are built within social interactions according to attributes that are recognized and fixed in the relationship, it is no surprise that the Indian in one relationship becomes the Misti or mestizo in another relationship and viceversa. This volatility of ethnic roles coexists with the notion of inferiority of Indians in relation to the Mistis and is intertwined with gender hierarchies that convert women to the last element in




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the chain of subordination, dependent on marriage and men to start their own ethnic upper mobility. Hence, the phrase "women are more Indian" came into existence. Patriarchal chiefs of extended families control a network of resources within the community and decide the marriage of their kin; however, increasing migration and the influence of urban and market dynamics is changing their base of power, facilitating mestizaje for women through the acquisition of urban knowledge.
Some studies also have called attention to the gender and ethnic inequities that exist at the community level. For example, in the case of Nepal, Thomas-Slayter and Bhatt (1994) report that projects might contribute to increasing differentiation between two ethnic groups: the Bhamin and Tamangs. For the Andes, similar conflicts over resources exist between Indians and Mestizos or Mistis (De la Cadena, 1992; Paulson, 1996).
These studies present two major issues, (1) the linkages between gender and
ethnicity as hierarchies of domination, and (2) the mobility and interchangeableness of ethnic roles according to the social context, the advantages for the individual and the type of personal interactions. These findings imply the need to uncover the specific ways in which gender and ethnic hierarchies and ideologies reinforce each other, or conflict, in a context of class subordination. Additionally, there is the need to recognize the dynamic role of social actors in redefining and using multiple ethnic roles as part of their livelihood strategies. There is also the need to redefine the tension between modernity and tradition, not only according to the dynamic of ThirdWorld capitalist development, but also to the personal choices of individuals.




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Something that is not considered in the literature is the way ethnic ideologies and world views affect gender hierarchies and division of spaces and roles in regard to the environment. What are points of confluence and conflict between ethnicity, gender and the environment? Another point that needs to be addressed is structural limits that frame the way individuals experience and redefine ethnic and gender identities and hierarchies. It is important to consider the objective process in which this struggle is framed.
Even though this study is interested in the intersections of gender and
ethnicity, it uses the notion of traditional cultural backgrounds instead of ethnicity, when referring to families under study, since Riberefiho ethnicity is not clearly defined. Even though the study found that traditional cultural elements were important in daily life events, gender, and interaction with the environment, not enough evidence was found to define specific ethnic groups of Ribereiiho, families. The lack of common language and heritage, as well as self-claimed ethnic identity limited their reference as Cocamas. In the exploration of the intersections of gender and traditional cultural backgrounds, this study considers the economic limits to modernization and assimilation that explain the persistence of traditional ways of living, creating ambiguity in objective and subjective terms. This study explores how traditional cultural backgrounds reinforce gender hierarchies and ideologies, in terms of direct and indirect use of resources, access to the benefits extraction of resources generates and how these elements affect the effectiveness of livelihood strategies, in terms of food supply and well being of family members. While recognizing that




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gender and cultural identities are not rigid and homogenous, but experienced and redefined by individual actors, the study explores the possibility of traditional institutions limiting individual choices.
Ethnicity of Riberefihos
The ethnic identity of the Riberehihos of the Amazon lowlands has been
neglected by researchers. In the Amazonian Library in Iquitos, there are hundreds of ethnographic studies on different native groups that inhabit the Amazon basin, but there are less than 30 about the Riberefihos, most of them focused on the economic aspects of their livelihoods, including their traditional agroforestry and agricultural practices and their scientific and economic value (Hiraoka, 1984; Denevan, 1988; Padoch, 1988; Chibnik, 1990 and 1994; Coomes, 1991 and 1995; Bergen, 1994; among others). These studies have contributed to overcome the "invisibility" of Ribereiihos within Amazon populations" and to better understand the economic rationality of their livelihood strategies. However, they do not consider the ethnic or the gender hierarchies within families, communities and the regional systems.
Of the few studies discussing ethnic identities of Riberefihos, Altarama (1992) briefly describes the historic process of subordination of native populations since the first explorations in 1542 and their conversion from natives to Riberefihos through mestizaje that he defines at the racial, social and economic levels, as the changes experienced by their immersion in market dynamics and the dominant culture and
10 As Hiraoka (1984) pointed out, anthropologists in the past were overly attracted to the more exotic tribal indigenous peoples, ignoring the fact that Riberehios represent 85% of Loreto's rural population.




39
society (Figure 2.1). Garcia (1994) defines three elements of the indigenous identity, resistance, continuity, and change. He understands identity as an assertive process of self-affirmation starting from a common element, language and a set of common meanings, including the way to relate to their environment, their territory and "cotidianeidad" (daily life). Identity does not exist as a finished product, since tradition is not conservation of an invariable content, but a constant reinterpretation of the past; therefore, it becomes a dynamic element that is constantly transforming itself. While identity is the assertive valuation of a group and its historic project, mestizaje is seen as the process of loss of this identity. Garcia presents a review of the historic process which includes the contemporary scenario, in which he addresses the importance of indigenous social organizations as well as the impact of the Western media reaching the remote places of the Amazon. Stocks (1981) documents the historical process that shaped the self-denial of the ethnic identity of the CocamaCocamillas, whom he refers to as the "invisible natives," a group of people who do not recognize themselves as natives, but still have not been assimilated by the national dominant groups.
A new debate was opened in relation to Riberefiho ethnic identity when Chibnik (1991) introduced the notion of quasi-ethnic group, different from the mestizos and different from the indigenous groups. His contribution was based on the work of Stocks (1981) who pointed out the existence of a cholo group in the Amazon lowlands, using the concept of cholo and cholificacion as developed by Quijano




[igure I. Researchi Sites within the NorNh:oforrl Peruvian Amiazonl
p A mow='
*16




41
(1980) for Peruvian national society." Mora (1995) challenged this approach, based first on the specific characteristics of the Loreto economy, which has remained based on mercantilist capitalism and extraction of natural resources. The region has been unable to develop an industrial productive base to facilitate a process of occupational change and social mobility for larger segments of the regional population, a process that has been critical in the formation of cholo groups among large segments of migrants recruited in Andean mines, coastal fisheries, and urban-industrial sectors. The second element, not present at the regional level in Loreto, is the process of grouping that characterized the development of the cholo social group, and their identity redefinition. This lack of grouping is part of a characteristic of the immature process of building the Amazon social space, as addressed in Barclay et al. (1991). Finally, Mora reviewed the case of the Cocamilla of the lower iHuallaga, who after 1981 (based on Stock's study), started to claim their ethnic identity for instrumental reasons. They sought better conditions to claim and obtain titles on territorial land, access to credit, and exclusive right to use forests, rivers, and lakes within their territory. They formed an indigenous organization, the Federation de Cocamilla Communities, affiliated to the regional indigenous organizations. While his critique
'1Quijano addresses the process of social mobility made possible by new occupational roles, emigration and urbanization that allowed a process of detachment from Indian peasants that were not totally assimilated by the dominant groups, and who formed a new social and ethnic group called cholos, who were able to group themselves at the local and regional level, keeping some traditions and values, and in the later decades have been able to permeate the whole national society (which is called the cholificacion of the Peruvian society, based on their demographic weight and their assertiveness) .




42
of the notion of cholification in Loreto is clear, Mora does not directly address what ethnic identity consists of in this region.
This study agrees with Garcia (1994) in recognizing the dynamic process
inherent to ethnic identity. Most Riberefihos are in a transitional moment; even now, after so many centuries of ethnic subordination and assimilation, some elements of their own ethnic identity are still present, that might be claimed, accepted and redefined within their social and economic integration in the markets and larger society, under the appropriate conditions. Otherwise, the process of ethnic self-denial will continue, in the name of progress and development, as these concepts are currently transmitted by the State, the media, and most development and conservation projects.
This study explored the ambivalence and contradictions that the objective assimilation of Riberefihos into market dynamics and socio-political dominant structures creates, and the assimilation that coexists with the persistence of traditional cultural elements, in a context dominated by the discourse of modernization.
In this study, ethnicity is understood as a social construction that situates
individuals and groups within a hierarchy that is related to cultural backgrounds. For the case of Peru, this ethnic hierarchy results from the subordination of indigenous societies into dominant structures established by Europeans, which created different sub-groups as a continuum of subordination. Since indigenous societies were disrupted and redefined, the elements that "survived" this assimilation have been redefined according to changing contexts, mostly losing their connection with forms




43
of social and economic organization that are disappearing or already gone. Ethnicity is an element that results from the situation of an individual in specific groups, such as indigenous, mestizo, cholos, or whites, that are defined not by race or class, but by elements that relate to their descendence from and/or mobility to specific groups of the continuum Indian-whites.
However, the concept of ethnicity, as used in anthropology cannot be used when studying social groups that do not belong to specific ethnic groups. For this reason, the study used the notion of traditional cultural backgrounds to refer to the set of traditional ways of thinking and practices that affect social interactions and perceptions, that derive from indigenous heritage but that cannot be traced to specific ethnic group membership. The inclusion of these traditional cultural backgrounds and their effect on the social interactions with the environment within conservation and development initiatives affecting local people in Loreto is extremely important. Without romanticizing ethnicity and traditional world views, there are still some elements of traditional knowledge that might be lost forever, unless a conscious effort is made to support their rescue and reconstruction. It is also important to recognize the ethnocentric orientation of most development and conservation initiatives, and the need to make room to include and validate traditional cultural backgrounds as part of their social identity.




CHAPTER 3
THE REGIONAL CONTEXT OF LORETO The Northeastern Peruvian Amazon is situated in the eastern part of Peru, adjacent to the Andes. Isolated from the rest of the country by this monumental natural barrier until recent decades, it has experienced a process of social redefinition of its space, that is referred to by researchers as the construction of the Amazon space (Barclay et al., 1990; Rodriguez, 1991). Historical processes, as well as the ecological characteristics of Loreto, have shaped the current patterns of natural resource use, at regional and local scales. This region has experienced uneven development, in spatial and social terms, responding basically to external demands for forest goods. Unless this pattern of market integration is changed, there are no real conditions for sustainable use of resources within the region. Therefore, in order to understand the current use of natural of resources by local people, it is necessary to review the historical processes experienced by this region.
, Regional Hia o
Peruvian Amazonia experienced an early penetration of Europeans since
Spanish expeditions in search of El Dorado started a process of colonization of this region in the first part of the 16th century. However, the rate of integration and development of this region into national and global economies has been comparatively
44




45
slow, due to ecological constraints that limit profitability of major investments, and to the socioeconomic and political characteristic of the Peruvian State. As a result, in the 1990s, the economy of this region still remains based on natural resource extraction done mainly at small scale by local people, centralized in the city of Iquitos, commercial and service center for the region. Lack of industrialization, high costs of transportation, low prices and lack of support for agricultural and wildlife products are the main factors that keep stagnation and poverty in the rural villages and in the main cities, making the search for sustainable use of natural resources more difficult. The following historical review will suggest the elements that have shaped the main bottlenecks to development and conservation of natural resources that this region experiences.
Colonial Period
In 1536 the Spanish explorers, con quistadores and missionaries began to penetrate the Northeastern Peruvian Amazon, changing the uses of this landscape made by indigenous tribes and imposing a new pattern to benefit the distant crown and the local dominant groups who served and profited from the colonial power structure. During colonial domination, the Spanish established encomiendas, reducciones,1 and founded towns to reduce indigenous populations into a system of
1The Spanish created several institutions to reorganize native populations. Reducciones: were the first political, administrative and territorial units created by the Spanish in order to reduce natives at three levels: geographically, from their dispersed settlements in the forest into spatially concentrated units; religiously, through their conversion into Christian faith; and socially, by destroying their own culture, religion and social organization, as subordinated labor. Reducciones took the form of missions until the expulsion of Jesuits and Franciscans. The encomienda replaced the




46
domination oriented to extraction of goods, such as turtle eggs, waxes, honey, vanilla and medicinal plants, as tributes to the Spanish crown (Coomes, 1995:110). Indians also provided unpaid labor for mission construction and maintenance, guides and canoe men for soldiers, agricultural production, transportation and trading. Relocation of indigenous people from the upland forest toward the river banks, and their concentration into villages was imposed by the Spanish in order to facilitate control (San Roman, 1975:35-52; Stockes, 1981:6). It has to be said that missions protected indigenous people from the bandeirantes and from the encomienda system that had a more devastating effect on Indians than working for the missions. The success of missionaries in attracting Indians has been attributed to their possession of steel tools (axes and machetes) which totally altered the relationship of Indians with their forest. However, missionaries also had the additional support of armed expeditions called entradas to recruit those unwilling to join the missions. This period was characterized by forced recruitment, flights and rebellions until 1680 when rebellions were finally crushed (Stocks, 1981:8). Indian mortality was high, due mainly to their exposure to new diseases and to the disruption of their social organization. For example, between 1644 and 1652, fifty percent of the Cocama
reducciones and they were temporary concessions of territory and Indians given to a private person, who was in charge of collecting taxes for the Spanish crown, having the right to free Indian labor. This system of encomiendas set no limits to protect native population from the ambition of encomenderos who sought to increase their profit at any cost.
2Expeditions coming from Brazil to capture Indians as slaves. Portugal allowed slavery within its colonies, while the Spanish did not.




47
population "reduced" or recruited into the mission system, were reported to have died (Regan 1983:49).
Missions were productive units that aimed to be self-sufficient. Indians could farm their own land and raise domestic animals. They also had to farm community land, oriented to support priests and children attending schools. Their periodic duties also included hunting, fishing and searching for turtle eggs (San Roman, 1975:51-67). Jesuits taught natives to speak Quechua--used as a lingua franca in their territory--and introduced them to artisan skills. To a great extent, missions controlled the entrance of new settlers into the region, being extremely selective. For this reason, during this period the region did not experience massive immigration while population growth was disrupted by high mortality among natives.
The Church monopoly over extraction and trade was broken with the expulsion of the Jesuits and Franciscans in 1768. Power passed to civilian and military sectors and the linkages with Quito were replaced by linkages to Brazil, through the presence of Brazilian traders. In this period, the aim was to maintain concentrated native populations to support the growing white-mestizo local groups. Debt-peonage, encomienda, mita3 and forced military service were the institutions that allowed this subordination, under the local power of governors and encomenderos supported by military troops. Indians had to work to pay a never-ending debt, to provide mitayo
3Mita was the mandatory service that citizens of the Inca Empire provided to the state. Spanish established mita as regular obligations that the indigenous population had to provide to the Spanish crown. Mita is the word to refer to the service, mitayo refers to the product of this service (in this region, the species hunted or collected) and mitayero is the person who does the service.




48
on a daily basis instead of the rotating system established by the missions and to serve military duties (It is interesting that fresh game meat and hunting are still today called mitayo). This extraction of cash and goods from native populations was reinforced by the development of local and regional markets. Petty river traders came from Brazil, exchanging manufactured goods such as steel, porcelain and clothing for salted fish, wood resins and barks, balsams and wax. The regatones4 and habilitadores5 engaged native people in an unequal and abusive system of exchange. This commercial penetration was enhanced by the introduction of steamships in 1853. Native languages and customs were prohibited and the initial strategy of Indians was to escape to the forests or to periodically rebel; however they were later assimilated into the market dynamics (San Roman, 1975:93-105; Stocks, 1981:93-105; Chibnik, 1994:28-34; Coomes, 1995:110).
The Early Reublic
The new Peruvian republic, born in 1821, created in 1865 the first regional government in the Peruvian Amazon, to encourage agricultural production and establishing it as a duty-free zone for twenty years. The first economic boom of the Peruvian Amazon was the export of Panama hats produced in the eastern highlands and traded through Yurimaguas and Nauta, on the Maranhon river, to Iquitos and
4Regatones were small traders usually recruited and funded by large traders in Iquitos, who traveled to the small villages, offering urban goods in exchange for game meat, fish and other forest and river products.
5Habilitadores were people who financed hunting and/or collecting expeditions, setting the price for the products obtained in the expedition.




49
then via the Amazon river to Brazil. To consolidate territorial sovereignty, the national government supported transport and trade in the Amazon, creating a naval base at Iquitos in 1862. This support was interrupted by the debt crisis of the 1870s (Coomes, 1995:110)
The new national government created laws to protect indigenous people, recognized as Peruvian citizens. Their land rights were acknowledged and the practice of forced labor was prohibited. However, these laws were never enforced at the local level, since Indian labor was required for trading and governors were the main merchants of the region. After the introduction of steamships in 1853, the Peruvian government subsidized nationals and foreigners willing to settle in the Amazon region, reinforced the military presence and provided some basic services, and as a result, colonists began to be established in the region (Chibnik 1994:34-36; San Roman, 1975:119).
The debt peonage system that characterized labor relations in the region in this period started during the colonial times, after the expulsion of the Jesuits. Merchants taking advantage of the Indian need for tools and other basic goods, offered them credit in exchange for fish, game meat and forest products. Due to uneven terms of exchange, Indians ended up with exorbitant debts that were transferred to their families after their death. For example, in this period an Indian usually worked a whole month to pay for an axe (Raimondi, 1862 as cited in Chibnik, 1994:37). The




50
patroness6 who operated extractive and agricultural businesses, based on the labor obtained through debt-peonage, provided money or goods in advance for labor. These exchange relations were recreated through paternalistic interactions, such as the consumption of alcohol to seal agreements, and compadrazgo7 relationships (Chibnik 1994:34-35). When these mercantilistic relationships expanded, regatones appeared as middle men for urban traders, who provided them with merchandise to exchange to Indians for forest products (Chibnik, 1994:37). These trade networks increased the pressure on natural resources, due to the low prices for forest products and the coercive nature of the contract. Products sold to Indians were imported from Brazil: iron objects, wheat flour, alcoholic beverages, woolen and cotton goods, clothing and munitions. The most important exports at that time were: sassparilla, copal,' Panama hats, salted fish and wax, as well as balsam, turtle eggs and fat, hammocks, tobacco and quinine. These exports were causing significant depletion of natural resources in the Peruvian Amazon, as suggested by Regan (1983:76). In 1859, the local government established rules first limiting the production of sarsaparilla and
6Patrons were state owners, or any person with the power to engage native and mestizo people in labor relations of exploitation. 7A mechanism of asymmetric reciprocity, compadrazgo in this case refers to a patron or trader becoming the godfather of his subordinated's child, which supposedly obliges him to act on behalf on the child's well-being. The relationship also can exist between equals establishing strong bonds between them. Compadres and comadres refer to two adults (males for compadres and females for comadres) related by one being the godfather or godmother of one's child. 8Sassparilla or sarsaparilla is a viny plant used as a flavoring, for example in the preparation of root-beer; copal is a natural resin extracted from the bark of different tropical trees, that is used as sealant, especially in boat construction,




51
later banning its export, but these laws were ignored due to the attractive price and demand for this product in Brazil (San Roman, 1975:101-105; Chibnik, 1994:36-37). Iquitos, a center of artisan production and trade formed after independence, remained as a small village until the rubber boom that changed the social structure and political ecology of the region. Even though rubber had been used by indigenous people since pre-Columbian times (San Roman, 1975:126), its commercial "discovery" and demand in the late 1800s dramatically changed the social landscape of the Peruvian Amazon. It attracted large waves of fortune-seekers, from diverse origins (Europeans, Brazilians, Colombians, Peruvians from the highlands and the coast) that displaced native access to land and created estates (f1*ndos) that remained after the rubber boom collapsed, all based on native labor. The importance of rubber was great, since it became Peru's second major export between 1902 and 1906. In 1910 Loreto exported 4,500,000 kilograms as compared to 2,088 kilograms exported in 1862 (San Roman, 1975:130-131; Chibnik, 1994:39). The system of exploitation was collection of rubber from scattered natural trees existing in the rainforests. This system was different from the plantation system developed in British Asian colonies that would later displace Amazonian rubber (San Roman: 1975:131-132).
The rubber estates required a labor force familiar with tropical forests and with a dispersed settlement: they recruited natives displaced and dispossessed from their own land. The same exchange system was used to recreate debt-peonage into forms that resembled slavery. The debt was not only transferred to their families in case of death, but in-debt workers were sold as part of the fundos when a patron




52
decided to sell his property. The other system of labor recruitment, called correrias used force to move entire indigenous tribes living in the inter fluvial zones into the rubber exploitation system, under the same debt-peonage system. Due to the inhumane working conditions, mortality was high, and some voices of protest made this situation known internationally. This scandal coincided, however, with the decline of the rubber boom in 1912 due to the competition first of rubber plantations in British Asian colonies and later of synthetic rubber (Chibnik, 1994:38-42). The city of Iquitos, with 150 inhabitants in 1847, grew to 14,000 habitants by the end of the rubber boom. Connected to the main markets of Liverpool and New York through oceangoing steamers, it was the second most active port in Peru and had resident consuls from ten foreign countries (Chibnik, 1994:43).
The impact of the rubber boom was tremendous, since it changed the ethnic, social and demographic structure of the region, leading to tribal disruption, mestizaje and ethnicide and consolidation of white-mestizo dominant groups. It also allowed penetration of capitalism beyond the sphere of exchange, into the land tenure system and social relations of production. Besides the rubber estates, a large number of estates were raising cattle, producing sugar cane and aguardiente.9 After the rubber boom, most fundos or small estates moved to other extractive activities, extending the depletion of resources. For the case of the Tahuayo basin, Coomes (1995:112) reconstructs a century of resource depletion consisting of the collection and export of vegetable ivory or tagua, a latex called balata, timber, fuelwood for steamers and
9Aguardiente is the alcohol distilled from the sugar cane juice,




53
tannin of pashaco trees, through the same systems imposed by the patrones of these findos. As they depleted one resource, they moved into the next. While major fortunes created by the rubber boom fled from Iquitos after the rubber boom declined, many enterprises remained, establishing networks to obtain and export forest products, such as timber, gums, resins, essential oils, natural insecticides, medicinal plants, barbasco10 and ornamental fishes. The construction of a sawmill in Iquitos in 1918 promoted the export of cedar and mahogany. Between 1925 and 1940 Loreto exported from six to ten thousand metric tons of wood (San Roman, 1975:172).
These activities, however, never reached the level of the rubber boom due to the on going resource depletion as well as decreasing demand due to competition coming from synthetic products (Chibnik, 1994:43). The environmental impact of these activities was significant and they also maintained the social structure of dominance over Indians and poor mestizo groups, trapped under the system of debtpeonage.
A slight increase of rubber exports was experienced during World War II and stopped at the end of the war due to competition of Asian rubber plantations and synthetic rubber. Oil exploration started in 1938 and would become important in the next decades.
10Barbasco is a natural poison used by local people to fish, and was used as an input to make industrial pesticides.




54
The Construction of the Amazon Space and Capi~talist Development at the National Level
As mentioned earlier, the Northeastern Peruvian Amazon is separated from the rest of the country by the Andes. It is more easily connected to Brazil and even Colombia, through the Amazon and other navigable rivers, than to the rest of the country."1 The lack of articulation into the national economy and society has been parallel to the lack of integration within the region, in terms of communications, social identity and the struggle for its own economic and political interests. 1940-1960:
The 1940s has been identified as a decade that accelerated and modified the process of social construction of this Amazon space, basically in terms of the insertion of this region into the dynamic of capitalist development at the national level (Rodriguez, 1991:103) and also in terms of the establishment of demographic, social, ethnic and economic differentiation. A new geopolitical consideration started influencing Peruvian state policy toward the Amazon after 1941: an undeclared war with Ecuador leading to a peace protocol warrantied by five hemisphere countries including the USA, vindicated Peruvian territorial rights to this region. It became necessary to integrate this territory into the Peruvian economy and society in order to secure military sovereignty. The reinforcement of military presence came with an
"Even in current times, the only way to connect directly from Iquitos to Lima and the coast is by plane. There is no road connecting this region to the Peruvian coast or highland. However, it is possible to navigate through the Maranhon or Ucayali river to reach the cities of Yurimaguas or Pucalipa and from there to access roads to the highlands and coast. Such a trip usually takes more than a week.




55
increasing presence of the state through primary schools in the rural villages, health services, and the creation of UNAP (National University of the Peruvian Amazon), the HIAP (Research Institute of the Peruvian Amazon), and representation of the principal national ministries at the regional level.
Education has been extremely important in the diffusion of Spanish as the
current language, the recognition of native people as Peruvian citizens and the process of negotiation between native/mestizo groups and the state. It has contributed to the consolidation of Spanish as the language of domination and the white-mestizo culture as the dominant culture. The discourse of integration indeed hid the real process of assimilation of native populations. Assimilation is the process of subordination of one group into a larger one that remains dominant, while the new group is expected to be dissolved in it, losing its own ethnic identity. By contrast, true integration is a process of reciprocal adaptation and co-existence of populations that are ethnically different (Darcy, 1971). Therefore, behind the discourse of integration of the Amazon into the Peruvian economy and nation, the process was one of subordination of the region into the national society, and subordination of the native culture within the national culture, predominantly white-mestizo, urban and Western. Many native peoples tired of the experience of subordination and marginalization-the so called "invisible natives" (Stocks, 1981)--decided to deny their own roots, stopped speaking their language and no longer defined themselves as natives. This process was facilitated by the increasing expansion of markets and the media influence through




56
small battery radios that connected isolated villagers to Iquitos and other cities of Peru, Colombia and Brazil.
At the national level, this period was witness to a tremendous effort to connect the Northern, Central and Southern Amazon with the highlands and the coast through roads and some airports. The completion of the road between Lima -Tingo MariaPucailpa, Cusco-Puerto Maldonado and Chiclayo-Jaen-Bagua facilitated the integration of the whole Amazon region, since people in the Amazon could reach these cities by boats and then connect to the coast through roads. This terrestrial connection started in 1943 and was expanded in the 1960s, making it relatively easier to send products to the Peruvian coast than to Brazil. However, while the upper Amazon became more integrated to the coast, due to its proximity to the highlands and their increasing agricultural importance, the lower Amazon did not, starting a process of economic and demographic differentiation between the upper and lower Amazon (Rodriguez, 1991:110).
Despite this increased integration into the national economy, the productive patterns of the Loreto region did not change significantly. While the upper Amazon was more oriented to agricultural production and coastal markets, the lowlands remained focused on extraction of forest products. Extraction of forest products continued to support the regional economy, in a context of stagnation. Rosewood oil generated a new fever of extraction during the 1950s but it did not last. Later, in 1954, the export of ornamental fishes experienced a peak but it did not last either (Coomes, 1995).




57
As part of a process of modernization, the State took a more important role in promoting capitalist development for the region. This process took place within a new geopolitical approach to the Amazon borders, focused on populating and civilizing the region rather than just reinforcing the army positions (Barclay et al., 1991:47-55). Parallel to the investment in building connecting roads, the state directly promoted colonization and immigration through the military colonies created in 1946 and the settlement of the workers in charge of the maintenance of the connecting roads. In 1951 the Technical Colonization Units were created to stimulate professionals to settle in the region. However, the main stream of colonist immigration was spontaneously produced by highland peasants in search of land who followed the new connecting roads (carreteras de penetracion). Colonization policy was established in order to alleviate the land conflict in the coast and highlands as much as to develop the Amazon region, especially the upper Amazon (Rodriguez, 1991:109-116). Another important goal at that time was to increase food production in order to reduce food imports and to achieve a more balanced distribution of the national population, highly concentrated in the coast and the highlands and not in the Amazon (Barclay, 1991:61-62).
The Amazon region in general and Loreto in particular have experienced a different demographic pattern as compared to the rest of the country. The Amazon region comprises 60% of the Peruvian territory. Its population in 1862 represented only 5.6% of national population and in 1940 was 8% of the national population (CICRED, 1974:142-144; INE, 1981:35; Valcarcel, 1991:163). It has exhibited a




58
slower growth rate and lesser density per square kilometer: 0.5 inhabitant per square kilometer in 1940 to 2.5 in 1980, compared to increasing density at the national level: from 4.8 inhabitant per square kilometer in 1940 to 13.8 in 1980 (INE, 1981:29). The region's low density indigenous population was not properly included in many censuses due to their patterns of mobility and territory use that were neither understood nor acknowledged.
Because of this relatively sparse and invisible population, since the 1940s the region has been considered an isolated, unpopulated and socially empty space, filled with abundant and easy-to-exploit natural resources, and available to redistribute the highly concentrated population in the highlands and the coast (Prado, 1941; Bustamante and Rivero, 1945; as cited in Valcarcel, 1991:167). These assumptions underlie the main policies that affect population dynamics in the whole Amazon region. The myth of El Dorado was underlying many programs aimed to convert this region into the national despensa or food supplier, ignoring its fragile ecology and indigenous groups' territorial rights.
The state goal in this period was to integrate Amazon resources into the process of capitalist expansion occurring at the national level. The Corporacion Peruana del Amazonas was created in 1942, basically to supply rubber for a subsidiary of the Goodyear Company producing tires in Lima. The Companhia Petrolera El Oriente and the Empresa Petrolera Fiscal and later in the 1960s foreign firms such as Mobil Oil were established in the region. The importance of these oil companies was not too great, since they contributed only 2.3% of national production




59
for the period 1950-59 (Barclay et al., 1991:59). The Industrial Development Law issued in 1959 aimed to promote industrialization in the Amazon through tax exemptions that were supposed to act as incentives to promote regional industrial development. At this time the region was considered a way to consolidate national security not only in terms of external threats, but in terms of solving internal conflicts (Barclay et al., 1991:65-67). Besides the growth of administrative structures and services, national policies promoting agriculture in the lowlands started in the 1950s and 1960s, restricted to some short cycle cash-crops such as rice and maize, and later jute, grown primarily on the mudflats of the lowlands. However, the land tenure systems and social relations affecting labor, as well as the high prices of transport, were barriers to these initiatives. Many laborers left the findos and moved further into the interior to start independent villages, expanding the frontier and combining subsistence and commercial agriculture, fishing, hunting and collection of other forest products (Chibnik, 1994:49-50).
Even though national policies did not achieve the goal of promoting capitalist development and industrialization, and did not change the productive pattern of the region, they had an impact on the social relations over the rural landscape. Intensification of river transportation and commerce eroded the monopoly of patrones and regatones and the control they had over local labor, and favored the free exchange of goods and labor (Padoch, 1988; Barclay et al., 1991:71). Local people could escape from the patronage system, but they could not escape from the market dynamic, since they already needed cash to buy goods that had become part of their




60
basic needs (kerosene, salt, oil, sugar, batteries, munitions, health and educational expenses). And since the prices for their products were low, they needed to supplement their income with wage labor (Chibnik, 1994:50).
Between 1940 and 1961 the Amazon population experienced an annual growth rate of 3.56 %, well above the national average rate of 2.25 %. For the same period, the migration rate for the region went from 3. 0 to 6. 1. Mobility was duplicated toward the region and within the region (Rodriguez, 1991:113-114). This demographic growth and the trend toward urbanization would become stronger in the next decades.
1960-1970: Demograhic growth and urbanization
During the 1960s, the Amazon region experienced demographic growth and increased its importance in regard to the national population, going from 8.7% in 1961 to 9.6 % in 1972. In 30 years, as shown in Table 3. 1, Amazon population evolved from 381,028 to 1,328,354 (a growth of 350%), while Loreto's population went from 158,597 to 375,007 (an increase of 236%). After the development push beginning in 1940, the Loreto region started a process of growth, due to the reduction of mortality rates and the highest fertility rate of the country: Gross Fertility Rate for the Amazon in 1961 was 62.6 per thousand, while the national rate was 46.35 per thousand. The Gross Reproductive Rate for the Amazon was 3.5 children per woman while the national rate was 2.99 children per woman (CICRED, 1974:80). In addition to the highest rates, Amazonian women initiate their fertility at earlier stages than do women in the rest of the country (Ferrando, 1985). This further spurred




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population growth in the region. Migration has been important more in the redistribution of Loreto's population than in its growth: most migrants come from within the Amazon region, even from Loreto's remote zones or from the upper Amazon. This is a particular phenomenon, as compared to the case of the upper Amazon, whose population has received large contingents of migrants from the highlands (Rodriguez, 1991).
The upper Amazon has been more populated than the lower Amazon, Loreto representing 72.6% of the lower Amazon in 1972 and 28.2 % of the whole Amazon region, as seen in Table 3. 1. While in the upper Amazon the main demographic and economic changes were immigration, colonization and the development of agricultural activities, in the lowlands the pattern was the internal mobilization of population without changing the economy, based on extraction of natural resources. Rural
Table 3. 1. Evolution of the Amazon Population 1940-1972.
1940 1961 1972
Whole Amazon 381,028 835,895 1, 328,354
Upper Amazon 207,467 483,911 811,543
Lower Amazon 173,561 351,984 516,812
Loreto 158,597 272,933 375,007
SOURCE: Rodriguez, 1991:146.




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people became more integrated to market dynamics, as suppliers of forest products and as buyers of basic goods and services. This process explains the enormous growth of the cities of Iquitos and Pucalpa, due to the creation of the first college in the Amazon (UNAP), and state incentives to develop industrial and commercial activities (Rodriguez, 1991:117-122).
1970-1990: State reforms and population growth
In the 1970s, under the reforms implemented by the Military Government, the remaining fundos in Loreto were expropriated as part of the National Land Reform. In this period colonization was not supposed to avoid land tenure reform but to complement it. In order to energize regional markets and agricultural production, the state took over the monopoly of some products, either those important for urban populations, such as maize and rice, or as a source of foreign currency through export, such as coffee. The creation of public enterprises in charge of purchasing agrarian production and providing inputs and credit, such as EISA, EDCHAP and ENCI,12 gave the State a direct stake in the revenues from this commercialization. These policies coincided with promotional credit for small farmers, which established cash crops such as rice, maize and jute as important sources of income for Riberefihos (Barclay et al., 1981:73-74; Chibnik, 1987).
12These are names of successive public enterprises in charge of centralizing commercialization of inputs and some agricultural products; due to corruption and bad management, once one was declared deactivated and under investigation, another similar one was created, until in the 1990s the State stopped playing an active role in economic planning.




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Loreto did not participate in the boom of agricultural development experienced by the upper Amazon in terms of coffee, tea, rice, maize, cattle, etc. Rice and maize became important as cash crops during the 1980s, but except for jute, agricultural products grown in Loreto did not reach markets beyond the region (Chibnik, 1994:58). The extractive activity has been focused more on nontimber products, such as gums, resins, wild fruits, medicinal plants, barks (Padoch, 1988; Coomes, 1991, Chibnik, 1994) compared to the region of Pucallpa where timber extraction has been predominant (Santos, 1991; Valcarcel, 1991). However, the lumber industry was responsible for 45% of 1975's industrial gross product in the department of Loreto (Villarejo, 1979:283). Drug trade (coca leaves processing and transportation) has been an important source of fortunes that are invested in commerce and tourism (Chibnik, 1994; Fieldwork, 1997). There is no detailed information available on this activity nor its impacts in the region.
PETROPERU, the state oil enterprise, was an important presence in the region in the 1970s, with the building of the North Peruvian pipeline and the oil exploration and exploitation that converted the Amazon into the main oil producer at the national level. In Loreto, oil investment was 87% of public investment in 1984 (Barclay 1991:75). The construction of the pipeline and the exploration activities attracted large contingents of labor, many of whom settled as Riberefihos or as small colonists in the Carretera Iquitos-Nauta Colonization Project of the 1980s. Another important component of public investment in the 1970s was agricultural promotion, agrarian




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reform and rural settlements, through state institutions like INIPA and the Agrarian Bank among others.
The Agrarian Reform and populist policies of the 1970s changed the class
structure, taking the estate owners out of the picture and beginning the process of the recognition of territorial rights of indigenous tribal groups, but those policies got in the way of the development plan that the government had for the Amazon, and never were fully applied. The policies favored de-ruralization of Riberefihos, and proletarization, mainly through the oil boom of the 1970s, and the development of urban sectors associated to services and public service (Rodriguez, 1991:130-131). After the oil boom the proletarians became marginal, since the city of Iquitos was not a center of productive capital. This growth of the urban population of Iquitos in a context of marginalization, and the lack of defined borders among social classes, can explain the peculiarity of the social movement that occurred in the region in the 1970s: the Frente de Defensa Regional. This broad multi-class organization was formed by merchants, professionals, inhabitants from urban marginal settlements, street vendors and the school teachers's union. They demanded from the central government an increased budget for the region through the Oil Canon (Canon Petrolero) (a percentage of the revenues of oil exploitation that remains in the region from which the oil is extracted). After that successful experience, the social movement did not continue in the 1980s and 1990s, mainly because one of the key elements, the SUTEP (school teacher's union) experienced a process of contraction, as did most national social movements in the context of political violence.




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In this period population growth continued with increasing urbanization; even though fertility rates have been declining, they still remained high. It is important to note the differences in fertility rates for rural and urban populations, as shown in Table 3.2. Higher fertility rates in rural areas are associated to higher illiterate rates, higher for women than for men. The median age of the population reveals the effects of Loreto's demographic trends.
Table 3.2: Demographic Indicators for Loreto.
Variable Loreto region Rural Loreto Urban Loreto
1972 1981 1989 1981 1981
Fertility rates 7.5 6.2 5.3 8.0 5.1
(births/woman)1
Infant mortality' 93.5 108.9 78.9
(deaths/thousand)
Death rates2 14.8 12.4 N/A N/A
Median age of 15.1 N/A N/A
population2
Life expectancy2 53.0 55.0 N/A N/A
illiterate 15% 27.2% 6.4%
population3
women 39.0% 9.5%
men 18.1% 3.3%
SOURCES: Ferrando (1985:45), Webb & Fernandez Baca (1990:118), INEI
(1993:357).
2Chibnik (1994:56).
3INEI (1993:419, 423).




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Loreto's population in the 1990s represented 26.4 % of the whole Amazon region. Its population had experienced significant growth between 1940 and 1981, the province of Maynas and especially the city of Iquitos within Maynas being the main poles of growth. Iquitos is the seventh most populated city of Peru, since the 1970s (INEI, 1993). This significant growth of Iquitos reflects urbanization and centralization as predominant patterns of settlement (Rodriguez, 1991:124-125). The growth of Iquitos has been due to its position as the main commercial and administrative center for the region, and during the 1970s as the main labor market for the oil operations in the region. Urbanization concentrates population in the main city of Iquitos, and other minor cities such as Nauta, Tamshiyacu and Requena play similar commercial and service supply roles. 13
However, in the rural scene, the type of predominant livelihood strategies for the rural population, based on extraction of natural resources, led to increased dispersion of settlements. Even though 52.12% of Loreto's population was urban in 1981, and Maynas province has 69.95% of its population in urban areas, this was not the case for other provinces of Loreto, where urban population was not predominant: only 39.23% for the case of Alto Amazonas, 19.60% for Loreto province, 13.20% for Ramon Castilla, 38.33% for Requena and 29.16% for Ucayali. These provinces were mainly rural, reflecting the big contrast between growing urbanization around Iquitos and a predominantly dispersed rural settlement for the rest of Loreto.
"The 1981 census reported seven towns larger than 2000 inhabitants, besides the cities of Iquitos, Yurimaguas and Contamana, that were not registered as such in the 1940 census (Rodriguez, 1991:153).




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Population redistribution within the region has meant a process of de-ruralization and proletarization of the rural population of the lowlands. The main vehicles for these processes have been rural-urban emigration of young members of rural families, and the wage labor recruitment done by the oil operations. Because of the limits of the capitalist process to absorb this labor force as wage laborers, the urbanization process has often ended in marginalization, when these workers remain in Iquitos as street sellers, informal traders or labor for construction, porters, etc. De-ruralization has partially reversed into re-ruralization when ex-workers returned to settle as Riberefihos or small colonists. This is the case of the small colonists settled in the Carretera Iquitos-Nauta Settlement project of the 1980s. New waves of immigrants continue to come to Iquitos in search of a better life. This process also expresses the limits of the livelihood strategies of poor rural population to secure the sustained reproduction of their families in the long term.
Differential access to formal education has not been reduced in terms of
rural/urban and gender differences. While Loreto's illiterate population dropped from 51% in 1940 to 15% in 1981, it was higher in the rural areas: 27.2% as compared to only 6.4% for urban areas. Urban illiterate women were 9.5% vs. 3.3% of men, and rural illiterate women were 39% as compared to 18.1 % of rural illiterate men (INEI, 1993:419,423). Fertility reduction is associated with access to education and income, as reflected in the 1991 national fertility rates: 7.1 children for women with no access to education, 5.1 children for women with elementary education, 3.1 children for women with access to middle school and 1.9 children for women with




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access to high school and college (INEI, 1993:375). Thus, this differential access to education is partly responsible for the high fertility rates in the region.
It is very important to note that parallel to this process of de-ruralization and
the growth of Iquitos as a mega-city, the expansion of the frontier has continued. The same socioeconomic structure that explains the urbanization and centralization of population in Iquitos, explains the maintenance of dispersed patterns of settlement and the expansion of the frontier through the creation of new settlements (see Figure 3. 1). That means that the interactions between demographic dynamics and pressure on natural resources has to be studied considering both phenomena: the continued dispersion of rural population and the urbanization/centralization of population in Iquitos. These centrifugal and centripetal forces are part of the same dynamics and the same problem. The emigration that alleviates pressure on natural resources in an isolated village in the Amazon river is creating more pressure on natural resources and the environment in Iquitos (pollution, waste, energy supplies etc.). Emigration of family members has been reported (Espinosa, 1994, 1997) as an important feature of demographic strategies of Riberefihos families, especially in those areas less integrated to the market, and therefore less able to supply access to advanced educational, health services, job and income opportunities.
In regard to the interactions between population growth and pressure on natural resources, there are many elements to be considered. Even when demographic growth plays an important role in the expansion of the frontier and the increasing pressure on natural resources, there are other mechanisms mediating this




Figure 3.1 Sociodemographic and Territorial Patterns in Loreto.




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interaction. It has been already presented how market dynamics can influence the patterns of population settlement, Iquitos being the big pole of attraction due to its important commercial, political-administrative and service supply role. There are other processes that explain how, parallel to this concentration of population in Iquitos, the expansion of the frontier has continued and will continue.
It is not the pressure for agricultural land that explains this continued
expansion of settlements, since land is not a restricted or scare resource among most Ribereffho villages. People mainly move on looking for better hunting and fishing resources. Livelihood strategies of Riberefthos require some degree of geographical dispersion or limited pressure on natural resources, otherwise fishing, collection, cropping and hunting activities, on which they rely for subsistence, are too difficult, unproductive and time-consuming. Sometimes social conflicts play a role. Associated with this is the search for administrative autonomy, the desire to be recognized as an independent village with its own authorities and its own school. However, in order to be able to be recognized as a village by the state and be assigned a teacher paid by the state, they have to show a critical number of children already attending school. Here begins the process of recruitment of relatives living in other places; kinship networks of Ribereiiho families extend far beyond the locality. This is an important factor in explaining the mobility within the region and the expansion of the frontier.
The indigenous population is estimated as 30.4% of Loreto' s rural population according to the 1981 census, the main ethnic groups being the Cocama-Cocamillas,




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Amueshas, Shipibos and Witotos, among others. These results come close to the estimation of Riberefihos as 85% of Loreto's rural population (Egoavil, 1992). For the whole Amazonian region, the indigenous population has been estimated at 223,163 and represents 21.5% of its rural population; for other Amazonian departments, the indigenous population respectively represents, 44.8 %, 12.1 % and 1 % of the rural population of Amazonas, San Martin and Huanuco (Rodriguez, 1991:123-124).
Table 3.3: Indigenous Population Within Rural Population of the Peruvian Northern Amazon.
Whole Amazon Region Loreto1 Amazonas San Martin Huanuco
21.% 30.4% 44.8% 12.1% 1.0%
SOURCE: Rodriguez (1991:123-124).
KEYS: 'Loreto is the department where the study sites are located while Amazonas,
San Martin, and Huanuco are Loreto's neighboring departments.
The development of regional markets based on extraction of natural resources has led to the alienation of indigenous people from their land and their culture, and has supported the process of racial, ethnic, economic and social mestisaje. The role of the church, markets, public education and the dominance of the white-urbanwestern culture has facilitated the subordinated incorporation of indigenous people into the mainstream society. In the name of progress, tribal structure was disrupted, their land taken, their language and religion prosecuted and punished by Catholic priests and the law. There are several stories collected from local elders about how, until recent years, local practices were punished, and many shamans were put in jail.




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Even when the word used by State, church and legislators was "integration," the process was one of assimilation. This process of assimilation and racial mixing among indigenous and mestizos explain the loss of indigenous identity among people who descend directly from native groups. The Cocama-Cocamilla is the ethnic group that suffered the earliest contact with "Westerners" due to their location at the upper and lower Maranhon river. They were the first natives who accepted public education (Rengifo, 1997). This group has been called the "invisible natives" by Stocks (1983), referring to the process of ethnic denial in order to secure and/or improve physical survival. However, this process is not linear but includes some ambiguity and contradictions, and is not finished.
1990: Structural adjustment Program
The strong involvement of the State in the process of planning and promoting development in the Amazon was interrupted in the 1990s, when structural adjustment policies of President Fujimori eliminated the State Bank that provided promotional credit to small farmers, as well as the state enterprises in charge of buying jute, maize and rice. Without these cash-crops, local populations turned even more to extractive activities in order to get the cash they needed (Agreda, 1993). INIPA was deactivated and state services in training, credit, technical assistance, have disappeared, being to some extent replaced by the NGOs. The attempt to develop commercial agriculture in the region ended, affecting the future of sustainable use of resources. The regional economy remained extractivist, based on oil, timber, nontimber and wildlife products, and drugs (cocaine processing and distribution), with an expanded internal market




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articulated around the city of Iquitos and through it to Lima and the coast. The increasing importance of ecotourism has to be considered, even though its role has not yet been studied. The same can be said for conservation and development projects in the region. One might think that the growth of Iquitos could represent an attractive demand for agricultural products. This was true to some extent, but main food supplies for the city were directly transported from Lima by plane, raising their prices and making Iquitos a very expensive city as compared to other interior cities of Peru.
In a context of neo-liberalism, the State role has been severely reduced, allowing the market to regulate the economy. A recent attempt to dynamize the lowland economy has been the introduction of camu-camu plantations for export. Since 1997, through NGOs, the state is promoting lowland plantations of camu-camu, an indigenous tree resistant to floods whose fruit has good demand and price in external markets, due to its significant content of vitamin C. This process is still at the initial stage, and although it shows ecological and economic advantages it is too premature to be evaluated.
The Contemporary Situation for Conservation and Sustainable Development: People. Markets and the Environment
The current situation for conservation and development initiatives is one
dominated by market forces, with reduced presence of the State to intervene in the economy and society. Any attempt to promote sustainable use of resources has to fit into this market rationale, where "open" markets maintain the conditions in which different agents compete and interact. These differences are due to location, production and/or post-production costs, information about markets, timing and




74
opportunity of the exchange, degree of dependence on the goods or income exchanged in the markets, etc. In a context of no intervention of the state to minimize the differences between economic agents competing in open markets, grassroots organizations have a crucial role in the articulation of a process of negotiation between the interests of local communities, conservation institutions and the State in regard to policies and identification of alternatives that benefit local populations as well as fit into conservation agenda. Grassroots organizations have to take on the task of representing local populations in economic as well as in social, ethnic and political terms. This task challenges the current role of grassroots organizations, limited to the political 'and reivindicative action and without a larger picture of their role in long term and regional perspectives. There is an important task of empowering grassroots organizations, at the local and regional levels, so that they can lead a process of articulation of a regional agenda, a social and economic program built by and through social mobilization, where Riberefthos have a crucial role to play.
Legal and Institutional Framework for Natural Resource Management
The main characteristic of the legal framework affecting natural resources in Peru is the lack of a well articulated and coherent legal body at the national level. Different regulations issued in different years and with different objectives create an ambiguous and sometimes contradictory legal framework. According to Peruvian Environment Law (Codigo del Medlo Ambiente), issued by the Congress in 1990, wildlife and natural resources are considered the Nation's patrimony; for that reason,




75
the State is responsible for wildlife protection, through the Ministry of Agriculture and the Ministry of Fisheries. The Nation's natural patrimony is defined to include ecological, biological and genetic diversity within its territory, landscape and the interactions among these elements. The Forestry and Wildlife Law (Ley Forestal y de Fauna Silvestre), issued in 1975, establishes that forestry and wildlife resources are of public domain and there is no private right to them. The use of these resources has to fit the regulations established by the Ministry of Agriculture, the public entity in charge of enforcing this law. Conservation of wildlife species, their ecosystems and the germplasm of native species, are the responsibility of the State.
In regard to hunting, the law strictly regulates the places, people and
conditions of hunting. Traditional hunting is permitted only by local communities in the Amazon and in the highlands, restricted to members of peasant communities, and only for consumption. Commercialization of subsistence hunting is prohibited and the limit of prey per expedition is one animal, or pieces not exceeding 50 kgs. Prohibitions extend to hunting during the night, in levees where wildlife take refuge during floods and during misty days. Traditional weapons are reserved for subsistence hunting, in which only low fire power guns can be used. Commercial hunting is an activity done for economic profit and can be done only by those who have a licence, a contract, pay the fees and respect the quotas established by the Regional Hunting Calendar. Commercial hunting within communities can be done only by the communities' members (Varese, 1995).




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Hunting of all Amazonian wildlife species has been indefinitely prohibited except those 15 presented in Table 3.4:
Table 3.4 Wildlife Species Allowed to be Hunted.
Scientific name English name Local name
Mazama Americana Red Deer Venado rojo
Tayassu tajacu Collared peccary Sajino
Tayassu pecari White-lipped peccary Huangana
Tapirus terrestris Lowland tapir Sachavaca
Agouti pacca Paca Majaz
Dasyprocta variegata Black agouti Anhuje
Dinomys braniki Pacarana Pacarana
Hydrochaeris Capybara Ronsoco
Dasypus novemcinctus Nine-banded Armadillo
armadillo
Penelope jacquacu Bird Pucacunga
Penelope spp. Bird Pavas de monte
Ortalis spp Bird Panguana
Crypturellus spp. Bird Perdiz de selva
Columbigallina spp. Bird Paloma de
selva
Geochelone spp. Tortoise Motelos
SOURCE: Varese (1997), Bodmer (1993).
However, those species that are not prohibited cannot be sold in towns that exceed 3000 inhabitants (Varese, 1997:82-83). Control on wildlife selling through




77
seizures of game is imposed on the hunter who is trying to bring his product to the river boat or to the local markets, but not on the regional markets of Iquitos or Nauta, where game meat is sold without problems. The argument given by game meat vendors is that they obtained their meat from authorized commercial hunters and not from community members, a reason that is not always true. It appears that laws are against the hunters and not against the meat sellers. For example, Nauta--a town with 8,508 habitants in 1994--has been identified as an important market for wildlife species extracted from the Pacaya-Samiria National Reserve. Between May and December of 1994, some 3,870 kg of meat were sold in the Nauta market, from 21 wildlife species. Nine of these species were in the category of threatened species. Paca and black agouti were the most prevalent species being sold (Rodriguez et al., 1997).
The Peruvian government created the National Institute for Natural Resources (INRENA) in 1991 and within INRENA, DGANPF (General Direction of Protected Natural Areas and Wildlife), the unit in charge of supervising the management of all protected natural areas in Peru, such as the Pacaya-Samiria National Reserve in Loreto. In 1995, an inter-institutional committee designed a nationwide conservation strategy with the support of German funding. This strategy, known as the General National Plan for Protected Areas (Plan Director Nacional para Areas Naturales Protegidas), recommends the inclusion of participation by local populations and acknowledges the right of local people to use natural resources, especially for the case of National and Communal Reserves. However, the policy toward local populations




78
within protected areas is not clear and the National Plan has not been implemented. While the National Plan has this openness toward local people's participation, the previous Land Law (Ley de 2'erras) holds the state as the only owner and steward for natural resources, thus limiting the roles and rights of local people in protected areas. Even when the law recognizes the right of local communities already established in protected areas, it does not recognize any community that does not have legal recognition prior to the establishment of the protected area. This technicality aims to avoid the flow of immigrants toward the protected areas. Most communities existed prior to the establishment of a protected area but do not have the legal titles, an uncertain status and ambiguity that creates lots of tension.
The ambiguity is also expressed in that while INRENA authorities recognize the right of local people to use the resources at a subsistence level, they do not allow the selling of resources, even when it is part of their subsistence strategy. Confiscations are the main source of conflicts and illustrate the lack of coherent state policies: while selling wildlife resources is forbidden, there is no policy to support agriculture or other activity in these areas, to provide alternative income. All technical training and credit programs oriented to small farmers' cash crops like jute, rice and maize have been canceled as part of the structural adjustment policies of the 1990s. Local populations are expected to observe regulations of conservation management and to pay the cost of conservation. Even though they are authorized to consume the resources directly, they are not allowed to get any cash in the context of a depressed but monetarized local and regional economy.




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Within the Loreto region, the regional government partially funds the supervision and management of PSNR and is trying to promote an increasing participation of local authorities as a way to include local populations in conservation management. However, specific mechanisms to secure broad participation of local people at the community level have not been officially created or recognized, and conflicts still persist between local and outsider users, and between local users and conservation authorities (AIF-DK, 1995).
There are two important protected areas within Loreto: the Pacaya Samiria National Reserve created in 1972 and the Tamshiyacu-Tahuayo Communal Reserve created in 1991 (See Figure 3.2). The PSNR and TTCR exhibit some differences in terms of flood cycle and presence of natural levees that may affect wildlife populations and the resources available in both places. Basically the existence of more upland or levees in a place allow more trees and fruit trees to develop, which attract and support wildlife populations. The Tamshiyacu-Tahuayo Communal Reserve has more upland forests and, therefore, is assumed to have larger populations of wildlife (Bodmer, 1995; Extremadoyro, 1997). Pacaya-Samiria National Reserve (PSNR)
The Pacaya-Samiria National Reserve was created in 1972, through the
Decreto Supremo 06-72-PE and its territory was later expanded in 1982 to 2,080,000 has. The PSNR is the largest Peruvian conservation unit and one of the largest in the whole Amazon basin (COREPASA, 1996). It is located in the lowlands of Loreto,




80
HAUTh S. dA 14hbo
MARATHON Rhmer Rhw
VCAYAI I RIw PAukus Chwiml r,,ya riyer
JA
Figure 3.2 Pacaya-Samiria National Reserve (HSTRENA-M, Agricultura, 1989).




81
between the Maranhon and the Ucayali rivers and includes the Pacaya and the Samiria rivers that respectively flow into the Ucayali and the Maranhon rivers.
With most of its territory annually flooded, PSNR is one of the most important areas for reproduction of many Amazonian fish species. The predominant soils have little slope, poor drainage and medium to low fertility. The reserve is 51% flooded forests (swamps, aguaje palm swamps and flood plains), 34% seasonal flooded forests, 13 % non-flooded forests, 1 % converted forest and 1 % rivers and lakes. The predominant vegetation is tropical rain forest, and palm and swamp formations. Abundance of lakes and water bodies characterizes PSNR. Wildlife is adapted to the diverse conditions within the reserve. Birds, tropical aquatic mammals and reptiles are notorious within PSNR (WWF-AIF/DK, 1993; Pro-Naturaleza-TNC, 1996).
The Pacaya-Samiria National Reserve includes the watersheds of the Pacaya and Samiria rivers, the right margin of the lower Maranhon river and the left margin of the lower Ucayali and of the Puinahua channel (See Figure 3.3); it encompasses several streams, such as Yanayacu del Pucate, which is the most important. The annual climatic pattern includes a long rainy season, from October to June and another, relatively more dry season, from July to September. The flood peak is between March and May and the maximum ebb between August and October (Soini et al., 1996).
The PSNR is rich in biodiversity, but much of it still is not well known.
Between 1992 and 1993 an inventory and rapid assessment of wildlife and its use by local people were conducted (Soini et al., 1996). From 648 species registered, 44




82
73 0 N
Iquitos4
Ric Nmny 0 IM2
Figure 3.3 TamshyacuhaoRgoa omnlRsre(omre l,19)




83
were considered within the nationally defined category of threatened species and more than 50 species had economic and/or medical value. The study showed that local people used more than 60 wildlife species (30 mammal species, 25 birds and 6 reptiles), the most important being: Paca (majaz), white-lipped peccary (huangana), black monkey (mono negro), lowland tapir (sachavaca), collared peccary (sajino), agouti (anhuje), curassow (paujil), birds (pava de monte, perdiz, pucacunga), guan (panguana), tortoises (taricaya, motelo), and white cayman Clagarto blanco) (Coomes, 1992:217). These species are mostly hunted for selling, with fresh game sold in the villages and dry game sold to the traders and to urban markets of Nauta and Iquitos.
This study also showed seasonal patterns associated with hunting: during the floods, hunting is more intensive, since animals concentrated in the levees are easier to locate and hunt. In the ebb, hunting is less intensive, becoming a more specialized activity. Hunting was reported with firearms and complementary use of traps and arrows, for small and medium size animals. Turtles, alligators and other aquatic animals that get trapped in the fishing nets are also used by local people. During the summer season, the collection of turtle eggs is an economically important activity in the PSNR. The study found that the high cost of munitions limits the incidence and amount of hunting. Those communities located in non-flooded terrains hunt once per week, with agriculture as the main activity and fishing the secondary activity. Communities located in flooded forests have fishing as their main activity, agriculture and hunting being less important and more seasonal.




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The main conclusion of Soini et al. (1996) is that current knowledge on distribution, abundance, ecology and assessment of wildlife is not sufficient to implement an adequate resource management plan and that not only are current practices and use of resources not sustainable, neither is the current management of the PSNR.
Within the PSNR, 99 rural settlements of diverse size located on the Maranhon and Ucayali rivers host a population of 35,000 people (WWF/AIF/DK, 1995). In the periphery of PSNR 77,000 people live in 173 settlements, of which 89% have less than 500 inhabitants (PPS-Pro-Naturaleza/TNC/USAID, 1996). Two projects work with the communities within the PSNR: the WWF/AIF project known as PPS and the TNC/FPCN project.
The PSNR is directed by a Ministry of Agriculture officer based in Iquitos who reports to the Regional Director of the Ministry of Agriculture and who is selected by the INRENA. Under him are two watershed managers, one for the Pacaya river and the other for the Samiria, as well as 40 park guards. The Ministry of Agriculture funds salaries for 18 guards, the Ministry of Fisheries for two, and 20 are paid by Pro-Naturaleza (formerly FPCN), a national environmental NGO. In 1994, a regional managing board was established, composed of the regional directors of the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries. In addition, a coordinating committee was formed, which included the regional Peruvian Amazon Research Institute (HAP) the Peruvian Amazon National University (UNAP) WWF/AIF and Pro-Naturaleza. However it was never operationalized since it was never convened by the managing




Full Text
Table Page
6.1 Age, Time of Residence in the Village and Commercial Fishing Catch 156
6.2 Family Size, Fish Consumption, and Commercial Fishing 157
6.3 Perceptions and Attitudes, and Commercial Fishing 159
6.4 Age and Time of Residence Associated with Hunting 161
6.5 Family Size and Game Meat Consumption, Associated with Hunting 163
6.6 Perceptions and Attitudes Associated with Hunting 166
6.7 Self Perceived Factors Related to Hunting and Fishing 178
6.8 Main Families Identified by Villagers in San Martin as Being Better-off 180
6.9 Main Families Identified by Villagers of Buenavista as Being Better-off 182
6.10 Criteria that Differentiate Wealthier Families from the Rest 184
7.1 Gender Division of Labor for Extractive Activities 194
7.2 Gender Division of Labor for Reproductive Activities 194
7.3 Gender Division of Labor for Agriculture 196
7.4 Activities Considered Most Important for Family Consumption 214
7.5 Activities Considered Most Important for Familys Cash Income .... 215
7.6 Hunting Activity as Perceived by Male and Female Informants 216
7.7 Subsistence Fishing as Perceived by Male and Female Informants . 217
7.8 Commercial Fishing as Perceived by Male and Female Informants ... 217
7.9 Decision-Making on the Fishing Catch, as Perceived by Male and
Female Informants 219
7.10 Reasons Associated With Commercial Extractivism in San Martin ... 219
7.11 Reasons Associated with Commercial Extractivism 220
xii


225
Table 7.8 Commercial Fishing as Perceived by Male and Female Informants.
Commercial
Fishing:
San Martin del Tipishca (RNPS)
Male Inform. Female Inform.
Buenavista (RCTT)
Male Inform. Female Inform.
How much caught?
10-30 kgs
21.4
13.3
20.0
10.0
31-50 kgs
33.3
40.0
16.0
10.0
51-80 kgs
7.1
6.6
12.0
20.0
81-120 kgs
14.2
13.3
4.0
15.0
121-150 kgs
7.1
6.7
0.0
10.0
151-250 kgs
0.0
0.0
0.0
0.0
251-300 kgs
0.0
6.7
0.0
0.0
At least one commercial
fisher in the household
85.8
86.7
52.0
70.0
SOURCE: Surveys (1996).
Most men and women in both San Martin and Buenavista reported sharing
decisions in regard to how much to keep for consumption and how much to sell, as
presented in Table 7.9. While some cases reported men making decisions by
themselves, it was never reported that women did so. Even though decisions on how
much remains at home and how much is sold are mostly shared, another issue is the
predominant male control of the cash resulting from selling fish and game meat, as
already discussed.
Table 7.9 Decision-Making on the Fishing Catch, as Perceived by
Male and Female Informants.
Decisions
San Martin del Tipishca (RNPS)
Buenavista (RCTT)
made by:
Male Inform.
Female Inform.
Male Inform. Female Inform.
Both spouses
93.0
95.7
94.0
96.0
Done by males
7.0
4.3
6.0
4.0
Done by females
0.0
0.0
0.0
0.0
SOURCE: Surveys (1996).


82
Figure 3.3 Tamshiyacu-Tahuayo Regional Communal Reserve (Bodmer et al., 1995).


116
the darkness or during full moon nights, and people were able to see in the darkness
and to fish and hunt. Now everybody relies on flashlights even for a walk in the
village.
The school system since 1949 involved some expenses to families such as the
teacher payment, books, notebooks, pencils, uniform or clothing, shoes and some
occasional contributions to certain feasts and events. As the market dependence
increased, wildlife experienced more harvesting pressure and become more dispersed
and remote from villages, demanding more time and energy to hunt and fish. Prices
of urban goods increased while prices of skins and meat remained stable or decreased,
due to fluctuations of regional and international demands. That is why, even though
the villagers did not experience the presence of patrons and habilitadores as in other
regions, they experienced exploitation through the market's uneven terms of
exchange. Cultural oppression likewise has been exerted through the school system,
the church, local state authorities and representatives. These issues will be discussed
later.
Land access has been always free for families, since patrons were not within
SMT territory. Even though not recognized de jure but only de facto, land belongs to
the community. Any villager who is registered as an active member of the
community can claim his right to open a plot, as long as it is not someone elses plot.
However, land under cultivation is restricted by family access to labor. In a context
of poverty and stagnation of local, regional and national economy, wage labor is a
restricted option for most Riberemho families. Agriculture is done with family labor


152
Table 5.8 Time Allocation for Productive Activities,
by Gender and Age, San Martin.
Activity
Time per
activity
Frequency
Done by
Subsistence fishing
2 hours
every day or
two
M or m or
(m+F)
Sale/distribution
of remnants of subst.
fishing
30 min
every
day or two
F +
f+m
Commercial
fishing
5 days
1 or 2
/month
M or
M+m
Selling catch of
comm, fish*
1 day
1 or
2/month
M
i
Hunting
12 days
variable
M
Aguaje/chonta
extraction
5 days
variable
M
Fiber/leaves/bar
k collect.
3 days
variable
M
Selling forest
products
1 day
variable
M
Turtle egg
collection and packing
for sell
3 days
1/year
Whole
family
Clearing plot
(cutting)
1 day
w/ minga labor
1/year
per plot
M
Clearing plots
(moving and burning)
3 days
1/year/p
lot
F +
f+m
Getting seeds
1/2 day
1 /year/p
lot
M or F
or M/F
Planting
3 days
1/year/p
lot
F +f+m
Weeding
3 days
2/year/p
lot
F +f+m


15
Conceptual Framework and Method
The conceptual framework and method that guided this study was known as
gendered political ecology as discussed and developed within the MERGE program
since 1992, and within the MERGE Student Research Group, between 1996 and 1998
(Schmink, 1997). This approach resulted from the confluence of the political ecology
of natural resource use (Redclift, 1987; Schmink and Wood, 1987; Peet and Watts,
1993) and the gender analysis developed within the frame of gender and development
(Poats et al., 1988; Feldstein and Poats, 1989).
A political ecology approach recognizes that political, social, and economic
processes and institutions mediate interactions between humans and the environment
(Bryant, 1992; Peluso, 1992; Schmink, 1997). Gendered political ecology
acknowledges the importance of power structures at the public and private spheres,
market dynamics and patterns of capital development on regional and global scales, as
well as the interactions of class, gender, and ethnic hierarchies affecting the use of
resources at local macro and micro levels. Even though the focus may be at the local
level--as in the case of this study-it is necessary to take into account the larger
picture, the social relations that shape local practices in regard to natural resources,
and the whole set of social, economic, demographic, and political processes at the
regional level, affecting local practices and interactions. This approach perceives
local people neither as passive victims of degradation nor as pure environmentalists,
rather it encompasses the whole set of contradictions that affect local behavior in


123
consumption and selling. They have the opportunity to send cargo or to travel to
Iquitos every day, since the river taxi literally passes by the door of their houses.
The river taxi owners and some villagers act as habilitadores and this also contributes
to make the local economy more dynamic.
Land access in Buenavista is slightly better than in San Martin del Tipishca:
families have better access to land, not only because they have access to levees beside
the lowlands, but because agriculture does not have a strong seasonality, so they can
work larger amounts of land throughout the year. The average family has between 3
and 5 ha distributed in several small plots in different locations and altitudes.
As reported for SMT, changes in consumption patterns occurred early in the
1960s: the use of soaps and detergents, plastic replacing the metallic containers, oils
instead of fat, etc. The use of guns to hunt goes back to the beginning of this
century, but the use of flashlights and nets to fish was expanded in the 1960s.
Changes in food consumption (incorporation of rice and pasta, sugar instead of
chancaca,21 oil instead of animal fat, etc.) were started in the 1970s but are still now
restricted by the access to cash each family has. Still now there are families who use
chancaca instead of sugar. Manual presses are used to juice the sugar cane and
prepare home-made brew and/or chancaca.
21Chancaca is a ball of solid unrefined sugar; it is made of juice extracted manually
from sugar cane, and boiled until thickened juice is set in wooded molds and becomes
solid when cooled. Its use is still very widespread among rural poor that cannot
afford to buy sugar. Urban populations use chancaca to prepare a syrup that is used
for all traditional dishes (They boil the chanchaco again in a pan with water, clove,
cinnamon and orange peel until they obtain a smooth syrup).


9
local groups, whether they be patrons or communities" (117). In addition, Hiraoka
(1984) defined Riberehos as a social group that has been able to adapt traditional
strategies to market dynamics. Several studies (Chibnik, 1987; de Jong, 1987;
Padoch, 1988) have established the importance of market dynamics for Ribereho
livelihood strategies, either in terms of agriculture, non-timber products, and/or
extractive activities. Other studies have identified the economic importance of
specific activities for Ribereho communities according to their physical and
economic environment (Agreda, 1991; Barham et al., 1995). However, the
interactions between community participation in conservation management and market
dynamics have not been explored as they affect the use of resources.
The question derived from the existing research is whether the institutional
framework for community participation in conservation management can overcome
the potentially negative impacts of market articulation. In other words, can
communities involved in community-based conservation, while at the same time being
embedded in a more dynamic economic environment, make more sustainable use of
natural resources, especially wildlife? How do their resource use patterns compare
to those in communities which do not participate in conservation management but
which are in a less dynamic economic environment? The study explores this issue by
comparing the quantity and species of wildlife harvested by families of Buenavista and
San Martin, each community representing one extreme of this dichotomy.
Differences in resource use, between the two communities, are discussed in Chapter


202
men provide fuel, and when women do handicrafts, men also provide the fibers used
by women.
In regard to the participation of men and women in agriculture, Table 7.3
shows that despite the high involvement of women in agriculture, especially in San
Martin where agriculture is such a seasonal activity with high female labor, male and
female informants consider men to be more associated with agricultural labor than
women.
Informants associated agriculture as a male activity due to the fact that men
are in charge of the heavy labor during the clearing of a plot, a task that usually
requires the support of reciprocal labor (minga or manhanero). However, women
also participate in the clearing, cutting small trees and weeds with the machete,
moving them and preparing the burning. Often, after the cutting of the larger trees,
women by themselves take charge of the clearing and burning of the plot, as well as
the planting and weeding. When planting time comes, most laborers on the plot are
women, especially in San Martin where agriculture is very seasonal, as described in
Chapter 4. This bias in having the leading role assigned to males in agriculture has to
be understood within the gendered division of social roles within the household and
the community, that includes complementarity and cooperation as well as
subordination. For example, even though the mother is the one who is always at
home and with the children, a common pattern is to use the authority of the absent
father to establish order and discipline with children.


128
Ribereho livelihood strategies. For most villagers, fishing provides the main food
and income supply. Game meat provides cash for hunters, although there are no
more than seven hunters in SMT and eleven in Buenavista. Other sources of income
are selling: faria, small stock (chicken, pigs and ducks) and food crops ( maize,
watermelon, beans and plantains).
Buenavista and San Martin have some differences in terms of access to
resources, location and market integration and the role played in conservation
management: these differences result in different use of natural resources. San Martin
has access to privileged aquatic resources, fair access to game, while no access to
levees, and marginal access to the regional markets, in terms of distance, cost and
accessibility. It is no surprise that fishing is the most important activity, while
agriculture is limited to partial food provision. The local economy is not dynamic but
depressed. On the other hand, Buenavista has access to good hunting, fair fishing,
flood plains and uplands, and a better location vis a vis regional markets, so
agriculture can play a more dynamic role. Fishing is still important for consumption
and provision of income, but it is a more diversified economy as compared to SMT.
Families in Buenavista also have the support of the CASPI/CARE project that
provides technical assistance for agriculture and domestic animals, and other
institutions who operate in the area. Buenavista also has better integration with
regional markets, in terms of distance, cost and accessibility. However, in both
places survival is an uncertain endeavor and morbidity and mortality are high among
children and adults. For most families, adaptation has meant reducing their


52
decided to sell his property. The other system of labor recruitment, called correras
used force to move entire indigenous tribes living in the inter fluvial zones into the
rubber exploitation system, under the same debt-peonage system. Due to the
inhumane working conditions, mortality was high, and some voices of protest made
this situation known internationally. This scandal coincided, however, with the
decline of the rubber boom in 1912 due to the competition first of rubber plantations
in British Asian colonies and later of synthetic rubber (Chibnik, 1994:38-42). The
city of Iquitos, with 150 inhabitants in 1847, grew to 14,000 habitants by the end of
the rubber boom. Connected to the main markets of Liverpool and New York
through oceangoing steamers, it was the second most active port in Peru and had
resident consuls from ten foreign countries (Chibnik, 1994:43).
The impact of the rubber boom was tremendous, since it changed the ethnic,
social and demographic structure of the region, leading to tribal disruption, mestizaje
and ethnicide and consolidation of white-mestizo dominant groups. It also allowed
penetration of capitalism beyond the sphere of exchange, into the land tenure system
and social relations of production. Besides the rubber estates, a large number of
estates were raising cattle, producing sugar cane and aguardiente9 After the rubber
boom, most jundos or small estates moved to other extractive activities, extending the
depletion of resources. For the case of the Tahuayo basin, Coomes (1995:112)
reconstructs a century of resource depletion consisting of the collection and export of
vegetable ivory or tagua, a latex called balota, timber, fuelwood for steamers and
9Aguardiente is the alcohol distilled from the sugar cane juice,


63
Loreto did not participate in the boom of agricultural development experienced
by the upper Amazon in terms of coffee, tea, rice, maize, cattle, etc. Rice and maize
became important as cash crops during the 1980s, but except for jute, agricultural
products grown in Loreto did not reach markets beyond the region (Chibnik,
1994:58). The extractive activity has been focused more on nontimber products, such
as gums, resins, wild fruits, medicinal plants, barks (Padoch, 1988; Coomes, 1991,
Chibnik, 1994) compared to the region of Pucallpa where timber extraction has been
predominant (Santos, 1991; Valcarcel, 1991). However, the lumber industry was
responsible for 45% of 1975s industrial gross product in the department of Loreto
(Villarejo, 1979:283). Drug trade (coca leaves processing and transportation) has
been an important source of fortunes that are invested in commerce and tourism
(Chibnik, 1994; Fieldwork, 1997). There is no detailed information available on this
activity nor its impacts in the region.
PETROPERU, the state oil enterprise, was an important presence in the region
in the 1970s, with the building of the North Peruvian pipeline and the oil exploration
and exploitation that converted the Amazon into the main oil producer at the national
level. In Loreto, oil investment was 87% of public investment in 1984 (Barclay
1991:75). The construction of the pipeline and the exploration activities attracted
large contingents of labor, many of whom settled as Riberehos or as small colonists
in the Carretera Iquitos-Nauta Colonization Project of the 1980s. Another important
component of public investment in the 1970s was agricultural promotion, agrarian


170
aware and concerned about conservation issues and more willing to organize in
response to these concerns.
Hunting
Table 6.4 shows the distribution of hunting catch, also expressed in kilos
caught per family per month, according to age and time of residence at the village.
While most informants and hunters in San Martin belong to the intermediate age
group, that is between 35 and 50 years, in Buenavista more informants and hunters
belong to the youngest group, between 20 and 35 years. Higher age of the male
heads of the household is associated with higher hunt results, for both San Martn and
Buenavista, even though they are not the majority of respondents and/or hunters.
This is the opposite trend of that found for commercial fishing, where younger men
had higher catches.
Table 6.4 Age and Time of Residence Associated with Hunting.
Variables
SAN MARTN
NI N2 Xkg/mo P-value
BUENAVISTA
NI N2 Xkg/mo P-value
Age of male head of HH
20 < 35 years
7 5 176.9
15 11 503.6
35 < 50 years
16 10 48.2 0.3762
8 5 758.0 0.6103
50 to 75 years
6 5 261.6
8 3 776.7
Time of residence in the
village
12 9 94.4
6 5 482.0
< 20 years
13 8 136.9 0.8232
18 11 602.7 0.8244
20 < 40 years
40 years and more
4 3 243.3
7 3 873.3
SOURCE: Surveys (1996). Sample: San Martn N = 29 and Buenavista N = 30.
KEYS: N1 = total sample, N2 = commercial fishermen or wives, Xkg/mo =
average kg caught per month per family.


135
species are more abundant and with special nets and traps. In Chapter 6, the analysis
of the different factors affecting inter-household differentiation in wildlife resource
use is presented.
According to the surveys applied in 1996 (see Appendix B), at the subsistence
level, families in San Martin extract an average of 247.1 kgs of fish per month while
families in Buenavista extract an average of 257.3 kgs of fish per month. Everybody
was involved in subsistence fishing and the average caught per family per month did
not differ for the two communities. At the commercial level, families surveyed in
San Martn reported an average of 408 kgs per month, while families of Buenavista
reported 292.1 kgs per month. Some 2.5% of cases in Buenavista, and 0.9% in San
Martn were not doing commercial fishing, expressing the greater importance of
fishing in San Martin, due to better access to aquatic resources. The average catch
for those doing commercial fishing is 411.6 kgs/family/month for Buenavista and
473.4 kgs/family/month for San Martin. Fishermen in San Martin reported a larger
catch, and also a higher productivity: while fishermen in Buenavista obtained an
average of 70.2 kg per day, fishermen in San Martin obtained 82.8 kg per day.4
These differences are expressed in the resource situation as mentioneded in Chapter 4.
In regard to the species captured, Table 5.3 shows that some species have
similar occurrence for both places, such as boquichicos, acarhuasa, fasacu, gamitara,
while the rest have very different incidence in San Martin and Buenavista.
4The total time invested per family/month in Buenavista for this activity was 129 days
in Buenavista and 142.9 days in San Martin (See Tables in Appendix B).


29
participatory development will contribute to the equity of the projects impact, calling
attention to the need to link local participants with wider movements for social
change. Bonnard and Scherr (1994) question the importance of gender alone as a
useful variable to understand agroforestry practices in Kenya, showing marital status
of women as a variable differentiating species choice, tree product marketing and soil
conservation, and fertility practices, which are not clearly differentiated by gender.
Warren et al. (1996) analyze the case of northern Ghana in the context of traditional
kinship structures and roles; they also provide a case study in which marital status and
seniority of women are very important in explaining the different work loads of
women in reproductive tasks and their possibility to be involved in market activities
and to access cash.
There is an increasing emphasis on the need to expand the notion of gender in
order to include its complexity associated with class, kinship, life span and ethnicity
at the local level, while linking the household dynamics with the larger economic,
social and political context.8
Livelihood Strategies
An important notion used within GPE as discussed in the MERGE Student
Research Group, is the notion of livelihood strategies.9 It refers to the articulation of
many different activities by different members of the household, in order to make a
8This concern has been present in the MERGE discussions, and this study tries to
incorporate the intersections of gender, class and ethnicity in shaping the use of
natural resources.
9Known in Spanish as Estrategias de Supervivencia.


143
sodas, rice, canned food and other items besides basic staples. That is their way to
even the score.
Alcohol consumption suggests issues that deserve further exploration in terms
of 1) the gender and intra-household implications ( for family consumption and
income), 2) the socio-economic dependence of hunters on local stores, habilitadores or
river taxi owners, 3) the frustration of getting no profits after so much hardship, and
4) the stress that hunting puts on hunters. Hunting is done in two-men expeditions
that last 10 or 15 days, in which hunters live in the open forest. An expedition is a
difficult endeavor, even for those used to the forests from an early age. There are
many dangers, risks and uncertainties including the discomfort of being away from
their families, and physical exhaustion. Maybe the closeness that hunters keep with
the forest along with traditional elements of their ethnic identity, and their awareness
of the conflicts between them and the modernization process are part of the reason
that hunters search for an escape in alcohol.
The average cost of an expedition, S/. 83.50 (US $38.10) is estimated based
on information provided by interviews with hunters, shown in Table 5.6.
Habilitadores may inflate the cost of the expedition to as high as S/. 150.00, as in the
case of one of the taxi boat owners who supplies hunting expeditions in Buenavista
and Chino.
As reported by hunters, if skilled and with good luck, a hunter can make
S/.500.00 to 600.00 per trip (between US$ 227.27 and 272.72). That means an
income of S/. 350.00 to S/.450.00 after paying the loan to the habilitador (between


118
village to native community was not free of debate and disagreements: many people
opposed the change, since they did not want to be labeled as native-a process of self
denial that started with their parents and grandparents. The agreement was achieved
only when the leaders explained that this term was not related to the indigenous
concept of native, but rather with the claim that they were the people who had been
settled and/or bom in these places. For this reason the adoption of the organization
of native community has to be understood more in an instrumental way rather than as
part of a process of acceptance and claim of any ethnic identity.
There are two sport clubs in SMT, which not only organize games and
competitions, but act as reciprocal networks in case of members serious problems.
There is also the Club de Madres,11 which groups the mothers of the village. They
have accomplished the building of their institutional house, with the support of PPS,
and earn income generated by a plot of maize that was cropped by all members with
the support of their husbands and children. They are not very active, due to the death
of the husband of the President, who was a very active leader who supported his
wifes leading role; after his death, she has been concerned with taking care of the
family economy and also suffering from chronic health problems that keep her in
pain. Internal conflicts have also reduced the effectiveness of this organization.
11 Club de Madres is a type of organization that started in Peru in the 1970s, as a way
to group all women with children in rural and marginal urban settlements and as a
way to facilitate channeling governmental and non-governmental food relief programs
and other projects targeted to women and children.


257
gender groups. This revision of the concepts and methodologies of conservation and
development also has to include the way agencies and practitioners relate to local
people, and their position in the on-going process of modemization/civilization that
has shown little respect for indigenous cultures, and the different ways they have been
redefined by social actors and dominant structures and institutions. A truly bottom-up
participatory process has to be begun, allowing the redefinition of conservation and
development agendas by local people, if conservation and development processes are
to be sustainable. Riberehos have to find out by themselves who they are, what they
want and how they want to relate to conservation and development agencies ad to the
State.
Conservation will fail the same way development has failed for so many
decades, unless the struggle is included for social change and to empower local
peoples organization and social movements. In this perspective, researchers can help
to draw the socioeconomic map of interests and conflicts affecting not only resource
uses, but possible alliances and partnerships. Public opinion through the media, at the
regional, national and global level can help to push the changes required to achieve
this goal.
The results of this exploratory study should be taken as inputs for a discussion
involving local institutions working in conservation and development in the region,
with participation of local people as well. This process of collective digestion of
these results, and the further participatory research to deepen or challenge them,
would be a way to convert this academic exercise into useful practice.


To my daughters, Cristina and Marcela, the sunshine of my life, whose generous
encouragement, understanding and sacrifices have made it possible for me to return to
school after many years and fulfill a part of my dreams. To all the beautiful human
beings I have met through the years in Gainesville, my dear friends, who will be
forever in my heart, sharing the vision of an alternative way to relate to this sacred
planet, and among men and women, young and elder, poor and rich, white and
colored, transcending the illusions of our separation.
in


CHAPTER 3
THE REGIONAL CONTEXT OF LORETO
The Northeastern Peruvian Amazon is situated in the eastern part of Peru,
adjacent to the Andes. Isolated from the rest of the country by this monumental
natural barrier until recent decades, it has experienced a process of social redefinition
of its space, that is referred to by researchers as the construction of the Amazon space
(Barclay et al., 1990; Rodriguez, 1991). Historical processes, as well as the
ecological characteristics of Loreto, have shaped the current patterns of natural
resource use, at regional and local scales. This region has experienced uneven
development, in spatial and social terms, responding basically to external demands for
forest goods. Unless this pattern of market integration is changed, there are no real
conditions for sustainable use of resources within the region. Therefore, in order to
understand the current use of natural of resources by local people, it is necessary to
review the historical processes experienced by this region.
Regional History
Peruvian Amazonia experienced an early penetration of Europeans since
Spanish expeditions in search of El Dorado started a process of colonization of this
region in the first part of the 16th century. However, the rate of integration and
development of this region into national and global economies has been comparatively
44


Figure 1. Research Sites within the Northeastern Peruvian Aronson
-fc-
o
Source: Hspmtm, 1.998,


CHAPTER 1
INTRODUCTION
Context
In a context of increasing concern for tropical ecosystems conservation, local
populations are becoming more important for research, as the role they play in natural
resource use and conservation becomes better understood (Little, 1994; Robinson and
Redford, 1991). The works of Hiraoka (1985), Denevan and Padoch (1988),
Schmink and Wood (1987; 1992), Posey and Balee (1989), Anderson et al. (1995),
Brondizio et al. (1994), and Rudel (1995), among others, has emphasized the
significance of Amazonias local people to policy makers and conservationists. Many
conservationists now accept the idea that preservation requires not only protection, but
also involves sustainable use of resources by local people (Robinson and Redford,
1991; Bissonette and Krausman, 1995). However, due to the high degree of
complexity and diversity of social groups within the Amazon region, research on
socioeconomic and cultural dynamics influencing local resource use is still a challenge
(Rodriguez et al., 1990; Little, 1994; Murphee, 1994; Kleymeyer, 1994; Strum,
1994; Kamaruzaman and Majid, 1995; University of Wisconsin-Madison, 1995).
This is especially true for the "Riberehos," the local people who inhabit the
northeastern lowlands of the Peruvian Amazon, and who represent 85 % of this
regional rural population. Even though they have been the focus of several studies
1


117
and with the support of mingas15 or manhaneros that are forms of reciprocal
labor exchange. Villagers agree that an average family cannot plant more than 1.5 or
2 ha unless it has access to wage labor.16
Public elementary school was established in 1960, because of the paperwork
done by villagers and their representatives. High school was established in 1994, as
part of the agreement between PPS, AIDESEP (the indigenous regional organization)
and the Ministry of Education, to create an experimental Bilingual Education
Program.
In 1994, the village of SMT started their claim as part of 13 villages organized
in AIDECOS (Indigenous Association of Communities of Samiria) for legal
recognition as a Native or Indigenous Community. This was part of a process of
organization, institutionalization and mobilization coordinated by the regional
indigenous union AIDESEP and the PPS, in order to facilitate the inclusion of local
people in conservation and development activities. However, the change from
iSMinga is an exchange of reciprocal labor that is done in a rotating system. The
person who invites the minga has to provide abundant and good quality food (game
meat or good fish), masato to drink and has to attend the mingas of the people
coming to his/her own. This person expects people attending the minga to work a
whole working day. But this is not so effective due to the time spent eating and
drinking masato. For this reason-and to avoid the time and cost of food and drink-
many villagers prefer to invite a manhanero or morning minga, where they have
people working from 6 to 9 in the morning and there is no obligation to provide game
meat and masato, only some alcoholic beverage in smaller amounts.
16This is validated by the 62.25 has. projected to be planted in 1997 (Ministerio de
Agricultura, Censo de Comunidades Nativas M.A., 1996) for 67 families, making an
average of less than one hectare per family. This information coincides with the
Report delivered by the SMT to M. de Agricultura in 1997 for their recognition as a
Native Community.


45
slow, due to ecological constraints that limit profitability of major investments, and to
the socioeconomic and political characteristic of the Peruvian State. As a result, in
the 1990s, the economy of this region still remains based on natural resource
extraction done mainly at small scale by local people, centralized in the city of
Iquitos, commercial and service center for the region. Lack of industrialization, high
costs of transportation, low prices and lack of support for agricultural and wildlife
products are the main factors that keep stagnation and poverty in the rural villages
and in the main cities, making the search for sustainable use of natural resources
more difficult. The following historical review will suggest the elements that have
shaped the main bottlenecks to development and conservation of natural resources that
this region experiences.
Colonial Period
In 1536 the Spanish explorers, conquistadores and missionaries began to
penetrate the Northeastern Peruvian Amazon, changing the uses of this landscape
made by indigenous tribes and imposing a new pattern to benefit the distant crown
and the local dominant groups who served and profited from the colonial power
structure. During colonial domination, the Spanish established encomiendas,
reducciones,x and founded towns to reduce indigenous populations into a system of
lrThe Spanish created several institutions to reorganize native populations.
Reducciones: were the first political, administrative and territorial units created by the
Spanish in order to reduce natives at three levels: geographically, from their dispersed
settlements in the forest into spatially concentrated units; religiously, through their
conversion into Christian faith; and socially, by destroying their own culture, religion
and social organization, as subordinated labor. Reducciones took the form of
missions until the expulsion of Jesuits and Franciscans. The encomienda replaced the


172
between game consumption and hunting, since game meat available to families of men
who do not hunt comes from family and social networks, due to the practice of
hunters and fishermen sharing part of the catch with relatives and friends. The P-
value is lower for Buenavista, due to less variability within each group.
Perceptions and attitudes related to resource use and hunting catches are
presented in Table 6.5. The self-defined access to land is an important variable
considered in the analysis, since one of the research questions is to what extent
agriculture and alternative sources of income can reduce the pressure on wildlife
resources. Instead of externally establishing how much land is enough for a family,
the survey asks informants to assess their own access to land.
Table 6.5 Family Size and Game Meat Consumption, Associated with Hunting.
Variables
SAN MARTN
BUENAVISTA
N1
N2 Xkg/mo P-value
N1
N2 Xkg/mo P-value
Family size
< than 6 members
2
1
640.0
12
6
463.3
6 < 12 members
22
15
89.7 0.3616
18
12
648.3 0.1295
12 and more members
6
5
242.4
1
1
1, 100.0
Family consumption of
game meat
16
9
126.0
19
14
650.0
< 6 kgs/month
6
5
90.4 0.3297
11
4
522.5 0.1607
6 < 20 kgs/month
20 < 50 kgs/month
7
6
181.7
3
3
420.0
SOURCE: Surveys (1996). Sample: San Martn N = 29 and Buenavista N = 30.
KEYS: N1 = total sample, N2 hunters or wives, Xkg/mo = average kg
hunted per month per hunter.


231
existing there. The fact that livelihood strategies are more diversified in Buenavista,
where women are more involved in handicrafts, and already active in the Club de
Madres which provides specific benefits like powdered milk supply, may explain their
lesser interest in organization for sustainable use of resources.
The information presented above shows that women have knowledge,
perceptions and concerns about wildlife resource use, even though they are not direct
users. They know about male activities through the communication that occurs
between the couple and through the decision-making process. At the very least, most
of them help to decide on the amount that remains for consumption and the amount
that is sold. Control over the cash resulting from the sale, however, is highly
variable; in a significant proportion of households (60% for San Martin and 45% for
Buenavista) husbands decide and make use of this money without wives participation.
Given this access that women have to knowledge and use of wildlife resources,
and their concerns with resource conservation, they should be included in
conservation and natural resource management initiatives. Even though they are not
direct users of natural resources, they are indirect users and decision makers.
Gender. Socioeconomic Differentiation and Traditional Cultural Backgrounds
The different relationships established by men and women with the
environment, and the effects of traditional thinking that separates women from wild
nature (forests and rivers) have been presented. It cannot be assumed, however, that
traditional thoughts are solely responsible for the separation of women from nature,
since the social context also plays an important role. Fear is an important element in


88
and no interference by government or NGO officers. The management plan, which
defines who has the right to access the reserve, amounts allowed to be extracted,
regulations on fishing methods and sanctions for infractors, was approved in 1992
after each of the five communities exhaustively discussed it. Collaboration among
researchers, NGOs and local communities is frequent. Each community member
controls and reports who is entering the reserve and, if necessary, they ask for the
support of the police post in Buenavista or Esperanza, which routinely controls the
access of people using the river taxis. Tension and the use of collective force is not
necessary anymore, since outsiders recognize that they cannot freely access the
TTCR. Therefore, TTCR has no hired guards and is not ruled by any government
officer, as in the case of PSNR (Bodmer et al., 1997:316-320).
Even though outside pressure has been controlled, there is still a gap to be
bridged in order to achieve sustainable use of natural resources, including wildlife.
Studies in the upper Tahuayo have shown that unmanaged hunting is over-exploiting
primates and tapirs, and is probably over exploiting carnivores, edentate and
marsupials and is not over exploiting deer, peccaries and large rodents (Bodmer et
al.,1994). Economic analysis of hunting activity, as well as reproductive productivity
in relation to hunting pressure, with participation of local families (Bodmer et
al.,1997) is generating the necessary information to recommend more specific
guidelines (age, sex, species and seasonality) to make hunting a more sustainable
activity.


43
of social and economic organization that are disappearing or already gone. Ethnicity
is an element that results from the situation of an individual in specific groups, such
as indigenous, mestizo, cholos, or whites, that are defined not by race or class, but
by elements that relate to their descendence from and/or mobility to specific groups of
the continuum Indian-whites.
However, the concept of ethnicity, as used in anthropology cannot be used
when studying social groups that do not belong to specific ethnic groups. For this
reason, the study used the notion of traditional cultural backgrounds to refer to the set
of traditional ways of thinking and practices that affect social interactions and
perceptions, that derive from indigenous heritage but that cannot be traced to specific
ethnic group membership. The inclusion of these traditional cultural backgrounds and
their effect on the social interactions with the environment within conservation and
development initiatives affecting local people in Loreto is extremely important.
Without romanticizing ethnicity and traditional world views, there are still some
elements of traditional knowledge that might be lost forever, unless a conscious effort
is made to support their rescue and reconstruction. It is also important to recognize
the ethnocentric orientation of most development and conservation initiatives, and the
need to make room to include and validate traditional cultural backgrounds as part of
their social identity.


31
extraction of natural resources done by males. Women are more specialized in
income-generating activities such as domestic livestock and handicrafts, have more
independent income, and have more weight in the domestic economy management.
Agreda and Espinosa (1991) found that associated with the differential importance of
specific activities according to different habitats and access to land forms, the
household composition seemed to play an important role, for Riberehos in the upper,
middle and lower Napo River. While most households headed by males focused
either on agriculture, fishing or hunting as main activities, domestic livestock were
more important in those areas with more prevalence of women headed households.
There is always a strong articulation of the economic, demographic and social
dimensions of livelihood strategies, and there are also different discourses or
ideologies validating specific patterns of access, control and benefits, for family and
household members, in terms of gender, age, seniority, access to formal education
and so on. What cannot be generalized, but rather must be discovered for every
particular setting, is the logic of livelihood strategies, the asymmetries and the
conflicts, and the base for cooperation and solidarity between men and women, and
among families, since conflict and cooperation are both present. This study uses a
gendered political ecology instead of a feminist political ecology approach and,
therefore, does not assume that gender asymmetries are always the most important
element to be addressed.


198
child care. Children less than two years old are not taken into the agricultural plot,
the forest or the river, not taken on trips outside the community, not even within the
community after dark. These beliefs limit the mobility of mothers of small children,
and are related to the high child mortality and morbidity found in these communities.
Daughters and/or grandmothers may replace mothers childcare care when women
have to attend to agricultural tasks.
This traditional way of thinking coexists with the ideals of modernity, and
creates ambiguity that is expressed in daily life and affects the actions of projects
working in the area. For example, some communities requested western health
support, in the form of vitamins, antibiotics, vaccination, etc. These families faced
severe health problems, did not have access to public health services and yet due to
economic restraints, did not go to their traditional healers unless they were faced with
death5. This request, however, coexisted with some resistance to follow the
instructions given by the health practitioners. For example when asked why the child
did not receive the medicine as it was prescribed, many mothers explained that they
could not administer the medicine, either because they had had sex (they referred to it
5The common strategy is to go first to the communal health promotor in order to
receive some medicine. If the problem persists, then they go to the district health
center. If they cannot cure the patient, she/he may go to the regional hospital in
Iquitos. If the patient is not cured, then the family makes a final effort and takes the
patient to the traditional healer, who is not a cheap healer. Why do they not take the
patient to the traditional healer first? The answers were: it is the last resort, reserved
for serious cases only and lets try the modern medicine first. Cost is also
important, since most Western medicine is subsidized by non-profit projects or by the
state to some degree if not completely, while the medicine men or women are
relatively expensive.


75
the State is responsible for wildlife protection, through the Ministry of Agriculture
and the Ministry of Fisheries. The Nations natural patrimony is defined to include
ecological, biological and genetic diversity within its territory, landscape and the
interactions among these elements. The Forestry and Wildlife Law (Ley Forestal y de
Fauna Silvestre), issued in 1975, establishes that forestry and wildlife resources are of
public domain and there is no private right to them. The use of these resources has
to fit the regulations established by the Ministry of Agriculture, the public entity in
charge of enforcing this law. Conservation of wildlife species, their ecosystems and
the germplasm of native species, are the responsibility of the State.
In regard to hunting, the law strictly regulates the places, people and
conditions of hunting. Traditional hunting is permitted only by local communities in
the Amazon and in the highlands, restricted to members of peasant communities, and
only for consumption. Commercialization of subsistence hunting is prohibited and the
limit of prey per expedition is one animal, or pieces not exceeding 50 kgs.
Prohibitions extend to hunting during the night, in levees where wildlife take refuge
during floods and during misty days. Traditional weapons are reserved for
subsistence hunting, in which only low fire power guns can be used. Commercial
hunting is an activity done for economic profit and can be done only by those who
have a licence, a contract, pay the fees and respect the quotas established by the
Regional Hunting Calendar. Commercial hunting within communities can be done
only by the communities members (Varese, 1995).


46
domination oriented to extraction of goods, such as turtle eggs, waxes, honey, vanilla
and medicinal plants, as tributes to the Spanish crown (Coomes, 1995:110). Indians
also provided unpaid labor for mission construction and maintenance, guides and
canoe men for soldiers, agricultural production, transportation and trading.
Relocation of indigenous people from the upland forest toward the river banks, and
their concentration into villages was imposed by the Spanish in order to facilitate
control (San Roman, 1975:35-52; Stockes, 1981:6). It has to be said that missions
protected indigenous people from the bandeirantes1 and from the encomienda system
that had a more devastating effect on Indians than working for the missions. The
success of missionaries in attracting Indians has been attributed to their possession of
steel tools (axes and machetes) which totally altered the relationship of Indians with
their forest. However, missionaries also had the additional support of armed
expeditions called entradas to recruit those unwilling to join the missions. This
period was characterized by forced recruitment, flights and rebellions until 1680 when
rebellions were finally crushed (Stocks, 1981:8). Indian mortality was high, due
mainly to their exposure to new diseases and to the disruption of their social
organization. For example, between 1644 and 1652, fifty percent of the Cocama
reducciones and they were temporary concessions of territory and Indians given to a
private person, who was in charge of collecting taxes for the Spanish crown, having
the right to free Indian labor. This system of encomiendas set no limits to protect
native population from the ambition of encomenderos who sought to increase their
profit at any cost.
Expeditions coming from Brazil to capture Indians as slaves. Portugal allowed
slavery within its colonies, while the Spanish did not.


251
Diversification of Livelihoods
More diversified livelihood strategies are not necessarily associated with lower
levels of commercial extraction, when the prices for agricultural and extractive
products do not allow families to break the level of poverty, as observed when
comparing Buenavista and San Martin. The greater importance of agriculture and/or
domestic livestock, and handicrafts does not provide enough income to decrease the
economic importance of commercial extraction. This is associated with the lower
prices obtained for agricultural products, as compared to wildlife, as presented in the
study. It is important to keep in mind, that the comparative importance of agriculture
and extraction in the Tahuayo has a seasonality that goes beyond the year frame. The
time frame of the study, 1996 and 1997, included very bad years for agriculture. The
relative importance of agriculture and extraction might be different during better times
for agriculture. In addition, the floods of 1993 and 1994 had such a devastating
effect on agriculture and food security, that food relief programs had to intervene to
support these families.
Conservation and Development
In Loretos regional rural economy, commercial fishing currently is the main
profitable activity. Since access to commercial nets is a key constraint, any additional
cash or credit available to these families would be likely to go to the purchase of
commercial fishing nets. This would lead to an increase in resource extraction.
The choices affecting resource extraction are not limited by factors at the local
level, but involve regional and national market dynamics and policies as well. The


224
Table 7.7 Subsistence Fishing as Perceived by Male and Female Informants.
Subsistence
San Martin del
Tipishca (RNPS)
Buenavista (RCTT)
Fishing:
How much caught?
Male Inform.
Female Inform.
Male Inform.
Female Inform.
1-5 kgs
21.4
46.6
40.0
11.0
6-10 kgs
21.4
26.6
28.0
26.0
11-15 kgs
14.2
13.0
12.0
21.0
16-20 kgs
7.1
0.0
4.0
5.3
26-30 kgs
At least one subsistence
21.4
13.3
8.0
26.0
fisher at the household
85.7
100.0
92.0
95.0
SOURCE: Surveys (1996).
subsistence fishing in both places, reveal that in most cases, they exceed the family
consumption reported by themselves-that is an average of three kilos per day for
most familiesconfirming that subsistence fishing is also providing some surplus
that is shared with relatives or friends, or sold in the village.
Table 7.8 presents the information on commercial fishing, as reported by men
and women in San Martin and Buenavista. In San Martin-where commercial fishing
is quite importantanswers of men and women are closer than in any other activity
reported by the same informants, and also as compared to answers provided by men
and women in Buenavista. In Buenavista, commercial fishing does not have the same
importance, since other activities such as hunting and commercial agriculture provide
the required cash.


90
personal communication, 1997). On the other hand, PPS rejects the authority of
PSNR since they do not include local peoples interest and participation in
conservation management. "What sense does it make to conserve wildlife while local
people are starving?" (Lopez Parodi, personal communication, 1997).
The conflicts between PPS and the NRPS are related to conflicts between PPS
and Pro-Naturaleza, the other NGO working within the PSNR (formerly known as
FPCN) through the Pacaya-Samiria project, funded by TNC and USAID that started
in 1992. This project has the goals of creating a balance between the protection of
biodiversity and the economic use of natural resources in search of sustainable
development within the area of PSNR. This project works in close coordination with
the INRENA and the PSNR management and is partially responsible for funding the
guards and providing logistical support to the surveillance system (boats, gas,
salaries). It has also built and organized four conservation and development centers
(CECODES) in key villages that are used by promoters and watershed managers to
access the surrounding villages. The TNC project has been originally framed in more
protectionist approaches to conservation, and that has created a basic disagreement
and conflict between PPS and Pro-Naturaleza, as well between PPS and the PSNR
authorities. Pro-Naturaleza has been trying to include local peoples interests,
basically through income-generating activities that can provide alternatives to the
income generated by extraction of natural resources.
In the upper Tahuayo river, there are several projects operating at different
levels. It is important to mention a small NGO, called the Amazon Conservation


Table 5.1 Yearly Seasonality of Activities and Events, San Martin del Tipishca.
Summer (vaciante) / Winter (creciente)
Activities
Ma
Jun
Jul
Aug
Set
Oct
Nov
Dec
Jan
Feb
Mar
Apr
Subsistence fishing
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
Commercial fish.
X
X
X
XX
XX
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
Hunting
XX
XX
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
XX
XX
Aguaje extraction
X
X
X
X
X
X
Turtle eggs collect
XX
Chonta extraction
X
Timber Extraction
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
Clearing
XX
X
Planting
X
X
Weeding
X
X
X
Harvest
X
X
X
X
X
Faria
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
Masato
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
Canoe construction
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
Feasts
X
School Expenses
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
Flood
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
Paiche Price (SI.)
2.0
3.5
7.0
8.0
SOURCE: Fieldwork (1996, 1997).


34
differentiated interests may allow different subcultures to exist, and different members
of a family to have a different ethnic affiliation.
This notion of changeable roles is also presented by Paulson (1996) for the
case of Bolivian Andean women and Mizquenho families. Paulson understands the
interactions between gender and ethnic hierarchies as part of the dynamic construction
of identity in the midst of the tension between modernity and tradition, the last
understood not as a frozen heritage but as an ideological construction that is used in
different spaces and moments. Diversity and mobility of Mizquenhos families, and
the absence of a corporative identity, challenge concepts of ethnicity as ascribed or
characteristic of a given group.
The redefinition of ethnicity as a dimension of identity experienced by people
in their specific situation in class, gender and other hierarchies may help to
understand the complex identity of people in the Third World, taking into account
what is significant to them, even though it has been marginal to many studies and
policies. Asher (1996) focuses on the mutual exclusions existent in both the gender
and the ethnicity approaches to identity, as she discusses the notion of identity as
something that is not just the result of social structures but something that also is
constructed, changed and modified by social actors. Asher focuses on the importance
of women in the transmission of ideologies of ethnicity, and in the fact that men and
women might have different ethnicity in terms of experience and discourse. Gender
and ethnicity should be approached as part of how people experience and reshape
their identity as a set of strategic responses to their socio-economic conditions, and as


185
Table 6.7 Self Perceived Factors Related to Hunting and Fishing.
FACTORS ASSOCIATED WITH BEING A HUNTER
SM
Bv
Chi2
Having the skills
90
80
0.302
Endurance to be out in the forests for a long time
80
69
0.412
Need for fast money
14
18
0.759
No other alternatives currently for fast money
15
10
0.652
Having a fire arm
68
60
0.472
Having the money to afford the expedition
70
45
0.083
FACTOR ASSOCIATED WITH NOT BEING A HUNTER
Risks associated with hunting and selling game meat
50
63
0.367
Preference for agriculture
40
69
0.027
Preference for family life
20
40
0.107
Having other responsibilities to attend to
70
80
0.330
Responsibility to conserve resources
30
75
0.001
FACTORS ASSOCIATED WITH COMMERCIAL FISHING
Having the tools (nets, traps)
85
98
0.149
Having the money to buy salt, batteries etc,
74
51
0.078
Need for fast money
25
30
0.613
Having skills to capture some species in large amounts
16
14
0.676
FACTORS DISCOURAGING COMMERCIAL FISHING
Preference for other activities
25
60
0.005
Risks associated with expeditions
30
42
0.329
Other responsibilities to attend to
40
45
0.683
Not having so much need for cash
20
5
0.116
Preference for family life
15
10
0.652
Responsibility to conserve resources
5
10
0.317
SOURCE: Interviews applied in 1996 and 1997 to the 30 households that were
part of the survey, and which showed more contrast in the use of
resources, in San Martin and Buenavista.
* Percent of those responding who gave this answer; includes multiple
responses.
KEYS: SM = San Martin, Bv = Buenavista, Chi2 = chi square testing
statistical significance of differences between groups.


68
access to high school and college (INEI, 1993:375). Thus, this differential access to
education is partly responsible for the high fertility rates in the region.
It is very important to note that parallel to this process of de-ruralization and
the growth of Iquitos as a mega-city, the expansion of the frontier has continued. The
same socioeconomic structure that explains the urbanization and centralization of
population in Iquitos, explains the maintenance of dispersed patterns of settlement and
the expansion of the frontier through the creation of new settlements (see Figure 3.1).
That means that the interactions between demographic dynamics and pressure on
natural resources has to be studied considering both phenomena: the continued
dispersion of rural population and the urbanization/centralization of population in
Iquitos. These centrifugal and centripetal forces are part of the same dynamics and
the same problem. The emigration that alleviates pressure on natural resources in an
isolated village in the Amazon river is creating more pressure on natural resources
and the environment in Iquitos (pollution, waste, energy supplies etc.). Emigration of
family members has been reported (Espinosa, 1994, 1997) as an important feature of
demographic strategies of Riberehos families, especially in those areas less integrated
to the market, and therefore less able to supply access to advanced educational, health
services, job and income opportunities.
In regard to the interactions between population growth and pressure on
natural resources, there are many elements to be considered. Even when
demographic growth plays an important role in the expansion of the frontier and the
increasing pressure on natural resources, there are other mechanisms mediating this


165
Table 6.1 Age, Time of Residence in the Village and Commercial Fishing Catch.
Variable
SAN MARTN
NI N2 X kg/mo P-value
BUENAVISTA
NI N2 X kg/mo P-value
Age of male head of
HH
20 < 35 years
35 < 50 years
50 to 75 years
7 6 675.83
16 15 411.93 0.8737
6 4 400.00
15 12 408.33
7 6 364.29 0.5321
8 5 321.00
Years living at the village
< 20 years
20 < 40 years
40 years and more
12 10 339.80
13 11 390.55 0.0398
4 4 1,035.00
6 5 482.0
18 11 602.7 0.8280
7 3 873.3
Total
29 25
29 23
SOURCE: Surveys (1996).
KEYS: N1 = total sample, N2 = commercial fishermen or wives, Xkg/mo =
average kg caught per month per family, P-value = results from
Kruskal-Wallis test.
Results indicate that for both San Martin and Buenavista, the youngest heads
of households have a higher catch. This may be associated with the fact that
commercial fishing requires some investment in commercial nets and that young men
are more ready to emigrate and work hard to save some money to invest in nets; on
the contrary more mature males do not usually go out of the village or region for
work. The table also shows that long-term residents have larger catches, especially
residents of San Martin who have lived there for more than 40 years. This finding
may reflect the greater knowledge and access to fishing sites that comes with longer
residence experience. The Kruskal-Wallis test calculations in this table show


248
activities, in order to provide alternative sources of income. Recommendations
regulating seasonality and amount of the catchesif availablemay improve the
sustainability of their resource use. This group represent approximately 20% of the
families in both communities.
Commercial Hunters
Those involved in commercial hunting, due to their access to firearms, and
more important, to their personal skills and preferences. Usually hunters combine
hunting with commercial fishing as part of their expeditions and if results from
hunting are low, they can also do some forest product extraction, in order to make
their trip worthwhile. Commercial hunters rarely are involved in agriculture, unless
they pay wage labor to assist the labor of their wives and children. In those cases,
agriculture is carried out not only for subsistence but for sale, providing an additional
source of cash for the families. Most hunters families rely on the purchase of food,
since their subsistence agriculture is limited by the lack of male labor required for the
clearing of the plots. This dependence on food purchases as well as heavy
consumption of alcohol works against their wealth. Even though they might have
higher gross income derived from commercial extraction, they also have high bills to
pay to the local stores and/or to habilitadores. Conservation efforts should focus on
integrating hunters into wildlife management planning and regulations, and improving
hunters family involvement in agriculture in order to cut their dependence on
habilitadores and local stores. If womens participation in decisions affecting cash
could also be increased, these families could have better access to food and basic


LIST OF TABLES
Table Page
3.1 Evolution of the Amazon Population 1940-1972 61
3.2 Demographic Indicators for Loreto 65
3.3 Indigenous Population Within Rural Population of the Peruvian
Northern Amazon 71
3.4 Wildlife Species Allowed to be Hunted 76
4.1 Flood Cycles of Main Rivers in Loreto 96
4.2 Seasonal and Spatial Patterns for Hunting and Fishing 97
5.1 Yearly Seasonality of Activities and Events, San Martin del Tipishca 130
5.2 Yearly Seasonality of Activities and Events, Buenavista 131
5.3 Most Prevalent Species Fished in San Martin and Buenavista 136
5.4 Most Prevalent Species Hunted in San Martin and Buenavista 139
5.5 Average Total Weight, Meat and Prices for Main Game Species
in San Martin and Buenavista 142
5.6 Average Cost of Hunting Expedition 144
5.7 Average Prices for Agricultural and Some Wildlife Products 149
5.8 Time Allocation for Productive Activities, by Gender and Age,
San Martin 152
5.9 Time Allocation for Productive Activities, by Gender and Age,
Buenavista 153
5.10 Reproductive Activities in San Martin and Buenavista, by Age
and Gender 155
xi


6
Chapter 7 explores the gender hierarchies and ideologies in their interactions
with gendered division of roles and spaces, and how these affect the use of natural
resources. Subordination, conflict, and cooperation within families are analyzed. In
addition to gender roles, female access to knowledge of male extractive and economic
activities was used as a proxy to measure gender communication and cooperation
between couples. The process of decision-making regarding resource use and ways to
meet family needs was used to explore gender conflict and cooperation.
Chapter 8 discusses the major results of the study and their implications for
further research as well as for conservation and development initiatives in the region.


178
the tools for commercial extraction have to be purchased from the city or the
community: salt to process meat, flashlights and batteries, firearms and munitions,
and especially, commercial nets.
While nets for subsistence fishing are 3"x 2" and cost 80 soles ($35), the nets
used for commercial fishing are 5" x 4" and cost from 260 to 1040 soles (US$120 to
480). One section {panho) of commercial fish net costs 120 soles. To make a small
commercial trap requires: one section {panho) of net, 3 kgs of special thread that cost
30 soles per kilo and 50 corks or floats that cost one sol each. That makes a total
cost of 260 soles ($120) for a small commercial net. Larger commercial nets require
three or four sections of net, raising the price to $340 or $480.6 These larger net
traps are set perpendicular to the stream, impeding fish escape once in touch with
them.
Personal skills to hunt and fish are developed by boys from puberty by
accompanying a father or uncle in his expeditions. Hunting is a very specialized
activity that requires certain skills, knowledge, tricks or secrets and a special sense of
communion with the natural environment. It also requires special endurance to stay
ten or fifteen days in the open forest. It is not a coincidence that all hunters in San
Martin and Buenavista look much older than they are, showing the effect of the
6Still larger commercial net traps called arrastreras use 12 panhos and require pieces
of lead besides cork, and 36 kg of special thread, raising the cost to approximately
$1500. These traps are used in the Amazon river, usually by outsiders, and allow
large amounts of fish to be caught quickly.


ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
The fieldwork that made this study possible was funded in 1996 by the
Tropical Conservation and Development (TCD) Program at the Center for Latin
American Studies, the Tinker Foundation and the Charles Dickenson Fund. The
MERGE (Managing the Environment with Gender Emphasis) program funded my
fieldwork in 1997, as part a comparative research project funded by the North-South
Center. In addition, my participation with Katie Lynch as MERGE trainers in the
Summer Field Course on Tropical Wildlife Management, organized by the TCD
Program and UNAP, Iquitos, facilitated my entrance into the upper Tahuayo
communities. I am also thankful to Dr. Jose Lopez Parodi, who allowed me to stay
in the PPS project house in San Martin del Tipishca, to interact with the PPS team
and to gain many insights based on their experience. I have to thank many people in
Iquitos, such as R.P.J. Joaquin Garcia, Director of CETA, Hans Heydra, Director of
the SNV office in Iquitos, Arq. Eduardo Duran, country adviser for TNC and Pro-
Naturaleza, Ing. Luis Benitez, Director of the Papaya-Samiria National Reserve, Dr.
Miguel Donayre, legal adviser for PPS and SNV projects, for their time, information
and interest in the study. Special thanks go to Donha Petronila, the owner of "La
Pascana" Hostal, who made me feel a little at home every time I was in Iquitos.
Thanks go to Julia Flores and Angel Sanchez in Buenavista, who offered their house,
valuable contacts and information, their precious friendship and lots of fun.
IV


84
The main conclusion of Soini et al. (1996 ) is that current knowledge on
distribution, abundance, ecology and assessment of wildlife is not sufficient to
implement an adequate resource management plan and that not only are current
practices and use of resources not sustainable, neither is the current management of
the PSNR.
Within the PSNR, 99 rural settlements of diverse size located on the Maranhon
and Ucayali rivers host a population of 35,000 people (WWF/AIF/DK, 1995). In the
periphery of PSNR 77,000 people live in 173 settlements, of which 89% have less
than 500 inhabitants (PPS-Pro-Naturaleza/TNC/USAID, 1996). Two projects work
with the communities within the PSNR: the WWF/AIF project known as PPS and the
TNC/FPCN project.
The PSNR is directed by a Ministry of Agriculture officer based in Iquitos
who reports to the Regional Director of the Ministry of Agriculture and who is
selected by the INRENA. Under him are two watershed managers, one for the
Pacaya river and the other for the Samiria, as well as 40 park guards. The Ministry
of Agriculture funds salaries for 18 guards, the Ministry of Fisheries for two, and 20
are paid by Pro-Naturaleza (formerly FPCN), a national environmental NGO. In
1994, a regional managing board was established, composed of the regional directors
of the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries. In addition, a coordinating committee
was formed, which included the regional Peruvian Amazon Research Institute ( HAP)
the Peruvian Amazon National University (UNAP) WWF/AIF and Pro-Naturaleza.
However it was never operationalized since it was never convened by the managing


160
search of better fishing and hunting. For other regions of the Amazon, agriculture is
often a main cause of deforestation as the agricultural frontier continues to expand due
to migration and demographic growth.1 However, for the case of San Martin and
Buenavista, agriculture is not an activity that exerts significant pressure on the forests
or the soil, since agriculture in the lowlands is conducted in plots that are used year
after year: land after floods is refertilized and therefore can be used without fallow
periods. The amount of land per family is limited to a small amount that family labor
can crop.
Chemicals are not used in agriculture, since fertilizers and pest control are not
affordable for most families. No mechanical disturbance is present in cropping, since
no tilling or furrowing is done. For these reasons, agriculture is not included in the
following analysis of natural resource use: its impact on soils and forest dynamics is
not significant. A few families occasionally collect non-timber forest products and
log, however the impact of these activities is not important. Due to the small size of
the villages, the restricted use of detergents and soaps (most families clean the pots
with ashes instead of detergent) and the lack of sewers and other outputs common in
larger towns, the impact of waste into the river is not included in the analysis of the
use of natural resources.
Fishing and hunting are the most prevalent activities that put pressure on
natural resources in San Martin and Buenavista. Therefore, the analysis of the use of
lrrhe conversion of primary forest into agricultural plots and later into secondary
forest has been addressed as a threat to biodiversity and forest conservation in some
areas of the tropics (Sharma et al., 1985 :25).


89
Projects in the Protected Areas
The PPS or Pacaya-Samiria Development and Conservation Project was
established in 1991 after an agreement was signed between the Peruvian government
(Ministry of Agriculture) the regional government of Loreto, FPCN, WWF/AIF and
the communities of San Martin and Victoria. The PPS oriented its work toward the
social aspects of indigenous peoples rights: organizing local community grassroots
organizations, and sponsoring their claim to be recognized as native communities with
the legal provision of property titles. Since the beginning, this issue brought conflict
between PPS and the Ministry of Agriculture-INRENA, because the law recognized
the presence of already established native or peasant communities at the moment of
the creation of PSNR in 1972 but forbade the creation of new ones. Many
communities like San Martin del Tipishca had not obtained legal recognition before
1972. INRENA denies recognition of any community not legally recognized before
1972.
This position created resentment by the official agencies. According to the
Director of the PSNR, PPS is too concerned with political activism and not focused
enough on conservation. According to authorities, instead of working to find ways to
incorporate local people into management, PPS boycotts any legal restrictions and
seizures, with the argument that local people have the right to make a living. They
by-pass state authority, because as an NGO they have the money the state does not
have. We represent the Peruvian nation. Who are they [referring to the PPS
project] to ignore our regulations? Just because they have the money?" (Benitez,


134
Riberehos who salt and dry fish for their own future consumption (Rengifo, 1997).
It may seem strange for an outsider, that the fish caught has to be consumed, sold or
given to relatives that same day but not stored, unless it is for outside selling. This
means that the next day there is again the need to fish. Fish is part of the everyday
diet, for breakfast/lunch and nightie. Most families have only two food intakes
instead of three per day. This custom may explain why, even when prices at regional
markets change with the flood cycle and the relative abundance or scarcity of fish,2
in the village, a kilogram of any fresh fish is always between S/.1.00 and S/.1.50.
The price of fresh fish never goes up or down in the village and is independent of
regional market dynamics.
The other main element of everyday food is faria and plantainnot the sweet
plantain called maduro but the green plantain that is boiled.3 There is a wide variety
of fish species with different flavors and textures, that can be prepared in different
ways (smoked, grilled, roasted enveloped in some special palm leaves, boiled, fried,
stewed and so on).
While subsistence fishing is done with small and thinner nets (3" x 2"),
commercial fishing requires wider and thicker nets (4"x 5"). As already mentioned,
while subsistence fishing is done close to the house every day or two, commercial
fishing is done in 5 to 10 day expeditions, in special locations where commercial
2For example the kilogram of paiche in Iquitos can go from S/.2.00 to S/.8.00
between the months of June and March.
3Plantains are boiled alone as a substitute for yuca (casssava), or boiled together with
the fish in the typical everyday dish called pango.


CHAPTER 8
DISCUSSION
1
Study Findings and Implications for Conservation Management
Community-based conservation initiatives result from the convergence of the
recognition among conservationists of the limits of conservation models that exclude
local people, with the increasing awareness of local communities of their need to seek
sustainable uses of the resources in order to protect their own livelihood systems.
The discussion of the experiences of community-based conservation at a global level
(Western et al., 1994; Bissonette and Krausman, 1995; University of Wisconsin-
Madison, 1995) calls attention to the internal complexity and heterogeneity of
communities, and also to market dynamics as a threat to community-based
conservation.
While participation of communities in conservation management, within
institutional frameworks that legitimatize and secure access of communities to
conservation benefits, is a positive step toward more socially sustainable alternatives
in conservation, the results from this study suggest that it is a necessary but not a
sufficient condition. Dynamic economic environments may work against favorable
institutional frameworks, stimulating increasing extraction of wildlife by families of
communities involved in community-based conservation, as compared to families of
241


140
processes affecting wildlife populations and their ecosystems make it difficult to
estimate levels of harvest that might be sustainable. Besides the hunting pressure,
harvest and extraction of several fruit trees affect food availability for wildlife
species. Natural phenomena such as floods and the relative presence of predators also
affect wildlife populations. Evaluation of hunting pressure on wildlife populations
found that some wildlife species were more vulnerable than others, due to their low
intrinsic rate of natural increase, longevity, and long generation times. For these
species the replacement of a hunted individual takes more time, risk, and energy
compared to species which have high rates of intrinsic natural increase, short life
cycles, and generation times. Among the species that are more vulnerable to hunting
pressure are lowland tapir, all primates and carnivores, such as jaguar, puma, and
achuni. The less vulnerable species include brocket deer, peccaries, and large
rodents, such as paca, agouti, acouchi, and squirrels. Vulnerable species were
reported to make up at least 50% of the game hunted by Ribereho families in both
areas (Bodmer, 1995; Bodmer et al., 1997).
However, in both places, not all families were aware of these regulations (see
Chapter 6). The survey also showed that most families were not aware of the
national laws and regulations affecting their use of natural resources: 72.4% in San
Martin and 90% in Buenavista. Information shows that people are extracting more
than the allowed 50 kg per trip in both places. In regard to the economic cost and
benefit from hunting, it is difficult to estimate them from informants recall, due to
the variability of animals sizes, weight and prices. However, some information


19
of development (Kabeer, 1994:64-304). The political ecology approach can provide a
powerful tool to analyze power based on economic and political structures and
interests at the regional level as they affect gender and class dynamics at the local
level. This analysis enhances the understanding of the processes and structures
affecting gender and the underlying projects scope and dynamics.
In this study, gender is understood as a social construction that is transmitted
by the immediate social group through the process of socialization. Therefore, gender
ideologies that legitimize gender hierarchies are deeply rooted in the unconscious and
may justify gender hierarchies as "natural" rather than socially constructed. This
social construction shapes the behavior, roles, identity, expectations and power
relations and interactions between men and women in the productive and reproductive
spheres, and besides the economic level, at the social, psychological, sexual, political
and cultural levels including interactions within the household, community and the
larger society. The gender construction in terms of hierarchies and ideologies may
vary according to the family situation in class and ethnic structures, and it is also
recreated or redefined at the individual level, according to personal history, in terms
of access to formal education and income, primary and secondary socialization agents,
as well as personal characteristics and choices. While gender ideologies and
hierarchies might have common elements for a social group, each individual
experiences her or his gender in a particular way. This study focused on
understanding the ways gender, class and ethnicity intersect and shape the use of
natural resources and affect the equity and effectiveness of Ribereho livelihood


226
The study also explored how many commercial extractivists were identified by
male and female informants. According to the survey, a high proportion (23.7%),
did not answer this question. Those men and women who answered, coincide to
identify between 6 and 11 commercial extractivists in San Martin. In Buenavista,
women identified more extractivists (between 6 and 13), while men identified 6 to 10.
These perceptions coincide with information provided by outsiders working with
families in San Martin and Buenavista, and the information collected through
interviews.
In regard to the reasons for commercial extractivism, Table 7.10 presents
information reported by men and women in San Martin. Women overwhelmingly
tend to identify the reasons for extractivist activities with economic benefits or getting
money faster, compared to only 20% of men. On the other hand, 20% of men
reported that commercial extractivism was due to a lack of alternatives, a reason
given by no women. The Kruskal-Wallis test found evidence of statistical
significance in the differences for these two categories, for the case of San Martin.
Men take into account other reasons, such as having the skills, an element that was
not reported at all by women in San Martin. It seems that women in San Martin are
more focused on the economic determinants of extractivism than are men.


18
community and household level. Gender, identified as social constructions shaping
the interactions between men and women (Poats et al., 1988; Feldstein and Poats,
1990) was a conceptual step that partially helped to overcome the limitations of the
WID approaches (either the welfare, efficiency or equity approach as addressed by
Moser, 1989). While the focus of WID had been to increase the participation of
women and make development more effective, the gender and development approach
(GAD) often looked for the potential in development initiatives to transform unequal
social and gender relations, including in the analysis, the re-examination of social
structures and institutions affecting projects and gender hierarchies. However, the
focus of gender analysis sometimes has been on instrumentalizing gender inclusion
and evaluation in projects, and there is a tendency to limit gender analysis to the
project scope and life. As GAD became institutionalized in the 1990s among most
bilateral agencies and NGOs, this trend to operate within the institutional framework
of development agencies has limited the critical capacity of GAD to review the
regional and global context affecting gender, among other hierarchies (Braidotti et al.,
1995:78-87).
The use of gender analysis within the framework of political ecology makes it
possible to recapture the more radical nature of gender as an initial theoretical
formulation and as a tool to identify gender hierarchies and ideologies not only among
the subjects of research, training and/or gender planning, but also between them and
the researchers, trainers, and planners. This approach questions the whole set of
power relations established in those processes and the nature of institutions in charge


85
board. The Regional government, through its Division of Environment, directly
participates in some activities in the PSNR, such as park guards and forestry police
training, coordination with local authorities, and evaluation of the WWF/AIF and
TNC projects.
The Tamshivacu-Tahuavo Regional Communal Reserve (TTCR)
The TTCR, created in 1991 through Resolucin Ejecutiva Regional 080-91
CR-GRA-P, extends over an area of 322,500 hectares of upland forests that divide the
Amazon valley from the Yavari valley. Its natural borders are: the upper Tahuayo
and Quebrada Blanco rivers on the west, the upper Yarapa River on the south, the
upper Yavari Miri River on the east and the upper Tamshiyacu River on the north.
Figure 3.3 shows the fully protected zone of approximately 160,000 ha with no
human settlements or activities and the subsistence use zone of approximately 160,000
ha used by the surrounding communities for extractive activities. Outside the official
boundaries of the reserve is the permanent settlement zone with no definitive limits,
where 32 villages host a population of 6,000 inhabitants. This zone was not
incorporated into the reserve territory in order to avoid conflicts over land-use
practices; however it has been an important component of the TTCR management
plans (Penn et al., 1993; Penn, 1990). The Tahuayo river is a mixture of black and
white waters, while most rivers within TTCR are white rivers that have abundance of
inorganic material in their water. The soils are referred to as richer than other
Amazonian soils (Bodmer et al., 1993). The high biodiversity documented for the
TTCR has been related to the special combination of uplands and flood plains


272
Brondizio, E., Moran, E., Maussel P. and Y. Wu, 1994 "Land Use Change in the
Amazon Stuary: Patterns of Caboclo Settlements and Landscape Management."
Human Ecology Vol 22, No. 3:36-48.
Bruce, J., 1989. Homes divided World Development Vol 17:979-991.
Brush, S.E., 1988. Traditional Agricultural Strategies in the Hill Lands of Tropical
America. Allan N., Knapp, G. and C. Stadel (Eds) Human Impact on
Mountains. New Jersey. Rowman and Littlefield.
Bryant, R., 1992. Political Ecology: an emerging research agenda in Third World
studies. Political Geography 11:12-36.
Cabarle, B., 1991. "Community Forestry and the Social Ecology of Development".
Grassroots Development: Journal of the Inter-American Foundation 15:3-9.
Arlington. IAF.
Chibnik, M., 1990. Double edged risks and uncertainties: choices about rice loans in
the Peruvian Amazon. Cashdan E. Ed. Risk and uncertainty in tribal and
peasant economies. Boulder, Colorado. Westview.
Chibnik, M. 1991. Quasi-Ethnic Groups in Amazonia. Ethnology XXX (2): 167-
182.
Chibnik, M. 1994. Risky Rivers. Colorado, Westview.
Cohen, A. 1974. Introduction:The Lesson of Ethnicity. Cohen A. (Ed.) Urban
Ethnicity. London. Tavistock.
Coomes, O.T. 1992. Making a Living in the Amazon Rain Forest: Peasants, Land
and Economy in the Tahuayo River Basin of Northeastern Peru. Doctoral
Thesis. University of Wisconsin-Madison.
, 1995. A Century of Rain Forest use in Western Amazonia: lessons for
the extraction-based conservation of tropical forests.
De Janvri, A., and C.D. Deere, 1979. A conceptual Framework for the Empirical
Analysis of Peasants American Journal of Agricultural Economics. Vol 61
No. 4.
De Jong, W. 1987. Organizacin del trabajo en la Amazonia Peruana: el caso de las
sociedades agrcolas de Tamshiyacu. Amazonia Indgena 7(13): 11-17.


115
rubber exploitation, since natural rubber trees were scarce and very dispersed. In and
around SMT, there were no rubber plantations or patrons. Markets were developed
early after the creation of the republic, the main poles of attraction being Iquitos,
Nauta or Yurimaguas. Even though this area was scarcely populated, people living
here and coming from other regions did hunt and fish for markets, selling game meat,
skins, salted and dried fish, timber and other forest products in the markets of
Nauta13 and Iquitos. In the beginning, connection with markets was sporadic, but
increased influence of the school system and Western culture deepened their
dependence on basic goods they did not produce. People started hunting using guns
instead of bows and arrows, using kerosene instead of natural resins and oils, and so
on. These changes had already occurred in the families who came to SMT in the
1940s and 1950s. In the 1960s, other changes increased the dependence of local
people on markets: people started relying more on fishing nets, decreasing the use of
harpoon and farpa,14 using oil instead of animal fat, consuming rice, pasta and sugar
and some canned food as occasional and appreciated staples. Also, plastic displaced
metal receptacles which previously had displaced indigenous ceramics. Soaps and
detergents were widely adopted, replacing the use of soapy leaves and fruits.
Batteries for flashlights became necessary, since they were used for fishing and
hunting at night, and less frequently for radios. Before, these activities were done in
13It takes a journey in the large boats to get to Nauta from the Maranhon river mouth
near San Martin.
uFarpa is a special harpoon that is used to catch large fish such as paiche (Arapaima
gigas).


76
Hunting of all Amazonian wildlife species has been indefinitely prohibited
except those 15 presented in Table 3.4:
Table 3.4 Wildlife Species Allowed to be Hunted.
Scientific name
English name
Local name
Mazama Americana
Red Deer
Venado rojo
Tayassu tajacu
Collared peccary
Sajino
Tayassu pcari
White-lipped peccary
Huangana
Tapirus terrestris
Lowland tapir
Sachavaca
Agouti pacca
Paca
Majaz
Dasyprocta variegata
Black agouti
Anhuje
Dinomys braniki
Pacarana
Pacarana
Hydrochaeris
Capybara
Ronsoco
Dasypus novemcinctus
Nine-banded
armadillo
Armadillo
Penelope jacquacu
Bird
Pucacunga
Penelope spp.
Bird
Pavas de monte
Ortalis spp
Bird
Panguana
Crypturellus spp.
Bird
Perdiz de selva
Columbigallina spp.
Bird
Paloma de
selva
Geochelone spp.
Tortoise
Mtelos
SOURCE: Varese (1997), Bodmer (1993).
However, those species that are not prohibited cannot be sold in towns that
exceed 3000 inhabitants (Varese, 1997:82-83). Control on wildlife selling through


20
strategies. In this sense, the exploration of gender is limited to its more instrumental
aspects.
Feminist Political Ecology
The gendered political ecology (GPE) as briefly presented, differs from
feminist political ecology (FPE) (Rocheleau et al., 1996) in which the latter brings a
feminist perspective to political ecology. That is, it refers to the interests of women
in a context of female subordination, as a key focus point. Feminist political ecology
addresses three main topics for analysis: gendered knowledge, gendered
environmental rights and responsibilities, and gendered environmental politics and
grassroots activism. The word "gendered" is primarily used to stress the situation
and interests of women in regard to environmental issues, instead of focusing on the
interactions of men and women among them and with the environment.4
Even though many common elements are present in both gendered political
ecology and feminist political ecology, such as the integration of global perspectives
with local experiences, the issue of power mediating the interaction of men and
women with the environment, among others, the FPE is committed to a feminist point
of view and, for that reason, more open to include epistemological and philosophical
critiques, for example challenging dominant ways of producing knowledge and of
understanding "nature" and recovering the "science of survival." It also is more
connected to other feminist traditions, such as feminist environmentalism, socialist
4The main literature presented or included as references in Rocheleau et al. (1996) is
definitively focused on women instead of gender.


55
increasing presence of the state through primary schools in the rural villages, health
services, and the creation of UNAP (National University of the Peruvian Amazon),
the HAP (Research Institute of the Peruvian Amazon), and representation of the
principal national ministries at the regional level.
Education has been extremely important in the diffusion of Spanish as the
current language, the recognition of native people as Peruvian citizens and the process
of negotiation between native/mestizo groups and the state. It has contributed to the
consolidation of Spanish as the language of domination and the white-mestizo culture
as the dominant culture. The discourse of integration indeed hid the real process of
assimilation of native populations. Assimilation is the process of subordination of one
group into a larger one that remains dominant, while the new group is expected to be
dissolved in it, losing its own ethnic identity. By contrast, true integration is a
process of reciprocal adaptation and co-existence of populations that are ethnically
different (Darcy, 1971). Therefore, behind the discourse of integration of the
Amazon into the Peruvian economy and nation, the process was one of subordination
of the region into the national society, and subordination of the native culture within
the national culture, predominantly white-mestizo, urban and Western. Many native
peoples tired of the experience of subordination and marginalization--the so called
"invisible natives" (Stocks, 1981)-decided to deny their own roots, stopped speaking
their language and no longer defined themselves as natives. This process was
facilitated by the increasing expansion of markets and the media influence through


4
Methodology
The study was based on information gathered during two fieldwork phases
conducted in the summers of 1996 and 1997, in two Ribereho communities of
Loreto, which are within the territory or at the border of protected areas: San Martin
del Tipishca, located within the Pacaya-Samiria National Reserve; and Buenavista, in
the periphery of Tamshiyacu-Tahuayo Communal Reserve. This case-study was
based on 59 surveys applied in the summer of 1996 to men and women from 30%
and 38%, respectively, of the households of San Martin and Buenavista. In addition,
informal, in-depth and focus-group interviews were conducted in both communities,
during 1996 and 1997. The small size of the sample and the coverage of the study
are among the limitations of this study. Others limitations derive from the limited
time frame of the study, since changes in Ribereho livelihood strategies are
associated with good or bad agricultural cycles of three or more years. For instance,
1996 and 1997 were particularly bad years for agriculture in the Tahuayo basin, and
families in the lowlands were still recovering from the devastating floods of 1993 and
1994. To what extent this might increase the importance of extractive activities as
compared to "good" agricultural years is an issue that requires long-term research.
However, it is opportune to keep this time frame issue in mind. An additional
limitation of the study comes from the "outsider" status of the researcher. Despite the
statistical significance of the data and the methodology (discussed in Chapter 2), this
study explicitly recognizes the subjectivity present in any study, as represented by the
assumptions and sentiments of the researcher.


104
Hunting is an activity that is very specialized. Not all Riberehos go hunting,
since it requires special skills and endurance to remain in the forests for 10 to 20
days. As reported by Riberehos who do not hunt regularly, hunting requires owning
a gun and investing in ammunitions, salt, batteries, food supply and money to leave
with the family while the hunter is gone. Without special skills, the results of the
hunting expedition will not compensate for the investment and the dangers the
expedition implies. Most Riberehos consider that it is not worthwhile and they state
they have other responsibilities: fishing, agriculture and to attend to their families.
Usually no more than 7 to 10 individuals from a 40 household village are identified as
hunters (Gil, 1997; Fieldwork, 1996, 1997). More details on this activity are
provided in Chapters 6 and 7.
Collecting products of the forest encompasses several activities, from timber
and palm leaves extraction for house building to fibers to do handicrafts, and the
extraction of aguaje6 and chonta to sell.
Ribereho livelihood strategies rely mainly on subsistence activities
complemented with some market oriented activities to provide some cash to purchase
basic goods. Ribereho families live mostly in a non cash economy, not due to a lack
6Aguaje (Mauritia Flexiosa) is a palm whos fruit is very appreciated by regional
populations, used in the cities for ice-cream, beverages, etc and also directly
consumed. Due to the heights these palm trees reach in palm swamps, local people
cut down the palm in order to harvest the fruit, that hangs at the top of the palm.
Therefore, this practice depletes the resource and there is a reported decrease of
aguajales. While some conservation initiatives emphasize training local people to
climb the palm, others have successfully experimented with planting aguaje in the
plots or gardens, where, due to the lack of light competition, aguaje do not grow so
high, making harvest easy without the need to cut the palm.


16
regard to natural resources, including a true concern for natural resource depletion
while facing the need to make a living based on their extraction.
Asymmetric power, resistance, and competition3 are key features of the social
context in which local actors relate to each other and to natural resources, in a
process of bargaining, resistance, making alliances and competing. As Schmink and
Wood (1987) show in the case of Brazil, a complex and changing context offers
different conditions at different historic moments, for social movements to resist the
power of dominant groups. What seemed impossible in the 1970s-the creation of
extractive reserves for local peoplewas achieved in the 1980s, when the global and
national context and economic crisis had eroded the power and legitimacy of the State
and its support to dominant groups, and international environmental concerns,
economic pressures, and criticism of deforestation and cattle ranching could no longer
simply be portrayed as imperialist intrusion. Beyond the will of social actors at the
local level, there are forces acting at the macro level that, in turn, are not monolithic
blocks, but dynamic alliances and contingencies of power that may change in the
course of time.
This approach is extremely important to understanding the underlying forces of
unsustained uses of resources and the structural limits to sustainable alternative uses
of natural resources. These forces and trends have to be targeted in order to
3Schmink and Wood (1987:14) define competitive conflicts as those occurring between
members of the same power stratum, while resistance is the attempt made by
members of the subordinate group to challenge attempts or ways of resource use
imposed by the dominant group.


74
opportunity of the exchange, degree of dependence on the goods or income exchanged
in the markets, etc. In a context of no intervention of the state to minimize the
differences between economic agents competing in open markets, grassroots
organizations have a crucial role in the articulation of a process of negotiation
between the interests of local communities, conservation institutions and the State in
regard to policies and identification of alternatives that benefit local populations as
well as fit into conservation agenda. Grassroots organizations have to take on the task
of representing local populations in economic as well as in social, ethnic and political
terms. This task challenges the current role of grassroots organizations, limited to the
political and reivindicative action and without a larger picture of their role in long
term and regional perspectives. There is an important task of empowering grassroots
organizations, at the local and regional levels, so that they can lead a process of
articulation of a regional agenda, a social and economic program built by and through
social mobilization, where Riberehos have a crucial role to play.
Legal and Institutional Framework for Natural Resource Management
The main characteristic of the legal framework affecting natural resources in
Peru is the lack of a well articulated and coherent legal body at the national level.
Different regulations issued in different years and with different objectives create an
ambiguous and sometimes contradictory legal framework. According to Peruvian
Environment Law (Codigo del Medio Ambiente), issued by the Congress in 1990,
wildlife and natural resources are considered the Nations patrimony; for that reason,


53
tannin of pashaco trees, through the same systems imposed by the patrones of these
fundos. As they depleted one resource, they moved into the next. While major
fortunes created by the rubber boom fled from Iquitos after the rubber boom declined,
many enterprises remained, establishing networks to obtain and export forest
products, such as timber, gums, resins, essential oils, natural insecticides, medicinal
plants, barbasco10 and ornamental fishes. The construction of a sawmill in Iquitos
in 1918 promoted the export of cedar and mahogany. Between 1925 and 1940 Loreto
exported from six to ten thousand metric tons of wood (San Roman, 1975:172).
These activities, however, never reached the level of the rubber boom due to
the on going resource depletion as well as decreasing demand due to competition
coming from synthetic products (Chibnik, 1994:43). The environmental impact of
these activities was significant and they also maintained the social structure of
dominance over Indians and poor mestizo groups, trapped under the system of debt-
peonage.
A slight increase of rubber exports was experienced during World War II and
stopped at the end of the war due to competition of Asian rubber plantations and
synthetic rubber. Oil exploration started in 1938 and would become important in the
next decades.
l0Barbasco is a natural poison used by local people to fish, and was used as an input
to make industrial pesticides.


50
patrones6 who operated extractive and agricultural businesses, based on the labor
obtained through debt-peonage, provided money or goods in advance for labor.
These exchange relations were recreated through paternalistic interactions, such as the
consumption of alcohol to seal agreements, and compadrazgo7 relationships (Chibnik
1994:34-35). When these mercantilists relationships expanded, regatones appeared
as middle men for urban traders, who provided them with merchandise to exchange to
Indians for forest products (Chibnik, 1994:37). These trade networks increased the
pressure on natural resources, due to the low prices for forest products and the
coercive nature of the contract. Products sold to Indians were imported from Brazil:
iron objects, wheat flour, alcoholic beverages, woolen and cotton goods, clothing and
munitions. The most important exports at that time were: sassparilla, copal?
Panama hats, salted fish and wax, as well as balsam, turtle eggs and fat, hammocks,
tobacco and quinine. These exports were causing significant depletion of natural
resources in the Peruvian Amazon, as suggested by Regan (1983:76). In 1859, the
local government established rules first limiting the production of sarsaparilla and
6Patrons were state owners, or any person with the power to engage native and
mestizo people in labor relations of exploitation.
7A mechanism of asymmetric reciprocity, compadrazgo in this case refers to a patron
or trader becoming the godfather of his subordinateds child, which supposedly
obliges him to act on behalf on the childs well-being. The relationship also can exist
between equals establishing strong bonds between them. Compadres and comadres
refer to two adults (males for compadres and females for comadres) related by one
being the godfather or godmother of ones child.
8Sassparilla or sarsaparilla is a viny plant used as a flavoring, for example in the
preparation of root-beer; copal is a natural resin extracted from the bark of different
tropical trees, that is used as sealant, especially in boat construction,


180
made by the community to improve their access to commercial nets shows that people
identified their lack of access to commercial nets as a restriction to the level of
capture they could get.
In Buenavista, families with lower catch expressed the same concern.
Interviews revealed that 98% of households not involved in commercial fishing or
doing it at the lower levels of harvest, said that their lack of access to commercial
nets limited their catch.
Access to commercial nets is important to increase the different access to
markets. For instance, during the season in which fish are abundant, anyone can
catch large amounts of small species, with the subsistence nets. However, at this
time the demand becomes more selective, and taxi owners and traders will only accept
large species, such as zungaro, that can be caught only using commercial nets.
Fishermen who have no commercial nets have a difficult time trying to sell their small
species catch. At this time prices for them get really low, not only due to the higher
supply, but to the competition of commercial species. The study also tried to connect
information provided by the 1996 survey with information on net access provided by
the interviews in 1997, for some selected cases. Results are shown in Figures 6.1
and 6.2, which present commercial fish catch and net access for ten cases in San
Martin and 16 cases in Buenavista. In both cases the trend is consistent in the sense
that access to commercial nets improves the level of capture. However, in both
communities there are a few cases that have no commercial net and still have some
capture: these are people who either know how to catch paiche or other large and


277
Schmink, M., and C. Wood., 1992. Contested Frontiers in Amazonia. New York.
Columbia University Press.
Schultz T.W. 1953. Economic organization of agriculture. New York, McGraw-Hill.
Shanin, T., 1973. The nature and logic of the peasant economy: a
generalization ".Journal of Peasant Studies 1:63-80.
Sharma N.P., R. Rowe, K. Openshaw and M. Jacobson, 1981. World Forests in
Perspective.. Geneve. IUCN.
Soini, P., L., Sicchar, G., Gil, A. Fachin, R. Pezo and M., Chumbi, 1996. Una
Evaluacin de la Fauna Silvestre v su aprovechamiento en la Reserva Nacional
Pacaya Samiria. Iquitos. HAP. Doc Tcnico N.24. Agosto 1996.
Stocks, A., 1981. Indian Policy in Eastern Peru: Past and Present. Presented at the
Conference on Frontier Expansion in Amazonia. Gainesville, University of
Florida. February 1981.
, 1981. Los nativos invisibles. Lima. Centro Amaznico de Antropologa
y Aplicacin Practica-CAAP.
Strum, S. 1994. "Lessons Learned". Western D. And R.M. Wright (Eds.) Natural
Connections. Perspectives in Communitv-based Conservation. Washington
D.C.-Covelo, California. Island Press.
Thomas-Slayter, B., Esser L.A., and M.D. Shields .1993 Tools of Gender Analysis.
A Guide to Field Methods for Bringing Gender into Sustainable Resource
Management. Worcester, Massachussets. Research Project. International
Development Program. Clark University.
Thomas-Slayter B., and N. Bhatt., 1994. Lands, livestock and livelihoods: Changing
dynamics of gender, caste and ethnicity in a Nepalese village. Human
Ecology Vol 22, No.4:46-65.
Thomer, D., Kerblay, B., and R.E. F. Smith, 1966 (Translation of Chayanov, A.
V.,). The theory of peasant economy. Chicago, The American Economics
Association.
Torrado, S., 1981. Sobre los conceptos de estrategias familiares de supervivenciay
proceso de reproduccin de la fuerza de trabajo: notas teorico-
metodologicas. Demograpfia y Economa 15, No. 22:34-37.


60
basic needs (kerosene, salt, oil, sugar, batteries, munitions, health and educational
expenses). And since the prices for their products were low, they needed to
supplement their income with wage labor (Chibnik, 1994:50).
Between 1940 and 1961 the Amazon population experienced an annual growth
rate of 3.56%, well above the national average rate of 2.25 %. For the same period,
the migration rate for the region went from 3.0 to 6.1. Mobility was duplicated
toward the region and within the region (Rodriguez, 1991:113-114). This
demographic growth and the trend toward urbanization would become stronger in the
next decades.
1960-1970: Demographic growth and urbanization
During the 1960s, the Amazon region experienced demographic growth and
increased its importance in regard to the national population, going from 8.7% in
1961 to 9.6% in 1972. In 30 years, as shown in Table 3.1, Amazon population
evolved from 381,028 to 1,328,354 (a growth of 350%), while Loretos population
went from 158,597 to 375,007 (an increase of 236%). After the development push
beginning in 1940, the Loreto region started a process of growth, due to the reduction
of mortality rates and the highest fertility rate of the country: Gross Fertility Rate for
the Amazon in 1961 was 62.6 per thousand, while the national rate was 46.35 per
thousand. The Gross Reproductive Rate for the Amazon was 3.5 children per woman
while the national rate was 2.99 children per woman (CICRED, 1974:80). In
addition to the highest rates, Amazonian women initiate their fertility at earlier stages
than do women in the rest of the country (Ferrando, 1985). This further spurred


106
accepted; deny your cultural identity in order to be Peruvian citizens; learn the
modem way in order to succeed. Development projects have played a similar role
with a similar message, camouflaged within the notion of development. However,
markets have developed to serve the interests of traders at regional, national and
international levels, basing profits on exploitation of natural resources by squeezing
local peoples labor as much as possible. As a general rule, most families are unable
to find profit in the activities they carry on. For example, a study done by Coomes
(1992) in the Tahuayo basin, an area that can be considered quite dynamic, found that
family market income for the period 1988-89 was between 0 and $15,727 per year,
with a mean income of $798 and a median of $326. Some 37% of the families were
making less than $200 per year, 68% less than $600 and 89% less than $1,600 per
year (Coomes 1992). All of these families were engaged in agriculture, 42% relied
on fishing as the major income activity, 19% on wildlife hunting, 23% on commercial
extraction of non timber products and 6% on the extraction of timber (Coomes, 1992
calculated by Bodmer, 1995). Agricultural prices do not encourage investments in
terms of pesticides, fertilizer, improved seeds, or wage labor to expand this activity.
The same is true for most other activities. Market dynamics in terms of uneven
exchange terms set the limits to social and economic development of Ribereho
communities. They also limit sustainable use of resources, since low prices paid for
natural resources extracted from forests and rivers force local people to extract more
to obtain the same income they could receive if better prices were available.


216
affect their interests, such as Club de Madres: women start raising their voices and
support each other.
Sexual activity occurs not only among peers, but sometimes involves an
outsider such as a school teacher or a project technician. This type of sexual
interaction is perceived by some female adolescents as a way to get out of the village.
Many times they become pregnant and sometimes they have the baby. Many do not.
It is common knowledge for most of them that a concentrated cup of coffee (one can
of instant coffee dissolved in one cup of hot water) taken with three strong antibiotics
acts as an expeditious abortive. Others use mechanical methods (jumping up and
down or introducing diverse objects in the vagina to cause abortion); very few turn to
traditional recipes. Even though these methods are relatively effective in causing an
abortion, many health complications come with the use of these methods, such as
bleeding and infections.
Most adult women do not have a way to control their fertility. They start their
reproductive cycle early, usually at 15. This early initiation has been shown to be
medically associated with higher risk at the moment of delivery and later
complications in health of both mother and baby. Even though their fertility is lower
than that of their own mothers and grandmothers, it is still high: an average of six
births per woman. Prolonged lactation functions as a way to retard ovulation and as a
natural control of fertility. However, it does not always work. Some women have
access to traditional herbs and barks to prevent pregnancy. However, this knowledge
is not available to all of them. Medicinal knowledge in the Amazon always has been


150
weaving baskets and other handicrafts that are sold or exchanged in the tourist lodge.
Men also extract fuel wood for household consumption, and less commonly, for house
repair or construction and to sell.
Domestic Organization
The domestic economy and the provision of food for these families is different
from our notion of domestic organization. Getting food is a daily enterprise for most
families whose diets rely on faria and fish, plantain, and occasionally rice and game
meat. There is no fixed time for eating, aside from breakfast for school children.
The men go out to catch fish. If enough is caught, they can later sell some at the
village (1kg = 1.5 to 2.5 soles) and buy plantain, rice, fat or something required for
cooking. If not, dinner will be faria with fish. When selling fish at regional
markets, men are supposed to buy rice, sugar, beans, soap and detergent, kerosene,
matches, batteries, etc. Some do so and some even buy milk, canned food, clothing
and shoes for their kids, and anything else that is required at home. But this is not
the case for every household. Most men spend part of their earned money on getting
drunk, and some take no responsibility for their familys needs. Nor is planning part
of the daily vision, especially for men, as they recognize that they are used to
abundance, to finding fish every time they go to get it. They believe that consuming
everything now and sharing it (acabndolo todo ahora y compartindolo) is a way to
assure that next time they go, they will find even more. Networks of reciprocity
allow them to borrow almost everything: kerosene, rice or sugar, brooms, etc. In
this way, they can bridge the gap, and return the favor the next day. Reciprocity is


62
people became more integrated to market dynamics, as suppliers of forest products
and as buyers of basic goods and services. This process explains the enormous
growth of the cities of Iquitos and Pucallpa, due to the creation of the first college in
the Amazon (UNAP), and state incentives to develop industrial and commercial
activities (Rodriguez, 1991:117-122).
1970-1990: State reforms and population growth
In the 1970s, under the reforms implemented by the Military Government, the
remaining fundos in Loreto were expropriated as part of the National Land Reform.
In this period colonization was not supposed to avoid land tenure reform but to
complement it. In order to energize regional markets and agricultural production, the
state took over the monopoly of some products, either those important for urban
populations, such as maize and rice, or as a source of foreign currency through
export, such as coffee. The creation of public enterprises in charge of purchasing
agrarian production and providing inputs and credit, such as EISA, EDCHAP and
ENCI,12 gave the State a direct stake in the revenues from this commercialization.
These policies coincided with promotional credit for small farmers, which established
cash crops such as rice, maize and jute as important sources of income for Riberehos
(Barclay et al., 1981:73-74; Chibnik, 1987).
,2These are names of successive public enterprises in charge of centralizing
commercialization of inputs and some agricultural products; due to corruption and bad
management, once one was declared deactivated and under investigation, another
similar one was created, until in the 1990s the State stopped playing an active role in
economic planning.


250
collective, and their potential for reviving a common ethnic identity or for forging
consensus on resource use regulations.
Factors Affecting Wildlife Resource Pressure
Access to commercial tools and money to finance expeditions are common
issues for involvement in both commercial fishing and hunting. However, access to
commercial means of extraction seems to be more important to influence the level of
catch in commercial fishing, whereas skills, attitudes and preferences seem to be more
significant for hunters. This is important, because it may suggest that besides social
access to means of extraction, the economic importance of agriculture providing
income affects the pressure on wildlife through hunting. In addition to economic
considerations, cultural factors such as personal skills and preferences also affect the
use of resources through hunting.
This requires a consideration of different factors affecting conservation of
wildlife resources at the local level. Cultural elements should not be overlooked in
their influence on hunting pressures, avoiding romantic or stereotyped generalizations
associating traditional people with sustainable use of resources. In addition, the
forces of markets and macroeconomic policies affecting prices and technical assistance
for agriculture should also be considered. Finally, it seems that economic
differentiation plays a key role limiting the extraction levels of the poorest, while
giving a comparative advantage to those with access to commercial nets.


221
Table 7.5 Activities Considered Most Important for Familys Cash Income.
Activities
SAN MARTIN
Male Informants
(%)
SAN MARTIN
Fern.
Informants (%)
BUENAVISTA
Male Informants
(%)
BUENAVISTA
Fern. Informant
s(%)
Fishing
78.6
80.0
88.00
85.0
Agriculture
57.10
60.0
76.0
55.0
Hunting
50.0
13.3
28.0
10.0
Domestic
Livestock
28.6
33.3
64.0
45.0
Trading
14.3
20.0
0.0
0.0
Food
Processing
0.0
20.0
4.0
5.0
Wage Labor
21.4
6.7
8.0
5.0
Other
Extractive Act.
7.1
6.7
40.0
15.0
Hunting +
Extraction
7.1
0.0
12.0
5.0
Others
0.0
26.7
0.0
15.0
N
15
14
17
13
SOURCE: Surveys (1996).
NOTE: Answers were not exclusive, their distribution do not equal 100%.
agriculture, but men tend to give more importance than women to hunting. In
Buenavista, women tend to consider agriculture to be less important then men do,
while both include domestic livestock as an important activity for subsistence. Table
7.5 presents the importance that different activities have for family cash income, as
perceived by men and women in San Martin and Buenavista. Men and women
coincide to identify fishing as the most important activity, followed by agriculture.


219
study, but in the rooms where state policies and conservation and development
strategies are designed. It is also ineffective in terms of reducing demographic
growth and pressure on natural resources.
Knowledge. Perceptions. Decision Making and Relation with the Environment
The topic of gendered knowledge is discussed in this section, focused on what
women and men know in regard to the natural resource use10. Knowledge expresses
and also shapes the interactions of women with nature. The study gives importance to
womens knowledge and perceptions on productive, economic and environmental
issues, usually considered male issues. To consider womens knowledge and
perceptions on these issues is a way to give women a voice, to overcome their
invisibility in so many gender-blind studies. In addition, the type of knowledge
women have on these issues as compared to men, especially on male activities, can
provide a proxy to measure the level of communication and complementarity within
the couple. The surveys show that women have quite accurate knowledge in terms of
location, amount and species of wildlife captured, and about extractive activities
carried out by men. These findings indicate that men and women share and discuss
activities that are done separately. In 80% of the sample, women participate in most
decisions affecting the use of wildlife resources and they know about their male
partners activities.
10The production of knowledge itself is not taken into account. There is an
interesting debate on the different ways men and women produce and transmit
knowledge (Duran, 1991).


149
Table 5.7 Average Prices for Agricultural and Some Wildlife Products*
Product
Cargo
cost**
S/.
High Low
US $
High Low
Best price
Yuca (23 kgs. Bag)
2.00
10.00
4.60
Winter
Plantain (bunch)
1.00
30.00 3.00
13.6 1.4
Winter
Tender maize kernels (100)
2.00
10.00 5.00
4.60 2.3
Dry maize (23 kgs. Bag)
2.00
16.00 7.00
7.3 3.2
June
Watermelon (100)
5.00
90.00
40.9
August
Uvilla fruit (planted) (a
bunch)
1.20 0.50
0.5 0.2
Pineapple (unit)
(15-18 units/bag)
2.00
1.00 0.50
17.00 8.00
0.4 0.2
November
Farina (Kg)
2.00
2.00 2.00
0.8 0.8
Winter
Small basket -handicrafts
0.00
5.00 5.00
2.3 2.3
N/a
Paiche fish (40kg)
4.00
320.0 120.0
145.5 54.6
March
Fresh fish (15 kg)
2.00
45.00 30.00
20.5 13.6
Summer
Aguaje (23 kgs. Bag)
2.00
40.00 3.00
6.8 1.4
Summer
Game meat (kg)
2.00
5.00 4.00
2.3 1.8
Summer
Chicken (half a dozen)
1.00
48.00 30.00
21.8 13.6
Winter
SOURCE: Interviews in Buenavista and San Martin (1997). 1US$ = S/. 2.20
* prices are reported for Iquitos market
** the usual cargo fee is 2.00 soles per 23 kg bag
good production of charcoal. Every charcoal processing unit produces between 150
and 170 bags of charcoal, each of which is sold at S/. 5.00.
Men extract fiber from chambira palm and from the heart (cogollo) of aguaje
palm, providing fiber that women process (peeling, boiling and dying) and use for


81
between the Maranhon and the Ucayali rivers and includes the Pacaya and the Samiria
rivers that respectively flow into the Ucayali and the Maranhon rivers.
With most of its territory annually flooded, PSNR is one of the most important
areas for reproduction of many Amazonian fish species. The predominant soils have
little slope, poor drainage and medium to low fertility. The reserve is 51% flooded
forests (swamps, aguaje palm swamps and flood plains), 34% seasonal flooded
forests, 13% non-flooded forests, 1% converted forest and 1% rivers and lakes. The
predominant vegetation is tropical rain forest, and palm and swamp formations.
Abundance of lakes and water bodies characterizes PSNR. Wildlife is adapted to the
diverse conditions within the reserve. Birds, tropical aquatic mammals and reptiles
are notorious within PSNR (WWF-AIF/DK, 1993; Pro-Naturaleza-TNC, 1996).
The Pacaya-Samiria National Reserve includes the watersheds of the Pacaya
and Samiria rivers, the right margin of the lower Maranhon river and the left margin
of the lower Ucayali and of the Puinahua channel (See Figure 3.3); it encompasses
several streams, such as Yanayacu del Pucate, which is the most important. The
annual climatic pattern includes a long rainy season, from October to June and
another, relatively more dry season, from July to September. The flood peak is
between March and May and the maximum ebb between August and October (Soini et
al., 1996).
The PSNR is rich in biodiversity, but much of it still is not well known.
Between 1992 and 1993 an inventory and rapid assessment of wildlife and its use by
local people were conducted (Soini et al., 1996). From 648 species registered, 44


247
and San Martin, whose relevance for other communities has to be explored: (a)
subsistence fishermen, (b) commercial fishermen, and (c) commercial hunters.
Subsistence Fishermen
Families engaged in subsistence fishing are also engaged in small amounts of
commercial fishing, due to their lack of access to commercial nets and to cash to
finance expeditions. Most of these families are not engaged in hunting on a regular
basis, due to lack of firearms, cash to finance expeditions and/or lack of hunting skills
and preferences. In Buenavista, this group might be more involved in agriculture
and/or domestic livestock as well as some sporadic collection of aguaje or chonta,
and fruits from managed fallows. In San Martin, floods and lack of access to levees,
as well as distances to markets, limit the importance of agriculture, domestic livestock
and extraction to a more seasonal pattern. This group seems unable to get enough
food and cash to meet their basic needs. Little attention has been paid to improving
subsistence agriculture, without increasing monetary costs. Efforts could be oriented
in this direction, to improve their livelihoods in terms of their food security. This
group represent approximately 70% of the families in San Martin and Buenavista.
Commercial Fishermen
Those families engaged in commercial fishing-besides subsistence fishing that
is common to all familieshave access to commercial nets. Most commercial
fishermen are not involved in commercial hunting, but in agriculture as far as
ecological and economic environments allow this activity to developed. For this
group, commercial agriculture could be improved, as well as other income generating


LIST OF FIGURES
Figure Page
2.1 Loretos Region, Peru (Altarama, 1992) 40
3.1 Sociodemographic and Territorial Patterns in Loreto 69
3.2 Pacaya-Samiria National Reserve (INRENA-M, Agricultura, 1989) . 80
3.3 Tamshiyacu-Tahuayo Regional Communal Reserve (Bodmer et al., 1995) 82
4.1 Land Forms in Loreto (Padoch, 1988) 100
4.2 Distribution of Households, Institutional Buildings and Plots
(Fieldwork, 1996) 112
4.3 Distribution of Households, Institutional Buildings and Plots,
Buenavista (Fieldwork, 1996) 121
6.1 Commercial Fish Catch and Net Access, San Martin del Tipischa ... 181
6.2 Commercial Fish Catch and Net Access, Buenavista 181
xiv


192
and family consumption seem to be not clearly associated with larger hunting and
fishing catches. Greater willingness to organize for conservation management and
more awareness of community regulations affecting the use of natural resources were
evident in Buenavista, but their effect on catch size was not clear.
Access to tools and money are important factors in the decision to hunt or fish
commercially, while skills, and preferences for agriculture are more important for
hunting. In Buenavista, conservation awareness was a much stronger factor
mentioned as important in deciding to hunt or not, compared to San Martin.
Commercial extraction of wildlife seems to be insufficient to situate extractivist
families among the better-off within each community. They are identified among the
better-off, only in those cases in which they have an additional source of income, or a
diversified economy that provides income from different activities. External and
sustained sources of incomeor activities that do not interfere with the meeting of
basic household needs-have been identified as the key mechanisms of wealth.
This chapter addressed three questions with regard to social access to
commercial means of extraction and the connections between commercial extractivism
and economic stratification. The analyses presented in this chapter could be
summarized as follows: (1) Access to the commercial means of extraction is restricted
to those members of the community who can afford to buy commercial nets and
firearms, and finance expeditions; (2) Lack of access to commercial means of
extraction prevents families from extracting more resources, especially fish; and (3)


65
In this period population growth continued with increasing urbanization; even
though fertility rates have been declining, they still remained high. It is important to
note the differences in fertility rates for rural and urban populations, as shown in
Table 3.2. Higher fertility rates in rural areas are associated to higher illiterate rates,
higher for women than for men. The median age of the population reveals the effects
of Loretos demographic trends.
Table 3.2: Demographic Indicators for Loreto.
Variable
Loreto region
1972 1981 1989
Rural Loreto
1981
Urban Loreto
1981
Fertility rates
(births/woman)1
7.5 6.2 5.3
8.0
5.1
Infant mortality1
(deaths/thousand)
93.5
108.9
78.9
Death rates2
14.8 12.4
N/A
N/A
Median age of
population2
15.1
N/A
N/A
Life expectancy2
53.0 55.0
N/A
N/A
Illiterate
population3
15%
27.2%
6.4%
women
39.0%
9.5%
men
18.1%
3.3%
SOURCES: ferrando (1985:45), Webb & Fernandez Baca (1990:118), INEI
(1993:357).
2Chibnik (1994:56).
3INEI (1993:419, 423).


35
a process of negotiation that is subjective, conflictive and depends on contingencies,
rather than teleologic and linear. The "multiplicity of differences" limits the use of
single categories to define something complex such as identity; at the same time this
multiplicity of differences allows a bridge between gender and ethnic identities and an
understanding that an individual can have more than one identity or can use them
differently in different contexts. Paulson (1996) reports that Bolivian peasant women
play different ethnic roles within and outside the community changing their dressing
code, body language, spoken language and social behavior. She addresses the
instrumental way in which women use these different ethnic roles to obtain better
results in their tasks of harvesting and selling their potatoes.
Webster (1991), Asher (1996), and Paulson (1996) agree not only in that
different ethnic identities can be used by men and women in different social contexts,
but in the dynamic rather than passive role of individual actors, not defined by rigid
structural limits. De la Cadena (1992) explores the role of ethnicity and gender
hierarchies shaping internal differentiation in a community of the Peruvian highlands,
analyzing the subjective and objective practices of men and women either in personal
interactions or in regional and national social and political movements. Since ethnic
identities are built within social interactions according to attributes that are recognized
and fixed in the relationship, it is no surprise that the Indian in one relationship
becomes the Misti or mestizo in another relationship and viceversa. This volatility of
ethnic roles coexists with the notion of inferiority of Indians in relation to the Mistis
and is intertwined with gender hierarchies that convert women to the last element in


54
The Construction of the Amazon Space and Capitalist Development at the National
Level
As mentioned earlier, the Northeastern Peruvian Amazon is separated from the
rest of the country by the Andes. It is more easily connected to Brazil and even
Colombia, through the Amazon and other navigable rivers, than to the rest of the
country.11 The lack of articulation into the national economy and society has been
parallel to the lack of integration within the region, in terms of communications,
social identity and the struggle for its own economic and political interests.
1940-1960:
The 1940s has been identified as a decade that accelerated and modified the
process of social construction of this Amazon space, basically in terms of the
insertion of this region into the dynamic of capitalist development at the national level
(Rodriguez, 1991:103) and also in terms of the establishment of demographic, social,
ethnic and economic differentiation. A new geopolitical consideration started
influencing Peruvian state policy toward the Amazon after 1941: an undeclared war
with Ecuador leading to a peace protocol warrantied by five hemisphere countries
including the USA, vindicated Peruvian territorial rights to this region. It became
necessary to integrate this territory into the Peruvian economy and society in order to
secure military sovereignty. The reinforcement of military presence came with an
Even in current times, the only way to connect directly from Iquitos to Lima and the
coast is by plane. There is no road connecting this region to the Peruvian coast or
highland. However, it is possible to navigate through the Maranhon or Ucayali river
to reach the cities of Yurimaguas or Pucallpa and from there to access roads to the
highlands and coast. Such a trip usually takes more than a week.


146
Agriculture in the uplands is done during the floods time, while in the ebb
agriculture is done in the lowlands. This spread of agriculture throughout the year
allows families to crop more land and to face less time stress; therefore they are more
able to diversify their activities.
Agricultural tasks in this Amazon region are done with some particularities,
due to the characteristics of the soils, the extreme heat and the relatively short
distances to the plots. In San Martin, people go to their plots very early in the
morning, leaving their homes at 6 am, usually making a canoe trip or walk of 10 to
15 min. In a few cases, the canoe trip can be up to 1 hour or 1 hour and 20 minutes,
where plots are larger and require support of male wage labor for some tasks. In this
case, men are the ones who do the rowing. Starting at 6:15 am, they work until 9 or
10 am, depending on the other tasks they have for the day, the support they have at
home for domestic work and child care, etc. In most cases, the sun, heat and
mosquitos make it very hard to continue and they stop at 9:30 am, and return home to
rest for a while. The extreme heat and humidity and the assault of insects represent
an aggressive environment that limits peoples expenditure of energy. Women wash
clothes or prepare food; men go fishing. June is the time of the year to make faria;
either men or women or both are involved. It takes approximately three hours of
stirring the mixture over the fire, for an amount that can last one month for a family
of five.
They return to their plots in the afternoon for a couple of hours, when the heat
is a little less. After that, everybody is ready for the daily bath in the river, just


186
adherence to conservation norms, are more important constraints to hunting in
Buenavista than in San Martin.
Are Commercial Extractivists Economically Better-off in the Village?
A third question addressed in this section is whether those families who are
more oriented to extraction are situated in the highest ranks of social and economic
status within the community. I first established in each community who the families
were that most people identified as being better settled or in better economic
condition. Then I sought to find out if the extractivists were among these relatively
more wealthy families, and what mechanisms were used by local families to explain
the relative wealth of the identified families. In San Martin and in Buenavista I used
a modified Wealth Ranking Analysis12 with ten families in each community. Results
can be seen in Tables 6.8 and 6.9. These tables present nine families for San Martin
and six families for Buenavista, that were identified as being better-off than the rest.
The first column shows these families; the second column shows the percentage of
agreement among the informants. The third column shows the main activities
12As presented by Thomas-Slayter et al. (1993). Since pictures of every family were
not available I used cards with the last names written but this did not work out. The
simple interview with no tool worked sometimes and others didnt, since they were
too polite or wished to avoid any conflict with other families. I decided to draw on a
large piece of paper the location of every household in the community and to use a
different color pen for each informant family in order to circle which households were
considered to be in better economic shape. Since I reduced the sample from 15 to 10
families in each community to establish the wealth ranking and even though the color
identification was easier, I decided to use only ten informants, since the others were
still reluctant to provide this information. The method worked fine for most families,
since it reduced the stress while simulating a game, without the mess of the cards
and reading the names.


Pages
258-266
Missing
From
Original


51
later banning its export, but these laws were ignored due to the attractive price and
demand for this product in Brazil (San Roman, 1975:101-105; Chibnik, 1994:36-37).
Iquitos, a center of artisan production and trade formed after independence, remained
as a small village until the rubber boom that changed the social structure and political
ecology of the region. Even though rubber had been used by indigenous people since
pre-Columbian times (San Roman, 1975:126), its commercial "discovery" and
demand in the late 1800s dramatically changed the social landscape of the Peruvian
Amazon. It attracted large waves of fortune-seekers, from diverse origins
(Europeans, Brazilians, Colombians, Peruvians from the highlands and the coast) that
displaced native access to land and created estates (fundos) that remained after the
rubber boom collapsed, all based on native labor. The importance of rubber was
great, since it became Perus second major export between 1902 and 1906. In 1910
Loreto exported 4,500,000 kilograms as compared to 2,088 kilograms exported in
1862 (San Roman, 1975:130-131; Chibnik, 1994:39). The system of exploitation was
collection of rubber from scattered natural trees existing in the rainforests. This
system was different from the plantation system developed in British Asian colonies
that would later displace Amazonian rubber (San Roman: 1975:131-132).
The rubber estates required a labor force familiar with tropical forests and
with a dispersed settlement: they recruited natives displaced and dispossessed from
their own land. The same exchange system was used to recreate debt-peonage into
forms that resembled slavery. The debt was not only transferred to their families in
case of death, but in-debt workers were sold as part of the fundos when a patron


14
instead of spending time traveling or supervising other people applying my survey. I
wanted to analyze information that I collected and to take advantage of every
interaction and opportunity to make observations. Due to this characteristic of the
study, results cannot be inferred for the whole region; they can be taken as
implications for discussion among people and institutions dealing with conservation,
gender, and/or sustainable development in the region. Findings of this study also can
serve to design further research to test and expand the preliminary results.
Data Analyses
Statistical tests of significance are included in the tables in Chapters 6 and 7,
to provide additional information regarding the data and analysis provided in this
study. The data base was analyzed using Quatro-Pro for Windows. The statistical
analyses included common indicators of distribution, such as average and standard
deviation. For the nine selected variables presented in Chapter 6, regression analysis
was used to explore the association between variables. In addition, the Kruskal-
Wallis test was run to evaluate the statistical significance of the data. This test uses
the ranks of the observations rather than the actual values and was selected because
(1) data distribution appeared to be non-normal, and (2) the sample2 size was smaller
than normal.
2Kruskal-Wallis test was used instead of chi square and F-test, since both are used
assuming normality in the distribution of the values (chi-square is used to compare
two variables and F-test, more than two), and the data showed a non-normal
distribution with a high variation within each group. The Kruskal-Wallis test assesses
statistically significant differences when the p-value is less than 0.05.


12
Units of Study
The study considered households as important units linking individuals with the
community and with regional structures, centralizing resources and decisions and
instrumentalizing the livelihood strategies. For that reason households played an
important role in this study. However, since households are differentiated units, the
study chose individuals as the basic units to collect information, applying the survey
and interviews to both men and women at each household, as much as possible.
Women were first interviewed alone for the questionnaire or for interviews, and their
husbands were interviewed later. This was done in order to avoid biases in womens
answers.
This disaggregation of the sample facilitated a comparison of male and female
information for every question of the survey. The first draft of the questionnaire was
developed based on previous research experience among Riberehos, readings and
discussions held in courses related to tropical resource use, and as part of the design
of the gender and community component of the Summer Field Course on Tropical
Wildlife Conservation, organized by TCD/MERGE/UNAP in the Tamshiyacu-
Tahuayo Communal Reserve. During this course, we had the opportunity to test the
instrument, to reformulate it, and test it again until it worked smoothly. A sample of
the survey is included in the final appendix. Each interview took between 1.5 and 2
with a limited budget. Buenavista is one of the four communities which participates
in the management of the TTCR and the next community close to the Communal
Reserve, after Chino. In addition, a technician I knew since 1989 was working in
Buenavista and had agreed to introduce me to the families and to the communal
meeting.


107
In this context, cultural identity in terms of what is commonly termed
traditional in opposition to modem, plays a functional role within the regional
structure of social and economic power, since it allows Riberehos to keep their
reproduction cost at the lowest possible level, relying on natural resources for their
living, while providing products that keep the whole regional structure going.
However, the opposition between traditional and modem is only partial, since both
aspects are integrated into Ribereho daily life, creating dynamic identities and
perceptions. Riberehos are already in the market and rely on the purchase of some
basic goods (kerosene, matches, oil, batteries, medicine, school items, some clothing,
rice and sugar, etc). They are also traveling to different places, towns and Iquitos,
interacting with urban people there and in their villages, through projects, churches,
tourists, and so on, perceiving and breathing modernity. Some changes are visible in
their living conditions.7
External markers can be confusing when discussing Riberehos ethnic
identity. For instance the language, since most Riberehos speak only Spanish.
Their parents, indigenous descendants, did not speak to them in their language, in a
conscious effort to erase their cultural identity and make them mestizo, more able to
be accepted in the regional and national society. When asked about their affiliation,
all people I interviewed explicitly refused to identify themselves as native or
8For example: some houses have been closed in using sawn boards to give more
privacy, imitating urban models; soccer teams have bought uniforms according to
modem patterns; some clothing has changed for males and sometimes for women and
the influence of tourists is important since they many times trade used clothing for
local handicrafts.


171
In Buenavista, even the youngest hunters catch much more than any of the
hunters in San Martin, due to ecological differences that favor the TTCR as a game
habitat, compared to San Martin, where fishing is more favored. Time of residence
in the village is associated with larger catch, for both communities. It seems
reasonable that more familiarity with the villages vicinities results in better hunting.
However, the P-value does not show statistical significance for the differences
observed in the distribution presented for age and time of residence.
Family size is a variable that seems to play a different role with respect to
hunting in San Martin and in Buenavista, as presented in Table 6.4. In both
communities, most informants and hunters have a family with 6 to 12 members.
However, in San Martin, hunters with smallest families have the larger average catch,
followed by those who have the largest families. In Buenavista, there is a clear trend
that connects largest families with larger catch. Actually, they have the largest
average catch for the whole distribution (1,100 kg per month). However, family size
does not affect catch through family consumption, since hunting is an activity
basically oriented to the markets. The next variable, family consumption of game
meat, shows that consumption levels for all three categories are well below harvest
levels, with the maximum amount of game meat consumed per month per family
being 50 kg. Most informants and hunters consume less than six kg per month.
Families of hunters who catch more do not necessarily consume more game meat. As
with commercial fishing, hunting is an activity basically oriented to the market to
obtain cash. However, reciprocity also is important to understand the interactions


212
children. That is the way many men felt too, since they were so aware that their
material condition was not going to improve, and that they could not give their
children a better life at home. That is why most efforts focused on sending children
to Iquitos, to have access to a better education and a job. However, men did not feel
as powerless as women did. With all the limitations, they still were considered the
main providers, while women merely complemented, supported and helped with their
domestic role.
Access to money changes gender relations, as observed in the few cases when
women have access to cash, in the sense that those women have more active and
dominant roles. Age and race are also important in the establishment of gender
hierarchies, such as when women marry men who are younger than themselves,
usually a second marriage. In those cases, age difference can act to the benefit of
women, if they also have some access to cash; however, it can create problems
related to sexuality, especially when a third party becomes involved. Racial features
are important, in that less Indian features are considered more desirable and
beautiful.8 Women did not accept their own beauty, their own appearance, a
reflection of the process of self-denial of their native roots, as well of a process of
class subordination.
8For example when watching soccer plays where school girls participate, the
comments of married women praise as beautiful, those girls that have less indigenous
features in terms of the color of the eyes and skin, hair that is not so straight and
black, etc. Women do cut and curl their hair, when they can afford it. In the second
fieldwork season, after a bad year, women that used to wear their hair short and curly
had it long and straight, and they commented that they looked ugly.


Missing
From
Original


177
Restricted Access to Commercial Means of Extraction
Means of extraction are the tools and knowledge that allow people to catch fish
and game and to exploit natural resources. Since this study focuses on wildlife
resources, means of extractions referred to in general are canoes, fishhooks, nets
(small nets and large nets called trampas that go from shore to shore), harpoons and
farpa* traps made from bamboo, firearms, flashlights and batteries, knives, salt to
process the meat, and so on. Personal skills and knowledge also are extremely
important both in terms of the forest and river animals, how to locate, track and catch
them, and in terms of information about markets, prices, and extra-local networks.
Commercial means of extraction are defined as those elements such as
commercial nets, firearms and cash to finance expeditions, that allow individuals to
obtain significant amounts of species preferred for commercial fishing and/or hunting.
Some means of extraction are of easy access to anyone, since they are made
from locally available materials, and even though they require some labor input the
know-how is open to everybody: for example, a canoe or a fishhook. But these
means alone are not sufficient to extract significant amounts of fish, or to get the
species preferred for commercial fishing. Other tools require expertise that is not
available to everyone, even though they are made from locally available materials:
harpoon and farpa, and traps to catch paiche,5 dolphins and small rodents. Most of
4Farpa is a harpoon that has three arrows instead of one.
5Paiche is one of the most appreciated fish in the region. It can provide up to 40 kg
of pure processed meat, and is caught using harpoons and farpa.


243
While families in neither Buenavista nor San Martin were aware of the state
laws regulating their use of wildlife resources, more families in Buenavista were
aware of communal regulations affecting the use of these resources. The proportion
of people perceiving increasing depletion of natural resources was similar in both
communities, but their stated willingness to organize themselves and participate in
community-based conservation was weaker in San Martin and stronger in Buenavista.
These results show that there is a need in both places to implement
environmental education in regard to the legal framework affecting the use of
resources by families in both protected areas, as well as the species allowed to be
hunted and those required to be protected. It seems that participation of communities
in conservation management provides a more effective and motivated scenario for
environmental education, as well as for seeking alternatives for more sustainable uses
of natural resources.
The comparison of the levels of wildlife extraction made in Buenavista and San
Martin could have been stronger, if at least one community of TTCR immersed in a
less dynamic environment, as well as a community of PSNR in a more dynamic
environment, had been included. However, for the case of the TTCR, the four
communities in charge of reserve management share the same dynamic environment,
and the inclusion of an additional research site within PSNR was beyond the resources
available for this study. Even with these limitations, the findings of this study call
attention to market dynamics as an important element affecting the level of extraction
of wildlife resources, potentially weakening the effects of community participation in


255
identity within the family. This may explain the persistence of traditional thinking in
a context of market integration and spread of formal education. On the other hand,
women have fewer opportunities to go outside the village and remain closer to
traditional ways and practices.
These findings suggest that conservation initiatives should include womens
participation, even though they are not direct users of wildlife resources.
Complementarity of gender interactions shown in this study indicates that womens
knowledge, perceptions and participation in decisions affecting the use of resources
should not be ignored, since they have implications for family food security, labor
allocation and planning of resource use.
Gender subordination expressed in their lack of control of cash that affects the
familys food supply, and family planning methods that affect womens health, and
domestic violence should be taken into account as elements that may diminish
participation of women in conservation and development initiatives as well as
affecting the equity and effectiveness of their current livelihood strategies.
The influence of traditional cultural backgrounds and ethnic identities and
ideologies should be further explored in its interactions with gender and with
socioeconomic differentiation, in the shape of the social and economic behavior of
Riberehos men and women. The findings presented in this study are preliminary
results presented mainly as a way to open a discussion on these issues and change the gender
and ethnic-blindness that characterizes much of our research and interventions.


249
needs. However, these are delicate issues and require a bottom-up and long term
approach. This group represent approximately 10% of the families in both
communities.
These differences in wildlife resource use and in access to commercial means
of extraction need to be explored in a wider sample in order to answer an important
question concerning to what extent these differences challenge the definition of
Riberehos as a social group. Using the definition provided by Schmink and Wood
(1987:13-14), a social group is comprised of people sharing similar access to
productive resources and similar social relations to make a living. They have
common grounds that provide shared visions and perceptions in regard to their own
situation and the way to improve it; these common grounds and visions are what
allow concerted actions and the transformation of individual actors into political
collectives.
Are market dynamics accentuating the internal differentiation of Riberehos,
especially in regard to their resource use? Further research is required to answer this
question. However, the conclusion here is that the three groups described above still
share the subordinated integration into market dynamics and common patterns of
making a living as well as life styles, kinship and reciprocal ties. However, as
market integration increases, it can be expected that the differentiation in resource use
will become sharper, and so might become the economic differentiation among
Riberehos, in terms of their uses of resources, and also in terms of poverty and
wealth. These changes may undermine their capacity to work together as a political


120
1970s and passed his land rights to the village. At that time the village started the
paperwork to get legal recognition, because they wanted to have their own authorities.
Their legal status as a Community was obtained in 1974. The police post was formed
in 1947 (see Figure 4.3). The events that precipitated its creation are good indicators
of the situation of Indians at that time, and of the willingness of the Peruvian State to
offer protection to the nationals and foreigners who were developing the region19.
farinha that was sold at the regional markets. At that time there were only 12 families
settled in Buenavista. They had access to a piece of land to crop, and relied on
fishing and hunting for their subsistence, and occasional wage labor in the estate.
They started receiving two soles as wage and five soles in the 1960s. The estate
also exploited at a small scale shiringa or rubber and planted and processed sugar
cane into chancaca to sell. In 1942, the original owners sold the site to their nephew,
Wenceslao Bezerra, a Peruvian borne in Buenavista, who died in Iquitos in 1996. In
1950, the Bank repossessed the cattle since the brothers were unable to pay their debt.
After Wenceslao lost the cattle, he moved his family to Iquitos and worked for some
years as a boat captain in the Ucayali river. He returned to Buenavista and
established people there to exploit the rubber, and stayed ten years before leaving
Buenavista in the 1970s.
19I will refer to the story as it was told to me by two elders: There were two related
incidents. First a man called Paima went to the forest close to the Blanco river and
shot and killed an Indian. Then he went to Buenavista to buy chancaca and when he
returned to his place, he was killed by Indians who had followed him and took
revenge for their fellow killed by Paima. A few weeks later, a man called Penha
passed through Buenavista with his brother-in-law and his Yawuas (group of Yawa
Indians who were his mitayeros, that is, who went to hunt for him). One day, one of
his Yawas told his patron, Penha, that he had seen an Indian path in the forest. So,
Penha thought that he could catch those Indians and make them work for him as his
mitayeros. The following day he went to the path and left mirrors on the ground.
The next day he returned and did not find the mirrors, so he left some cheap jewelry
that disappeared when he returned the next day. Thinking that the Indians were
ready to work for him, he decided to return very early in the morning the next day
and he found two teen age female Indians, whom he sexually forced and then returned
home. The next day he went to buy cassava in Chino, the village next to
Buenavista. They went to the plot to harvest the cassava, and he was invited to stay
for dinner and to spend the night. When he returned to his camp with his Yawas, the
forest Indians killed him and wounded his Yawas. They escaped and came to
Buenavista asking for help. The estate owners asked the government for army


276
Poats, S., Schmink, M., and A. Spring (Eds.) 1988. Gender Issues in Farming
Systems Research and Extension. Boulder, Westview PressA
Peluso, N. 1992 The political ecology of extraction and extractive reserves in East
Kalimantan, Indonesia. Development and Change. 23:49-74.
Posey, D.A. and W. Balee, 1989. "Resource Management in Amazonia: Indigenous
and Folk Strategies". Advances on Economic Botany Vol 7: 25-31.
Quijano, A. 1980. Dominacin y Cultura. Lo Cholo y Conflicto Cultural en el Peru.
Lima, Mosca Azul.
Redclift, M., 1987. Sustainable Development. Exploring the contradictions. London
and New York, Routledge.
Robinson, J.G., and K.H. Redford. 1991. Neotropical Wildlife Use and
Conservation. Chicago and London. The University of Chicago Press.
Rocheleau, D., Thomas-Slayter B. and E. Wangari (Eds.). 1996. Feminist Political
Ecology. Global issues and local experiences. London and New York.
Routledge.
Rodriguez, M., 1991. El proceso de ocupacin y construccin social del espacio
amaznico. Barclay et al. Eds. 1991 Amazonia 1940-1990. El extravio de
una ilusin. Lima, Terra Nuova/CISEPA.
f 1993 Recursos Naturales y acceso diferencial por genero en
ecosistemas inundables de la Amazonia. Reflexiones metodolgicas.
Velazquez, M., Ed, Genero y ambiente en Latinoamrica. UNAM/CRIM.
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Rudel, T.K., 1995. "When do Propoerty Rights Matter? Open Access, Informal
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Organization Vol 54, No2:32-45.
San Roman, J., 1975. Perfiles Historeos de la Amazonia Peruana. Lima. Ediciones
Paulinas-CETA.
Santos, F., 1991. Frentes econmicos, espacios regionales y fronteras capitalistas
en la Amazonia. Barclay et al., Eds. 1991 Amazonia 1940-1990. El extravio
de una ilusin Lima, Terra Nuova/CISEPA.
Schmink, M., 1984. Household Economic Strategies: Review and Research
Agenda. Latin American Research Review. Vol 19, No.3:37-49.


26
chapter. However, it is important to recognize Chayanovs contribution to the notion
of internal economic rationality to explain economic behavior of peasant families.
The weakness of Chayanov analysis, however, was the lack of consideration of
market dynamics as an element contributing to the internal differentiation of farmers.
He conceptualized peasants as isolated from markets and larger society and also
ignored the demographic pressure limiting land availability, among other issues.
After the 1970s debate between campesinistas y decampesinistas,1 as increasing
globalization expanded market integration of rural people, and as empirical studies
exposed the diversity and complexity of peasants throughout the world, consensus was
achieved on the need to understand both the internal dynamics of families and
households, as well as the linkages they establish with market dynamics and broader
contexts, and their mutual interactions (Plattner, 1989). Economic anthropology has
made use of both neoclassical and Marxist theories, and as empirical research has
been developed, the usefulness and limitations of both paradigms to explain specific
phenomena in non-Westem and Western societies have become more clear. At the
same time, the limits of non-critical use of distinct paradigms and the lack of a
stronger methodological design for anthropologists have been pointed out by Gladwin
(1989).
7A debate in the 1970s around the prediction made by Marx and Lenin that the
peasantry would disappear as a class, challenged by those who agreed that it would
remain as a distinctive social and economic category (called campesinistas) (de Janvry
and Deere, 1979).


22
necessary freedom to go to the field without a predetermined research agenda.5
Within MERGE we are strongly considering the interconnections among gender, class
and ethnicity in every case study; however, we recognize that in some cases gender
may not be the main focus of the research, and women may not always be the most
appropriate social category for analysis.
Rural Households and Market Dynamics
Very important concepts linking the macro and micro level of analysis are the
notions of family and household. Family and household are intermediate institutions
which situate individuals in specific class, gender and ethnic hierarchies. Families are
in charge of the socialization process that prepares individuals to accept and legitimate
these different hierarchies as well as their roles within the household, the community
and the larger society. The notion of family and the notion of household are not the
same, even though they may perform similar roles. Family is a group of people
bonded by blood and kinship ties, while household is a group of people who share a
common pool of resources, such as living under the same roof, sharing food supply
and preparation and usually labor, to achieve their material reproduction (Schmink,
5The nexus established by the Feminist Political Ecology with environmental
feminism, feminist poststructuralism and deep ecology among others do resonate and
appeal to me at a more personal level, as part of the search for linkages between my
own spirituality, daily life practice and the critique of social structures underlying
gender, class and ethnic hierarchies, including the violence exerted toward nature.
The feminist critique of the production of knowledge and the challenged role of
researchers were very present in my mind during the fieldwork. However, I find it
difficult to conduct research based on those frameworks, and difficult to transcend my
own empirist-reductionist academic framework that over more than 20 years has left
its imprint on me.


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familias riberenhas del rio apo y distrito de Mazan, mbito del proyecto
CARE-SELVA. CE&DAP/CARE-Peru. Informe de consultoria.
Altarama, A., 1992. De nativos a riberenhos. Un recorrido a lo largo de su historia
comunal. Lima. Servicio Holands de Cooperacin Tcnica.
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Aramburu C. E., and A. Ponce, 1987. Mercados v estrategias de supervivencia en
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Ministerio de Agricultura.
270


CHAPTER 7
GENDER AND RESOURCE USE IN SAN MARTN AND BUENA VISTA
Research findings show that the definition of gender roles in the study area
prevents direct and closer interaction of women with forest and river resources.
However, there are important gender issues affecting resource use as well as
livelihood strategies, that have implications for natural resource use planning and
conservation management. This chapter aims to present the different ways in which
gender relates to resource use, family reproduction and community dynamics.
Gender. Division of Spaces and Relation with Nature
In Loreto, men and women have different relations with nature in the sense
that there are socially established female and male spaces: the forests and rivers are
not places for women but for men, while the village and the plots relatively close to
the village are female spaces. This is based on traditional thinking that persists
among Riberehos, despite their access to market and schools, their status as Spanish
speakers and Peruvian citizens. Gender and the relationship with nature cannot be
understood unless the socio-cultural context is taken into account. Riberehos are a
social group that operates within a mixture of traditional and modem frameworks,
often between notions derived from their traditional heritage and those stemming from
their insertion in market dynamics. According to the traditional way of thinking,
194


27
Regarding the interactions between rural households and the markets, one of
the contributions of Marxist theory is its central concept of production, as a social
process of transformation of nature through specific patterns of social relations that
include production, circulation, distribution and consumption. This way production
and reproduction become linked, the same way forces of production (the relations
people establish with nature) are linked with relations of production (the relationship
people establish among themselves).
How are these abstract notions related to the interactions between households
and markets? They provide holistic understanding of the different dimensions of
livelihood strategies, understanding the connections between monetary and non
monetary aspects of family reproduction; between circulation (commercialization) and
distribution (access to surplus or economic benefit); between technology and social
access to it. Some studies tend to focus on the role of different activities including
the extraction of natural resources in the formation of household income but ignore
the whole cycle of circulation, distribution, and consumption, especially the
reproductive aspects of livelihood strategies. This study tried to incorporate the role
of extraction for family reproduction, including subsistence and income needs. For
example, analyzing income provided by hunting activities, without considering the
dependence of hunters on buying food supplies due to their lack of involvement in
agriculture, would lead to different results, than an analysis that considers monetary
and non-monetary needs, productive and reproductive dimensions of livelihood
strategies. On the other hand, understanding forces of production not only as


132
can be done in canoes instead of carrying it on the shoulders. Timber extraction and
canoe making also are winter season activities. However, a significant cash demand
may force people to go for aguaje or chonta as a way to make some income, even
when it is not the best time for this activity. This is specially true for SM, where
other sources of cash are more limited, as compared to Buenavista.
Besides the difference in the agricultural activities and in extraction of aguaje,
the rest of the activities are similarly distributed throughout the year in San Martin
and Buenavista. As already mentioned, in the summer, fish are concentrated in the
rivers and lakes and more easily caught, while mammals are dispersed in the forests.
In the winter, fish are spread in the flooded forests called tahuampas, while mammals
are concentrated in the scarce levees, and are therefore easier to locate and hunt.
This explains why the major expenses differ in time and nature, since in San Martin,
expenses are more related to school demands, while in Buenavista, the scarcity of
food supplies requires families to buy food during flood peaks. Families in San
Martin do not have the cash to buy food supplies during flooding, when they rely on
fish and faria. During especially heavy floods, they have to rely on food relief
programs since they are unable to afford to buy the food. For example the 1993
floods were so severe that families in San Martin and Buenavista, as most Ribereho
communities, lost their crops, and special emergency relief programs were required to
mitigate the famine and to restore the productive cycle, since they also lost their
seeds. These events show the fragility of the Ribereho livelihood systems in terms


109
their parents. The school in San Martin del Tipishca is part of this program, and
Cocama ethnic heritage is addressed. As a result, many school teachers in different
villages have a different approach and no longer act as typical modernization agents
(as most school teachers do in the region) but as bridges to rescue and validate
traditional heritage. There are still many problems to overcome in this program in
order to make it more effective and less ambiguous. But it is definitely an element
that may help to recapture ethnic identity in a new context. Some important church
groups are also taking of ethnicity9 into consideration. Agencies such as AIDESEP,
AIDECOS (Indigenous Association for Conservation of the Samiria river) and similar
indigenous organizations, despite their limitations, represent the voices of ethnic
groups against the mainstream of society.
This type of external agent may act as a catalytic element of a process that is
also internal. For example, at the end of my fieldwork, the leaders of San Martin
were trapped in an internal conflict, and reluctant to apply the Internal Rules and
Regulations that govern all communities in the area. All communities have to follow
the legal framework provided by the Ministry of Agriculture which is in charge of
community affairs. The Internal Rules and Regulations, done by Ministry of
For example the Catholic Center of Research, Documentation and Publication
(CETA) has been playing a key role promoting indigenous cultures in the region.
Catholic nuns in Nauta have been working in education and development projects for
the last 20 years, facing several failures until they recently decided to try a more
bottom-up approach and switched the language of the meetings to Cocama, even
though it is not an extended language in the area. To their surprise, this shift allowed
a wider participation and a change of the focus of the projects and now they are more
engaged in teaching the Cocama language and facilitating the participation process
rather than in the success of the projects itself.


78
within protected areas is not clear and the National Plan has not been implemented.
While the National Plan has this openness toward local peoples participation, the
previous Land Law (Ley de Tierras) holds the state as the only owner and steward for
natural resources, thus limiting the roles and rights of local people in protected areas.
Even when the law recognizes the right of local communities already established in
protected areas, it does not recognize any community that does not have legal
recognition prior to the establishment of the protected area. This technicality aims to
avoid the flow of immigrants toward the protected areas. Most communities existed
prior to the establishment of a protected area but do not have the legal titles, an
uncertain status and ambiguity that creates lots of tension.
The ambiguity is also expressed in that while INRENA authorities recognize
the right of local people to use the resources at a subsistence level, they do not allow
the selling of resources, even when it is part of their subsistence strategy.
Confiscations are the main source of conflicts and illustrate the lack of coherent state
policies: while selling wildlife resources is forbidden, there is no policy to support
agriculture or other activity in these areas, to provide alternative income. All
technical training and credit programs oriented to small farmers cash crops like jute,
rice and maize have been canceled as part of the structural adjustment policies of the
1990s. Local populations are expected to observe regulations of conservation
management and to pay the cost of conservation. Even though they are authorized to
consume the resources directly, they are not allowed to get any cash in the context of
a depressed but monetarized local and regional economy.


100
Swiddens:
Manioc, plantains
fruit trees
Exceptionally high
flood level
Normal flood
level..
Flooded forest
Backswamp
or
tahuampa
Natural
levee or
restinga Palm swamp
or aguajal
House gardens
Village
Upland
terra firme
or altura
Figure 4.1 Land Forms in Loreto (Padoch, 1988).
This riparian population are regionally known as Riberehos, a term that
designates those who live in the riparian villages of the Amazon lowlands, making
their living from agriculture, fishing, limited hunting, forest product collection and, in
some cases, wage labor. Their counterparts in Brazil are called caboclos (Hiraoka,
1985). This group includes descendants from detribalized Indians, mestizo
descendants and even mestizo descendants of Brazilians (brashicos) or Europeans.
Riberehos represent the predominant contemporary population of the Amazon low
lands, and this is especially true in the case of Loreto, since Riberehos account for
85% of Loretos rural population (Egoavil, 1992). Despite their importance,
Peruvian Riberehos received little attention from researchers until the late 1970s and
1980s (Moran, 1993; Hiraoka, 1985, 1989; Padoch et al., 1985; Denevan and
Padoch, 1988; Padoch, 1988; Chibnik, 1994) when they were recognized as human


256
Lessons Learned Regarding Conservation. Market Dynamics and Riberehos
Market dynamics seem to play a key role in the differentiation of resource use,
influencing the level of extraction by different communities and by families within
communities. Even though Riberehos share a common situation of poverty and
subordination in terms of their market, social and ethnic integration, there are
different layers of poverty that allow different levels of wildlife resource sue.
Socioeconomic differentiation among Riberehos is an important consideration for
further research, especially in terms of its implications for resource use. Analysis of
socioeconomic differentiationunderstood as an analysis of the differences resulting
from the social access to means of production and extraction expressed through
production, circulation, distribution and consumptioncan be useful to understand and
to assess the validity of identifying Riberehos as a social group. Internal
differentiation of Riberehos might affect their capacity to articulate social movements
to defend their interests, and to claim and redefine their own ethnic and social
identity.
In regard to conservation, it is essential to integrate conservation and
development agendas, since factors affecting wildlife resource use to a great extent go
beyond the local level. There is a need to include changes in the policies affecting
agriculture and other economic activities, in order to convert them into effective
alternative sources of cash. However, this approach would not be effective, unless
the models of development are reviewed in order to include more equitable
distribution of power and benefits, in terms of region, socioeconomic, cultural and


93
generator to provide electricity to the whole village, and the district government
promised to fund the network installment. However, this work is still pending.
Due to their closer location to Iquitos, communities in the upper Tahuayo river
receive more support from NGOs, while communities within PSNR rely only on
WWF-AIF/DK or Pro-Naturaleza projects, which operate in different communities.
International aid is channeled through FONCODES (Communal Development Fund),
mainly oriented to infrastructure construction but not to productive projects. Milk
and cereals for womens organizations such as Club de Madres is provided by the
district and regional governments with the support of the PRONAA and international
aid.
Summary
The last decades have witnessed an increasing integration of Amazon space
and population into the larger Peruvian economy and society, but the patterns of the
regional rural economy, based on mercantilist extraction of natural resources and
agriculture, have remained unchanged. In addition, the dramatic reduction of the role
of the State in promoting agricultural development seriously limits the search for
sustainable use of natural resources within this region.
The attempt to maintain and create new protected areas, even though
incorporating communities in conservation management, cannot neutralize the strong
effect of market dynamics, especially when demand for game meat and fish is
sustained and prices comparatively better than agricultural products. While state
regulations allow members of local communities to hunt for direct consumption, they


80
Figure 3.2 Pacaya-Samiria National Reserve (INRENA-M, Agricultura, 1989).


Figure 3.1 Sociodemographic and Territorial Patterns in Loreto.


181
Figure 6.1 Commercial Fish Catch and Net Access, San Martin del Tipischa.
Figure 6.2 Commercial Fish Catch and Net Access, Buenavista (Surveys, 1996).


218
poverty, and are considering including a component of birth control in their
programs, through training or directly through the dissemination of modem methods
of birth control. The way these programs are implemented often is inadequate. Pills
and injections are disseminated without monitoring the general health conditions of the
women receiving the treatment9.
Most women in the villages where the study was conducted had health
problems. In regard to birth control, 45% of men and women in San Martin and
57% in Buenavista reported having used some method control their fertility, but only
20% and 27% still use the pill or injection. Many suffered from disorders in their
reproductive systems, as well as chronic liver and stomach conditions, malnutrition,
tumors, and so on. The physical cost of many pregnancies, prolonged lactation
periods and inadequate nutrition goes along with the physical demands of the work
load. Most women have had a non-medical abortion at some stage of their life, and
have been exposed to non-monitored intakes of contraceptives. These reasons are
behind their rejection of the pill or the injection and are usually overlooked. These
issues should be taken into account when discussing population dynamics affecting
development and conservation. This issue of reproductive health is an important point
in which conservation, development and equity issues meet. The way it is currently
addressed perpetuates the subordination of women, not only within the villages under
9It is well known that contraceptives can accelerate some blood circulation problems
and can cause or aggravate other health problems for some women. Since
contraceptives are the cheapest method, their potentially negative effects on womens
health may be overlooked: the focus is on avoiding pregnancy, without considering
the broader issue of womens reproductive health.


228
was having the skills required for extractivism, a reason not mentioned by any
women. P-values for Table 7.11 show that differences between men and women are
statistically significant for these two responses.
Differences in how men and women perceive environmental stress or the
degradation of natural resources, and their stated willingness to participate in actions
favoring conservation of natural resources, are explored in Table 7.12 for San Martin
and Buenavista. The majority of men and women agree in their perception that
natural resources are diminishing, especially fish and game. Increasing human
population seems to be the main reason perceived by men and women in San Martin
and Buenavista, although the proportions between men and women differ. More
outsiders using the resources is an important reason given by women in San Martin
and to some extent by women in Buenavista. (The test for statistical significance was
favorable for this difference observed between men and women in San Martin, while
for Buenavista, it was for men perceiving demographic pressure as more important
than women do). Selling more is the second reason for men in San Martin and
Buenavista and the third reason for women in both places. It is interesting that the
use of better technologies (commercial nets) is reported more by women in San
Martin and Buenavista than by men in both places. Corrupt authorities who do not
control wildlife extraction, and who are infractors themselves, were mentioned more
by women than men in San Martin, and not an issue at all for men and women in
Buenavista. Table 7.13 presents information on how men and women in San Martin
and Buenavista relate to the situation of resource degradation that is presented in
Table 7.12. More women than men in both places expressed concern about the


Page
Access to Means of Extraction, Personal Skills and Preferences 175
Restricted Access to Commercial Means of Extraction 177
Does Limited Access to Means of Extraction Prevent
Further Resource Extraction? 179
Are Commercial Extractivists Economically Better-off
in the Village? 186
Summary 191
7 GENDER AND RESOURCE USE IN SAN MARTN AND
BUENAVISTA 194
Gender, Division of Spaces and Relation with Nature 194
Gender Roles and Division of Labor: Subordination and
Complementarity 200
Sexuality, Gender Identities and Reproductive Health 209
Knowledge, Perceptions, Decision Making and Relation With
the Environment 219
Gender, Socioeconomic Differentiation and Traditional
Cultural Backgrounds 231
Summary 237
8 DISCUSSION 241
Study Findings and Implications for Conservation Management 241
Socioeconomic Differentiation Among Households and Wildlife
Resource Uses 244
Different Users of Natural Resources, Different Needs 246
Subsistence Fishermen 247
Commercial Fishermen 247
Commercial Hunters 248
Factors Affecting Wildlife Resource Pressure 250
Diversification of Livelihoods 251
Conservation and Development 251
Community-Based Management 253
Gender and Traditional Cultural Backgrounds Shape Social
Dynamics and Resource Use 253
Lessons Learned Regarding Conservation, Market Dynamics
and Riberehos 256
IX


92
Conservation of the Amazonia) and it changed its personnel, most of its extension
work ended and it became mostly focused on scientific research. At this point ACA
encouraged CARE-Peru to become involved in the Tahuayo basin (Penn, 1998).
Currently there are research projects that incorporate community families into
monitoring and generation of information, while providing feedback information that
helps communities to set their management plans and regulations (Bodmer, 1995).
However, this research project has no further intervention beyond the collaboration
and solidarity established between researchers and the upper Tahuayo communities.
CARE-Peru has the major institutional presence along the upper and lower Tahuayo
river, focused on interventions to support more sustainable use of resources, through
the introduction of agroforestry (seeds and nurseries of camu-camu, cedar and other
valuable trees), aquaculture and technical assistance for small scale commercial
agriculture and domestic livestock (training, improved seeds, inputs, vaccinations,
breeders, etc). They operate with no investment of project infrastructure, in the
expectation that in a couple of years the project will achieve an improvement in
families economic base, and be ready to move to another site. Health care for
infants, focused on weight monitoring, is provided by ADAR, a local NGO who has
trained and designated a promotor in each village, who is in charge of the monthly
weight and records of infants. A project technician periodically visits the
communities on the Tahuayo river, and sends the necessary supply of nutritional
supplement. Plan International is an international NGO that funds specific projects
requested by communities in the area. Through them, Buenavista received a


184
the skills was reported as the main reason to be involved in hunting, and having a
firearm also was an important consideration. Similarly, having the necessary tools
was reported in both places as the main factor permitting involvement in commercial
fishing. The endurance to be out in the forests for a long time was the second reason
given in San Martin for hunting. In Buenavista, the second factor was not having
other responsibilities to attend to. This is clearly associated with the greater
importance of agriculture in Buenavista, as compared to San Martin. Similarly,
preference for agriculture was a far more important reason given by informants in
Buenavista, compared with San Martin. The most significant difference observed
between San Martin and Buenavista, was in awareness of conservation issues. Three
quarters of Buenavista respondents gave this as a reason for not hunting, compared to
less than one-third of those in San Martin.
Having the money to finance both hunting and fishing expeditions was another
reason that differed significantly between the two communities, 70% and 40% giving
this reason for (hunting and fishing, respectively) in San Martin compared to 45 % and
51% in Buenavista. The lesser importance attributed to having the money to finance
expeditions may be due to the presence of more habilitadores in Buenavista, as
compared to San Martin. These findings show that hunting depends on having skills
and endurance, and both hunting and fishing require access to tools and to money to
finance expeditions. The greater importance of agriculture, and stronger


CHAPTER 5
MARKETS, HABITATS AND INSTITUTIONAL FRAMEWORKS: USE OF
NATURAL RESOURCES IN SAN MARTN AND BUENA VISTA
Livelihood strategies are complex combinations of activities in terms of time
and space allocation, with different impacts on the natural resources, different
integration to market dynamics and different results for family survival. The analysis
focuses first on the specific seasonality of livelihood strategies for SMT and
Buenavista, and second, on the amount and type of resources extracted or used and
how this relates to market dynamics and to the survival and well-being of community
families. The underlying research question is whether families of Buenavista, a
community involved in community-based conservation but immersed in a more
dynamic economic environment, are making different uses of resources as compared
to families of San Martin, who do not participate in conservation management of the
PSNR, and who are in a less dynamic economic environment. This chapter is
devoted to the analysis of resource use at the community level and it will provide the
required framework to understand inter-household differentiation in resource use, the
topic of Chapter 6.
Livelihood Strategies
Seasonal changes associated with the flood cycle allow distribution of activities
throughout the year, and a strategy of diversification that is so characteristic of
127


190
economic situation since they have to buy the food they cannot produce by
themselves. Families that combine extraction with other activities and sources of cash
are able to secure their own consumption and generate some surplus. Families that
have a stable source of cash can invest their money and diversify their economy,
orienting resources toward the most profitable activities (commerce and habilitar),
and obtain a good harvest to secure their food supply and make some cash through
selling. These conditions represent a low stress situation, as compared to the rest of
families.
Another interesting piece of information is the set of criteria used by villagers
to identify the families that are better off. Westerners would look for external
markers of wealth, such as the type of housing, clothing, furniture or items such as
radios, sewing machines, etc., to find out who is in a better economic situation.
Those external markers are not very helpful in a context of general poverty and
persistence of traditional ways. The relative better situation of these families does
not mean that they are out of the problems and limitations associated with poverty.
For example, they still have nutritional and health problems and they keep the same
lifestyle as most villagers, working hard and facing price problems, and so on. For
this reason informants were asked not only to identify these families, but to report
what criteria they were using to identify them and how they would know that
someone is better-off economically. The answers were very different than the criteria
we might use, as shown in Table 6.10.


72
Even when the word used by State, church and legislators was integration, the
process was one of assimilation. This process of assimilation and racial mixing
among indigenous and mestizos explain the loss of indigenous identity among people
who descend directly from native groups. The Cocama-Cocamilla is the ethnic group
that suffered the earliest contact with "Westerners" due to their location at the upper
and lower Maranhon river. They were the first natives who accepted public education
(Rengifo, 1997). This group has been called the "invisible natives" by Stocks (1983),
referring to the process of ethnic denial in order to secure and/or improve physical
survival. However, this process is not linear but includes some ambiguity and
contradictions, and is not finished.
1990: Structural adjustment Program
The strong involvement of the State in the process of planning and promoting
development in the Amazon was interrupted in the 1990s, when structural adjustment
policies of President Fujimori eliminated the State Bank that provided promotional
credit to small farmers, as well as the state enterprises in charge of buying jute, maize
and rice. Without these cash-crops, local populations turned even more to extractive
activities in order to get the cash they needed (Agreda, 1993). INIPA was deactivated
and state services in training, credit, technical assistance, have disappeared, being to
some extent replaced by the NGOs. The attempt to develop commercial agriculture in
the region ended, affecting the future of sustainable use of resources. The regional
economy remained extractivist, based on oil, timber, nontimber and wildlife products,
and drugs (cocaine processing and distribution), with an expanded internal market


97
The region is a wide plain that rises only 100 meters from the Atlantic Ocean
3,600 kilometers to the east and this flatness causes the meandering of the Amazonian
rivers that form islands, tipishcas3 and the sacaritas or canhos.4
Table 4.2. Seasonal and Spatial Patterns for Hunting and Fishing
Activity
Ebb (Creciente)
Flow (Vaciante)
Hunting
More intense
Mammals concentrated in levees
Less intense
Mammals more dispersed
Fishing
Less intensive in rivers
Fish more dispersed in cochas and
tahuampas
More intensive in rivers; Fish
trapped in Tahuampas
SOURCE: Fieldwork (1997).
The northeastern Amazon of Peru contains different ecological zones. The
early classification between flood plains (varzea) and uplands (terra firme) is
considered by some contemporary researchers to be an oversimplification (Moran
1982:6; Moran 1993:6568 and Hiraoka 1994:137) due to chemical characteristics of
the soils, and their topography, as well as variability in climate and flora that make it
difficult to generalize about flood plains and/or uplands. This variation is used by
local people to diversify their livelihood strategies, making better use of their specific
ecological and economic context. Agreda (1991) shows how Riberehos from the
3Tipishca are small lakes formed by the changing and sinuous course of the river.
ASacaritas or canhos are local names for channels within flood forests that connect
winding rivers and are used by local people as shortcuts.


125
Buenavista received an electricity generator from Plan International, an
international NGO23 and ADAR, a local NGO. It is a community with very
dynamic leaders and a well-organized population, proud of their level of participation
in community issues.
Like Chino, Buenavista was very active in supporting the creation of the
TTCR. When researchers and public officials consulted peoples feelings toward the
creation of a reserve, the reaction was: not a state reserve but a communal reserve.
Everybody supported the creation of the communal reserve and the agreements to
limit extraction, as well as the communal tax paid per animal ( 0.50 soles per smaller
mammals such as paca or majas, and 1.00 sol per larger mammals such as peccary or
huangana). However, once the management plan was approved in 1992-and
modified on at least five occasions through open and democratic discussion in
communal meetings-participation in the management of the reserve is not significant
for most families on a daily or monthly basis. Nor do they participate, as do some
families of Chino or San Pedro (the communities that are closer to the entrance of the
TTCR) in biological research related to conservation management.
The cable network installation is still pending due to lack of budget from the district
government, which offered to finance it. While other communities were asking for
speed boat motors, Buenavista asked for a generator, so that the children could have
enough light to do their homework.


158
hunting than do those in San Martin. Not only were there more hunters in Buenavista
than in San Martineven though Buenavista is a smaller communitybut the average
catch per hunter per month in Buenavista was 613.7 kg, as compared to 133.8 kg in
San Martin. The hunting in Buenavista and San Martin includes species that are
prohibited by state regulations and community-based management conservation
planning, especially monkeys, agoutis, squirrels, guams and armadillos. Families in
Buenavista also extract more aguaje, chonta and timber for charcoal making because
of their stronger integration into the local markets. This conjugation of dynamic
markets and access to better resources also allows these families to develop more
agriculture for subsistence and to sell. By contrast, families of San Martin rely more
on fishing for both consumption and cash, since aquatic resources are more abundant
there. The contribution of hunting, collection, and agriculture is more restricted, due
to the lesser availability of these resources and to the less dynamic environment.
Beyond the awareness on communty regulations affecting the use of wildlife
resources, explored in the next chapter, most families of San Martin and Buenavista
(72.4% and 90% respectively) said they did not know national laws and state
regulations affecting the use of natural resources.
The description provided in this chapter also shows many common elements of
the livelihood strategies of families in both communities, the seasonal distribution of
activities and the way in which most activities are carried on. These activities are
based on family labor, with minimal or no purchase of inputs for agriculture. Cash


102
Tahuayo basin and the Pacaya-Samiria National Reserve (Barham et al, 1995) reports
households within PSNR basing 80% of their cropping on the lowlands, while
families in the Tahuayo area were farming 63 % in the uplands Fishing is the
common main activity for all Ribereho villages. Even though the importance of
commercial fishing differs due to the characteristics and abundance of aquatic fauna,
distance to the markets, market intermediation and other factors associated with
internal social differentiation, subsistence fishing is a daily activity for most
Ribereho families. Besides subsistence fishing, done close to the house, there is
market oriented fishing, done in special locations where certain species are more
abundant. It requires special traps and nets and usually involves a two man
expedition of five to ten days. These two adult males are usually relatives or friends
from different households. In Chapter 6, factors associated with different resource
use within communities are explored and in Chapter 7, the gender and intra household
analysis related to natural resource use is presented.
Agriculture is an activity that is first oriented to secure food and to provide
income when possible. Cassava is the most prevalent crop, since its short cycle
allows it to be planted even in those plots that are flooded every year. Cassava is a
basic component of all Ribereho families, freshly consumed or processed into faria
or masato.5 Faria can last up to 12 months and is the food that complements fish
5Faria is granulated cassava obtained after fermentation, shredding and roasting,
while masato is a beverage currently made by Ribereho women through
fermentation, boiling and second fermentation; Ribereho women still prepare masato
by chewing and splitting the cassava, using saliva to activate fermentation, even
though they do not openly admit the chewing. Some people still refer to masato as


73
articulated around the city of Iquitos and through it to Lima and the coast. The
increasing importance of ecotourism has to be considered, even though its role has not
yet been studied. The same can be said for conservation and development projects in
the region. One might think that the growth of Iquitos could represent an attractive
demand for agricultural products. This was true to some extent, but main food
supplies for the city were directly transported from Lima by plane, raising their prices
and making Iquitos a very expensive city as compared to other interior cities of Peru.
In a context of neo-liberalism, the State role has been severely reduced,
allowing the market to regulate the economy. A recent attempt to dynamize the
lowland economy has been the introduction of camu-camu plantations for export.
Since 1997, through NGOs, the state is promoting lowland plantations of camu-camu,
an indigenous tree resistant to floods whose fruit has good demand and price in
external markets, due to its significant content of vitamin C. This process is still at
the initial stage, and although it shows ecological and economic advantages it is too
premature to be evaluated.
The Contemporary Situation for Conservation and Sustainable Development:
People. Markets and the Environment
The current situation for conservation and development initiatives is one
dominated by market forces, with reduced presence of the State to intervene in the
economy and society. Any attempt to promote sustainable use of resources has to fit
into this market rationale, where open markets maintain the conditions in which
different agents compete and interact. These differences are due to location,
production and/or post-production costs, information about markets, timing and


2
since the 1970s (see Chapter 3), which have contributed to a better understanding of
their economy, most of these studies focused on Ribereho agriculture, with less
attention to the use of wildlife resources (the exceptions being Barham, Coomes,
Craig and Tarasoff, 1995; Coomes, 1992; and Bergman, 1990). These studies were
more focused on the ecological and economic aspects of Ribereho practices and
livelihoods, with little attention to gender or ethnic differentiation, nor to the
reproductive aspects of livelihood strategies.
Wildlife extraction is important within Ribereho livelihood strategies, for both
income and family subsistence. The interaction of gender, class, markets and
ethnicity shapes differential use of wildlife resources in Loreto. This study analyzes
the use of wildlife resources at the household and community level taking into account
the regional political ecology.
Goals of the Study
The goals of this research included:
1. To understand the regional political ecology as the context which explains
the current use of resources by local people, and frames and limits conservation and
development initiatives and possibilities.
2. To explore to what extent, when markets and economic environments are
dynamic, the participation of communities in conservation management can decrease
the pressure on wildlife resources, as compared to communities with no participation
in conservation management, but in a less dynamic economic environment. For this


94
forbid the sale of hunted species in towns that exceed 3000 inhabitants, even though it
is part of local families subsistence strategy. Local populations are expected to
observe regulations of conservation management and to pay the cost of conservation.
The lack of support to agricultural production, in terms of fair prices, lower cost of
inputs and credit, along with the lack of alternative sources of cash and the need of
the local population for cash, keeps the pressure on wildlife extraction. In a context
of lack of alternatives, political imobilization and neo-liberal discourses and practices,
the population is redirected through migration toward Iquitos and other minor regional
cities and is expanding frontiers toward the upper watersheds and streams, spreading
human impact on wildlife populations. The construction of the regional space has not
created the necessary social cohesion among different social groups to allow them to
recognize common interests to articulate social movements able to negotiate better
conditions for urban and rural populations, and alternative economic activities to
create employment and income in more sustainable ways.


156
Selling domestic
livestock
10 min
1/month
F
Selling harvest*
10 min
1/year per crop
M
Handicrafts production
10 hours/day
17 days/month
F
Handicraft
selling/exchange
8 hours
2/month
F + some M (turns
SOURCE: Fieldwork (1996, 1997).
KEYS: M = adult male, F = adult female, f = female child or adolescent,
m = male child or adolescent.
Table 5.10 presents the reproductive activities for both San Martin and
Buenavista, since no significant differences were observed in the data collected.
Women are heavily involved in daily reproductive tasks, such as cooking, washing
clothes, cleaning, doing the dishes, and so on.
Table 5.10 Reproductive Activities in San Martin and Buenavista,
by Age and Gender.
Activitiy
Time per
Activity
Frequency
Done by
Cooking
4 hours
Daily
F, F+f
Cleaning
45 min
Daily
F, F+f; f
Washing clothes
2.0 hs
Daily
F; F+f
Washing dishes/pots
20 min
Daily
f; f
Carry water
20 min
Daily
f+m;
Providing fuel
5 hours
1/week
F+f/m
Buying food locally
20 min
1/week
M; M+m
Buying food in
3 hours
1/month
F; f/m
Iquitos
2 hours
1/week
M/F
Sewing/cloth repair
4 hours
1/month
F
School meeting
Community meetings
4 hours
1/month
M/F; M
M; M/F
SOURCE: Surveys (1996).
KEYS: M = Adult male; F = Adult female; m = child or young male; f = child
or young female.


Appreciation goes to Ing. Marcial Trigoso, a friend of mine since 1991, who
introduced me to Julia and Angel and the rest of the community, and shared with me
his field experience in the region. I must particularly recognize the generous and
patient contribution of each member of my committee, not only to this dissertation,
but to my academic training in general. Their expertise and academic and
professional excellence provided constant inspiration. They are truly energetic,
beautiful, warm, sensitive, humorous and down-to-earth human beings. Special
thanks go to Dr. Peter Hildebrand for helping me with the data analysis, to Dr.
Sandra Russo for the editorial reviews of every draft, and to Dr. Marianne Schmink,
my chairperson, for the freedom and trust she gave me, for the successive reviews of
my drafts, and for critical encouragement that provided the necessary feedback to
improve this dissertation. I must also mention James Penn, a graduate student at the
Center for Latin American Studies, whom I met in Iquitos in 1991. Through his 13
years of fieldwork experience, he is, in my opinion, the "outsider" who best knows
the local people of Loreto. Special thanks go to Jim who read the last draft of the
dissertation, making important comments. Last but not least, no words can express
my appreciation and my thanks to the men and women in San Martin and Buenavista,
for their patience, their openness and trust, and their sense of humor (I still remember
them teasing me every time I had to step into a canoe or to use a machete). I share
their suffering, their hopes and strengths, as well as their sadness and impotence. I
have tried to express their experiences and their interests in this study, in terms which
can be understood by the academic community. I envision, however, a day in which
v


174
for commercial fishing, these results probably reflect the influence of communal
participation in conservation management, and the stronger organizational skills and
benefits experienced by most families of the upper Tahuayo river.
In regard to the awareness of communal regulations affecting the use of natural
resources, the vast majority of informants and hunters in Buenavista are aware of
Table 6.6 Perceptions and Attitudes Associated with Hunting.
Variables
SAN MARTN
NI N2 Xkg/mo P-value
BUENAVISTA
NI N2 Xkg/mo P-value
Self-perceived access to
land
Sufficient
Not sufficient
15 10 126.3 0.9469
14 10 141.3
26 16 601.9 0.8652
6 4 609. 0
Perception on fish
resources
Increasing depletion
Not much depletion
27 18 144.3 0.7437
2 2 80.0
27 16 636.9 0.7385
4 3 490.0
Willingness to organize
sustainable use of
resources
yes
no
11 8 143.8 0.9386
15 10 165.8
26 15 673.3 0.7385
4 3 353.3
Awareness on communal
regulations on resource
mgmt
yes
no
12 9 54.9 0.1368
12 9 238.9
24 14 717.1 0.8860
1 1 300.0
SOURCE: Surveys (1996). Sample: San Martn N = 29 and Buenavista N = 30.
KEYS: N1 = total informants, N2 = hunters or wives, Xkg/mo
= average kg caught per month per family.


217
very specialized, kept by shamans and medicine men or women and not shared by the
whole social group (Popenoe, 1996).
One of the contradictions observed among these families is the fact that while
traditional thinking persists in daily life, traditional specialized knowledge in regard to
agriculture, medicine, forests and rivers is being lost. Some 95 % of the women and
men interviewed reported not to have such knowledge.
Male absences for hunting or commercial fishing are an element that reduces
physical contact between spouses, having an indirect effect to reduce fertility. Some
NGOs since the 1970s and the state since the 1990s have facilitated access to modem
methods of birth control. Pills and condoms are freely available in the district health
post. Yet condoms are rejected by most men, and after the experience of the pills or
injections, most couples do not continue the treatment. They complain about health
problems experienced by women (headaches, problems with menstruation, blood
circulation, etc.). Some men do not want their wives using the pill since they think it
will facilitate female adultery without the complication of pregnancy. The attitude of
nurses and development practitioners to this opposition has been to label all these
reaction as a manifestation of male dominance of women, without inquiring about the
real consequences on womens health. It is important to review the approach to
population control to assess the implications for womens health.
Birth control is especially important for the Amazon, since increasing
population is related to increasing pressure on natural resources. Conservation
agencies have joined development-oriented concerns on population increase and


124
In 1996, CARE-Peru, a US based NGO operating in several regions of Peru,
started the CASPI project in the Tahuayo river, aimed to promote agroforestry,
agricultural technical support and income-generating activities as a way to alleviate
pressure on natural resources. In Buenavista there are 20 people enrolled in the
CASPI project in order to plant from 0.5 to 2.0 has of camu-camu22 The CARE
organization provides the seeds and technical assistance as part of a three-year loan.
People are already planting camu-camu, even though nobody knows for sure what the
prices will be for the product three years from now. The project has also provided an
improved boar for local pigs. CASPI also provides subsidized vaccination for chicken
and pigs, improved seeds for maize, chiclayo beans and peanuts, insecticides and
weed control. Artificial fish ponds are projected to be built in order to alleviate
pressure on fish populations. Fine wood tree nurseries have been started. ADAR, a
regional NGO, provides health support for the communities in the area, focused on
weight control and a nutrition supplement program for infants. According to the
survey applied in 1996, 56.7% of informants, men and women, were using some
form of birth control, and 76.7% expressed their interest in practicing some way of
birth control. Like most communities in the area, Buenavista has its Mothers Club
{Club de Madres) that is able to channel milk and food supplies from the regional
government and other sources.
22Camu-camu {Myrciaria dubia) is a fruit tree that is resistant to floods, which has a
high content of vitamin C and is in great demand from developed countries such as
Japan.


96
dynamics establish two main seasons: flood and ebb that vary for each river every
year. Flooding patterns are shaped not locally but by the rainfall in the Andes,
especially the eastern slopes that drain into the region. Even with the high variability
among years, the average cycles are as shown in Table 4.1. Flooding cycles also
limit road and infrastructure building, and large development investments.
Table 4.1 Flood Cycles of Main Rivers in Loreto.
River
Flow (Creciente)
Ebb {Vaciante)
Ucayali
March-May
July-September
Yavari
March-May
July-September
Maranhon
April-May
July-September
Napo
June-August
December-January
Putumayo
July-August
January-March
Amazonas
Depends on Maranhon and Ucayali rivers
SOURCE: Villarejo (1979:41).
During the ebb, fish populations are small and concentrated; when the river
rises, fish migrate into cochas and tahuampas1 and reproduce. The fish migrations
upriver are called mijanos1 and occur two or three times per year. Game meat is
easy to hunt when the river is high and animals concentrate on the diminishing high
terrain that remains dry. These seasonal patterns associated to flood cycles are shown
in Table 4.2.
lCochas are permanent lakes, while tahuampas are seasonally flooded forests.
2Mijanos are groups of fish traveling against the stream.


201
Table 7.1 Gender Division of Labor for Extractive Activities.
Extractive Activities Male informants (%) Female informants (%)
AM
AF
AM/F
AM
AF
AM/F
Hunting for subsistence
100
0
0
100
0
0
Hunting for selling
100
0
0
100
0
0
Fishing for subsistence
100
0
0
91.4
2.9
5.7
Fishing for selling
100
0
0
96.2
3.8
0
Collecting /"chonta"
90.9
0
9.1
90.9
0
9.1
Collecting "aguaje"
96.4
0
3.6
91.3
0
8.7
Logging
100
0
0
100
0
0
Collecting leaves & fibers
100
0
0
100
0
0
SOURCE: Surveys (1996). Study included N = 32 male informants and 27
female informants.
KEYS: AM = adult male, AF = adult female, AM/F = both AM and AF.
Table 7.2 Gender Division of Labor for Reproductive Activities.
Reproductive Activities Male informants (%) Female informants (%)
AM
AF
AM/F
AM
AF
AM/F
Collecting fuel for household
89.7
2.6
7.7
82.9
2.9
8.6
Carrying water for household
2.6
20.5
76.9
5.7
20.0
74.3
Cooking
2.6
2.6
94.8
0.0
2.6
97.3
Washing clothes & cleaning house
2.6
97.4
0
2.6
97.4
0
SOURCE: Surveys (1996). Study included N = 32 male informants and 27
female informants.
AM = adult male, AF = adult female, AM/F = both AM and AF.
KEYS:


28
technology but as social relationships with nature helps to elucidate the ways social
differentiation may affect access to tools and means of production and extraction, and
this way, may affect the process and the results of either production or extraction.
This approach calls attention to the effects of market dynamics on the internal
differentiation of social groups, based on their access to resources, means of
production and extraction, and economic benefits derived from these activities. This
is an important issue explored by this study and is related to the notion of livelihood
strategies.
Another important element to consider in the interaction between households
and markets is the effect market dynamics have on the internal organization of
households and their livelihood strategies. These issues are explored in the next
sections.
Gender and Intra-Household Analyses
One of the main breakthroughs of gender studies has been to overcome the
assumption that households and families are corporate units in which common
interests coincide with the interests of each member. Gender studies have
documented for many different regions, and within different types of families and
households, how inequalities are present in terms of labor allocation and access to its
benefits among others, mostly in terms of female subordination (Bruce, 1989; Folbre,
1989; Katz, 1992). There are also several studies showing the limits of gender
analysis, when it is restricted to gender roles in terms of who does what. Mayoux
(1995) critiques the implicit assumption that incorporating a gender perspective into


they will not need any "translator" or researcher. They will be able to write their
own books, make their own science, define their own agendas and speak with their
own voices.
vi


113
The fact that the riverbanks of SMT are in a tipishca and not in a river
protects them from dramatic changes in their structure, as occurs in most riverine
villages, a fact that explains the extreme mobility of riverine populations. This
relative stability of their settlement and the good fish available are positive factors that
compensate for the limitations imposed by the flood cycle: no permanent crops, fruit
trees or trees exist in SMT, but they can have a short cycle agriculture in the fertile
soils that are cleared after the floods. The fact that SMT is located in lowland forests
that flood every year was not considered an obstacle, according to villagers. They
take advantage of the fertilization that floods bring to soil, and are able to develop an
intensive agricultureintensive in the use of the soil but not in labor or inputs. In
contrast to agriculture developed in the upland forest, they use the same plots year
after year without a resting period. The amount of labor required for clearing a plot
after the flooding is significantly less, as compared to clearing a five year old fallow.
They plant short cycle crops such as cassava, maize, rice and beans. They always try
plantain even though the harvest comes in the second year, because of its importance
in their diet. They risk planting it in some parts of their plots, and when the flood
comes, they set soil and branches around the plantains, to keep the roots cool and
avoid their being ruined by the heat of flood waters. Some plantains survive flooding
through this technique. However, cassava is the main crop: it is the first that is
planted and even if the floods come early, they harvest cassava and bury it in a
traditional way that allows the semi-processed cassava to be conserved. After the
floods they unearth the cassava, expose it to the air to eliminate acidity, grate it and


275
Ministerio de Agricultura-Peru. 1997. Mapa de Clasificacin de Tierras por
Capacidad de Uso Mayor, de la Comunidad Campesina San Martin del
Tipishca. Iquitos. Ministerio de Agricultura.
, 1997b. Informe Socioeconmico para la Inscripcin de la Comunidad
Nativa de San Martin, D.L. 22175. Iquitos, INRENA-OFIRENA.
Mora, C., 1995. Una revision del concepto de cholo en la Amazonia Peruana.
Amazonia Peruana Tomo XI No. 25:145-158.
Moran, E. 1982. Ecological, Anthropological and Agronomic Research in the
Amazon Basin. Latin American Review 17:3-42.
Moran, E. 1993 Through Amazon Eyes: The Human Ecology of Amazon
Populations. Iowa City, Iowa. Iowa University Press.
Moser, C. 1989. Gender Planning int the Third World: Meeting Practical and
Strategic Needs. World Development 17, 11:1799-1825.
Murphee, M.W. 1994. "The role of Institutions in Community-based Conservation".
Western D. And R.M. Wright (Eds.) Natural Connections. Perspectives in
Community-based Conservation. Washington D.C.-Covelo, California. Island
Press.
Padoch, C., 1988. The economc importance and marketing of forest and fallow
products in the Iquitos region. Denevan, W., and C. Padoch, Eds. Swidden-
fallow agriculture in the Peruvian Amazon. Advances in Economic Botany 5.
New York. New York Botanical Garden.
Paulson, S. 1996 Familias que no conjugan e identidades que no conjuganL la vida
en Mizque desafia nuestras categoras. Rivera, S., Arnold, D., Paulson S.,
and J.D. Yapita Eds.. Ser indigena. chola o birlocha en la Bolivia postcolonial
de los anhos 90. La Paz. Subsecretara de Asuntos de Genero. Ministerio de
Desarrollo Humano. Secretaria Nacional de Asuntos Etnicos, de Genero y
Generacionales. Repblica de Bolivia -. ASDI (Swedish Agency for
International Development).
Peets, R., and M., Watts, 1993. Introduction: Development Theory and
Environment in an Age of Market Triumphalism. Economic Geography
69:227-53.
Plattner, S. Ed. 1989. Economic Anthropology. Standford, Standford University
Press.


254
construction of individual identity and practice occurs in a conflictive and ambivalent
context of tension between modernity and tradition, between ethnic self-denial and
persistence, with objective conditions in which "traditional" ways become functional
for family survival.
While the dominant discourse is toward modernity and assimilation, the
regional economy is unable to modernize Riberehos livelihood strategies, to convert
them into commercial farmers or to support agroindustrial activities based on
sustainable use of resources. Lack of profitability of agriculture, lack of credit and
investment, lack of sufficient and appropriate information and linkages with global
markets, and lack of public or non-profit services supporting modernization of the
regional economy, explain this contradiction. The only modernization at the
economic level is the expansion of Western-urban patterns of consumption.
In this context, Riberehos extractive practices, and their livelihood strategies
that combine market oriented with subsistence activities done in traditional ways, are
functional to keep the reproduction cost of these families low, and therefore,
affordable for such a low income population. Even so, emigration of family members
is a strategy that allows families to try to achieve some social mobility as well as to
reduce the pressure on natural resources and family reproduction costs.
Gender asymmetries are usually reinforced by traditional cultural backgrounds,
through traditional world views and through reciprocal and kinship networks that play
a role in controlling social behavior. While men interact more with the outside
world, adopting more of a mestizo identity, they seem to keep a more traditional


91
Fund (ACF) created to support the TTRC and defend local people. It began working
in 1982 on the upper Tahuayo communities with extension projects. ACF worked to
empower the local people through the acquisition of community jurisdictions,
improvement of schools and healthcare services. ACF played an important role
training people and assisting them in direct negotiations with regional government
entities that provided aid and legislation on natural resource uses. ACF also had
small agroforestry projects and supported the Mothers Club organizations. ACF also
coordinated different activities in the upper Tahuayo. Besides the governmental
agencies such as PRONAA,16 FONCODES and Ministry of Health, ACF facilitated
the introduction of the ADAR and CARE projects into the upper Tahuayo.
Created before the legal establishment of the reserve, the Amazon
Conservation Fund (ACF) involves the work of researchers, government technicians
and ACF extensionists. Once the TTCR was created, between 1991 and 1995, ACF
developed its own extension projects focused on the areas specific ecological and
socio-economic needs. The ACFs priorities at this time were to serve as a
watchdog organization protecting and promoting the TTCR, empowering families
of the upper Tahuayo, so that they could defend their community interests, acquire
their comminity needs and prevent outsiders from controlling land and natural
resources within the buffer zone and the fully protected zone (Moya et al., 1991;
Penn 1993, 1994). In 1995, ACF changed its name to ACA (Association for the
16PRONAA (National Program of Food Relief) channels international Food Relief aid.
It is the national organization that provides food supplies to the Mothers Club and
other grass roots organizations.


108
indigenous, since for them that means to live in the forests like Indians and they do
not live that way: we are people (nosotros somos gente). They were not able to
speak about their lineage beyond their grandparents, to say where they came from.
Farmers (campesinos) was the term people used most to describe themselves, and
to a lesser extent pobladores and Riberehos. It seems reasonable that a group that
does not claim a specific ethnic identity for themselves cannot be considered as such.
Yet, it is important to reassess the question of what it means to be indigenous in the
contemporary regional context, after the historical process of subordination and
assimilation. Some elements of their daily lives do reflect traditional cultural
backgrounds.8
Riberehos are a social group in a transitional stage, which can lead to final
assimilation and ethnic denial, or to a process of reconstruction of their ethnic
identities. There are external agents favoring ethnic reconstruction, such a AIDESEP
(Indigenous Peruvian Amazon Association) which has an agreement with the Ministry
of Education and the PPS (Programa Pacaya Samiria WWF-AIF/DK) for a Bilingual
Training Program for school teachers. The program recruits rural youth and teaches
them about their specific ethnic heritage, and how to make space within school
teaching to legitimatize and rebuild the local ethnic identity of school children and
8Their beliefs about cutipar (being affected by the spirit or force of things, plants,
rivers, animals, fruits, motors, etc); the prohibition to give medicine to anyone if you
have sex the previous night, are pregnant or with the menstrual period; daily routines
and customs such as sleeping on the floor without using a mattress, not eating salted
but fresh fish; not using the table in the living room, but eating in the kitchen on the
floor close to the fire, etc., are referred by Rengifo (1997) as ethnic markers.


17
overcome the current vicious circle of poverty and resource degradation. The logic of
capital accumulation and the law of decreasing profit that obliges capital to constantly
search and expand new markets are maintaining the patterns of uneven and
unsustainable economic growth, as analyzed by Redclift (1987).
Political ecology (Schmink and Wood, 1987:13-14) defines social groups as
collectives of people sharing similar access to productive resources and similar social
relations to make a living. These common material grounds shape shared visions and
perceptions in regard to their own situation and the way to improve it, and these
elements of daily life are what allow concerted actions and the transformation of
individual actors into political collectives. This definition goes beyond a corporative
or formal notion of social group, in the sense that explicit recognition or belonging is
not a prerequisite for the existence of a given social group, but rather the existence of
common forms of access to resources and similar social relations. There are a variety
of social groups within the Amazon social space. Schmink and Wood (1987:13-15)
divide them into dominant or subordinate strata, with distinct degrees of power-
understood as their capacity to impose their will on another group-based on physical,
economic, political, or ideological resources. These different bases of power allow
the establishment of dominant groups that are not homogeneous, as well as
subordinate groups that are highly heterogenous.
Gendered Political Ecology
For the identification of social heterogeneity among local people as users of
natural resources, gender analysis provides an additional entrance to look at the


13
hours, since the questionnaire was not directly applied, but filled out more in the way
of an informal conversation.
When the field work started in each selected community, I had the chance to
introduce myself and my study at communal meetings. That was very beneficial in
obtaining collaboration of the local populace. In addition, before the interviews
began, the goals of the study were explained again and permission was requested to
ask "a few questions," a euphemism used by all researchers. The survey was applied
to 29 individuals in San Martin, representing 30% of the households, and to 30
individuals in Buenavista, representing 38% of the households. The sample was
randomly selected, based on the Communal List. Since in San Martin, this list of
families followed a geographical order (from the first house in the northern limit of
the village to the southern last house), the same geographical pattern was maintained
to organize the list and select the sample in Buenavista.
Study Scope
The limited coverage of the study and the small size of the sample make this a
case study. The exploration of gender, class, markets, and ethnicity affecting the use
of resources at the community and household level, with a gender-disaggregated
sample had no empirical antecedent for the region, and required in-depth interactions
and observations. It was decided to sacrifice the statistical representativeness, which,
due to the large number and high degree of heterogeneity of communities in the two
protected areas, would require a large sample, a team of surveyors and a special
budget to mobilize and feed. I wanted to be able to remain longer in a single place,


155
Table 5.9 Time Allocation for Productive Activities,
by Gender and Age, Buenavista.
Activity
Time per activity
Frequency
Done by
Subsistence fishing
2 hours
every day or two
M or m or (m+F)
Sale /distribution of
remanents of subst
fishing
30 min
every day or two
F + f+m
Commercial fishing
2 days
1 or 2 /week
M or M+m
Selling catch of com
fish*
10 min
1 or 2/week
M
Hunting
12 days
variable
M
Aguaje/chonta
extraction
4 days
variable
M
Fiber/leaves/bark
collect.
1 day
variable
M
Selling forest products
10 min
variable
M
Clearing plot (cutting)
1 day w/minga
labor
1/year per plot
M
Clearing plots (moving
and burning)
2 days
1/year/plot
M+F + f+m
Getting seeds
1/2 day
1/year/plot
M or F or M/F
Planting
2 days
1/year/plot
M+F +f+m
Weeding
3 days
2/year/plot
F +f+m
Harvest/carrying
4 days
1/year/plot
whole family
Burying cassava
3 days
1/year
whole family
Processing faria
xh day
1/month; more for
sell
M or F
Processing masato
1 day
2/month
F
Raising domestic
livestock
10 min
2/day
F, f+m


223
Table 7.6 Hunting Activity as Perceived by Male and Female Informants.
Activity
San Martin del Tipishca (RNPS)
Buenavista (RCTT)
Hunting:
Male Inform.
Female Inform.
Male Inform.
Female Inforr
Animals per trip:
1-3
57.1
60.0
4.0
10.0
4-6
14.2
6.7
12.0
35.0
7-9
7.1
0.0
16.0
0.0
10-13
0.0
0.0
12.0
5.0
14-17
0.0
0.0
4.0
15.0
18-20
0.0
0.0
4.0
5.0
21-24
0.0
0.0
4.0
0.0
Frequency:
1 or 2 times per year
14.2
13.3
1.0
0.0
4 to 6 times per year
28.4
13.3
24.0
15.0
monthly
28.4
20.0
32.0
40.0
2 times per month
7.1
6.7
0.0
10.0
hunter in the household
78.6
60.0
56.0
70.0
SOURCE: Surveys (1996).
is more prevalent, the answers of male and female informants are closer for larger
catches. Differences between male and female responses may be associated with the
fact that hunters process (peel, slaughter and salt) the animals in the forest as they
hunt them, especially when the expedition takes 10 days, so women are not directly
involved in the processing. It has been mentioned already that most hunters do the
selling, as well as controlling the income resulting from the sale.
Table 7.7 presents the information provided by men and women in regard to
the amount caught in subsistence fishing, as well as the presence of at least one
subsistence fisherman in the household. While in San Martin women tend to report
smaller catches than men, in Buenavista, women tend to report larger catches than
men, for subsistence fishing. The amounts reported by men and women for


56
small battery radios that connected isolated villagers to Iquitos and other cities of
Peru, Colombia and Brazil.
At the national level, this period was witness to a tremendous effort to connect
the Northern, Central and Southern Amazon with the highlands and the coast through
roads and some airports. The completion of the road between Lima -Tingo Maria-
Pucallpa, Cusco-Puerto Maldonado and Chiclayo-Jaen-Bagua facilitated the integration
of the whole Amazon region, since people in the Amazon could reach these cities by
boats and then connect to the coast through roads. This terrestrial connection started
in 1943 and was expanded in the 1960s, making it relatively easier to send products
to the Peruvian coast than to Brazil. However, while the upper Amazon became
more integrated to the coast, due to its proximity to the highlands and their increasing
agricultural importance, the lower Amazon did not, starting a process of economic
and demographic differentiation between the upper and lower Amazon (Rodriguez,
1991:110).
Despite this increased integration into the national economy, the productive
patterns of the Loreto region did not change significantly. While the upper Amazon
was more oriented to agricultural production and coastal markets, the lowlands
remained focused on extraction of forest products. Extraction of forest products
continued to support the regional economy, in a context of stagnation. Rosewood oil
generated a new fever of extraction during the 1950s but it did not last. Later, in
1954, the export of ornamental fishes experienced a peak but it did not last either
(Coomes, 1995).


169
comparison with previous decades, in which fish and game resources were extremely
abundant and easy to catch.
The greater awareness in Buenavista may also stem from their participation in
conservation management. Stated willingness to organize themselves to search for
more sustainable uses of natural resources, especially wildlife, is considered in the
analysis. The proportion of informants and fishermen who said they were willing to
organize in cooperatives in order to carry out more sustainable use of natural
resources, is larger in Buenavista, as compared to San Martin. This probably reflects
the communitys involvement in management. For both San Martin and Buenavista,
those who extract more, were also less likely to say they were willing to organize,
with a greater difference in Buenavista, where those more reluctant to organize caught
almost double the amount of those willing to organize.
In regard to the awareness of communal regulations affecting their use of
resources, the data show that almost all informants and fishermen in Buenavista were
aware of community regulations, while in San Martin the informants and fishermen
were evenly divided between those aware of community regulations on resource use,
and those not aware of those regulations. In San Martin those who were aware of
these regulations caught more than those who reported not knowing any communal
regulation, with the distribution between the two categories pretty even. In
Buenavista, the average catch of the one fishermen unaware of communal regulations,
was more than double of the average catch of those aware of communal regulations.
Thus, these findings on perceptions and attitudes suggest that those in the Buenavista
community, which is part of the Tamshiyacu-Tahuayo Communal Reserve, are more


39
society (Figure 2.1). Garcia (1994) defines three elements of the indigenous identity,
resistance, continuity, and change. He understands identity as an assertive process of
self-affirmation starting from a common element, language and a set of common
meanings, including the way to relate to their environment, their territory and
"cotidianeidad" (daily life). Identity does not exist as a finished product, since
tradition is not conservation of an invariable content, but a constant reinterpretation of
the past; therefore, it becomes a dynamic element that is constantly transforming
itself. While identity is the assertive valuation of a group and its historic project,
mestizaje is seen as the process of loss of this identity. Garcia presents a review of
the historic process which includes the contemporary scenario, in which he addresses
the importance of indigenous social organizations as well as the impact of the Western
media reaching the remote places of the Amazon. Stocks (1981) documents the
historical process that shaped the self-denial of the ethnic identity of the Cocama-
Cocamillas, whom he refers to as the "invisible natives," a group of people who do
not recognize themselves as natives, but still have not been assimilated by the national
dominant groups.
A new debate was opened in relation to Ribereho ethnic identity when
Chibnik (1991) introduced the notion of quasi-ethnic group, different from the
mestizos and different from the indigenous groups. His contribution was based on the
work of Stocks (1981) who pointed out the existence of a cholo group in the Amazon
lowlands, using the concept of cholo and cholificacion as developed by Quijano


238
women are indirect users of wildlife resources. Agriculture is an activity that
involves participation of men in the heavy clearing of the plots, while women are in
charge of the burning, planting and weeding, with the harvest done by the whole
family.
Rules of avoidance limit the interaction of women with nature and put
additional pressure on them in terms of pregnancy and child care. Subordination is
perceived as natural, since like children, women are considered weaker and
dependent. The role of traditional cultural elements reinforcing gender ideologies and
hierarchies occurs in a context of subordination of the Riberehos to the larger
society, through market mechanisms and social and political structures of domination.
Even though gender, socioeconomic and cultural hierarchies seem to set worse
conditions for women, different individuals might experience gender in different
ways. The construction of individual identity and practice occurs in a conflictive and
ambivalent context of tension between modernity and tradition, between ethnic self-
denial and persistence, with objective conditions in which traditional ways become
functional for family survival; gender asymmetries are usually reinforced by
traditional cultural backgrounds, through traditional world views and through
reciprocal and kinship networks that play a role of social control of behavior. While
men interact more with the outside world, claiming a mestizo identity, they seem to
keep a more traditional identity within the family. This may explain the persistence
of traditional thinking in a context of market integration and spread of formal
education. On the other hand, women in general have fewer opportunities to go
outside the village and remain closer to traditional ways and practices.


148
agricultural prices cannot compete with prices of fish, game meat, and aguaje in its
peak price season, especially when considering the time invested in the whole
production cycle. Watermelon is the only product that fetches higher prices, mainly
due to its seasonality.
Other Extractive Activities
Aguaje fruit is extracted by only four families in San Martin, since there are
no aguaje palm swamps nearby. This extraction is more intense in December. In
Buenavista aguaje is extracted by more hunters and farmers. In San Martn, chonta
is collected during June for the Communal Feast of San Juan, while collection of
turtle eggs takes place during August on the nearest beaches. Logging and canoe
construction are done in April, at the peak of flooding when it is easier to transport
trunks through flooded waters. Extraction of aguaje, timber and charcoal selling are
more prevalent in Buenavista, but not by all families. It takes four days to go and
bring aguaje to Buenavista: two days of round-trip rowing and two days to extract an
average of 15 bags per trip. Bags are sold at a variable price that ranges from S/.
3.00 to SI. 40.00, when the product is more scarce. A couple of families have
started preparing charcoal; the whole process takes eight days of intensive work.
Every three hours they have to check the oven.7 In those spots of the oven where
smoke escapes, they have to seal them, in order to get an even bum that allows
7The oven is made by first putting in the timber to be burned, very compacted; after
that comes a layer of straw, then soil and finally shapaja palm leaves (.schelea
brachyciada).


98
lower, middle and upper Napo river have different livelihood strategies, based on
their different access to land forms and to markets.
Some research has shown that soils of the Amazon are highly diverse, due to
the interaction of environmental variables and chemical characteristics of the rocks
from which soils result (Moran, 1982:6; 1993:6568). It is, however, accepted that
the upland soils are predominantly poor in nutrients and that the wildlife population is
more scarce, factors associated with lower human population densities found in these
areas, compared with flood plains. However, these uplands do not face any flood
constraint, so it is possible to maintain fruit trees and to obtain forest products
throughout the year. The flood plains, on the other hand, are more fertile since they
receive the sediments that floods bring. But the crops on these soils have to be short
cycle crops and even so, they are always exposed to the risk of variable and
unpredictable flood cycles. Many times the river rises before families can harvest and
they lose their crops. In addition, these mudflats and sands are not permanent, since
they follow the ever changing course of the river. After a cycle it is common to find
that some flats are gone and new ones have been formed in other places. This
instability is compensated by the higher crop yields achievable on these soils,
especially on the mudflats (barreal) where rice, maize and jute played an important
role as cash crops before structural adjustment policies of the 1990s, due to the price
guarantees, credits and purchase the State provided for these crops. These natural
constraints for developing sustainable agriculture in this region are aggravated by
economic constraints, as will be seen in the next section.


8
resource uses as part of livelihood strategies that are affected by market dynamics, as
well as shaped by gender, socioeconomic differentiation, and traditional cultural
backgrounds, within and between households.
In the northeastern Peruvian Amazon region, the protected areas include a
National Reserve, Pacaya-Samiria, created in 1972, and a Regional Communal
Reserve, Tamshiyacu Tahuayo, created in 1991. Research conducted in both areas
(Bodmer et al., 1994; Soini et al., 1996) has addressed the need for further biological
research to complete an inventory of wildlife populations and their demographic
dynamics in order to establish sustainable harvest levels of wildlife extraction.
Studies have also addressed the need for additional socio-economic research to better
understand the rationality of resource uses by local communities within and around
the protected areas. This study contributes information and analysis on social
differentiation affecting the use of resources.
Research Questions
The first set of research questions addressed in this study emerged from
previous research in the region, which suggested the importance of market dynamics
in shaping specific livelihood strategies as well as resource uses (Agreda and
Espinosa, 1991; Espinosa, 1994). A similar concern was expressed by Coomes
(1995) after presenting a regional environmental history from Western Amazon with
special focus on the Tahuayo Basin. Coomes (1995) called attention to the "dynamic
economic environment" and the forces of markets that are "beyond the influence of


162
self-perceived access to land, perception of wildlife depletion, awareness of communal
regulations on resources use, and the willingness to organize in order to improve
resource management.
Age of the hunter or fishermen and his family size were used as a proxy for
the stage of the family life cycle, an element that has received increasing attention to
explain economic behavior. The internal family demographic dynamics in terms of
consumption demands and provision of labor have been addressed as key factors
explaining economic choices of farmers, besides the market rationality of prices and
costs (Hildebrand, 1998). This first analysis sought to explore to what extent age and
family size were important to determine different levels of extraction. Family
consumption of fish and game were included to determine if family size was affecting
harvest through direct consumption or through the demand for cash. Family size and
age were studied to determine if changes in family composition affected the
importance of commercial extraction within livelihood strategies. Regression between
levels of extraction and the dependency ratio had negative results. This may be
related to the fact that commercial hunting and fishing are usually done with an adult
partner that may be a relative or neighbor, but not necessarily a member of the
family. Adolescents might go with their parents to acquire the skills, but rarely
replace the adult partner. For this reason, the changing availability of family labor in
terms of age and gender may not affect their involvement in commercial hunting and
fishing, nor the levels of extraction of these activities.


64
reform and rural settlements, through state institutions like INIPA and the Agrarian
Bank among others.
The Agrarian Reform and populist policies of the 1970s changed the class
structure, taking the estate owners out of the picture and beginning the process of the
recognition of territorial rights of indigenous tribal groups, but those policies got in
the way of the development plan that the government had for the Amazon, and never
were fully applied. The policies favored de-ruralization of Riberehos, and
proletarization, mainly through the oil boom of the 1970s, and the development of
urban sectors associated to services and public service (Rodriguez, 1991:130-131).
After the oil boom the proletarians became marginal, since the city of Iquitos was not
a center of productive capital. This growth of the urban population of Iquitos in a
context of marginalization, and the lack of defined borders among social classes, can
explain the peculiarity of the social movement that occurred in the region in the
1970s: the Frente de Defensa Regional. This broad multi-class organization was
formed by merchants, professionals, inhabitants from urban marginal settlements,
street vendors and the school teacherss union. They demanded from the central
government an increased budget for the region through the Oil Canon (Canon
Petrolero) (a percentage of the revenues of oil exploitation that remains in the region
from which the oil is extracted). After that successful experience, the social
movement did not continue in the 1980s and 1990s, mainly because one of the key
elements, the SUTEP (school teachers union) experienced a process of contraction,
as did most national social movements in the context of political violence.


83
were considered within the nationally defined category of threatened species and more
than 50 species had economic and/or medical value. The study showed that local
people used more than 60 wildlife species (30 mammal species, 25 birds and 6
reptiles), the most important being: Paca (majaz), white-lipped peccary (huangana),
black monkey (mono negro), lowland tapir (sachavaca), collared peccary (sajino),
agouti (anhuje), curassow (paujil), birds (pava de monte, perdiz, pucacunga), guan
(panguana), tortoises (taricaya, motelo), and white cayman (lagarto blanco) (Coomes,
1992:217). These species are mostly hunted for selling, with fresh game sold in the
villages and dry game sold to the traders and to urban markets of Nauta and Iquitos.
This study also showed seasonal patterns associated with hunting: during the
floods, hunting is more intensive, since animals concentrated in the levees are easier
to locate and hunt. In the ebb, hunting is less intensive, becoming a more specialized
activity. Hunting was reported with firearms and complementary use of traps and
arrows, for small and medium size animals. Turtles, alligators and other aquatic
animals that get trapped in the fishing nets are also used by local people. During the
summer season, the collection of turtle eggs is an economically important activity in
the PSNR. The study found that the high cost of munitions limits the incidence and
amount of hunting. Those communities located in non-flooded terrains hunt once per
week, with agriculture as the main activity and fishing the secondary activity.
Communities located in flooded forests have fishing as their main activity, agriculture
and hunting being less important and more seasonal.


137
Hunting
Even though hunting is done throughout the year, commercial hunting reaches
a peak during February, March, April and May that coincides with the flood peak.
However, it is important to note that hunting is an activity that is not as much a part
of all family activities as fishing. This could be attributed to the fact that game
conditions in SMT are not as good as in other areas.5 However, the same is true for
Buenavista that has access to good hunting in the TTCR. Hunting is an activity that
is done always by men, in San Martin and in Buenavista. While every family has a
male member fishing for consumption and almost everybody fishes for selling to
some degree, not every family has a male member involved in hunting. According to
the survey applied in 1996, only 69% of the interviewees reported that someone in
their family did hunt. From those who hunt, 80% kill between one and three animals
per trip, 20% went hunting only once or twice per year, 30% 4 to 6 times per year,
only 35% hunted monthly and 10% did it twice per month. When people were asked
how many families were more oriented to hunting, they estimated between six and ten
families for each village. The 1997 fieldwork through interviews with the villagers,
the school teachers, local leaders and project technicians confirmed that there were 7
true hunters in SMT and 11 in Buenavista. The average amount of catch per hunter
5The community evaluated game conditions within their territory as bad with a peak
period between February and April and fishing as good, with its peak at July and
August (Informe Socioeconmico para la Inscripcin de la Comunidad Nativa de San
Martn. D.L. 22175, January 23-01-97. Ministrio de Agricultura, Iquitos).


33
rationality of activating (or deactivating) their ethnic allegiance is associated with a
certain utilitarian rationality of maximizing the benefits of belonging or not to their
ethnic group. In this perspective, ethnicity plays an important role in structuring
behavior, particularly in new contexts. The analysis of both Barth and Cohen operate
at the level of social groups, assuming their internal homogeneity.
Webster (1991) analyzes the case of the people of Thongaland, in the border
of Mozambique. He provides an alternative approach, in which gender differentiated
attitudes toward their Thonga origins-spumed by men and embraced by women-are
explained at the individual level, as part of their gender struggle. His analysis shows
how ethnic roles are changing and flexible according to certain social contexts and
certain social interactions: for example people play Thonga roles within the
community, but use Zulu to deal with the outside world, sensing that somehow, being
Thonga is inferior. With increasing male emigration and integration into labor
markets and public domains there is a trend among the Thonga to identify more with
the dominant Zulu and to deny their Thonga roots.
Instead of analyzing "who the people really are," Webster describes a situation
in which people have a "repertoire of ethnic features to draw upon and they make a
skillful and sometimes imaginative use" of them (Webster, 1994:249). The fact that
Thonga culture offers more status and power to women than does Zulu, explains why
women prefer to use Thonga kin terms to define and control any social encounter,
while men try to impose their own version, usually in Zulu idiom. Gender


129
consumption, and the emigration of children to Iquitos as a way to secure the material
production of the remaining family members in the village. This strategy of
emigration is less accentuated in Buenavista, as already presented in Chapter 4. As
seen in Chapter 3, the regional structure remains basically dependent on extraction of
natural resources, even after so many important changes in terms of use of territory,
social relations and structure.
Ribereflho communities combine traditional cultural and livelihood strategies
with market integration and a process of assimilation to national society. This
mixture and their subordinated integration to markets and society is expressed by
some duality within the livelihood strategies of Riberehos. Duality is understood as
a dynamic tension between modem and traditional elements, and affects the use of
resources as will be explored in Chapter 6.
Comparing Tables 5.1 and 5.2, it is possible to observe that in Buenavista,
agricultural activities are spread more throughout the year because of the access to
both lowlands and uplands. Even though flood cycles are similar, the fact that
Buenavista has more access to levees means that the land starts drying or emerging
from water a little earlier and the agricultural cycle can start earlier. Agriculture in
Buenavista takes more time than in San Martin because they have access to more land
that they work in different seasons. In San Martin, agriculture is a very seasonal
activity, with significant time and labor pressure for clearing and planting, in order to
be able to harvest before the flood starts. Extraction of aguaje is more active during
the winter, especially in SMT, when forests are flooded and transport of the products


Ill
that started in 1942 with a dozen inhabitants,11 had in 1997 a total estimated
population of 388 people. This population is formed by 67 families organized in 49
households. This ratio of 1.36 families per household reveals the importance of
extended family in SMT. The survey applied in 1996 shows that 100% of SMT
households interviewed included at least one member of the extended family, while
only 16.7% of the Buenavista sample included a member of the extended family.
Most households in SMT include a daughter that is a single mother or a son with his
own family but with no means of making a living without their parents support. At
the same time, the incidence of emigration of family members is high, with 69% of
cases reporting at least one family member emigrant.12
The physical organization of the village (See Figure 4.2) is along the river and
around the soccer field that serves as a plaza, with the church and the health post at
the bottom, the PPS house to the right and the school in the front, close to the river.
Following the river there is only one street that extends parallel to it. The plots are
nSan Martin del Tipishca (SMT) was founded in 1942 by three brothers and their
families: Jose, Manuel and Juan Cruz Canaquiri, as told by Domingo Canaquiri, 65,
who came as a boy to SMT. These brothers were bom in Lagunas (Huallaga river,
close to Yurimaguas and located in the upper watershed of the Maranhon river) and
had been established first in Nueva Arica, a neighbor community, where they started
traditional crops such as cassava and plantain. However, from Nueva Arica it was
more difficult to reach the Maranhon river in order to sell and buy their basic
products (See Figure 3.3). For this reason, the brothers went out to find a better
place to establish. At that time this region was scarcely populated and people tried
different locations before choosing the definitive one. They settled in what is now
SMT, because of the abundance of river mammals, turtles and large fish species.
12The same trends were found in the community of Llachapa, in the Napo river, a
relatively isolated village, in contrast to the community of Santa Ana, in the lower
Tahuayo river (See Espinosa, 1994).


233
their conflicts, and to make their hopes come true. All their expectations to improve
life are oriented to modem ways and external actors. These are effective to the extent
that women with access to cash and education have less subordinated positions. This
choice of modernity in a context that requires keeping traditional ways for family
survival constructs a net of ambiguity around the social interactions of men and
women, and of both with nature and the larger society. Most women and men have
little traditional knowledge in terms of their ancestors roots and origins, and in terms
of practical knowledge about forests, rivers, medicinal plants, agriculture, social
organization, and so on. They still keep some basic knowledge on how to treat
headaches, diarrhea and colds with traditional methods, but they increasingly rely on
external medicine available through projects and the state. Some researchers suggest
that these families combine modem medicine with traditional plants and practices,
even though they are not open to report this fact, since they want to show they are
civilized (Penn, 1998). This is an issue that deserves further research.
Interactions between men and women are not the same within each household.
Many factors intervene, such as age, stage of the life cycle, access to formal
education, family history, level of income and subjective elements. Observations and
interviews show that older women, who also have less access to formal education,
tend to play a more traditional role in terms of decision making within the household
and less participation in community dynamics. Access to formal education and
especially access to cashthrough selling of small cattle, handicrafts or basic goods in
small tambos, or habilitarseem to provide the basis for a less subordinated position
of women, as observed for the few women in these positions. The family story in


47
population "reduced" or recruited into the mission system, were reported to have died
(Regan 1983:49).
Missions were productive units that aimed to be self-sufficient. Indians could
farm their own land and raise domestic animals. They also had to farm community
land, oriented to support priests and children attending schools. Their periodic duties
also included hunting, fishing and searching for turtle eggs (San Roman, 1975:51-67).
Jesuits taught natives to speak Quechua-used as a lingua franca in their territory-and
introduced them to artisan skills. To a great extent, missions controlled the entrance
of new settlers into the region, being extremely selective. For this reason, during this
period the region did not experience massive immigration while population growth
was disrupted by high mortality among natives.
The Church monopoly over extraction and trade was broken with the expulsion
of the Jesuits and Franciscans in 1768. Power passed to civilian and military sectors
and the linkages with Quito were replaced by linkages to Brazil, through the presence
of Brazilian traders. In this period, the aim was to maintain concentrated native
populations to support the growing white-mestizo local groups. Debt-peonage,
encomienda, mite? and forced military service were the institutions that allowed this
subordination, under the local power of governors and encomenderos supported by
military troops. Indians had to work to pay a never-ending debt, to provide mitayo
3Mita was the mandatory service that citizens of the Inca Empire provided to the state.
Spanish established mita as regular obligations that the indigenous population had to
provide to the Spanish crown. Mita is the word to refer to the service, mitayo refers
to the product of this service (in this region, the species hunted or collected) and
mitayero is the person who does the service.


234
terms of role models also is a factor, as well as influence of experiences outside the
community, such as church and health training.
Gender is a complex phenomenon that includes intimate aspects of family
dynamics, and the knowledge an outsider can get about it is limited to scratching the
surface. This study was limited to exploring the way gender interacts with
socioeconomic differentiation and traditional cultural backgrounds to shape the pattern
of natural resource use. It is important however to explicitly recognize that there are
some aspects that still remain to be explored more in- depth, such as sexuality,
fertility and population dynamics, gender and cultural identities and how they are
affected by the school system, markets and the projects operating in the area. Some
elements will be presented as they relate to the viability of the livelihood strategies of
these families and their interaction with natural resource use.
Access to formal education has a double-edged effect. It is true that women
with better access to formal education seem to better negotiate their relations with
men. At the same time, formal education has been a key element in the penetration
of Western culture and the displacement of native culture. In this way, it has been an
element of ethnic subordination. Older women are more subordinated since they are
considered and perceived as more traditional, less trained, less prepared, less capable.
In this context and in these cases, the phrase that women are more Indian comes
true. This opposition between traditional and modem values or worth is expressed in
the generation gap between mothers and daughters. There is a loss of authority
among many parents, since their children consider that their parents know less than
they do. The traditional ways of doing things are considered old-fashioned and


214
institutional house from the PPS, in San Martin. Besides the problems these
organizations face, they represent a space for women to gather and talk about their
concerns. These womens organizations represent a potential vehicle to incorporate
women into conservation and development initiatives, as well as to facilitate a
reflection on their own issues, problems and demands.
Early sexual initiation is common among teenagers in San Martin and
Buenavista and goes back to previous times when marriages were arranged between
families at age 12 or 13, marking a rapid transition from childhood to adulthood.
However, times have changed and marriage has been postponed, as a result of the
spread of formal education. Most boys wait until they finish high school before
beginning a family. Sexual initiation has not been postponed, and it occurs with a
blind eye from the parents, especially the mother when the father is absent. While
young men and women both participate in sexual intercourse, the risk and
responsibility of pregnancy stays with women. Unmarried adolescent mothers
commonly live with their parents, and young couples stay with the boys parents,
especially in San Martin where 61 % of households have at least one grandchild as
part of the family. This incidence is somewhat lower in Buenavista, but even there
43 % of households interviewed present this situation. Most adult women condemn
the libertine sexual behavior of some teenagers and criticize their mothers inability to
educate them properly. However, a few women were more open to recognize that
many of their peers had the same behavior when they were young. In fact, it is
common to find brothers and sisters who have different last names, from different fathers.


DIFFERENTIATED USE OF WILDLIFE RESOURCES BY RIBEREHO
FAMILIES OF THE NORTHEASTERN PERUVIAN AMAZON
By
MARIA CRISTINA ESPINOSA CH.
A DISSERTATION PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL
OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT
OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF
DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY
UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA
1998

Copyright 1998
by
Maria Cristina Espinosa Ch.

To my daughters, Cristina and Marcela, the sunshine of my life, whose generous
encouragement, understanding and sacrifices have made it possible for me to return to
school after many years and fulfill a part of my dreams. To all the beautiful human
beings I have met through the years in Gainesville, my dear friends, who will be
forever in my heart, sharing the vision of an alternative way to relate to this sacred
planet, and among men and women, young and elder, poor and rich, white and
colored, transcending the illusions of our separation.
in

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
The fieldwork that made this study possible was funded in 1996 by the
Tropical Conservation and Development (TCD) Program at the Center for Latin
American Studies, the Tinker Foundation and the Charles Dickenson Fund. The
MERGE (Managing the Environment with Gender Emphasis) program funded my
fieldwork in 1997, as part a comparative research project funded by the North-South
Center. In addition, my participation with Katie Lynch as MERGE trainers in the
Summer Field Course on Tropical Wildlife Management, organized by the TCD
Program and UNAP, Iquitos, facilitated my entrance into the upper Tahuayo
communities. I am also thankful to Dr. Jose Lopez Parodi, who allowed me to stay
in the PPS project house in San Martin del Tipishca, to interact with the PPS team
and to gain many insights based on their experience. I have to thank many people in
Iquitos, such as R.P.J. Joaquin Garcia, Director of CETA, Hans Heydra, Director of
the SNV office in Iquitos, Arq. Eduardo Duran, country adviser for TNC and Pro-
Naturaleza, Ing. Luis Benitez, Director of the Papaya-Samiria National Reserve, Dr.
Miguel Donayre, legal adviser for PPS and SNV projects, for their time, information
and interest in the study. Special thanks go to Donha Petronila, the owner of "La
Pascana" Hostal, who made me feel a little at home every time I was in Iquitos.
Thanks go to Julia Flores and Angel Sanchez in Buenavista, who offered their house,
valuable contacts and information, their precious friendship and lots of fun.
IV

Appreciation goes to Ing. Marcial Trigoso, a friend of mine since 1991, who
introduced me to Julia and Angel and the rest of the community, and shared with me
his field experience in the region. I must particularly recognize the generous and
patient contribution of each member of my committee, not only to this dissertation,
but to my academic training in general. Their expertise and academic and
professional excellence provided constant inspiration. They are truly energetic,
beautiful, warm, sensitive, humorous and down-to-earth human beings. Special
thanks go to Dr. Peter Hildebrand for helping me with the data analysis, to Dr.
Sandra Russo for the editorial reviews of every draft, and to Dr. Marianne Schmink,
my chairperson, for the freedom and trust she gave me, for the successive reviews of
my drafts, and for critical encouragement that provided the necessary feedback to
improve this dissertation. I must also mention James Penn, a graduate student at the
Center for Latin American Studies, whom I met in Iquitos in 1991. Through his 13
years of fieldwork experience, he is, in my opinion, the "outsider" who best knows
the local people of Loreto. Special thanks go to Jim who read the last draft of the
dissertation, making important comments. Last but not least, no words can express
my appreciation and my thanks to the men and women in San Martin and Buenavista,
for their patience, their openness and trust, and their sense of humor (I still remember
them teasing me every time I had to step into a canoe or to use a machete). I share
their suffering, their hopes and strengths, as well as their sadness and impotence. I
have tried to express their experiences and their interests in this study, in terms which
can be understood by the academic community. I envision, however, a day in which
v

they will not need any "translator" or researcher. They will be able to write their
own books, make their own science, define their own agendas and speak with their
own voices.
vi

TABLE OF CONTENTS
Page
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS iv
LIST OF TABLES xi
LIST OF FIGURES xiv
ABSTRACT xv
CHAPTER
1 INTRODUCTION 1
Context 1
Goals of the Study 2
Methodology 4
Organization of the Chapters 5
2 THE RESEARCH 7
Research Questions 8
Methodology 11
Research Sites 11
Units of Study 12
Study Scope 13
Data Analyses 14
Conceptual Framework and Method 15
Gendered Ppolitical Ecology 17
Feminist Political Ecology 20
Rural Households and Market Dynamics 22
Gender and Intra-Household Analysis 28
Livelihood Strategies 29
Gender and Ethnicity 32
Ethnicity of Riberehos 38
Vil

Page
3 THE REGIONAL CONTEXT OF LORETO 44
Regional History 44
Colonial Period 45
The Early Republic 48
The Construction of the Amazon Space and Capitalist
Development at the National Level 54
The Contemporary Situation for Conservation and Sustainable
Development: People, Markets, and the Environment 73
Legal and Institutional Framework for Natural Resource
Management 74
Pacaya-Samiria National Reserve (PSNR) 79
The Tamshiyacu-Tahuayo Regional Communal Reserve (TTCR) 85
Projects in the Protected Areas 89
Summary 93
4 THE PHYSICAL ENVIRONMENT AND RIBEREHO LIVELIHOOD
STRATEGIES 95
The Milieu 95
Ribereho Livelihood Strategies 101
The Case of the Communities of San Martin and Buenavista . 110
San Martin 110
Buenavista 119
Summary 126
5MARKETS, HABITATS AND INSTITUTIONAL FRAMEWORKS: USE
OF NATURAL RESOURCES IN SAN MARTN AND BUENAVISTA 127
Livelihood Strategies 127
Fishing 133
Hunting 137
Agriculture 144
Other Extractive Activities 148
Domestic Organization 150
Summary 156
6SOCIAL HETEROGENEITY AND USE OF WILDLIFE RESOURCES
WITHIN THE COMMUNITIES OF SAN MARTN AND BUENAVISTA 159
Natural Resource Use and Wildlife Extraction 159
Fishing 164
Hunting 170
vm

Page
Access to Means of Extraction, Personal Skills and Preferences 175
Restricted Access to Commercial Means of Extraction 177
Does Limited Access to Means of Extraction Prevent
Further Resource Extraction? 179
Are Commercial Extractivists Economically Better-off
in the Village? 186
Summary 191
7 GENDER AND RESOURCE USE IN SAN MARTN AND
BUENAVISTA 194
Gender, Division of Spaces and Relation with Nature 194
Gender Roles and Division of Labor: Subordination and
Complementarity 200
Sexuality, Gender Identities and Reproductive Health 209
Knowledge, Perceptions, Decision Making and Relation With
the Environment 219
Gender, Socioeconomic Differentiation and Traditional
Cultural Backgrounds 231
Summary 237
8 DISCUSSION 241
Study Findings and Implications for Conservation Management 241
Socioeconomic Differentiation Among Households and Wildlife
Resource Uses 244
Different Users of Natural Resources, Different Needs 246
Subsistence Fishermen 247
Commercial Fishermen 247
Commercial Hunters 248
Factors Affecting Wildlife Resource Pressure 250
Diversification of Livelihoods 251
Conservation and Development 251
Community-Based Management 253
Gender and Traditional Cultural Backgrounds Shape Social
Dynamics and Resource Use 253
Lessons Learned Regarding Conservation, Market Dynamics
and Riberehos 256
IX

Page
APPENDIX
A SURVEY 258
B FISHING AND HUNTING PRESSURE 267
REFERENCES 270
BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH 279
x

LIST OF TABLES
Table Page
3.1 Evolution of the Amazon Population 1940-1972 61
3.2 Demographic Indicators for Loreto 65
3.3 Indigenous Population Within Rural Population of the Peruvian
Northern Amazon 71
3.4 Wildlife Species Allowed to be Hunted 76
4.1 Flood Cycles of Main Rivers in Loreto 96
4.2 Seasonal and Spatial Patterns for Hunting and Fishing 97
5.1 Yearly Seasonality of Activities and Events, San Martin del Tipishca 130
5.2 Yearly Seasonality of Activities and Events, Buenavista 131
5.3 Most Prevalent Species Fished in San Martin and Buenavista 136
5.4 Most Prevalent Species Hunted in San Martin and Buenavista 139
5.5 Average Total Weight, Meat and Prices for Main Game Species
in San Martin and Buenavista 142
5.6 Average Cost of Hunting Expedition 144
5.7 Average Prices for Agricultural and Some Wildlife Products 149
5.8 Time Allocation for Productive Activities, by Gender and Age,
San Martin 152
5.9 Time Allocation for Productive Activities, by Gender and Age,
Buenavista 153
5.10 Reproductive Activities in San Martin and Buenavista, by Age
and Gender 155
xi

Table Page
6.1 Age, Time of Residence in the Village and Commercial Fishing Catch 156
6.2 Family Size, Fish Consumption, and Commercial Fishing 157
6.3 Perceptions and Attitudes, and Commercial Fishing 159
6.4 Age and Time of Residence Associated with Hunting 161
6.5 Family Size and Game Meat Consumption, Associated with Hunting 163
6.6 Perceptions and Attitudes Associated with Hunting 166
6.7 Self Perceived Factors Related to Hunting and Fishing 178
6.8 Main Families Identified by Villagers in San Martin as Being Better-off 180
6.9 Main Families Identified by Villagers of Buenavista as Being Better-off 182
6.10 Criteria that Differentiate Wealthier Families from the Rest 184
7.1 Gender Division of Labor for Extractive Activities 194
7.2 Gender Division of Labor for Reproductive Activities 194
7.3 Gender Division of Labor for Agriculture 196
7.4 Activities Considered Most Important for Family Consumption 214
7.5 Activities Considered Most Important for Familys Cash Income .... 215
7.6 Hunting Activity as Perceived by Male and Female Informants 216
7.7 Subsistence Fishing as Perceived by Male and Female Informants . 217
7.8 Commercial Fishing as Perceived by Male and Female Informants ... 217
7.9 Decision-Making on the Fishing Catch, as Perceived by Male and
Female Informants 219
7.10 Reasons Associated With Commercial Extractivism in San Martin ... 219
7.11 Reasons Associated with Commercial Extractivism 220
xii

Table Page
7.12 Perceptions on the Status of Natural Resources (%) 221
7.13 Attitudes Related to the Status of Natural Resources 222

LIST OF FIGURES
Figure Page
2.1 Loretos Region, Peru (Altarama, 1992) 40
3.1 Sociodemographic and Territorial Patterns in Loreto 69
3.2 Pacaya-Samiria National Reserve (INRENA-M, Agricultura, 1989) . 80
3.3 Tamshiyacu-Tahuayo Regional Communal Reserve (Bodmer et al., 1995) 82
4.1 Land Forms in Loreto (Padoch, 1988) 100
4.2 Distribution of Households, Institutional Buildings and Plots
(Fieldwork, 1996) 112
4.3 Distribution of Households, Institutional Buildings and Plots,
Buenavista (Fieldwork, 1996) 121
6.1 Commercial Fish Catch and Net Access, San Martin del Tipischa ... 181
6.2 Commercial Fish Catch and Net Access, Buenavista 181
xiv

Abstract of Dissertation Presented to the Graduate School
of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the
Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy
DIFFERENTIATED USE OF WILDLIFE RESOURCES BY RIBEREHO
FAMILIES IN THE NORTHEASTERN PERUVIAN AMAZON
By
Maria Cristina Espinosa Ch.
August 1998
Chairperson: Marianne Schmink, Ph.D.
Major Department: Anthropology
This study addresses the importance of factors in the natural and economic
environment and broader regional context, and those differentiating social groups
within communities, that affect wildlife resource use and the potential for sustainable
management by local people. The study compares livelihood strategies of two
communities near protected areas in the northeastern Peruvian Amazon, one of which
participates in resource management planning. Members of the participating
community were found to have significantly greater awareness and understanding of
conservation issues and regulations, and to express greater willingness to organize
around conservation issues. However, their actual resource use patterns, as measured
by the amounts of fish and wild game harvested for sale, were higher than those in
the other community. Findings of the study suggest that besides natural habitat
differences, market influences in the participating community, which is more
xv

accessible to local markets, may override their greater conservation awareness. The
unfavorable terms of exchange faced by both communities limit the viability of
innovative conservation approaches to influence resource use patterns. Within each
community, differences were found both among and within families in the amount of
fish and game they harvest to sell and in their attitudes toward conservation. Men
who have access to tools for commercial extraction, and cash to finance hunting and
fishing expeditions, and whose participation in agriculture is limited, harvest more
wildlife resources. The wealthiest families, however, are not the commercial
extractivists, unless they have additional sources of cash. Poverty seems to be a
factor inhibiting over-use of resources. Skills and preferences are also factors behind
the choices of hunters to be heavily involved in hunting. While women do not
participate directly in hunting and fishing, they are knowledgeable about these
activities and often participate in decisions about resource use. They appear to be
more concerned than men about conservation. However, female subordination is
expressed in their lack of control over income generated by commercial extraction,
affecting the purchase of food and basic goods for family needs, and the food security
and well being of these families. These findings suggest that conservation programs
might focus their efforts on improving agriculture and other alternatives for income
and should work with specialized hunters and fishermen, incorporating women into
designing management efforts.
xvi

CHAPTER 1
INTRODUCTION
Context
In a context of increasing concern for tropical ecosystems conservation, local
populations are becoming more important for research, as the role they play in natural
resource use and conservation becomes better understood (Little, 1994; Robinson and
Redford, 1991). The works of Hiraoka (1985), Denevan and Padoch (1988),
Schmink and Wood (1987; 1992), Posey and Balee (1989), Anderson et al. (1995),
Brondizio et al. (1994), and Rudel (1995), among others, has emphasized the
significance of Amazonias local people to policy makers and conservationists. Many
conservationists now accept the idea that preservation requires not only protection, but
also involves sustainable use of resources by local people (Robinson and Redford,
1991; Bissonette and Krausman, 1995). However, due to the high degree of
complexity and diversity of social groups within the Amazon region, research on
socioeconomic and cultural dynamics influencing local resource use is still a challenge
(Rodriguez et al., 1990; Little, 1994; Murphee, 1994; Kleymeyer, 1994; Strum,
1994; Kamaruzaman and Majid, 1995; University of Wisconsin-Madison, 1995).
This is especially true for the "Riberehos," the local people who inhabit the
northeastern lowlands of the Peruvian Amazon, and who represent 85 % of this
regional rural population. Even though they have been the focus of several studies
1

2
since the 1970s (see Chapter 3), which have contributed to a better understanding of
their economy, most of these studies focused on Ribereho agriculture, with less
attention to the use of wildlife resources (the exceptions being Barham, Coomes,
Craig and Tarasoff, 1995; Coomes, 1992; and Bergman, 1990). These studies were
more focused on the ecological and economic aspects of Ribereho practices and
livelihoods, with little attention to gender or ethnic differentiation, nor to the
reproductive aspects of livelihood strategies.
Wildlife extraction is important within Ribereho livelihood strategies, for both
income and family subsistence. The interaction of gender, class, markets and
ethnicity shapes differential use of wildlife resources in Loreto. This study analyzes
the use of wildlife resources at the household and community level taking into account
the regional political ecology.
Goals of the Study
The goals of this research included:
1. To understand the regional political ecology as the context which explains
the current use of resources by local people, and frames and limits conservation and
development initiatives and possibilities.
2. To explore to what extent, when markets and economic environments are
dynamic, the participation of communities in conservation management can decrease
the pressure on wildlife resources, as compared to communities with no participation
in conservation management, but in a less dynamic economic environment. For this

3
purpose, use of wildlife resources, in terms of amount and species caught, was
compared for the two selected communities of the study.
3. To understand the economic and cultural rationality of wildlife resource
extraction within Ribereho livelihood strategies, and the factors shaping different
resource use among families in each community, and between the two selected
communities.
4. To explore the role of gender, socioeconomic differentiation and traditional
cultural backgrounds, as well as other socio-demographic variables, in the structuring
of social differentiation in regard to resource uses. To then explore the way these
ideologies affect the knowledge, perceptions and identity of men and women.
Traditional cultural backgrounds and the discussion of ethnicity was not an
important element of the original research design. Similar to other research, it was
assumed that studying the mestizo Ribereho families did not require specific attention
to ethnicity and/or traditional cultural backgrounds. However, the field experience
revealed that traditional cultural background was an important element to
understanding Ribereho livelihood strategies, use of resources, and gender
hierarchies, since mestizaje1 is not a uniform and finished process but one full of
contradictions and still on-going.
^estisaje in this study refers to the historic process of racial and cultural mixture that
began in the context of economic, political, religious, spatial and cultural
subordination imposed by the Spanish to indigenous populations; mestisaje also refers
to the assimilation of native populations into a dominant society. However, this study
suggests that this process is not linear or uniform, but ambivalent, and allowed
individuals and social groups to elaborate responses and redefine their own identity.
This term does not refer to the process of racial mixture in general, but in the
particular context drawn in this study.

4
Methodology
The study was based on information gathered during two fieldwork phases
conducted in the summers of 1996 and 1997, in two Ribereho communities of
Loreto, which are within the territory or at the border of protected areas: San Martin
del Tipishca, located within the Pacaya-Samiria National Reserve; and Buenavista, in
the periphery of Tamshiyacu-Tahuayo Communal Reserve. This case-study was
based on 59 surveys applied in the summer of 1996 to men and women from 30%
and 38%, respectively, of the households of San Martin and Buenavista. In addition,
informal, in-depth and focus-group interviews were conducted in both communities,
during 1996 and 1997. The small size of the sample and the coverage of the study
are among the limitations of this study. Others limitations derive from the limited
time frame of the study, since changes in Ribereho livelihood strategies are
associated with good or bad agricultural cycles of three or more years. For instance,
1996 and 1997 were particularly bad years for agriculture in the Tahuayo basin, and
families in the lowlands were still recovering from the devastating floods of 1993 and
1994. To what extent this might increase the importance of extractive activities as
compared to "good" agricultural years is an issue that requires long-term research.
However, it is opportune to keep this time frame issue in mind. An additional
limitation of the study comes from the "outsider" status of the researcher. Despite the
statistical significance of the data and the methodology (discussed in Chapter 2), this
study explicitly recognizes the subjectivity present in any study, as represented by the
assumptions and sentiments of the researcher.

5
Organization of the Chapters
Chapter 2 presents the statement of the problem, research questions,
methodology and the theoretical framework that has guided this study, including a
review of the most relevant literature related to the region and the research questions.
Chapter 3 discusses the regional context in terms of the historical evolution
that has shaped the economic and socio-demographic structures, and the current
institutional and legal frameworks that rule natural and wildlife resources. This
chapter includes a description of the two protected areas where the study was
conducted: Pacaya-Samiria National Reserve and Tamshiyacu-Tahuayo Communal
Reserve.
Chapter 4 describes the ecological context of the lowlands, and the
characteristics of the communities of San Martin and Buenavista, while Chapter 5
characterizes the livelihood strategies adopted by Ribereho families in San Martin
and Buenavista. This chapter also includes an analysis of the wildlife use in each
community, in terms of quantity, productivity and species caught.
Chapter 6 analyzes the role of different economic and socio-demographic
variables to explain differences among households in terms of wildlife use, with
special emphasis on the social access to means of extraction for the case of
commercial fishing, and skills, preferences, and attitudes, in the case of hunting. The
interactions between wildlife extraction, poverty and improved standard of living are
analyzed for each community.

6
Chapter 7 explores the gender hierarchies and ideologies in their interactions
with gendered division of roles and spaces, and how these affect the use of natural
resources. Subordination, conflict, and cooperation within families are analyzed. In
addition to gender roles, female access to knowledge of male extractive and economic
activities was used as a proxy to measure gender communication and cooperation
between couples. The process of decision-making regarding resource use and ways to
meet family needs was used to explore gender conflict and cooperation.
Chapter 8 discusses the major results of the study and their implications for
further research as well as for conservation and development initiatives in the region.

CHAPTER 2
THE RESEARCH
In recent years, the importance of indigenous and local peoples as stewards of
tropical rainforests, on which their survival relies, has been recognized. This concern
has led to community-based conservation management initiatives. One of the issues
that emerged from the discussion of this experience is the awareness that communities
are complex and heterogeneous entities, whose internal differentiation in terms of
class, gender, and ethnicity, influences the use of resources and the dynamics of
community-based management (Western et al., 1994; University of Wisconsin, 1995;
Bissonette and Krausman, 1995). On the other hand, communities are part of local,
regional, and national contexts that affect their economy, society, and culture,
including the use of resources. Among these contextual elements, institutional
frameworks and market dynamics have been identified as key issues to understanding
community behavior (Coomes, 1992; Murphee, 1994; Strum, 1994). Natural
resource use is part of complex, variable livelihood systems that change over time,
according to habitats and market integration, life span, and gender, among other
variables. Individuals within communities are situated within age, gender,
socioeconomic, and cultural groups that give them different power and social access
to natural resources, and whose ideologies affect the views, perceptions, and attitudes
related to resource use and conservation. This study attempted to discern different
7

8
resource uses as part of livelihood strategies that are affected by market dynamics, as
well as shaped by gender, socioeconomic differentiation, and traditional cultural
backgrounds, within and between households.
In the northeastern Peruvian Amazon region, the protected areas include a
National Reserve, Pacaya-Samiria, created in 1972, and a Regional Communal
Reserve, Tamshiyacu Tahuayo, created in 1991. Research conducted in both areas
(Bodmer et al., 1994; Soini et al., 1996) has addressed the need for further biological
research to complete an inventory of wildlife populations and their demographic
dynamics in order to establish sustainable harvest levels of wildlife extraction.
Studies have also addressed the need for additional socio-economic research to better
understand the rationality of resource uses by local communities within and around
the protected areas. This study contributes information and analysis on social
differentiation affecting the use of resources.
Research Questions
The first set of research questions addressed in this study emerged from
previous research in the region, which suggested the importance of market dynamics
in shaping specific livelihood strategies as well as resource uses (Agreda and
Espinosa, 1991; Espinosa, 1994). A similar concern was expressed by Coomes
(1995) after presenting a regional environmental history from Western Amazon with
special focus on the Tahuayo Basin. Coomes (1995) called attention to the "dynamic
economic environment" and the forces of markets that are "beyond the influence of

9
local groups, whether they be patrons or communities" (117). In addition, Hiraoka
(1984) defined Riberehos as a social group that has been able to adapt traditional
strategies to market dynamics. Several studies (Chibnik, 1987; de Jong, 1987;
Padoch, 1988) have established the importance of market dynamics for Ribereho
livelihood strategies, either in terms of agriculture, non-timber products, and/or
extractive activities. Other studies have identified the economic importance of
specific activities for Ribereho communities according to their physical and
economic environment (Agreda, 1991; Barham et al., 1995). However, the
interactions between community participation in conservation management and market
dynamics have not been explored as they affect the use of resources.
The question derived from the existing research is whether the institutional
framework for community participation in conservation management can overcome
the potentially negative impacts of market articulation. In other words, can
communities involved in community-based conservation, while at the same time being
embedded in a more dynamic economic environment, make more sustainable use of
natural resources, especially wildlife? How do their resource use patterns compare
to those in communities which do not participate in conservation management but
which are in a less dynamic economic environment? The study explores this issue by
comparing the quantity and species of wildlife harvested by families of Buenavista and
San Martin, each community representing one extreme of this dichotomy.
Differences in resource use, between the two communities, are discussed in Chapter

10
6. As an introduction to this topic, a description of livelihoods in both communities
is provided in Chapter 5.
The second set of research questions is as follows: What is the degree of
differentiation among families in regard to natural resource use, especially in terms of
wildlife resources? What are the factors, processes, and variables associated with the
differential use of resources? While linkages with the market have been addressed by
several researchers, few studies have focused on the connections between market
dynamics and internal differentiation, especially in regard to resource use. On the
other hand, some studies have addressed the importance of intra-gender differences as
well as perceptions and attitudes in regard to resource use and internal differentiation
(Bonnard and Scherr, 1994; Warner et al., 1995). This study explored the role of
socio-demographic variables, as well as class, ethnic, and gender differences in regard
to different resource uses. In addition, the study aspired to relate the role of wildlife
extraction to the process of social and economic differentiation within each
community. Do those families who extract more wildlife have a higher standard of
living in their communities or are they among the poorest? Is poverty preventing
local people from extracting resources in a more intensive way or is poverty pushing
them into more extractive activities? Chapter 6 is focused on this exploration.
The third research question contemplated the way gender intersects with
socioeconomic differentiation and traditional cultural backgrounds to shape the way
men and women relate to each other, to the environment, and what perceptions,
knowledge, and attitudes are associated with these hierarchies and ideologies.

11
Chapter 7 discusses the connection between traditional world views and gender
hierarchies and division of spaces and roles in the context of cultural and social
subordination.
Methodology
Research Sites
San Martin del Tipishca, within the Pacaya-Samiria National Reserve, and
Buenavista, near the border of the Tamshiyacu-Tahuayo Communal Reserve were
selected as the two communities in which to conduct the study. Considering the high
degree of heterogeneity among communities in this region, the enormous territory,
and the communication problems in terms of cost, availability, and security, the
reasons these two communities were selected was quite simple. First, their location
in regard to market dynamics and to research logistics was ideal. Market dynamics
were an important component of the first research question. Therefore, it was
necessary to compare two communities with very different types of articulation into
market dynamics. San Martin represents a case of relative isolation, whereas
Buenavista represents integration into a dynamic economic environment. The second
reason was that these two communities presented advantages in terms of the research
logistics.1
'San Martin was one base for the Programa Pacaya-Samiria (WWF-AIF/DK) and they
offered to allow me to stay at their project house; technicians travel in and out of San
Martin with some regularity; therefore, there is a small motor boat that periodically
connects that remote community with the main route of the large public boats,
something important to consider when traveling by myself to an unknown remote area

12
Units of Study
The study considered households as important units linking individuals with the
community and with regional structures, centralizing resources and decisions and
instrumentalizing the livelihood strategies. For that reason households played an
important role in this study. However, since households are differentiated units, the
study chose individuals as the basic units to collect information, applying the survey
and interviews to both men and women at each household, as much as possible.
Women were first interviewed alone for the questionnaire or for interviews, and their
husbands were interviewed later. This was done in order to avoid biases in womens
answers.
This disaggregation of the sample facilitated a comparison of male and female
information for every question of the survey. The first draft of the questionnaire was
developed based on previous research experience among Riberehos, readings and
discussions held in courses related to tropical resource use, and as part of the design
of the gender and community component of the Summer Field Course on Tropical
Wildlife Conservation, organized by TCD/MERGE/UNAP in the Tamshiyacu-
Tahuayo Communal Reserve. During this course, we had the opportunity to test the
instrument, to reformulate it, and test it again until it worked smoothly. A sample of
the survey is included in the final appendix. Each interview took between 1.5 and 2
with a limited budget. Buenavista is one of the four communities which participates
in the management of the TTCR and the next community close to the Communal
Reserve, after Chino. In addition, a technician I knew since 1989 was working in
Buenavista and had agreed to introduce me to the families and to the communal
meeting.

13
hours, since the questionnaire was not directly applied, but filled out more in the way
of an informal conversation.
When the field work started in each selected community, I had the chance to
introduce myself and my study at communal meetings. That was very beneficial in
obtaining collaboration of the local populace. In addition, before the interviews
began, the goals of the study were explained again and permission was requested to
ask "a few questions," a euphemism used by all researchers. The survey was applied
to 29 individuals in San Martin, representing 30% of the households, and to 30
individuals in Buenavista, representing 38% of the households. The sample was
randomly selected, based on the Communal List. Since in San Martin, this list of
families followed a geographical order (from the first house in the northern limit of
the village to the southern last house), the same geographical pattern was maintained
to organize the list and select the sample in Buenavista.
Study Scope
The limited coverage of the study and the small size of the sample make this a
case study. The exploration of gender, class, markets, and ethnicity affecting the use
of resources at the community and household level, with a gender-disaggregated
sample had no empirical antecedent for the region, and required in-depth interactions
and observations. It was decided to sacrifice the statistical representativeness, which,
due to the large number and high degree of heterogeneity of communities in the two
protected areas, would require a large sample, a team of surveyors and a special
budget to mobilize and feed. I wanted to be able to remain longer in a single place,

14
instead of spending time traveling or supervising other people applying my survey. I
wanted to analyze information that I collected and to take advantage of every
interaction and opportunity to make observations. Due to this characteristic of the
study, results cannot be inferred for the whole region; they can be taken as
implications for discussion among people and institutions dealing with conservation,
gender, and/or sustainable development in the region. Findings of this study also can
serve to design further research to test and expand the preliminary results.
Data Analyses
Statistical tests of significance are included in the tables in Chapters 6 and 7,
to provide additional information regarding the data and analysis provided in this
study. The data base was analyzed using Quatro-Pro for Windows. The statistical
analyses included common indicators of distribution, such as average and standard
deviation. For the nine selected variables presented in Chapter 6, regression analysis
was used to explore the association between variables. In addition, the Kruskal-
Wallis test was run to evaluate the statistical significance of the data. This test uses
the ranks of the observations rather than the actual values and was selected because
(1) data distribution appeared to be non-normal, and (2) the sample2 size was smaller
than normal.
2Kruskal-Wallis test was used instead of chi square and F-test, since both are used
assuming normality in the distribution of the values (chi-square is used to compare
two variables and F-test, more than two), and the data showed a non-normal
distribution with a high variation within each group. The Kruskal-Wallis test assesses
statistically significant differences when the p-value is less than 0.05.

15
Conceptual Framework and Method
The conceptual framework and method that guided this study was known as
gendered political ecology as discussed and developed within the MERGE program
since 1992, and within the MERGE Student Research Group, between 1996 and 1998
(Schmink, 1997). This approach resulted from the confluence of the political ecology
of natural resource use (Redclift, 1987; Schmink and Wood, 1987; Peet and Watts,
1993) and the gender analysis developed within the frame of gender and development
(Poats et al., 1988; Feldstein and Poats, 1989).
A political ecology approach recognizes that political, social, and economic
processes and institutions mediate interactions between humans and the environment
(Bryant, 1992; Peluso, 1992; Schmink, 1997). Gendered political ecology
acknowledges the importance of power structures at the public and private spheres,
market dynamics and patterns of capital development on regional and global scales, as
well as the interactions of class, gender, and ethnic hierarchies affecting the use of
resources at local macro and micro levels. Even though the focus may be at the local
level--as in the case of this study-it is necessary to take into account the larger
picture, the social relations that shape local practices in regard to natural resources,
and the whole set of social, economic, demographic, and political processes at the
regional level, affecting local practices and interactions. This approach perceives
local people neither as passive victims of degradation nor as pure environmentalists,
rather it encompasses the whole set of contradictions that affect local behavior in

16
regard to natural resources, including a true concern for natural resource depletion
while facing the need to make a living based on their extraction.
Asymmetric power, resistance, and competition3 are key features of the social
context in which local actors relate to each other and to natural resources, in a
process of bargaining, resistance, making alliances and competing. As Schmink and
Wood (1987) show in the case of Brazil, a complex and changing context offers
different conditions at different historic moments, for social movements to resist the
power of dominant groups. What seemed impossible in the 1970s-the creation of
extractive reserves for local peoplewas achieved in the 1980s, when the global and
national context and economic crisis had eroded the power and legitimacy of the State
and its support to dominant groups, and international environmental concerns,
economic pressures, and criticism of deforestation and cattle ranching could no longer
simply be portrayed as imperialist intrusion. Beyond the will of social actors at the
local level, there are forces acting at the macro level that, in turn, are not monolithic
blocks, but dynamic alliances and contingencies of power that may change in the
course of time.
This approach is extremely important to understanding the underlying forces of
unsustained uses of resources and the structural limits to sustainable alternative uses
of natural resources. These forces and trends have to be targeted in order to
3Schmink and Wood (1987:14) define competitive conflicts as those occurring between
members of the same power stratum, while resistance is the attempt made by
members of the subordinate group to challenge attempts or ways of resource use
imposed by the dominant group.

17
overcome the current vicious circle of poverty and resource degradation. The logic of
capital accumulation and the law of decreasing profit that obliges capital to constantly
search and expand new markets are maintaining the patterns of uneven and
unsustainable economic growth, as analyzed by Redclift (1987).
Political ecology (Schmink and Wood, 1987:13-14) defines social groups as
collectives of people sharing similar access to productive resources and similar social
relations to make a living. These common material grounds shape shared visions and
perceptions in regard to their own situation and the way to improve it, and these
elements of daily life are what allow concerted actions and the transformation of
individual actors into political collectives. This definition goes beyond a corporative
or formal notion of social group, in the sense that explicit recognition or belonging is
not a prerequisite for the existence of a given social group, but rather the existence of
common forms of access to resources and similar social relations. There are a variety
of social groups within the Amazon social space. Schmink and Wood (1987:13-15)
divide them into dominant or subordinate strata, with distinct degrees of power-
understood as their capacity to impose their will on another group-based on physical,
economic, political, or ideological resources. These different bases of power allow
the establishment of dominant groups that are not homogeneous, as well as
subordinate groups that are highly heterogenous.
Gendered Political Ecology
For the identification of social heterogeneity among local people as users of
natural resources, gender analysis provides an additional entrance to look at the

18
community and household level. Gender, identified as social constructions shaping
the interactions between men and women (Poats et al., 1988; Feldstein and Poats,
1990) was a conceptual step that partially helped to overcome the limitations of the
WID approaches (either the welfare, efficiency or equity approach as addressed by
Moser, 1989). While the focus of WID had been to increase the participation of
women and make development more effective, the gender and development approach
(GAD) often looked for the potential in development initiatives to transform unequal
social and gender relations, including in the analysis, the re-examination of social
structures and institutions affecting projects and gender hierarchies. However, the
focus of gender analysis sometimes has been on instrumentalizing gender inclusion
and evaluation in projects, and there is a tendency to limit gender analysis to the
project scope and life. As GAD became institutionalized in the 1990s among most
bilateral agencies and NGOs, this trend to operate within the institutional framework
of development agencies has limited the critical capacity of GAD to review the
regional and global context affecting gender, among other hierarchies (Braidotti et al.,
1995:78-87).
The use of gender analysis within the framework of political ecology makes it
possible to recapture the more radical nature of gender as an initial theoretical
formulation and as a tool to identify gender hierarchies and ideologies not only among
the subjects of research, training and/or gender planning, but also between them and
the researchers, trainers, and planners. This approach questions the whole set of
power relations established in those processes and the nature of institutions in charge

19
of development (Kabeer, 1994:64-304). The political ecology approach can provide a
powerful tool to analyze power based on economic and political structures and
interests at the regional level as they affect gender and class dynamics at the local
level. This analysis enhances the understanding of the processes and structures
affecting gender and the underlying projects scope and dynamics.
In this study, gender is understood as a social construction that is transmitted
by the immediate social group through the process of socialization. Therefore, gender
ideologies that legitimize gender hierarchies are deeply rooted in the unconscious and
may justify gender hierarchies as "natural" rather than socially constructed. This
social construction shapes the behavior, roles, identity, expectations and power
relations and interactions between men and women in the productive and reproductive
spheres, and besides the economic level, at the social, psychological, sexual, political
and cultural levels including interactions within the household, community and the
larger society. The gender construction in terms of hierarchies and ideologies may
vary according to the family situation in class and ethnic structures, and it is also
recreated or redefined at the individual level, according to personal history, in terms
of access to formal education and income, primary and secondary socialization agents,
as well as personal characteristics and choices. While gender ideologies and
hierarchies might have common elements for a social group, each individual
experiences her or his gender in a particular way. This study focused on
understanding the ways gender, class and ethnicity intersect and shape the use of
natural resources and affect the equity and effectiveness of Ribereho livelihood

20
strategies. In this sense, the exploration of gender is limited to its more instrumental
aspects.
Feminist Political Ecology
The gendered political ecology (GPE) as briefly presented, differs from
feminist political ecology (FPE) (Rocheleau et al., 1996) in which the latter brings a
feminist perspective to political ecology. That is, it refers to the interests of women
in a context of female subordination, as a key focus point. Feminist political ecology
addresses three main topics for analysis: gendered knowledge, gendered
environmental rights and responsibilities, and gendered environmental politics and
grassroots activism. The word "gendered" is primarily used to stress the situation
and interests of women in regard to environmental issues, instead of focusing on the
interactions of men and women among them and with the environment.4
Even though many common elements are present in both gendered political
ecology and feminist political ecology, such as the integration of global perspectives
with local experiences, the issue of power mediating the interaction of men and
women with the environment, among others, the FPE is committed to a feminist point
of view and, for that reason, more open to include epistemological and philosophical
critiques, for example challenging dominant ways of producing knowledge and of
understanding "nature" and recovering the "science of survival." It also is more
connected to other feminist traditions, such as feminist environmentalism, socialist
4The main literature presented or included as references in Rocheleau et al. (1996) is
definitively focused on women instead of gender.

21
feminist and feminist poststructuralism, and more closely situated within a tradition of
feminist studies. The FPE acknowledges the insights from feminist cultural ecology,
political ecology, feminist geography and feminist political economy. This feminist
perspective leads FPE to treat gender as a "critical variable in shaping resource access
and control, interacting with class, caste, race, culture and ethnicity to shape
processes of ecological change and the struggle of men and women to sustain viable
livelihoods ..." (Rocheleau et al., 1996:4). "While there are several axes of power
that may define people access to resources, their control over their workplace and
home environments and their definitions of a healthy environment, we focus on
gender as one axis of identity and difference that warrants attention" (Rocheleau et
al., 1996:5, underline is mine).
The GPE is more flexible in not pre-establishing the main contradiction for a
given situation, using gender analysis as a way to open the exploration of the whole
set of social contradictions affecting the use of resources and the interactions between
men and women, recognizing that it may be or not the main focus of conflict, and
therefore, of research. More participation by economists, sociologists,
anthropologists, and biological scientists in developing this approach has kept it more
in the limits of what is sometimes referred to as a positivist and reductionist approach
to science. These two last characteristics make this approach more suitable to the
research questions of the study, the formal requisites of a dissertation and the

22
necessary freedom to go to the field without a predetermined research agenda.5
Within MERGE we are strongly considering the interconnections among gender, class
and ethnicity in every case study; however, we recognize that in some cases gender
may not be the main focus of the research, and women may not always be the most
appropriate social category for analysis.
Rural Households and Market Dynamics
Very important concepts linking the macro and micro level of analysis are the
notions of family and household. Family and household are intermediate institutions
which situate individuals in specific class, gender and ethnic hierarchies. Families are
in charge of the socialization process that prepares individuals to accept and legitimate
these different hierarchies as well as their roles within the household, the community
and the larger society. The notion of family and the notion of household are not the
same, even though they may perform similar roles. Family is a group of people
bonded by blood and kinship ties, while household is a group of people who share a
common pool of resources, such as living under the same roof, sharing food supply
and preparation and usually labor, to achieve their material reproduction (Schmink,
5The nexus established by the Feminist Political Ecology with environmental
feminism, feminist poststructuralism and deep ecology among others do resonate and
appeal to me at a more personal level, as part of the search for linkages between my
own spirituality, daily life practice and the critique of social structures underlying
gender, class and ethnic hierarchies, including the violence exerted toward nature.
The feminist critique of the production of knowledge and the challenged role of
researchers were very present in my mind during the fieldwork. However, I find it
difficult to conduct research based on those frameworks, and difficult to transcend my
own empirist-reductionist academic framework that over more than 20 years has left
its imprint on me.

23
1974:89). A family can be a nuclear family that is formed by only the parents and
their children, or can be an extended family when other members such as the
grandfather or grandmother, sister or brother in law, nephews or grandchildren are
part of the family group and part of a single household. Household is a category that
is usually used to refer more to the economic aspects of group livelihood, while
family refers to socialization, roles and authorities.
The interactions between households and markets have been conceptualized in
different ways by the most important paradigms used to study rural households.
Households are considered by neoclassical economics as corporate units which behave
as any other economic agent, making rational decisions in order to maximize their
utility. According to this model, households choose the alternative that gives them
the most benefit, value or satisfaction, in a context of limited or scarce resources
which have alternative uses. In this context conflict and subordination are not
considered in the interaction of households and markets (Folbre, 1989; Plattner,
1989). Rural households are considered by neoclassical economics as atomized and
homogeneous units, responding to market dynamics in order to maximize benefits or
low costs.6 Internally, they are considered to be corporate units in which the interest
of the members are not in conflict (this assumption will be discussed in the next
section, gender and intra-household analysis). This neoclassical paradigm is based on
the assumptions that people are calculating cost and benefits of their optionsthat is
The rational decision-maker will use factors or inputs to the point where marginal
value equals marginal cost, which is where profit is maximized (Plattner, 1989).

24
they have the information, the capacity and the willingness to calculate their
alternatives. Typical neoclassical studies neglect the reproductive aspects of
household dynamics and focus on monetary aspects of livelihood strategies. They
also tend to ignore the constraints on small scale livelihood systems in which
household is an integral part of the system.
The assumptions that markets operate within perfect competition, and that
economic agents are homogenous, neglect the fact that competition in real markets is
never perfect. Economic agents that compete in markets have different control over
market conditions, as well as different productive conditions and locations. That is
the reason that markets are mechanisms that accentuate differentiation among
economic agents, reproducing and aggravating their differences. For instance,
producers of urban basic goods establish their prices, usually operating as
concentrated enterprises that control national markets, as in the case of two
enterprises that produce canned milk for the whole Peruvian market. By contrast,
rural households are atomized and numerous. They do not control the prices for their
products, and usually they cannot hold their products and wait for better prices. That
is one of the reasons why terms of exchange are so unfavorable to farmers. In
addition, rural households have different locations, yields, type of products, seasonal
supplies, etc., that make them compete in the markets with different returns. As the
peasant economy becomes more monetarized or more linked to the markets, the
process of differentiation among rural households increases.

25
The Marxist-Leninist paradigm (Lenin, 1899) understood peasant households
in their subordination to markets. Its analysis focused on the process of economic
differentiation within peasantry, characteristic of capitalist development, that would
eventually convert peasants either into proletarians or bourgeoises. The focus of this
analysis was on the linkages peasants as a class kept with the larger society, especially
the commoditization of the economy that subordinated peasants to markets, affecting
land rents and increasing technification of agriculture and its costs. These processes
created increasing differentiation among peasants. This analysis did not take into
consideration processes and differences internal to families and households.
The persistence of peasantry in the third world in the 1960s and its increasing
impoverishment challenged both paradigms in their predictions and facilitated a
revision of the theoretical assumptions and limits of both models. The translation and
"rediscovery" of Chayanov in the late 1960s (Thomer et al., 1966; Shanin 1973) and
his focus on the internal rationality of peasant families, together with the work of
Schultz (1953) opened the field of peasant studies, in which economists, sociologists
and anthropologists tried to understand the complex logic behind economic behavior
of peasants. Chayanov focused on the demographic dynamics of peasant families that
was variable through their life span, in terms of family consumption and provision of
labor, affecting their use of resources and their economic behavior. The
consumer/worker ratio within families was used to explain differentiation among
peasantry in terms of temporary adjustments to family needs. A wide debate followed
the rediscovery of Chayanov, and its discussion goes beyond the limits of this

26
chapter. However, it is important to recognize Chayanovs contribution to the notion
of internal economic rationality to explain economic behavior of peasant families.
The weakness of Chayanov analysis, however, was the lack of consideration of
market dynamics as an element contributing to the internal differentiation of farmers.
He conceptualized peasants as isolated from markets and larger society and also
ignored the demographic pressure limiting land availability, among other issues.
After the 1970s debate between campesinistas y decampesinistas,1 as increasing
globalization expanded market integration of rural people, and as empirical studies
exposed the diversity and complexity of peasants throughout the world, consensus was
achieved on the need to understand both the internal dynamics of families and
households, as well as the linkages they establish with market dynamics and broader
contexts, and their mutual interactions (Plattner, 1989). Economic anthropology has
made use of both neoclassical and Marxist theories, and as empirical research has
been developed, the usefulness and limitations of both paradigms to explain specific
phenomena in non-Westem and Western societies have become more clear. At the
same time, the limits of non-critical use of distinct paradigms and the lack of a
stronger methodological design for anthropologists have been pointed out by Gladwin
(1989).
7A debate in the 1970s around the prediction made by Marx and Lenin that the
peasantry would disappear as a class, challenged by those who agreed that it would
remain as a distinctive social and economic category (called campesinistas) (de Janvry
and Deere, 1979).

27
Regarding the interactions between rural households and the markets, one of
the contributions of Marxist theory is its central concept of production, as a social
process of transformation of nature through specific patterns of social relations that
include production, circulation, distribution and consumption. This way production
and reproduction become linked, the same way forces of production (the relations
people establish with nature) are linked with relations of production (the relationship
people establish among themselves).
How are these abstract notions related to the interactions between households
and markets? They provide holistic understanding of the different dimensions of
livelihood strategies, understanding the connections between monetary and non
monetary aspects of family reproduction; between circulation (commercialization) and
distribution (access to surplus or economic benefit); between technology and social
access to it. Some studies tend to focus on the role of different activities including
the extraction of natural resources in the formation of household income but ignore
the whole cycle of circulation, distribution, and consumption, especially the
reproductive aspects of livelihood strategies. This study tried to incorporate the role
of extraction for family reproduction, including subsistence and income needs. For
example, analyzing income provided by hunting activities, without considering the
dependence of hunters on buying food supplies due to their lack of involvement in
agriculture, would lead to different results, than an analysis that considers monetary
and non-monetary needs, productive and reproductive dimensions of livelihood
strategies. On the other hand, understanding forces of production not only as

28
technology but as social relationships with nature helps to elucidate the ways social
differentiation may affect access to tools and means of production and extraction, and
this way, may affect the process and the results of either production or extraction.
This approach calls attention to the effects of market dynamics on the internal
differentiation of social groups, based on their access to resources, means of
production and extraction, and economic benefits derived from these activities. This
is an important issue explored by this study and is related to the notion of livelihood
strategies.
Another important element to consider in the interaction between households
and markets is the effect market dynamics have on the internal organization of
households and their livelihood strategies. These issues are explored in the next
sections.
Gender and Intra-Household Analyses
One of the main breakthroughs of gender studies has been to overcome the
assumption that households and families are corporate units in which common
interests coincide with the interests of each member. Gender studies have
documented for many different regions, and within different types of families and
households, how inequalities are present in terms of labor allocation and access to its
benefits among others, mostly in terms of female subordination (Bruce, 1989; Folbre,
1989; Katz, 1992). There are also several studies showing the limits of gender
analysis, when it is restricted to gender roles in terms of who does what. Mayoux
(1995) critiques the implicit assumption that incorporating a gender perspective into

29
participatory development will contribute to the equity of the projects impact, calling
attention to the need to link local participants with wider movements for social
change. Bonnard and Scherr (1994) question the importance of gender alone as a
useful variable to understand agroforestry practices in Kenya, showing marital status
of women as a variable differentiating species choice, tree product marketing and soil
conservation, and fertility practices, which are not clearly differentiated by gender.
Warren et al. (1996) analyze the case of northern Ghana in the context of traditional
kinship structures and roles; they also provide a case study in which marital status and
seniority of women are very important in explaining the different work loads of
women in reproductive tasks and their possibility to be involved in market activities
and to access cash.
There is an increasing emphasis on the need to expand the notion of gender in
order to include its complexity associated with class, kinship, life span and ethnicity
at the local level, while linking the household dynamics with the larger economic,
social and political context.8
Livelihood Strategies
An important notion used within GPE as discussed in the MERGE Student
Research Group, is the notion of livelihood strategies.9 It refers to the articulation of
many different activities by different members of the household, in order to make a
8This concern has been present in the MERGE discussions, and this study tries to
incorporate the intersections of gender, class and ethnicity in shaping the use of
natural resources.
9Known in Spanish as Estrategias de Supervivencia.

30
living. This notion originally was used to describe the ways urban poor found a way
to make a living, as a structurally marginal social segment. The concept of survival
strategies recognized their active role in creating their own jobs and income,
overcoming the portrait of poor and passive "victims" (Torrado, 1981; Jelin, 1982).
This notion also allowed researchers to examine differential responses of different
social groups and individuals facing similar structural conditions (Schmink, 1984). It
was later used and expanded to understand the rationality of family goals and behavior
within the farming systems approach (Brush, 1988; Mayer, 1979).
Disaggregation in terms of gender, generation, marital status, role within
kinship and/or community structures, among other variables, has contributed to a
better understanding of the concept of livelihood strategies as a phenomenon that is
not restricted to economics. For the case of Peruvian farmers, Aramburu and Ponce,
(1987) compared different regional contexts of market dynamics, access to land and to
formal education, and found that associated with economic strategies tending toward
either productive diversification or specialization, are demographic strategies tending
either toward family fission (family members emigration) or fusion (family members
remain and some relatives are added). Some results for Ribereho families at the
Napo River suggest (Espinosa, 1994) that families located in more distant villages
rely more on subsistence agriculture, fishing and hunting, with high rates of
emigration and more complementarity and female involvement in agriculture. By
contrast, villages more integrated into market dynamics show less emigration of
family members and families rely more on commercial agriculture and commercial

31
extraction of natural resources done by males. Women are more specialized in
income-generating activities such as domestic livestock and handicrafts, have more
independent income, and have more weight in the domestic economy management.
Agreda and Espinosa (1991) found that associated with the differential importance of
specific activities according to different habitats and access to land forms, the
household composition seemed to play an important role, for Riberehos in the upper,
middle and lower Napo River. While most households headed by males focused
either on agriculture, fishing or hunting as main activities, domestic livestock were
more important in those areas with more prevalence of women headed households.
There is always a strong articulation of the economic, demographic and social
dimensions of livelihood strategies, and there are also different discourses or
ideologies validating specific patterns of access, control and benefits, for family and
household members, in terms of gender, age, seniority, access to formal education
and so on. What cannot be generalized, but rather must be discovered for every
particular setting, is the logic of livelihood strategies, the asymmetries and the
conflicts, and the base for cooperation and solidarity between men and women, and
among families, since conflict and cooperation are both present. This study uses a
gendered political ecology instead of a feminist political ecology approach and,
therefore, does not assume that gender asymmetries are always the most important
element to be addressed.

32
Gender and Ethnicity
The connections between gender and class have been more incorporated into
GPE than have the interactions of gender and ethnicity. For that reason, a review of
some literature addressing these interconnections is presented in this section. In
general, there is a mutual exclusion of ethnicity as part of the gender analysis
mainstream, while discussion of ethnicity does not incorporate a gender perspective.
Many researchers consider that ethnicity in regard to natural resource use is relevant
only when studying indigenous people. The following literature review will reveal
the need to use a more inclusive and flexible notion of ethnicity and of the process of
social and individual construction of identity.
Within anthropology, two major deterministic approaches to ethnicity can be
identified: one which considers ethnicity as somehow intrinsic, something one is bom
with and which remains, even though one may de-emphasize or downplay it.
Ethnicity is the product of basic (primordial) feelings of common descendence
(Epstein, 1978). The other perspective of ethnicity is more instrumentalist and
considers that ethnic groups are collectives of people who share some patterns of
normative behavior, who belong to a larger population, in a context of competition
for scarce resources; ethnicity is a way to better organize the struggle for certain
resources. In this perspective (Cohen, 1974) states that what is important is not the
content of ethnicity but its capacity to organize and mobilize people. The question is,
according to Barth (1969), why groups or individuals want to distinguish themselves
from other groups. The establishment and maintenance of boundaries and the

33
rationality of activating (or deactivating) their ethnic allegiance is associated with a
certain utilitarian rationality of maximizing the benefits of belonging or not to their
ethnic group. In this perspective, ethnicity plays an important role in structuring
behavior, particularly in new contexts. The analysis of both Barth and Cohen operate
at the level of social groups, assuming their internal homogeneity.
Webster (1991) analyzes the case of the people of Thongaland, in the border
of Mozambique. He provides an alternative approach, in which gender differentiated
attitudes toward their Thonga origins-spumed by men and embraced by women-are
explained at the individual level, as part of their gender struggle. His analysis shows
how ethnic roles are changing and flexible according to certain social contexts and
certain social interactions: for example people play Thonga roles within the
community, but use Zulu to deal with the outside world, sensing that somehow, being
Thonga is inferior. With increasing male emigration and integration into labor
markets and public domains there is a trend among the Thonga to identify more with
the dominant Zulu and to deny their Thonga roots.
Instead of analyzing "who the people really are," Webster describes a situation
in which people have a "repertoire of ethnic features to draw upon and they make a
skillful and sometimes imaginative use" of them (Webster, 1994:249). The fact that
Thonga culture offers more status and power to women than does Zulu, explains why
women prefer to use Thonga kin terms to define and control any social encounter,
while men try to impose their own version, usually in Zulu idiom. Gender

34
differentiated interests may allow different subcultures to exist, and different members
of a family to have a different ethnic affiliation.
This notion of changeable roles is also presented by Paulson (1996) for the
case of Bolivian Andean women and Mizquenho families. Paulson understands the
interactions between gender and ethnic hierarchies as part of the dynamic construction
of identity in the midst of the tension between modernity and tradition, the last
understood not as a frozen heritage but as an ideological construction that is used in
different spaces and moments. Diversity and mobility of Mizquenhos families, and
the absence of a corporative identity, challenge concepts of ethnicity as ascribed or
characteristic of a given group.
The redefinition of ethnicity as a dimension of identity experienced by people
in their specific situation in class, gender and other hierarchies may help to
understand the complex identity of people in the Third World, taking into account
what is significant to them, even though it has been marginal to many studies and
policies. Asher (1996) focuses on the mutual exclusions existent in both the gender
and the ethnicity approaches to identity, as she discusses the notion of identity as
something that is not just the result of social structures but something that also is
constructed, changed and modified by social actors. Asher focuses on the importance
of women in the transmission of ideologies of ethnicity, and in the fact that men and
women might have different ethnicity in terms of experience and discourse. Gender
and ethnicity should be approached as part of how people experience and reshape
their identity as a set of strategic responses to their socio-economic conditions, and as

35
a process of negotiation that is subjective, conflictive and depends on contingencies,
rather than teleologic and linear. The "multiplicity of differences" limits the use of
single categories to define something complex such as identity; at the same time this
multiplicity of differences allows a bridge between gender and ethnic identities and an
understanding that an individual can have more than one identity or can use them
differently in different contexts. Paulson (1996) reports that Bolivian peasant women
play different ethnic roles within and outside the community changing their dressing
code, body language, spoken language and social behavior. She addresses the
instrumental way in which women use these different ethnic roles to obtain better
results in their tasks of harvesting and selling their potatoes.
Webster (1991), Asher (1996), and Paulson (1996) agree not only in that
different ethnic identities can be used by men and women in different social contexts,
but in the dynamic rather than passive role of individual actors, not defined by rigid
structural limits. De la Cadena (1992) explores the role of ethnicity and gender
hierarchies shaping internal differentiation in a community of the Peruvian highlands,
analyzing the subjective and objective practices of men and women either in personal
interactions or in regional and national social and political movements. Since ethnic
identities are built within social interactions according to attributes that are recognized
and fixed in the relationship, it is no surprise that the Indian in one relationship
becomes the Misti or mestizo in another relationship and viceversa. This volatility of
ethnic roles coexists with the notion of inferiority of Indians in relation to the Mistis
and is intertwined with gender hierarchies that convert women to the last element in

36
the chain of subordination, dependent on marriage and men to start their own ethnic
upper mobility. Hence, the phrase "women are more Indian" came into existence.
Patriarchal chiefs of extended families control a network of resources within the
community and decide the marriage of their kin; however, increasing migration and
the influence of urban and market dynamics is changing their base of power,
facilitating mestizaje for women through the acquisition of urban knowledge.
Some studies also have called attention to the gender and ethnic inequities that
exist at the community level. For example, in the case of Nepal, Thomas-Slayter and
Bhatt (1994) report that projects might contribute to increasing differentiation between
two ethnic groups: the Bhamin and Tamangs. For the Andes, similar conflicts over
resources exist between Indians and Mestizos or Mistis (De la Cadena, 1992; Paulson,
1996).
These studies present two major issues, (1) the linkages between gender and
ethnicity as hierarchies of domination, and (2) the mobility and interchangeableness of
ethnic roles according to the social context, the advantages for the individual and the
type of personal interactions. These findings imply the need to uncover the specific
ways in which gender and ethnic hierarchies and ideologies reinforce each other, or
conflict, in a context of class subordination. Additionally, there is the need to
recognize the dynamic role of social actors in redefining and using multiple ethnic
roles as part of their livelihood strategies. There is also the need to redefine the
tension between modernity and tradition, not only according to the dynamic of Third-
World capitalist development, but also to the personal choices of individuals.

37
Something that is not considered in the literature is the way ethnic ideologies and
world views affect gender hierarchies and division of spaces and roles in regard to the
environment. What are points of confluence and conflict between ethnicity, gender
and the environment? Another point that needs to be addressed is structural limits
that frame the way individuals experience and redefine ethnic and gender identities
and hierarchies. It is important to consider the objective process in which this
struggle is framed.
Even though this study is interested in the intersections of gender and
ethnicity, it uses the notion of traditional cultural backgrounds instead of ethnicity,
when referring to families under study, since Ribereho ethnicity is not clearly
defined. Even though the study found that traditional cultural elements were
important in daily life events, gender, and interaction with the environment, not
enough evidence was found to define specific ethnic groups of Ribereho families.
The lack of common language and heritage, as well as self-claimed ethnic identity
limited their reference as Cocamas. In the exploration of the intersections of gender
and traditional cultural backgrounds, this study considers the economic limits to
modernization and assimilation that explain the persistence of traditional ways of
living, creating ambiguity in objective and subjective terms. This study explores how
traditional cultural backgrounds reinforce gender hierarchies and ideologies, in terms
of direct and indirect use of resources, access to the benefits extraction of resources
generates and how these elements affect the effectiveness of livelihood strategies, in
terms of food supply and well being of family members. While recognizing that

38
gender and cultural identities are not rigid and homogenous, but experienced and
redefined by individual actors, the study explores the possibility of traditional
institutions limiting individual choices.
Ethnicity of Riberehos
The ethnic identity of the Riberehos of the Amazon lowlands has been
neglected by researchers. In the Amazonian Library in Iquitos, there are hundreds of
ethnographic studies on different native groups that inhabit the Amazon basin, but
there are less than 30 about the Riberehos, most of them focused on the economic
aspects of their livelihoods, including their traditional agroforestry and agricultural
practices and their scientific and economic value (Hiraoka, 1984; Denevan, 1988;
Padoch, 1988; Chibnik, 1990 and 1994; Coomes, 1991 and 1995; Bergen, 1994;
among others). These studies have contributed to overcome the "invisibility" of
Riberehos within Amazon populations10 and to better understand the economic
rationality of their livelihood strategies. However, they do not consider the ethnic or
the gender hierarchies within families, communities and the regional systems.
Of the few studies discussing ethnic identities of Riberehos, Altarama (1992)
briefly describes the historic process of subordination of native populations since the
first explorations in 1542 and their conversion from natives to Riberehos through
mestizaje that he defines at the racial, social and economic levels, as the changes
experienced by their immersion in market dynamics and the dominant culture and
10 As Hiraoka (1984) pointed out, anthropologists in the past were overly attracted to
the more exotic tribal indigenous peoples, ignoring the fact that Ribereos represent
85% of Loretos rural population.

39
society (Figure 2.1). Garcia (1994) defines three elements of the indigenous identity,
resistance, continuity, and change. He understands identity as an assertive process of
self-affirmation starting from a common element, language and a set of common
meanings, including the way to relate to their environment, their territory and
"cotidianeidad" (daily life). Identity does not exist as a finished product, since
tradition is not conservation of an invariable content, but a constant reinterpretation of
the past; therefore, it becomes a dynamic element that is constantly transforming
itself. While identity is the assertive valuation of a group and its historic project,
mestizaje is seen as the process of loss of this identity. Garcia presents a review of
the historic process which includes the contemporary scenario, in which he addresses
the importance of indigenous social organizations as well as the impact of the Western
media reaching the remote places of the Amazon. Stocks (1981) documents the
historical process that shaped the self-denial of the ethnic identity of the Cocama-
Cocamillas, whom he refers to as the "invisible natives," a group of people who do
not recognize themselves as natives, but still have not been assimilated by the national
dominant groups.
A new debate was opened in relation to Ribereho ethnic identity when
Chibnik (1991) introduced the notion of quasi-ethnic group, different from the
mestizos and different from the indigenous groups. His contribution was based on the
work of Stocks (1981) who pointed out the existence of a cholo group in the Amazon
lowlands, using the concept of cholo and cholificacion as developed by Quijano

Figure 1. Research Sites within the Northeastern Peruvian Aronson
-fc-
o
Source: Hspmtm, 1.998,

41
(1980) for Peruvian national society.11 Mora (1995) challenged this approach, based
first on the specific characteristics of the Loreto economy, which has remained based
on mercantilist capitalism and extraction of natural resources. The region has been
unable to develop an industrial productive base to facilitate a process of occupational
change and social mobility for larger segments of the regional population, a process
that has been critical in the formation of cholo groups among large segments of
migrants recruited in Andean mines, coastal fisheries, and urban-industrial sectors.
The second element, not present at the regional level in Loreto, is the process of
grouping that characterized the development of the cholo social group, and their
identity redefinition. This lack of grouping is part of a characteristic of the immature
process of building the Amazon social space, as addressed in Barclay et al. (1991).
Finally, Mora reviewed the case of the Cocamilla of the lower Huallaga, who after
1981 (based on Stocks study), started to claim their ethnic identity for instrumental
reasons. They sought better conditions to claim and obtain titles on territorial land,
access to credit, and exclusive right to use forests, rivers, and lakes within their
territory. They formed an indigenous organization, the Federation de Cocamilla
Communities, affiliated to the regional indigenous organizations. While his critique
nQuijano addresses the process of social mobility made possible by new occupational
roles, emigration and urbanization that allowed a process of detachment from Indian
peasants that were not totally assimilated by the dominant groups, and who formed a
new social and ethnic group called cholos, who were able to group themselves at the
local and regional level, keeping some traditions and values, and in the later decades
have been able to permeate the whole national society (which is called the
cholificacion of the Peruvian society, based on their demographic weight and their
assertiveness).

42
of the notion of cholification in Loreto is clear, Mora does not directly address what
ethnic identity consists of in this region.
This study agrees with Garcia (1994) in recognizing the dynamic process
inherent to ethnic identity. Most Riberehos are in a transitional moment; even now,
after so many centuries of ethnic subordination and assimilation, some elements of
their own ethnic identity are still present, that might be claimed, accepted and
redefined within their social and economic integration in the markets and larger
society, under the appropriate conditions. Otherwise, the process of ethnic self-denial
will continue, in the name of progress and development, as these concepts are
currently transmitted by the State, the media, and most development and conservation
projects.
This study explored the ambivalence and contradictions that the objective
assimilation of Riberehos into market dynamics and socio-political dominant
structures creates, and the assimilation that coexists with the persistence of traditional
cultural elements, in a context dominated by the discourse of modernization.
In this study, ethnicity is understood as a social construction that situates
individuals and groups within a hierarchy that is related to cultural backgrounds. For
the case of Peru, this ethnic hierarchy results from the subordination of indigenous
societies into dominant structures established by Europeans, which created different
sub-groups as a continuum of subordination. Since indigenous societies were
disrupted and redefined, the elements that "survived" this assimilation have been
redefined according to changing contexts, mostly losing their connection with forms

43
of social and economic organization that are disappearing or already gone. Ethnicity
is an element that results from the situation of an individual in specific groups, such
as indigenous, mestizo, cholos, or whites, that are defined not by race or class, but
by elements that relate to their descendence from and/or mobility to specific groups of
the continuum Indian-whites.
However, the concept of ethnicity, as used in anthropology cannot be used
when studying social groups that do not belong to specific ethnic groups. For this
reason, the study used the notion of traditional cultural backgrounds to refer to the set
of traditional ways of thinking and practices that affect social interactions and
perceptions, that derive from indigenous heritage but that cannot be traced to specific
ethnic group membership. The inclusion of these traditional cultural backgrounds and
their effect on the social interactions with the environment within conservation and
development initiatives affecting local people in Loreto is extremely important.
Without romanticizing ethnicity and traditional world views, there are still some
elements of traditional knowledge that might be lost forever, unless a conscious effort
is made to support their rescue and reconstruction. It is also important to recognize
the ethnocentric orientation of most development and conservation initiatives, and the
need to make room to include and validate traditional cultural backgrounds as part of
their social identity.

CHAPTER 3
THE REGIONAL CONTEXT OF LORETO
The Northeastern Peruvian Amazon is situated in the eastern part of Peru,
adjacent to the Andes. Isolated from the rest of the country by this monumental
natural barrier until recent decades, it has experienced a process of social redefinition
of its space, that is referred to by researchers as the construction of the Amazon space
(Barclay et al., 1990; Rodriguez, 1991). Historical processes, as well as the
ecological characteristics of Loreto, have shaped the current patterns of natural
resource use, at regional and local scales. This region has experienced uneven
development, in spatial and social terms, responding basically to external demands for
forest goods. Unless this pattern of market integration is changed, there are no real
conditions for sustainable use of resources within the region. Therefore, in order to
understand the current use of natural of resources by local people, it is necessary to
review the historical processes experienced by this region.
Regional History
Peruvian Amazonia experienced an early penetration of Europeans since
Spanish expeditions in search of El Dorado started a process of colonization of this
region in the first part of the 16th century. However, the rate of integration and
development of this region into national and global economies has been comparatively
44

45
slow, due to ecological constraints that limit profitability of major investments, and to
the socioeconomic and political characteristic of the Peruvian State. As a result, in
the 1990s, the economy of this region still remains based on natural resource
extraction done mainly at small scale by local people, centralized in the city of
Iquitos, commercial and service center for the region. Lack of industrialization, high
costs of transportation, low prices and lack of support for agricultural and wildlife
products are the main factors that keep stagnation and poverty in the rural villages
and in the main cities, making the search for sustainable use of natural resources
more difficult. The following historical review will suggest the elements that have
shaped the main bottlenecks to development and conservation of natural resources that
this region experiences.
Colonial Period
In 1536 the Spanish explorers, conquistadores and missionaries began to
penetrate the Northeastern Peruvian Amazon, changing the uses of this landscape
made by indigenous tribes and imposing a new pattern to benefit the distant crown
and the local dominant groups who served and profited from the colonial power
structure. During colonial domination, the Spanish established encomiendas,
reducciones,x and founded towns to reduce indigenous populations into a system of
lrThe Spanish created several institutions to reorganize native populations.
Reducciones: were the first political, administrative and territorial units created by the
Spanish in order to reduce natives at three levels: geographically, from their dispersed
settlements in the forest into spatially concentrated units; religiously, through their
conversion into Christian faith; and socially, by destroying their own culture, religion
and social organization, as subordinated labor. Reducciones took the form of
missions until the expulsion of Jesuits and Franciscans. The encomienda replaced the

46
domination oriented to extraction of goods, such as turtle eggs, waxes, honey, vanilla
and medicinal plants, as tributes to the Spanish crown (Coomes, 1995:110). Indians
also provided unpaid labor for mission construction and maintenance, guides and
canoe men for soldiers, agricultural production, transportation and trading.
Relocation of indigenous people from the upland forest toward the river banks, and
their concentration into villages was imposed by the Spanish in order to facilitate
control (San Roman, 1975:35-52; Stockes, 1981:6). It has to be said that missions
protected indigenous people from the bandeirantes1 and from the encomienda system
that had a more devastating effect on Indians than working for the missions. The
success of missionaries in attracting Indians has been attributed to their possession of
steel tools (axes and machetes) which totally altered the relationship of Indians with
their forest. However, missionaries also had the additional support of armed
expeditions called entradas to recruit those unwilling to join the missions. This
period was characterized by forced recruitment, flights and rebellions until 1680 when
rebellions were finally crushed (Stocks, 1981:8). Indian mortality was high, due
mainly to their exposure to new diseases and to the disruption of their social
organization. For example, between 1644 and 1652, fifty percent of the Cocama
reducciones and they were temporary concessions of territory and Indians given to a
private person, who was in charge of collecting taxes for the Spanish crown, having
the right to free Indian labor. This system of encomiendas set no limits to protect
native population from the ambition of encomenderos who sought to increase their
profit at any cost.
Expeditions coming from Brazil to capture Indians as slaves. Portugal allowed
slavery within its colonies, while the Spanish did not.

47
population "reduced" or recruited into the mission system, were reported to have died
(Regan 1983:49).
Missions were productive units that aimed to be self-sufficient. Indians could
farm their own land and raise domestic animals. They also had to farm community
land, oriented to support priests and children attending schools. Their periodic duties
also included hunting, fishing and searching for turtle eggs (San Roman, 1975:51-67).
Jesuits taught natives to speak Quechua-used as a lingua franca in their territory-and
introduced them to artisan skills. To a great extent, missions controlled the entrance
of new settlers into the region, being extremely selective. For this reason, during this
period the region did not experience massive immigration while population growth
was disrupted by high mortality among natives.
The Church monopoly over extraction and trade was broken with the expulsion
of the Jesuits and Franciscans in 1768. Power passed to civilian and military sectors
and the linkages with Quito were replaced by linkages to Brazil, through the presence
of Brazilian traders. In this period, the aim was to maintain concentrated native
populations to support the growing white-mestizo local groups. Debt-peonage,
encomienda, mite? and forced military service were the institutions that allowed this
subordination, under the local power of governors and encomenderos supported by
military troops. Indians had to work to pay a never-ending debt, to provide mitayo
3Mita was the mandatory service that citizens of the Inca Empire provided to the state.
Spanish established mita as regular obligations that the indigenous population had to
provide to the Spanish crown. Mita is the word to refer to the service, mitayo refers
to the product of this service (in this region, the species hunted or collected) and
mitayero is the person who does the service.

48
on a daily basis instead of the rotating system established by the missions and to serve
military duties (It is interesting that fresh game meat and hunting are still today called
mitayo). This extraction of cash and goods from native populations was reinforced by
the development of local and regional markets. Petty river traders came from Brazil,
exchanging manufactured goods such as steel, porcelain and clothing for salted fish,
wood resins and barks, balsams and wax. The regatone and habilitadores5
engaged native people in an unequal and abusive system of exchange. This
commercial penetration was enhanced by the introduction of steamships in 1853.
Native languages and customs were prohibited and the initial strategy of Indians was
to escape to the forests or to periodically rebel; however they were later assimilated
into the market dynamics (San Roman, 1975:93-105; Stocks, 1981:93-105; Chibnik,
1994:28-34; Coomes, 1995:110).
The Early Republic
The new Peruvian republic, bom in 1821, created in 1865 the first regional
government in the Peruvian Amazon, to encourage agricultural production and
establishing it as a duty-free zone for twenty years. The first economic boom of the
Peruvian Amazon was the export of Panama hats produced in the eastern highlands
and traded through Yurimaguas and Nauta, on the Maranhon river, to Iquitos and
4Regatones were small traders usually recruited and funded by large traders in Iquitos,
who traveled to the small villages, offering urban goods in exchange for game meat,
fish and other forest and river products.
5Habilitadores were people who financed hunting and/or collecting expeditions, setting
the price for the products obtained in the expedition.

49
then via the Amazon river to Brazil. To consolidate territorial sovereignty, the
national government supported transport and trade in the Amazon, creating a naval
base at Iquitos in 1862. This support was interrupted by the debt crisis of the 1870s
(Coomes, 1995:110)
The new national government created laws to protect indigenous people,
recognized as Peruvian citizens. Their land rights were acknowledged and the
practice of forced labor was prohibited. However, these laws were never enforced at
the local level, since Indian labor was required for trading and governors were the
main merchants of the region. After the introduction of steamships in 1853, the
Peruvian government subsidized nationals and foreigners willing to settle in the
Amazon region, reinforced the military presence and provided some basic services,
and as a result, colonists began to be established in the region (Chibnik 1994:34-36;
San Roman, 1975:119).
The debt peonage system that characterized labor relations in the region in this
period started during the colonial times, after the expulsion of the Jesuits. Merchants
taking advantage of the Indian need for tools and other basic goods, offered them
credit in exchange for fish, game meat and forest products. Due to uneven terms of
exchange, Indians ended up with exorbitant debts that were transferred to their
families after their death. For example, in this period an Indian usually worked a
whole month to pay for an axe (Raimondi, 1862 as cited in Chibnik, 1994:37). The

50
patrones6 who operated extractive and agricultural businesses, based on the labor
obtained through debt-peonage, provided money or goods in advance for labor.
These exchange relations were recreated through paternalistic interactions, such as the
consumption of alcohol to seal agreements, and compadrazgo7 relationships (Chibnik
1994:34-35). When these mercantilists relationships expanded, regatones appeared
as middle men for urban traders, who provided them with merchandise to exchange to
Indians for forest products (Chibnik, 1994:37). These trade networks increased the
pressure on natural resources, due to the low prices for forest products and the
coercive nature of the contract. Products sold to Indians were imported from Brazil:
iron objects, wheat flour, alcoholic beverages, woolen and cotton goods, clothing and
munitions. The most important exports at that time were: sassparilla, copal?
Panama hats, salted fish and wax, as well as balsam, turtle eggs and fat, hammocks,
tobacco and quinine. These exports were causing significant depletion of natural
resources in the Peruvian Amazon, as suggested by Regan (1983:76). In 1859, the
local government established rules first limiting the production of sarsaparilla and
6Patrons were state owners, or any person with the power to engage native and
mestizo people in labor relations of exploitation.
7A mechanism of asymmetric reciprocity, compadrazgo in this case refers to a patron
or trader becoming the godfather of his subordinateds child, which supposedly
obliges him to act on behalf on the childs well-being. The relationship also can exist
between equals establishing strong bonds between them. Compadres and comadres
refer to two adults (males for compadres and females for comadres) related by one
being the godfather or godmother of ones child.
8Sassparilla or sarsaparilla is a viny plant used as a flavoring, for example in the
preparation of root-beer; copal is a natural resin extracted from the bark of different
tropical trees, that is used as sealant, especially in boat construction,

51
later banning its export, but these laws were ignored due to the attractive price and
demand for this product in Brazil (San Roman, 1975:101-105; Chibnik, 1994:36-37).
Iquitos, a center of artisan production and trade formed after independence, remained
as a small village until the rubber boom that changed the social structure and political
ecology of the region. Even though rubber had been used by indigenous people since
pre-Columbian times (San Roman, 1975:126), its commercial "discovery" and
demand in the late 1800s dramatically changed the social landscape of the Peruvian
Amazon. It attracted large waves of fortune-seekers, from diverse origins
(Europeans, Brazilians, Colombians, Peruvians from the highlands and the coast) that
displaced native access to land and created estates (fundos) that remained after the
rubber boom collapsed, all based on native labor. The importance of rubber was
great, since it became Perus second major export between 1902 and 1906. In 1910
Loreto exported 4,500,000 kilograms as compared to 2,088 kilograms exported in
1862 (San Roman, 1975:130-131; Chibnik, 1994:39). The system of exploitation was
collection of rubber from scattered natural trees existing in the rainforests. This
system was different from the plantation system developed in British Asian colonies
that would later displace Amazonian rubber (San Roman: 1975:131-132).
The rubber estates required a labor force familiar with tropical forests and
with a dispersed settlement: they recruited natives displaced and dispossessed from
their own land. The same exchange system was used to recreate debt-peonage into
forms that resembled slavery. The debt was not only transferred to their families in
case of death, but in-debt workers were sold as part of the fundos when a patron

52
decided to sell his property. The other system of labor recruitment, called correras
used force to move entire indigenous tribes living in the inter fluvial zones into the
rubber exploitation system, under the same debt-peonage system. Due to the
inhumane working conditions, mortality was high, and some voices of protest made
this situation known internationally. This scandal coincided, however, with the
decline of the rubber boom in 1912 due to the competition first of rubber plantations
in British Asian colonies and later of synthetic rubber (Chibnik, 1994:38-42). The
city of Iquitos, with 150 inhabitants in 1847, grew to 14,000 habitants by the end of
the rubber boom. Connected to the main markets of Liverpool and New York
through oceangoing steamers, it was the second most active port in Peru and had
resident consuls from ten foreign countries (Chibnik, 1994:43).
The impact of the rubber boom was tremendous, since it changed the ethnic,
social and demographic structure of the region, leading to tribal disruption, mestizaje
and ethnicide and consolidation of white-mestizo dominant groups. It also allowed
penetration of capitalism beyond the sphere of exchange, into the land tenure system
and social relations of production. Besides the rubber estates, a large number of
estates were raising cattle, producing sugar cane and aguardiente9 After the rubber
boom, most jundos or small estates moved to other extractive activities, extending the
depletion of resources. For the case of the Tahuayo basin, Coomes (1995:112)
reconstructs a century of resource depletion consisting of the collection and export of
vegetable ivory or tagua, a latex called balota, timber, fuelwood for steamers and
9Aguardiente is the alcohol distilled from the sugar cane juice,

53
tannin of pashaco trees, through the same systems imposed by the patrones of these
fundos. As they depleted one resource, they moved into the next. While major
fortunes created by the rubber boom fled from Iquitos after the rubber boom declined,
many enterprises remained, establishing networks to obtain and export forest
products, such as timber, gums, resins, essential oils, natural insecticides, medicinal
plants, barbasco10 and ornamental fishes. The construction of a sawmill in Iquitos
in 1918 promoted the export of cedar and mahogany. Between 1925 and 1940 Loreto
exported from six to ten thousand metric tons of wood (San Roman, 1975:172).
These activities, however, never reached the level of the rubber boom due to
the on going resource depletion as well as decreasing demand due to competition
coming from synthetic products (Chibnik, 1994:43). The environmental impact of
these activities was significant and they also maintained the social structure of
dominance over Indians and poor mestizo groups, trapped under the system of debt-
peonage.
A slight increase of rubber exports was experienced during World War II and
stopped at the end of the war due to competition of Asian rubber plantations and
synthetic rubber. Oil exploration started in 1938 and would become important in the
next decades.
l0Barbasco is a natural poison used by local people to fish, and was used as an input
to make industrial pesticides.

54
The Construction of the Amazon Space and Capitalist Development at the National
Level
As mentioned earlier, the Northeastern Peruvian Amazon is separated from the
rest of the country by the Andes. It is more easily connected to Brazil and even
Colombia, through the Amazon and other navigable rivers, than to the rest of the
country.11 The lack of articulation into the national economy and society has been
parallel to the lack of integration within the region, in terms of communications,
social identity and the struggle for its own economic and political interests.
1940-1960:
The 1940s has been identified as a decade that accelerated and modified the
process of social construction of this Amazon space, basically in terms of the
insertion of this region into the dynamic of capitalist development at the national level
(Rodriguez, 1991:103) and also in terms of the establishment of demographic, social,
ethnic and economic differentiation. A new geopolitical consideration started
influencing Peruvian state policy toward the Amazon after 1941: an undeclared war
with Ecuador leading to a peace protocol warrantied by five hemisphere countries
including the USA, vindicated Peruvian territorial rights to this region. It became
necessary to integrate this territory into the Peruvian economy and society in order to
secure military sovereignty. The reinforcement of military presence came with an
Even in current times, the only way to connect directly from Iquitos to Lima and the
coast is by plane. There is no road connecting this region to the Peruvian coast or
highland. However, it is possible to navigate through the Maranhon or Ucayali river
to reach the cities of Yurimaguas or Pucallpa and from there to access roads to the
highlands and coast. Such a trip usually takes more than a week.

55
increasing presence of the state through primary schools in the rural villages, health
services, and the creation of UNAP (National University of the Peruvian Amazon),
the HAP (Research Institute of the Peruvian Amazon), and representation of the
principal national ministries at the regional level.
Education has been extremely important in the diffusion of Spanish as the
current language, the recognition of native people as Peruvian citizens and the process
of negotiation between native/mestizo groups and the state. It has contributed to the
consolidation of Spanish as the language of domination and the white-mestizo culture
as the dominant culture. The discourse of integration indeed hid the real process of
assimilation of native populations. Assimilation is the process of subordination of one
group into a larger one that remains dominant, while the new group is expected to be
dissolved in it, losing its own ethnic identity. By contrast, true integration is a
process of reciprocal adaptation and co-existence of populations that are ethnically
different (Darcy, 1971). Therefore, behind the discourse of integration of the
Amazon into the Peruvian economy and nation, the process was one of subordination
of the region into the national society, and subordination of the native culture within
the national culture, predominantly white-mestizo, urban and Western. Many native
peoples tired of the experience of subordination and marginalization--the so called
"invisible natives" (Stocks, 1981)-decided to deny their own roots, stopped speaking
their language and no longer defined themselves as natives. This process was
facilitated by the increasing expansion of markets and the media influence through

56
small battery radios that connected isolated villagers to Iquitos and other cities of
Peru, Colombia and Brazil.
At the national level, this period was witness to a tremendous effort to connect
the Northern, Central and Southern Amazon with the highlands and the coast through
roads and some airports. The completion of the road between Lima -Tingo Maria-
Pucallpa, Cusco-Puerto Maldonado and Chiclayo-Jaen-Bagua facilitated the integration
of the whole Amazon region, since people in the Amazon could reach these cities by
boats and then connect to the coast through roads. This terrestrial connection started
in 1943 and was expanded in the 1960s, making it relatively easier to send products
to the Peruvian coast than to Brazil. However, while the upper Amazon became
more integrated to the coast, due to its proximity to the highlands and their increasing
agricultural importance, the lower Amazon did not, starting a process of economic
and demographic differentiation between the upper and lower Amazon (Rodriguez,
1991:110).
Despite this increased integration into the national economy, the productive
patterns of the Loreto region did not change significantly. While the upper Amazon
was more oriented to agricultural production and coastal markets, the lowlands
remained focused on extraction of forest products. Extraction of forest products
continued to support the regional economy, in a context of stagnation. Rosewood oil
generated a new fever of extraction during the 1950s but it did not last. Later, in
1954, the export of ornamental fishes experienced a peak but it did not last either
(Coomes, 1995).

57
As part of a process of modernization, the State took a more important role in
promoting capitalist development for the region. This process took place within a
new geopolitical approach to the Amazon borders, focused on populating and
civilizing the region rather than just reinforcing the army positions (Barclay et
al., 1991:47-55). Parallel to the investment in building connecting roads, the state
directly promoted colonization and immigration through the military colonies created
in 1946 and the settlement of the workers in charge of the maintenance of the
connecting roads. In 1951 the Technical Colonization Units were created to stimulate
professionals to settle in the region. However, the main stream of colonist
immigration was spontaneously produced by highland peasants in search of land who
followed the new connecting roads (carreteras de penetracin). Colonization policy
was established in order to alleviate the land conflict in the coast and highlands as
much as to develop the Amazon region, especially the upper Amazon (Rodriguez,
1991:109-116). Another important goal at that time was to increase food production
in order to reduce food imports and to achieve a more balanced distribution of the
national population, highly concentrated in the coast and the highlands and not in the
Amazon (Barclay, 1991:61-62).
The Amazon region in general and Loreto in particular have experienced a
different demographic pattern as compared to the rest of the country. The Amazon
region comprises 60% of the Peruvian territory. Its population in 1862 represented
only 5.6% of national population and in 1940 was 8% of the national population
(CICRED, 1974:142-144; INE, 1981:35; Valcarcel, 1991:163). It has exhibited a

58
slower growth rate and lesser density per square kilometer: 0.5 inhabitant per square
kilometer in 1940 to 2.5 in 1980, compared to increasing density at the national level:
from 4.8 inhabitant per square kilometer in 1940 to 13.8 in 1980 (INE, 1981:29).
The regions low density indigenous population was not properly included in many
censuses due to their patterns of mobility and territory use that were neither
understood nor acknowledged.
Because of this relatively sparse and invisible population, since the 1940s the
region has been considered an isolated, unpopulated and socially empty space, filled
with abundant and easy-to-exploit natural resources, and available to redistribute the
highly concentrated population in the highlands and the coast (Prado, 1941;
Bustamante and Rivero, 1945; as cited in Valcarcel, 1991:167). These assumptions
underlie the main policies that affect population dynamics in the whole Amazon
region. The myth of El Dorado was underlying many programs aimed to convert this
region into the national despensa or food supplier, ignoring its fragile ecology and
indigenous groups territorial rights.
The state goal in this period was to integrate Amazon resources into the
process of capitalist expansion occurring at the national level. The Corporacin
Peruana del Amazonas was created in 1942, basically to supply rubber for a
subsidiary of the Goodyear Company producing tires in Lima. The Companhia
Petrolera El Oriente and the Empresa Petrolera Fiscal and later in the 1960s foreign
firms such as Mobil Oil were established in the region. The importance of these oil
companies was not too great, since they contributed only 2.3% of national production

59
for the period 1950-59 (Barclay et al., 1991:59). The Industrial Development Law
issued in 1959 aimed to promote industrialization in the Amazon through tax
exemptions that were supposed to act as incentives to promote regional industrial
development. At this time the region was considered a way to consolidate national
security not only in terms of external threats, but in terms of solving internal conflicts
(Barclay et al., 1991:65-67). Besides the growth of administrative structures and
services, national policies promoting agriculture in the lowlands started in the 1950s
and 1960s, restricted to some short cycle cash-crops such as rice and maize, and later
jute, grown primarily on the mudflats of the lowlands. However, the land tenure
systems and social relations affecting labor, as well as the high prices of transport,
were barriers to these initiatives. Many laborers left the fundos and moved further
into the interior to start independent villages, expanding the frontier and combining
subsistence and commercial agriculture, fishing, hunting and collection of other forest
products (Chibnik, 1994:49-50).
Even though national policies did not achieve the goal of promoting capitalist
development and industrialization, and did not change the productive pattern of the
region, they had an impact on the social relations over the rural landscape.
Intensification of river transportation and commerce eroded the monopoly of patrones
and regatones and the control they had over local labor, and favored the free
exchange of goods and labor (Padoch, 1988; Barclay et al., 1991:71). Local people
could escape from the patronage system, but they could not escape from the market
dynamic, since they already needed cash to buy goods that had become part of their

60
basic needs (kerosene, salt, oil, sugar, batteries, munitions, health and educational
expenses). And since the prices for their products were low, they needed to
supplement their income with wage labor (Chibnik, 1994:50).
Between 1940 and 1961 the Amazon population experienced an annual growth
rate of 3.56%, well above the national average rate of 2.25 %. For the same period,
the migration rate for the region went from 3.0 to 6.1. Mobility was duplicated
toward the region and within the region (Rodriguez, 1991:113-114). This
demographic growth and the trend toward urbanization would become stronger in the
next decades.
1960-1970: Demographic growth and urbanization
During the 1960s, the Amazon region experienced demographic growth and
increased its importance in regard to the national population, going from 8.7% in
1961 to 9.6% in 1972. In 30 years, as shown in Table 3.1, Amazon population
evolved from 381,028 to 1,328,354 (a growth of 350%), while Loretos population
went from 158,597 to 375,007 (an increase of 236%). After the development push
beginning in 1940, the Loreto region started a process of growth, due to the reduction
of mortality rates and the highest fertility rate of the country: Gross Fertility Rate for
the Amazon in 1961 was 62.6 per thousand, while the national rate was 46.35 per
thousand. The Gross Reproductive Rate for the Amazon was 3.5 children per woman
while the national rate was 2.99 children per woman (CICRED, 1974:80). In
addition to the highest rates, Amazonian women initiate their fertility at earlier stages
than do women in the rest of the country (Ferrando, 1985). This further spurred

61
population growth in the region. Migration has been important more in the
redistribution of Loretos population than in its growth: most migrants come from
within the Amazon region, even from Loretos remote zones or from the upper
Amazon. This is a particular phenomenon, as compared to the case of the upper
Amazon, whose population has received large contingents of migrants from the
highlands (Rodriguez, 1991).
The upper Amazon has been more populated than the lower Amazon, Loreto
representing 72.6% of the lower Amazon in 1972 and 28.2 % of the whole Amazon
region, as seen in Table 3.1. While in the upper Amazon the main demographic and
economic changes were immigration, colonization and the development of agricultural
activities, in the lowlands the pattern was the internal mobilization of population
without changing the economy, based on extraction of natural resources. Rural
Table 3.1. Evolution of the Amazon Population 1940-1972.
1940
1961
1972
Whole Amazon
381,028
835,895
1, 328,354
Upper Amazon
207,467
483,911
811,543
Lower Amazon
173,561
351,984
516,812
Loreto
158,597
272,933
375,007
SOURCE: Rodriguez, 1991:146.

62
people became more integrated to market dynamics, as suppliers of forest products
and as buyers of basic goods and services. This process explains the enormous
growth of the cities of Iquitos and Pucallpa, due to the creation of the first college in
the Amazon (UNAP), and state incentives to develop industrial and commercial
activities (Rodriguez, 1991:117-122).
1970-1990: State reforms and population growth
In the 1970s, under the reforms implemented by the Military Government, the
remaining fundos in Loreto were expropriated as part of the National Land Reform.
In this period colonization was not supposed to avoid land tenure reform but to
complement it. In order to energize regional markets and agricultural production, the
state took over the monopoly of some products, either those important for urban
populations, such as maize and rice, or as a source of foreign currency through
export, such as coffee. The creation of public enterprises in charge of purchasing
agrarian production and providing inputs and credit, such as EISA, EDCHAP and
ENCI,12 gave the State a direct stake in the revenues from this commercialization.
These policies coincided with promotional credit for small farmers, which established
cash crops such as rice, maize and jute as important sources of income for Riberehos
(Barclay et al., 1981:73-74; Chibnik, 1987).
,2These are names of successive public enterprises in charge of centralizing
commercialization of inputs and some agricultural products; due to corruption and bad
management, once one was declared deactivated and under investigation, another
similar one was created, until in the 1990s the State stopped playing an active role in
economic planning.

63
Loreto did not participate in the boom of agricultural development experienced
by the upper Amazon in terms of coffee, tea, rice, maize, cattle, etc. Rice and maize
became important as cash crops during the 1980s, but except for jute, agricultural
products grown in Loreto did not reach markets beyond the region (Chibnik,
1994:58). The extractive activity has been focused more on nontimber products, such
as gums, resins, wild fruits, medicinal plants, barks (Padoch, 1988; Coomes, 1991,
Chibnik, 1994) compared to the region of Pucallpa where timber extraction has been
predominant (Santos, 1991; Valcarcel, 1991). However, the lumber industry was
responsible for 45% of 1975s industrial gross product in the department of Loreto
(Villarejo, 1979:283). Drug trade (coca leaves processing and transportation) has
been an important source of fortunes that are invested in commerce and tourism
(Chibnik, 1994; Fieldwork, 1997). There is no detailed information available on this
activity nor its impacts in the region.
PETROPERU, the state oil enterprise, was an important presence in the region
in the 1970s, with the building of the North Peruvian pipeline and the oil exploration
and exploitation that converted the Amazon into the main oil producer at the national
level. In Loreto, oil investment was 87% of public investment in 1984 (Barclay
1991:75). The construction of the pipeline and the exploration activities attracted
large contingents of labor, many of whom settled as Riberehos or as small colonists
in the Carretera Iquitos-Nauta Colonization Project of the 1980s. Another important
component of public investment in the 1970s was agricultural promotion, agrarian

64
reform and rural settlements, through state institutions like INIPA and the Agrarian
Bank among others.
The Agrarian Reform and populist policies of the 1970s changed the class
structure, taking the estate owners out of the picture and beginning the process of the
recognition of territorial rights of indigenous tribal groups, but those policies got in
the way of the development plan that the government had for the Amazon, and never
were fully applied. The policies favored de-ruralization of Riberehos, and
proletarization, mainly through the oil boom of the 1970s, and the development of
urban sectors associated to services and public service (Rodriguez, 1991:130-131).
After the oil boom the proletarians became marginal, since the city of Iquitos was not
a center of productive capital. This growth of the urban population of Iquitos in a
context of marginalization, and the lack of defined borders among social classes, can
explain the peculiarity of the social movement that occurred in the region in the
1970s: the Frente de Defensa Regional. This broad multi-class organization was
formed by merchants, professionals, inhabitants from urban marginal settlements,
street vendors and the school teacherss union. They demanded from the central
government an increased budget for the region through the Oil Canon (Canon
Petrolero) (a percentage of the revenues of oil exploitation that remains in the region
from which the oil is extracted). After that successful experience, the social
movement did not continue in the 1980s and 1990s, mainly because one of the key
elements, the SUTEP (school teachers union) experienced a process of contraction,
as did most national social movements in the context of political violence.

65
In this period population growth continued with increasing urbanization; even
though fertility rates have been declining, they still remained high. It is important to
note the differences in fertility rates for rural and urban populations, as shown in
Table 3.2. Higher fertility rates in rural areas are associated to higher illiterate rates,
higher for women than for men. The median age of the population reveals the effects
of Loretos demographic trends.
Table 3.2: Demographic Indicators for Loreto.
Variable
Loreto region
1972 1981 1989
Rural Loreto
1981
Urban Loreto
1981
Fertility rates
(births/woman)1
7.5 6.2 5.3
8.0
5.1
Infant mortality1
(deaths/thousand)
93.5
108.9
78.9
Death rates2
14.8 12.4
N/A
N/A
Median age of
population2
15.1
N/A
N/A
Life expectancy2
53.0 55.0
N/A
N/A
Illiterate
population3
15%
27.2%
6.4%
women
39.0%
9.5%
men
18.1%
3.3%
SOURCES: ferrando (1985:45), Webb & Fernandez Baca (1990:118), INEI
(1993:357).
2Chibnik (1994:56).
3INEI (1993:419, 423).

66
Loretos population in the 1990s represented 26.4 % of the whole Amazon
region. Its population had experienced significant growth between 1940 and 1981,
the province of Maynas and especially the city of Iquitos within Maynas being the
main poles of growth. Iquitos is the seventh most populated city of Peru, since the
1970s (INEI, 1993). This significant growth of Iquitos reflects urbanization and
centralization as predominant patterns of settlement (Rodriguez, 1991:124-125). The
growth of Iquitos has been due to its position as the main commercial and
administrative center for the region, and during the 1970s as the main labor market
for the oil operations in the region. Urbanization concentrates population in the main
city of Iquitos, and other minor cities such as Nauta, Tamshiyacu and Requena play
similar commercial and service supply roles.13
However, in the rural scene, the type of predominant livelihood strategies for
the rural population, based on extraction of natural resources, led to increased
dispersion of settlements. Even though 52.12% of Loretos population was urban in
1981, and Maynas province has 69.95% of its population in urban areas, this was not
the case for other provinces of Loreto, where urban population was not predominant:
only 39.23% for the case of Alto Amazonas, 19.60% for Loreto province, 13.20%
for Ramon Castilla, 38.33% for Requena and 29.16% for Ucayali. These provinces
were mainly rural, reflecting the big contrast between growing urbanization around
Iquitos and a predominantly dispersed rural settlement for the rest of Loreto.
13The 1981 census reported seven towns larger than 2000 inhabitants, besides the
cities of Iquitos, Yurimaguas and Contamana, that were not registered as such in the
1940 census (Rodriguez, 1991:153).

67
Population redistribution within the region has meant a process of de-ruralization and
proletarization of the rural population of the lowlands. The main vehicles for these
processes have been rural-urban emigration of young members of rural families, and
the wage labor recruitment done by the oil operations. Because of the limits of the
capitalist process to absorb this labor force as wage laborers, the urbanization process
has often ended in marginalization, when these workers remain in Iquitos as street
sellers, informal traders or labor for construction, porters, etc. De-ruralization has
partially reversed into re-ruralization when ex-workers returned to settle as
Riberehos or small colonists. This is the case of the small colonists settled in the
Carretera Iquitos-Nauta Settlement project of the 1980s. New waves of immigrants
continue to come to Iquitos in search of a better life. This process also expresses the
limits of the livelihood strategies of poor rural population to secure the sustained
reproduction of their families in the long term.
Differential access to formal education has not been reduced in terms of
rural/urban and gender differences. While Loretos illiterate population dropped from
51% in 1940 to 15% in 1981, it was higher in the rural areas: 27.2% as compared to
only 6.4% for urban areas. Urban illiterate women were 9.5% vs. 3.3% of men, and
rural illiterate women were 39% as compared to 18.1% of rural illiterate men (INEI,
1993:419,423). Fertility reduction is associated with access to education and
income, as reflected in the 1991 national fertility rates: 7.1 children for women with
no access to education, 5.1 children for women with elementary education, 3.1
children for women with access to middle school and 1.9 children for women with

68
access to high school and college (INEI, 1993:375). Thus, this differential access to
education is partly responsible for the high fertility rates in the region.
It is very important to note that parallel to this process of de-ruralization and
the growth of Iquitos as a mega-city, the expansion of the frontier has continued. The
same socioeconomic structure that explains the urbanization and centralization of
population in Iquitos, explains the maintenance of dispersed patterns of settlement and
the expansion of the frontier through the creation of new settlements (see Figure 3.1).
That means that the interactions between demographic dynamics and pressure on
natural resources has to be studied considering both phenomena: the continued
dispersion of rural population and the urbanization/centralization of population in
Iquitos. These centrifugal and centripetal forces are part of the same dynamics and
the same problem. The emigration that alleviates pressure on natural resources in an
isolated village in the Amazon river is creating more pressure on natural resources
and the environment in Iquitos (pollution, waste, energy supplies etc.). Emigration of
family members has been reported (Espinosa, 1994, 1997) as an important feature of
demographic strategies of Riberehos families, especially in those areas less integrated
to the market, and therefore less able to supply access to advanced educational, health
services, job and income opportunities.
In regard to the interactions between population growth and pressure on
natural resources, there are many elements to be considered. Even when
demographic growth plays an important role in the expansion of the frontier and the
increasing pressure on natural resources, there are other mechanisms mediating this

Figure 3.1 Sociodemographic and Territorial Patterns in Loreto.

70
interaction. It has been already presented how market dynamics can influence the
patterns of population settlement, Iquitos being the big pole of attraction due to its
important commercial, political-administrative and service supply role. There are
other processes that explain how, parallel to this concentration of population in
Iquitos, the expansion of the frontier has continued and will continue.
It is not the pressure for agricultural land that explains this continued
expansion of settlements, since land is not a restricted or scare resource among most
Ribereho villages. People mainly move on looking for better hunting and fishing
resources. Livelihood strategies of Riberehos require some degree of geographical
dispersion or limited pressure on natural resources, otherwise fishing, collection,
cropping and hunting activities, on which they rely for subsistence, are too difficult,
unproductive and time-consuming. Sometimes social conflicts play a role.
Associated with this is the search for administrative autonomy, the desire to be
recognized as an independent village with its own authorities and its own school.
However, in order to be able to be recognized as a village by the state and be
assigned a teacher paid by the state, they have to show a critical number of children
already attending school. Here begins the process of recruitment of relatives living in
other places; kinship networks of Ribereho families extend far beyond the locality.
This is an important factor in explaining the mobility within the region and the
expansion of the frontier.
The indigenous population is estimated as 30.4% of Loretos rural population
according to the 1981 census, the main ethnic groups being the Cocama-Cocamillas,

71
Amueshas, Shipibos and Witotos, among others. These results come close to the
estimation of Riberehos as 85% of Loretos rural population (Egoavil, 1992). For
the whole Amazonian region, the indigenous population has been estimated at 223,163
and represents 21.5% of its rural population; for other Amazonian departments, the
indigenous population respectively represents, 44.8%, 12.1% and 1% of the rural
population of Amazonas, San Martin and Huanuco (Rodriguez, 1991:123-124).
Table 3.3: Indigenous Population Within Rural Population
of the Peruvian Northern Amazon.
Whole Amazon Region
Loreto1
Amazonas
San Martin
Huanuco
21.%
30.4%
44.8%
12.1%
1.0%
SOURCE: Rodriguez (1991:123-124).
KEYS: 'Loreto is the department where the study sites are located while Amazonas,
San Martin, and Huanuco are Loretos neighboring departments.
The development of regional markets based on extraction of natural resources
has led to the alienation of indigenous people from their land and their culture, and
has supported the process of racial, ethnic, economic and social mestisaje. The role
of the church, markets, public education and the dominance of the white-urban-
westem culture has facilitated the subordinated incorporation of indigenous people
into the mainstream society. In the name of progress, tribal structure was disrupted,
their land taken, their language and religion prosecuted and punished by Catholic
priests and the law. There are several stories collected from local elders about how,
until recent years, local practices were punished, and many shamans were put in jail.

72
Even when the word used by State, church and legislators was integration, the
process was one of assimilation. This process of assimilation and racial mixing
among indigenous and mestizos explain the loss of indigenous identity among people
who descend directly from native groups. The Cocama-Cocamilla is the ethnic group
that suffered the earliest contact with "Westerners" due to their location at the upper
and lower Maranhon river. They were the first natives who accepted public education
(Rengifo, 1997). This group has been called the "invisible natives" by Stocks (1983),
referring to the process of ethnic denial in order to secure and/or improve physical
survival. However, this process is not linear but includes some ambiguity and
contradictions, and is not finished.
1990: Structural adjustment Program
The strong involvement of the State in the process of planning and promoting
development in the Amazon was interrupted in the 1990s, when structural adjustment
policies of President Fujimori eliminated the State Bank that provided promotional
credit to small farmers, as well as the state enterprises in charge of buying jute, maize
and rice. Without these cash-crops, local populations turned even more to extractive
activities in order to get the cash they needed (Agreda, 1993). INIPA was deactivated
and state services in training, credit, technical assistance, have disappeared, being to
some extent replaced by the NGOs. The attempt to develop commercial agriculture in
the region ended, affecting the future of sustainable use of resources. The regional
economy remained extractivist, based on oil, timber, nontimber and wildlife products,
and drugs (cocaine processing and distribution), with an expanded internal market

73
articulated around the city of Iquitos and through it to Lima and the coast. The
increasing importance of ecotourism has to be considered, even though its role has not
yet been studied. The same can be said for conservation and development projects in
the region. One might think that the growth of Iquitos could represent an attractive
demand for agricultural products. This was true to some extent, but main food
supplies for the city were directly transported from Lima by plane, raising their prices
and making Iquitos a very expensive city as compared to other interior cities of Peru.
In a context of neo-liberalism, the State role has been severely reduced,
allowing the market to regulate the economy. A recent attempt to dynamize the
lowland economy has been the introduction of camu-camu plantations for export.
Since 1997, through NGOs, the state is promoting lowland plantations of camu-camu,
an indigenous tree resistant to floods whose fruit has good demand and price in
external markets, due to its significant content of vitamin C. This process is still at
the initial stage, and although it shows ecological and economic advantages it is too
premature to be evaluated.
The Contemporary Situation for Conservation and Sustainable Development:
People. Markets and the Environment
The current situation for conservation and development initiatives is one
dominated by market forces, with reduced presence of the State to intervene in the
economy and society. Any attempt to promote sustainable use of resources has to fit
into this market rationale, where open markets maintain the conditions in which
different agents compete and interact. These differences are due to location,
production and/or post-production costs, information about markets, timing and

74
opportunity of the exchange, degree of dependence on the goods or income exchanged
in the markets, etc. In a context of no intervention of the state to minimize the
differences between economic agents competing in open markets, grassroots
organizations have a crucial role in the articulation of a process of negotiation
between the interests of local communities, conservation institutions and the State in
regard to policies and identification of alternatives that benefit local populations as
well as fit into conservation agenda. Grassroots organizations have to take on the task
of representing local populations in economic as well as in social, ethnic and political
terms. This task challenges the current role of grassroots organizations, limited to the
political and reivindicative action and without a larger picture of their role in long
term and regional perspectives. There is an important task of empowering grassroots
organizations, at the local and regional levels, so that they can lead a process of
articulation of a regional agenda, a social and economic program built by and through
social mobilization, where Riberehos have a crucial role to play.
Legal and Institutional Framework for Natural Resource Management
The main characteristic of the legal framework affecting natural resources in
Peru is the lack of a well articulated and coherent legal body at the national level.
Different regulations issued in different years and with different objectives create an
ambiguous and sometimes contradictory legal framework. According to Peruvian
Environment Law (Codigo del Medio Ambiente), issued by the Congress in 1990,
wildlife and natural resources are considered the Nations patrimony; for that reason,

75
the State is responsible for wildlife protection, through the Ministry of Agriculture
and the Ministry of Fisheries. The Nations natural patrimony is defined to include
ecological, biological and genetic diversity within its territory, landscape and the
interactions among these elements. The Forestry and Wildlife Law (Ley Forestal y de
Fauna Silvestre), issued in 1975, establishes that forestry and wildlife resources are of
public domain and there is no private right to them. The use of these resources has
to fit the regulations established by the Ministry of Agriculture, the public entity in
charge of enforcing this law. Conservation of wildlife species, their ecosystems and
the germplasm of native species, are the responsibility of the State.
In regard to hunting, the law strictly regulates the places, people and
conditions of hunting. Traditional hunting is permitted only by local communities in
the Amazon and in the highlands, restricted to members of peasant communities, and
only for consumption. Commercialization of subsistence hunting is prohibited and the
limit of prey per expedition is one animal, or pieces not exceeding 50 kgs.
Prohibitions extend to hunting during the night, in levees where wildlife take refuge
during floods and during misty days. Traditional weapons are reserved for
subsistence hunting, in which only low fire power guns can be used. Commercial
hunting is an activity done for economic profit and can be done only by those who
have a licence, a contract, pay the fees and respect the quotas established by the
Regional Hunting Calendar. Commercial hunting within communities can be done
only by the communities members (Varese, 1995).

76
Hunting of all Amazonian wildlife species has been indefinitely prohibited
except those 15 presented in Table 3.4:
Table 3.4 Wildlife Species Allowed to be Hunted.
Scientific name
English name
Local name
Mazama Americana
Red Deer
Venado rojo
Tayassu tajacu
Collared peccary
Sajino
Tayassu pcari
White-lipped peccary
Huangana
Tapirus terrestris
Lowland tapir
Sachavaca
Agouti pacca
Paca
Majaz
Dasyprocta variegata
Black agouti
Anhuje
Dinomys braniki
Pacarana
Pacarana
Hydrochaeris
Capybara
Ronsoco
Dasypus novemcinctus
Nine-banded
armadillo
Armadillo
Penelope jacquacu
Bird
Pucacunga
Penelope spp.
Bird
Pavas de monte
Ortalis spp
Bird
Panguana
Crypturellus spp.
Bird
Perdiz de selva
Columbigallina spp.
Bird
Paloma de
selva
Geochelone spp.
Tortoise
Mtelos
SOURCE: Varese (1997), Bodmer (1993).
However, those species that are not prohibited cannot be sold in towns that
exceed 3000 inhabitants (Varese, 1997:82-83). Control on wildlife selling through

77
seizures of game is imposed on the hunter who is trying to bring his product to the
river boat or to the local markets, but not on the regional markets of Iquitos or Nauta,
where game meat is sold without problems. The argument given by game meat
vendors is that they obtained their meat from authorized commercial hunters and not
from community members, a reason that is not always true. It appears that laws are
against the hunters and not against the meat sellers. For example, Nauta-a town with
8,508 habitants in 1994--has been identified as an important market for wildlife
species extracted from the Pacaya-Samiria National Reserve. Between May and
December of 1994, some 3,870 kg of meat were sold in the Nauta market, from 21
wildlife species. Nine of these species were in the category of threatened species.
Paca and black agouti were the most prevalent species being sold (Rodriguez et al.,
1997).
The Peruvian government created the National Institute for Natural Resources
(INRENA) in 1991 and within INRENA, DGANPF (General Direction of Protected
Natural Areas and Wildlife), the unit in charge of supervising the management of all
protected natural areas in Peru, such as the Pacaya-Samiria National Reserve in
Loreto. In 1995, an inter-institutional committee designed a nationwide conservation
strategy with the support of German funding. This strategy, known as the General
National Plan for Protected Areas (Plan Director Nacional para Areas Naturales
Protegidas), recommends the inclusion of participation by local populations and
acknowledges the right of local people to use natural resources, especially for the case
of National and Communal Reserves. However, the policy toward local populations

78
within protected areas is not clear and the National Plan has not been implemented.
While the National Plan has this openness toward local peoples participation, the
previous Land Law (Ley de Tierras) holds the state as the only owner and steward for
natural resources, thus limiting the roles and rights of local people in protected areas.
Even when the law recognizes the right of local communities already established in
protected areas, it does not recognize any community that does not have legal
recognition prior to the establishment of the protected area. This technicality aims to
avoid the flow of immigrants toward the protected areas. Most communities existed
prior to the establishment of a protected area but do not have the legal titles, an
uncertain status and ambiguity that creates lots of tension.
The ambiguity is also expressed in that while INRENA authorities recognize
the right of local people to use the resources at a subsistence level, they do not allow
the selling of resources, even when it is part of their subsistence strategy.
Confiscations are the main source of conflicts and illustrate the lack of coherent state
policies: while selling wildlife resources is forbidden, there is no policy to support
agriculture or other activity in these areas, to provide alternative income. All
technical training and credit programs oriented to small farmers cash crops like jute,
rice and maize have been canceled as part of the structural adjustment policies of the
1990s. Local populations are expected to observe regulations of conservation
management and to pay the cost of conservation. Even though they are authorized to
consume the resources directly, they are not allowed to get any cash in the context of
a depressed but monetarized local and regional economy.

79
Within the Loreto region, the regional government partially funds the
supervision and management of PSNR and is trying to promote an increasing
participation of local authorities as a way to include local populations in conservation
management. However, specific mechanisms to secure broad participation of local
people at the community level have not been officially created or recognized, and
conflicts still persist between local and outsider users, and between local users and
conservation authorities (AIF-DK, 1995).
There are two important protected areas within Loreto: the Pacaya Samiria
National Reserve created in 1972 and the Tamshiyacu-Tahuayo Communal Reserve
created in 1991 (See Figure 3.2). The PSNR and TTCR exhibit some differences in
terms of flood cycle and presence of natural levees that may affect wildlife
populations and the resources available in both places. Basically the existence of
more upland or levees in a place allow more trees and fruit trees to develop, which
attract and support wildlife populations. The Tamshiyacu-Tahuayo Communal
Reserve has more upland forests and, therefore, is assumed to have larger populations
of wildlife (Bodmer, 1995; Extremadoyro, 1997).
Pacava-Samiria National Reserve (PSNR!
The Pacaya-Samiria National Reserve was created in 1972, through the
Decreto Supremo 06-72-PE and its territory was later expanded in 1982 to 2,080,000
has. The PSNR is the largest Peruvian conservation unit and one of the largest in the
whole Amazon basin (COREPASA, 1996). It is located in the lowlands of Loreto,

80
Figure 3.2 Pacaya-Samiria National Reserve (INRENA-M, Agricultura, 1989).

81
between the Maranhon and the Ucayali rivers and includes the Pacaya and the Samiria
rivers that respectively flow into the Ucayali and the Maranhon rivers.
With most of its territory annually flooded, PSNR is one of the most important
areas for reproduction of many Amazonian fish species. The predominant soils have
little slope, poor drainage and medium to low fertility. The reserve is 51% flooded
forests (swamps, aguaje palm swamps and flood plains), 34% seasonal flooded
forests, 13% non-flooded forests, 1% converted forest and 1% rivers and lakes. The
predominant vegetation is tropical rain forest, and palm and swamp formations.
Abundance of lakes and water bodies characterizes PSNR. Wildlife is adapted to the
diverse conditions within the reserve. Birds, tropical aquatic mammals and reptiles
are notorious within PSNR (WWF-AIF/DK, 1993; Pro-Naturaleza-TNC, 1996).
The Pacaya-Samiria National Reserve includes the watersheds of the Pacaya
and Samiria rivers, the right margin of the lower Maranhon river and the left margin
of the lower Ucayali and of the Puinahua channel (See Figure 3.3); it encompasses
several streams, such as Yanayacu del Pucate, which is the most important. The
annual climatic pattern includes a long rainy season, from October to June and
another, relatively more dry season, from July to September. The flood peak is
between March and May and the maximum ebb between August and October (Soini et
al., 1996).
The PSNR is rich in biodiversity, but much of it still is not well known.
Between 1992 and 1993 an inventory and rapid assessment of wildlife and its use by
local people were conducted (Soini et al., 1996). From 648 species registered, 44

82
Figure 3.3 Tamshiyacu-Tahuayo Regional Communal Reserve (Bodmer et al., 1995).

83
were considered within the nationally defined category of threatened species and more
than 50 species had economic and/or medical value. The study showed that local
people used more than 60 wildlife species (30 mammal species, 25 birds and 6
reptiles), the most important being: Paca (majaz), white-lipped peccary (huangana),
black monkey (mono negro), lowland tapir (sachavaca), collared peccary (sajino),
agouti (anhuje), curassow (paujil), birds (pava de monte, perdiz, pucacunga), guan
(panguana), tortoises (taricaya, motelo), and white cayman (lagarto blanco) (Coomes,
1992:217). These species are mostly hunted for selling, with fresh game sold in the
villages and dry game sold to the traders and to urban markets of Nauta and Iquitos.
This study also showed seasonal patterns associated with hunting: during the
floods, hunting is more intensive, since animals concentrated in the levees are easier
to locate and hunt. In the ebb, hunting is less intensive, becoming a more specialized
activity. Hunting was reported with firearms and complementary use of traps and
arrows, for small and medium size animals. Turtles, alligators and other aquatic
animals that get trapped in the fishing nets are also used by local people. During the
summer season, the collection of turtle eggs is an economically important activity in
the PSNR. The study found that the high cost of munitions limits the incidence and
amount of hunting. Those communities located in non-flooded terrains hunt once per
week, with agriculture as the main activity and fishing the secondary activity.
Communities located in flooded forests have fishing as their main activity, agriculture
and hunting being less important and more seasonal.

84
The main conclusion of Soini et al. (1996 ) is that current knowledge on
distribution, abundance, ecology and assessment of wildlife is not sufficient to
implement an adequate resource management plan and that not only are current
practices and use of resources not sustainable, neither is the current management of
the PSNR.
Within the PSNR, 99 rural settlements of diverse size located on the Maranhon
and Ucayali rivers host a population of 35,000 people (WWF/AIF/DK, 1995). In the
periphery of PSNR 77,000 people live in 173 settlements, of which 89% have less
than 500 inhabitants (PPS-Pro-Naturaleza/TNC/USAID, 1996). Two projects work
with the communities within the PSNR: the WWF/AIF project known as PPS and the
TNC/FPCN project.
The PSNR is directed by a Ministry of Agriculture officer based in Iquitos
who reports to the Regional Director of the Ministry of Agriculture and who is
selected by the INRENA. Under him are two watershed managers, one for the
Pacaya river and the other for the Samiria, as well as 40 park guards. The Ministry
of Agriculture funds salaries for 18 guards, the Ministry of Fisheries for two, and 20
are paid by Pro-Naturaleza (formerly FPCN), a national environmental NGO. In
1994, a regional managing board was established, composed of the regional directors
of the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries. In addition, a coordinating committee
was formed, which included the regional Peruvian Amazon Research Institute ( HAP)
the Peruvian Amazon National University (UNAP) WWF/AIF and Pro-Naturaleza.
However it was never operationalized since it was never convened by the managing

85
board. The Regional government, through its Division of Environment, directly
participates in some activities in the PSNR, such as park guards and forestry police
training, coordination with local authorities, and evaluation of the WWF/AIF and
TNC projects.
The Tamshivacu-Tahuavo Regional Communal Reserve (TTCR)
The TTCR, created in 1991 through Resolucin Ejecutiva Regional 080-91
CR-GRA-P, extends over an area of 322,500 hectares of upland forests that divide the
Amazon valley from the Yavari valley. Its natural borders are: the upper Tahuayo
and Quebrada Blanco rivers on the west, the upper Yarapa River on the south, the
upper Yavari Miri River on the east and the upper Tamshiyacu River on the north.
Figure 3.3 shows the fully protected zone of approximately 160,000 ha with no
human settlements or activities and the subsistence use zone of approximately 160,000
ha used by the surrounding communities for extractive activities. Outside the official
boundaries of the reserve is the permanent settlement zone with no definitive limits,
where 32 villages host a population of 6,000 inhabitants. This zone was not
incorporated into the reserve territory in order to avoid conflicts over land-use
practices; however it has been an important component of the TTCR management
plans (Penn et al., 1993; Penn, 1990). The Tahuayo river is a mixture of black and
white waters, while most rivers within TTCR are white rivers that have abundance of
inorganic material in their water. The soils are referred to as richer than other
Amazonian soils (Bodmer et al., 1993). The high biodiversity documented for the
TTCR has been related to the special combination of uplands and flood plains

86
inhabitats, as well as being part of a biogeographic pattern of high species diversity of
western Amazonia (Gentry, 1988 quoted by Bodmer et al., 1997).
Major types of vegetation within TTCR have been reported as white water
floodplain vegetation of lakes and lagoons, islands, levees, back swamps and varzea
and upland non-flooded terra firme vegetation, with smaller specialized areas of plant
communities such as campias and aguajales (Bodmer et al., 1995:5). The TTCR has
a high degree of biodiversity in regard to floral and faunal communities, due to its
combination of rich terra firme soils with varzea habitats, and to the regional patterns
of high species diversity, as reported by Bodmer et al. (1995).
There are 32 villages in the Tahuayo, Tamshiyacu, Yarapa and upper Yaravi
Miri river basins with an estimated population of six thousand total inhabitants whose
subsistence relies to different degrees on the use of natural resources within the
CRTT. An exhaustive study was conducted by Oliver Coomes between 1989 and
1991 for the Tahuayo basin. Based on the results of surveys applied to 541
households, the study identified agriculture as an activity done by all households for
subsistence and/or markets. The major economic importance of other activities was
as follows: commercial fishing was significant for 42% of households, hunting for
19%, commercial nontimber extraction for 23% and timber extraction for 6%. The
study estimated the average family market income per year as $798 for 1988-89, with
a median of $326, where 37% of households were making less than $200 per year
(Coomes, 1991; Bodmer et al., 1995). The species most captured in the Tahuayo
basin are: white-lipped peccary, collared peccary, red brocket deer, grey brocket

87
deer, lowland tapir, paca and capybara who provide an estimated total commercial
value of $17,932, a direct consumption value of $3,008, and a total value of $20,940
per year, for those families involved in hunting (Bodmer et al., 1994).
The TTCR was the result of the convergence of different conservation
concerns from different groups of interests such as: the communities of the upper
Tahuayo, who have been witness to the resource depletion after the 1970s by locals
and outsiders, and who had started community-organized control systems to avoid the
intrusion of non-resident extractors; government agencies who understood the
importance of the area and its rich biodiversity; NGOs involved in sustainable
development and conservation of the Amazon; and researchers working in the area,14
many of whom had a long-term commitment and were aware of the social dimension
of biological conservation.
The management of the TTCR is handled by the communities of the upper
Tahuayo,15 after the regional government granted these communities the necessary
status as stewards of these resources, and closed the TTCR to other communities and
people outside the upper Tahuayo river. Decisions are made in an open and
democratic way. The communities discuss and vote on their affairs, with autonomy
The Instituto de Investigacin Tropical y de Altura- IVITA, from the Universidad
Nacional Mayor de San Marcos, Lima, had established a research station, which
attracted many researchers involved in biological research. Many theses and
dissertations were done by foreign and national students focused on biological,
economic and social issues in the area of the TTCR, as well as on-going long term
research involving local communities (Bodmer et al, 1995).
15These communities are Esperanza, Charo, Buenavista, Cunshico and Chino, the
closest to the subsistence zone of the reserve.

88
and no interference by government or NGO officers. The management plan, which
defines who has the right to access the reserve, amounts allowed to be extracted,
regulations on fishing methods and sanctions for infractors, was approved in 1992
after each of the five communities exhaustively discussed it. Collaboration among
researchers, NGOs and local communities is frequent. Each community member
controls and reports who is entering the reserve and, if necessary, they ask for the
support of the police post in Buenavista or Esperanza, which routinely controls the
access of people using the river taxis. Tension and the use of collective force is not
necessary anymore, since outsiders recognize that they cannot freely access the
TTCR. Therefore, TTCR has no hired guards and is not ruled by any government
officer, as in the case of PSNR (Bodmer et al., 1997:316-320).
Even though outside pressure has been controlled, there is still a gap to be
bridged in order to achieve sustainable use of natural resources, including wildlife.
Studies in the upper Tahuayo have shown that unmanaged hunting is over-exploiting
primates and tapirs, and is probably over exploiting carnivores, edentate and
marsupials and is not over exploiting deer, peccaries and large rodents (Bodmer et
al.,1994). Economic analysis of hunting activity, as well as reproductive productivity
in relation to hunting pressure, with participation of local families (Bodmer et
al.,1997) is generating the necessary information to recommend more specific
guidelines (age, sex, species and seasonality) to make hunting a more sustainable
activity.

89
Projects in the Protected Areas
The PPS or Pacaya-Samiria Development and Conservation Project was
established in 1991 after an agreement was signed between the Peruvian government
(Ministry of Agriculture) the regional government of Loreto, FPCN, WWF/AIF and
the communities of San Martin and Victoria. The PPS oriented its work toward the
social aspects of indigenous peoples rights: organizing local community grassroots
organizations, and sponsoring their claim to be recognized as native communities with
the legal provision of property titles. Since the beginning, this issue brought conflict
between PPS and the Ministry of Agriculture-INRENA, because the law recognized
the presence of already established native or peasant communities at the moment of
the creation of PSNR in 1972 but forbade the creation of new ones. Many
communities like San Martin del Tipishca had not obtained legal recognition before
1972. INRENA denies recognition of any community not legally recognized before
1972.
This position created resentment by the official agencies. According to the
Director of the PSNR, PPS is too concerned with political activism and not focused
enough on conservation. According to authorities, instead of working to find ways to
incorporate local people into management, PPS boycotts any legal restrictions and
seizures, with the argument that local people have the right to make a living. They
by-pass state authority, because as an NGO they have the money the state does not
have. We represent the Peruvian nation. Who are they [referring to the PPS
project] to ignore our regulations? Just because they have the money?" (Benitez,

90
personal communication, 1997). On the other hand, PPS rejects the authority of
PSNR since they do not include local peoples interest and participation in
conservation management. "What sense does it make to conserve wildlife while local
people are starving?" (Lopez Parodi, personal communication, 1997).
The conflicts between PPS and the NRPS are related to conflicts between PPS
and Pro-Naturaleza, the other NGO working within the PSNR (formerly known as
FPCN) through the Pacaya-Samiria project, funded by TNC and USAID that started
in 1992. This project has the goals of creating a balance between the protection of
biodiversity and the economic use of natural resources in search of sustainable
development within the area of PSNR. This project works in close coordination with
the INRENA and the PSNR management and is partially responsible for funding the
guards and providing logistical support to the surveillance system (boats, gas,
salaries). It has also built and organized four conservation and development centers
(CECODES) in key villages that are used by promoters and watershed managers to
access the surrounding villages. The TNC project has been originally framed in more
protectionist approaches to conservation, and that has created a basic disagreement
and conflict between PPS and Pro-Naturaleza, as well between PPS and the PSNR
authorities. Pro-Naturaleza has been trying to include local peoples interests,
basically through income-generating activities that can provide alternatives to the
income generated by extraction of natural resources.
In the upper Tahuayo river, there are several projects operating at different
levels. It is important to mention a small NGO, called the Amazon Conservation

91
Fund (ACF) created to support the TTRC and defend local people. It began working
in 1982 on the upper Tahuayo communities with extension projects. ACF worked to
empower the local people through the acquisition of community jurisdictions,
improvement of schools and healthcare services. ACF played an important role
training people and assisting them in direct negotiations with regional government
entities that provided aid and legislation on natural resource uses. ACF also had
small agroforestry projects and supported the Mothers Club organizations. ACF also
coordinated different activities in the upper Tahuayo. Besides the governmental
agencies such as PRONAA,16 FONCODES and Ministry of Health, ACF facilitated
the introduction of the ADAR and CARE projects into the upper Tahuayo.
Created before the legal establishment of the reserve, the Amazon
Conservation Fund (ACF) involves the work of researchers, government technicians
and ACF extensionists. Once the TTCR was created, between 1991 and 1995, ACF
developed its own extension projects focused on the areas specific ecological and
socio-economic needs. The ACFs priorities at this time were to serve as a
watchdog organization protecting and promoting the TTCR, empowering families
of the upper Tahuayo, so that they could defend their community interests, acquire
their comminity needs and prevent outsiders from controlling land and natural
resources within the buffer zone and the fully protected zone (Moya et al., 1991;
Penn 1993, 1994). In 1995, ACF changed its name to ACA (Association for the
16PRONAA (National Program of Food Relief) channels international Food Relief aid.
It is the national organization that provides food supplies to the Mothers Club and
other grass roots organizations.

92
Conservation of the Amazonia) and it changed its personnel, most of its extension
work ended and it became mostly focused on scientific research. At this point ACA
encouraged CARE-Peru to become involved in the Tahuayo basin (Penn, 1998).
Currently there are research projects that incorporate community families into
monitoring and generation of information, while providing feedback information that
helps communities to set their management plans and regulations (Bodmer, 1995).
However, this research project has no further intervention beyond the collaboration
and solidarity established between researchers and the upper Tahuayo communities.
CARE-Peru has the major institutional presence along the upper and lower Tahuayo
river, focused on interventions to support more sustainable use of resources, through
the introduction of agroforestry (seeds and nurseries of camu-camu, cedar and other
valuable trees), aquaculture and technical assistance for small scale commercial
agriculture and domestic livestock (training, improved seeds, inputs, vaccinations,
breeders, etc). They operate with no investment of project infrastructure, in the
expectation that in a couple of years the project will achieve an improvement in
families economic base, and be ready to move to another site. Health care for
infants, focused on weight monitoring, is provided by ADAR, a local NGO who has
trained and designated a promotor in each village, who is in charge of the monthly
weight and records of infants. A project technician periodically visits the
communities on the Tahuayo river, and sends the necessary supply of nutritional
supplement. Plan International is an international NGO that funds specific projects
requested by communities in the area. Through them, Buenavista received a

93
generator to provide electricity to the whole village, and the district government
promised to fund the network installment. However, this work is still pending.
Due to their closer location to Iquitos, communities in the upper Tahuayo river
receive more support from NGOs, while communities within PSNR rely only on
WWF-AIF/DK or Pro-Naturaleza projects, which operate in different communities.
International aid is channeled through FONCODES (Communal Development Fund),
mainly oriented to infrastructure construction but not to productive projects. Milk
and cereals for womens organizations such as Club de Madres is provided by the
district and regional governments with the support of the PRONAA and international
aid.
Summary
The last decades have witnessed an increasing integration of Amazon space
and population into the larger Peruvian economy and society, but the patterns of the
regional rural economy, based on mercantilist extraction of natural resources and
agriculture, have remained unchanged. In addition, the dramatic reduction of the role
of the State in promoting agricultural development seriously limits the search for
sustainable use of natural resources within this region.
The attempt to maintain and create new protected areas, even though
incorporating communities in conservation management, cannot neutralize the strong
effect of market dynamics, especially when demand for game meat and fish is
sustained and prices comparatively better than agricultural products. While state
regulations allow members of local communities to hunt for direct consumption, they

94
forbid the sale of hunted species in towns that exceed 3000 inhabitants, even though it
is part of local families subsistence strategy. Local populations are expected to
observe regulations of conservation management and to pay the cost of conservation.
The lack of support to agricultural production, in terms of fair prices, lower cost of
inputs and credit, along with the lack of alternative sources of cash and the need of
the local population for cash, keeps the pressure on wildlife extraction. In a context
of lack of alternatives, political imobilization and neo-liberal discourses and practices,
the population is redirected through migration toward Iquitos and other minor regional
cities and is expanding frontiers toward the upper watersheds and streams, spreading
human impact on wildlife populations. The construction of the regional space has not
created the necessary social cohesion among different social groups to allow them to
recognize common interests to articulate social movements able to negotiate better
conditions for urban and rural populations, and alternative economic activities to
create employment and income in more sustainable ways.

CHAPTER 4
THE PHYSICAL ENVIRONMENT AND
RIBEREHO LIVELIHOOD STRATEGIES
The Milieu
The northeastern Peruvian Amazon with 478,336 square kilometers is a large
and relatively homogenous plain of tropical rain forests, drained by the Putumayo,
Napo, Yavari, Maranhon and Ucayali rivers that flow into the Amazon river. The
average temperature for this region is 27.5C, the average annual precipitation is
3,000 mm and the average humidity is around 85% for the whole year (Villarejo,
1979:1234). Even the driest months from July to September receive an average of
more than 150 mm of rain (Hiraoka, 1985:248). The soils are mainly semi lathyritic,
extremely acid, poor in chemical nutrients, compact in texture and not productive
after the second harvest; recent alluvial soils are rich in nutrients and soft in texture,
but represent only between 8% and 10% of the regional surface (Villarejo, 1979;
Moran, 1993:66).
The annual rise and fall of the rivers is the most variable and important
climatic characteristic of this region (Hiraoka, 1989:79; Chibnik, 1994:17) since it
affects not only cropping in the flood plains but the presence, abundance or
disappearance of game and fish and the deposition and removal of land forms. Thus,
even when local temperature and humidity do not establish different seasons, the river
95

96
dynamics establish two main seasons: flood and ebb that vary for each river every
year. Flooding patterns are shaped not locally but by the rainfall in the Andes,
especially the eastern slopes that drain into the region. Even with the high variability
among years, the average cycles are as shown in Table 4.1. Flooding cycles also
limit road and infrastructure building, and large development investments.
Table 4.1 Flood Cycles of Main Rivers in Loreto.
River
Flow (Creciente)
Ebb {Vaciante)
Ucayali
March-May
July-September
Yavari
March-May
July-September
Maranhon
April-May
July-September
Napo
June-August
December-January
Putumayo
July-August
January-March
Amazonas
Depends on Maranhon and Ucayali rivers
SOURCE: Villarejo (1979:41).
During the ebb, fish populations are small and concentrated; when the river
rises, fish migrate into cochas and tahuampas1 and reproduce. The fish migrations
upriver are called mijanos1 and occur two or three times per year. Game meat is
easy to hunt when the river is high and animals concentrate on the diminishing high
terrain that remains dry. These seasonal patterns associated to flood cycles are shown
in Table 4.2.
lCochas are permanent lakes, while tahuampas are seasonally flooded forests.
2Mijanos are groups of fish traveling against the stream.

97
The region is a wide plain that rises only 100 meters from the Atlantic Ocean
3,600 kilometers to the east and this flatness causes the meandering of the Amazonian
rivers that form islands, tipishcas3 and the sacaritas or canhos.4
Table 4.2. Seasonal and Spatial Patterns for Hunting and Fishing
Activity
Ebb (Creciente)
Flow (Vaciante)
Hunting
More intense
Mammals concentrated in levees
Less intense
Mammals more dispersed
Fishing
Less intensive in rivers
Fish more dispersed in cochas and
tahuampas
More intensive in rivers; Fish
trapped in Tahuampas
SOURCE: Fieldwork (1997).
The northeastern Amazon of Peru contains different ecological zones. The
early classification between flood plains (varzea) and uplands (terra firme) is
considered by some contemporary researchers to be an oversimplification (Moran
1982:6; Moran 1993:6568 and Hiraoka 1994:137) due to chemical characteristics of
the soils, and their topography, as well as variability in climate and flora that make it
difficult to generalize about flood plains and/or uplands. This variation is used by
local people to diversify their livelihood strategies, making better use of their specific
ecological and economic context. Agreda (1991) shows how Riberehos from the
3Tipishca are small lakes formed by the changing and sinuous course of the river.
ASacaritas or canhos are local names for channels within flood forests that connect
winding rivers and are used by local people as shortcuts.

98
lower, middle and upper Napo river have different livelihood strategies, based on
their different access to land forms and to markets.
Some research has shown that soils of the Amazon are highly diverse, due to
the interaction of environmental variables and chemical characteristics of the rocks
from which soils result (Moran, 1982:6; 1993:6568). It is, however, accepted that
the upland soils are predominantly poor in nutrients and that the wildlife population is
more scarce, factors associated with lower human population densities found in these
areas, compared with flood plains. However, these uplands do not face any flood
constraint, so it is possible to maintain fruit trees and to obtain forest products
throughout the year. The flood plains, on the other hand, are more fertile since they
receive the sediments that floods bring. But the crops on these soils have to be short
cycle crops and even so, they are always exposed to the risk of variable and
unpredictable flood cycles. Many times the river rises before families can harvest and
they lose their crops. In addition, these mudflats and sands are not permanent, since
they follow the ever changing course of the river. After a cycle it is common to find
that some flats are gone and new ones have been formed in other places. This
instability is compensated by the higher crop yields achievable on these soils,
especially on the mudflats (barreal) where rice, maize and jute played an important
role as cash crops before structural adjustment policies of the 1990s, due to the price
guarantees, credits and purchase the State provided for these crops. These natural
constraints for developing sustainable agriculture in this region are aggravated by
economic constraints, as will be seen in the next section.

99
The different land forms found in the region (see Figure 4.1) are: Upland
(altura), high and low natural levee (restinga alta y baja) according to the level of
water required to flood them, back swamp (tahuampa) that are flooded forests, lake
(cocha), mudflat (barrial) and sand (playas). Mud and sand bars are formed by soil
deposits associated with annual changes in water levels; natural levees and back
swamps are the result of the lateral movement of river channels. In addition to this
classification, local people use other criteria such as plant association. Palm swamps
(aguajales) are shallow swamps dominated by aguaje palms (mauritia flexuosa);
"ceticales are dominated by cetico trees (cecropia latifolia), usually in low levees;
tahuampas are forest-covered land flooded during creciente (Chibnik 1994:21); and
yarinales are areas of well drained soil covered by yarina palm (Phitelephas
macrocarpa). This classification is shared by most researchers (Moran, 1982;
Hiraoka, 1985; Padoch, 1987; Bergman, 1990; Chibnik, 1994 among others) and
local people; however, its application in specific locations may vary. This great
variability in life zones and land forms is associated with the high degree of
biodiversity that characterizes the region.
Even though Amazon flood plains occupy less than two percent of the whole
basins area, the fact that they concentrate abundant aquatic fauna, good croplands
and offer the rivers as natural and easy means of transportation and communication
can explain the high concentration of population on riparian lowlands (Hiraoka, 1985,
1989).

100
Swiddens:
Manioc, plantains
fruit trees
Exceptionally high
flood level
Normal flood
level..
Flooded forest
Backswamp
or
tahuampa
Natural
levee or
restinga Palm swamp
or aguajal
House gardens
Village
Upland
terra firme
or altura
Figure 4.1 Land Forms in Loreto (Padoch, 1988).
This riparian population are regionally known as Riberehos, a term that
designates those who live in the riparian villages of the Amazon lowlands, making
their living from agriculture, fishing, limited hunting, forest product collection and, in
some cases, wage labor. Their counterparts in Brazil are called caboclos (Hiraoka,
1985). This group includes descendants from detribalized Indians, mestizo
descendants and even mestizo descendants of Brazilians (brashicos) or Europeans.
Riberehos represent the predominant contemporary population of the Amazon low
lands, and this is especially true in the case of Loreto, since Riberehos account for
85% of Loretos rural population (Egoavil, 1992). Despite their importance,
Peruvian Riberehos received little attention from researchers until the late 1970s and
1980s (Moran, 1993; Hiraoka, 1985, 1989; Padoch et al., 1985; Denevan and
Padoch, 1988; Padoch, 1988; Chibnik, 1994) when they were recognized as human

101
resources who could offer experience and knowledge in regard to tropical ecosystem
management. This social group has traditional knowledge and traditional subsistence
strategies adapted to their environment and to their market integration (Hiraoka,
1989).
Ribereho Livelihood Strategies
Diversification of economic and subsistence activities are an important
characteristic of the Riberehos. The different weight given to agriculture, fishing,
forest product collection and hunting for subsistence and for markets will depend on
specific location, in terms of market access and in terms of habitats. The different
land forms within Amazon lowlands, presented in Figure 4.1, are used by Riberehos
in specific arrangements that aim to maximize their access to resources throughout the
year, according to the river flood cycles. Agriculture will be more restricted in those
communities where levees and non-flooding land are more scarce, as in the case of
San Martin del Tipishca. Here agriculture is mostly restricted to seasonal crops such
as cassava, watermelon and beans, with no plantains, fruit trees or any other
perennial. On the other hand, Buenavista with more access to levees and terra firme,
has more fruit trees, plantain and timber trees, as well as cassava and maize. It is
important to note how difficult it is to generalize from a community to a broader area,
since the neighboring village to San Martn, Nueva Arica, has abundant levees and
plantains, while the neighboring village to Buenavista, Chino, has almost no levees.
However, a study based on a large sample of households (667 households) in the

102
Tahuayo basin and the Pacaya-Samiria National Reserve (Barham et al, 1995) reports
households within PSNR basing 80% of their cropping on the lowlands, while
families in the Tahuayo area were farming 63 % in the uplands Fishing is the
common main activity for all Ribereho villages. Even though the importance of
commercial fishing differs due to the characteristics and abundance of aquatic fauna,
distance to the markets, market intermediation and other factors associated with
internal social differentiation, subsistence fishing is a daily activity for most
Ribereho families. Besides subsistence fishing, done close to the house, there is
market oriented fishing, done in special locations where certain species are more
abundant. It requires special traps and nets and usually involves a two man
expedition of five to ten days. These two adult males are usually relatives or friends
from different households. In Chapter 6, factors associated with different resource
use within communities are explored and in Chapter 7, the gender and intra household
analysis related to natural resource use is presented.
Agriculture is an activity that is first oriented to secure food and to provide
income when possible. Cassava is the most prevalent crop, since its short cycle
allows it to be planted even in those plots that are flooded every year. Cassava is a
basic component of all Ribereho families, freshly consumed or processed into faria
or masato.5 Faria can last up to 12 months and is the food that complements fish
5Faria is granulated cassava obtained after fermentation, shredding and roasting,
while masato is a beverage currently made by Ribereho women through
fermentation, boiling and second fermentation; Ribereho women still prepare masato
by chewing and splitting the cassava, using saliva to activate fermentation, even
though they do not openly admit the chewing. Some people still refer to masato as

103
during the flood season, when other food is not available. For this reason, cassava is
the priority crop for every Ribereho family. In levees, other crops such as maize,
rice, beans, plantain and fruit trees can be cropped. Upland agriculture is not so
seasonally marked as is agriculture in the flood plains. In the flood plains the same
plots that have been flooded and therefore fertilized are cleared and cropped annually.
Crops grow easily and quickly after planting without the use of added fertilizer or
chemicals to control weeds or diseases. The agriculture is typically a non cash cost
operation. Riberehos save seed from their own plot or from neighbors, comadres or
compadres. The labor used is family labor, mainly womens and childrens.
Sometimes wage labor is partially used when plots are larger, crops are market
oriented and/or cash is available from hunting, commercial fishing or fruit collection.
However, it is not a common practice.
Some villages like Buenavista have access to uplands or high levees, where
plantain and fruit trees can be planted. In this case, these plots have problems of low
yields, due to the lack of nutrients in the soils that are never or rarely flooded. Most
fallows are managed in a way that allows the extraction of some fruits, fiber and so
on, while the soil recovers its fertility. Even though the management of these fallows
is not as complex as the indigenous management described by Denevan et al. (1982)
for the Bora, it implies much more than the commonly passive role of fallows in the
so-called migratory agriculture (Doroujeani, 1980.
masticado or chewed.

104
Hunting is an activity that is very specialized. Not all Riberehos go hunting,
since it requires special skills and endurance to remain in the forests for 10 to 20
days. As reported by Riberehos who do not hunt regularly, hunting requires owning
a gun and investing in ammunitions, salt, batteries, food supply and money to leave
with the family while the hunter is gone. Without special skills, the results of the
hunting expedition will not compensate for the investment and the dangers the
expedition implies. Most Riberehos consider that it is not worthwhile and they state
they have other responsibilities: fishing, agriculture and to attend to their families.
Usually no more than 7 to 10 individuals from a 40 household village are identified as
hunters (Gil, 1997; Fieldwork, 1996, 1997). More details on this activity are
provided in Chapters 6 and 7.
Collecting products of the forest encompasses several activities, from timber
and palm leaves extraction for house building to fibers to do handicrafts, and the
extraction of aguaje6 and chonta to sell.
Ribereho livelihood strategies rely mainly on subsistence activities
complemented with some market oriented activities to provide some cash to purchase
basic goods. Ribereho families live mostly in a non cash economy, not due to a lack
6Aguaje (Mauritia Flexiosa) is a palm whos fruit is very appreciated by regional
populations, used in the cities for ice-cream, beverages, etc and also directly
consumed. Due to the heights these palm trees reach in palm swamps, local people
cut down the palm in order to harvest the fruit, that hangs at the top of the palm.
Therefore, this practice depletes the resource and there is a reported decrease of
aguajales. While some conservation initiatives emphasize training local people to
climb the palm, others have successfully experimented with planting aguaje in the
plots or gardens, where, due to the lack of light competition, aguaje do not grow so
high, making harvest easy without the need to cut the palm.

105
of market integration, but to a marginal integration. Poverty and lack of money
explain their avoidance of money expenditure in terms of their home building and
equipment, eating patterns and living conditions in general. Houses are made with
forest materials and built according to a design that has remained almost unchanged
for the last two centuries. Food is prepared in a comer of the house-sometimes
houses have an attached kitchen-in a fire built on the floor, over soil and bricks.
Meals are prepared only twice a day and the tools are reduced to a knife, cutting
board and sometimes a drainer made from a metal can. Recycling of used material is
common and expresses their poverty as well as their adaptability in using what is
available. Families eat sitting on the floor. The table is rarely used for eating, but is
usually for childrens schoolwork. People sleep on the floor, using blankets or
spreading clothing on the floor, and most families have only one mosquito net that
they share. It is interesting that some people with better incomes have a bedstead but
they do not use a mattress, sleeping on the frame the same way they sleep on the
floor.
Are living patterns explained only by poverty or also by cultural patterns that
are related to an ethnic heritage that still persists, despite the mestizaje process? Both
aspects are related: there are two forces acting in different directions and creating
some ambiguity. On the one hand, the state has introduced and expanded public
schooling as a way to integrate (assimilate) indigenous and mestizo people to Peruvian
state and society. Education has reinforced the role of the Church in civilizing
Indians and mestizos. The message received has been: modernize in order to be

106
accepted; deny your cultural identity in order to be Peruvian citizens; learn the
modem way in order to succeed. Development projects have played a similar role
with a similar message, camouflaged within the notion of development. However,
markets have developed to serve the interests of traders at regional, national and
international levels, basing profits on exploitation of natural resources by squeezing
local peoples labor as much as possible. As a general rule, most families are unable
to find profit in the activities they carry on. For example, a study done by Coomes
(1992) in the Tahuayo basin, an area that can be considered quite dynamic, found that
family market income for the period 1988-89 was between 0 and $15,727 per year,
with a mean income of $798 and a median of $326. Some 37% of the families were
making less than $200 per year, 68% less than $600 and 89% less than $1,600 per
year (Coomes 1992). All of these families were engaged in agriculture, 42% relied
on fishing as the major income activity, 19% on wildlife hunting, 23% on commercial
extraction of non timber products and 6% on the extraction of timber (Coomes, 1992
calculated by Bodmer, 1995). Agricultural prices do not encourage investments in
terms of pesticides, fertilizer, improved seeds, or wage labor to expand this activity.
The same is true for most other activities. Market dynamics in terms of uneven
exchange terms set the limits to social and economic development of Ribereho
communities. They also limit sustainable use of resources, since low prices paid for
natural resources extracted from forests and rivers force local people to extract more
to obtain the same income they could receive if better prices were available.

107
In this context, cultural identity in terms of what is commonly termed
traditional in opposition to modem, plays a functional role within the regional
structure of social and economic power, since it allows Riberehos to keep their
reproduction cost at the lowest possible level, relying on natural resources for their
living, while providing products that keep the whole regional structure going.
However, the opposition between traditional and modem is only partial, since both
aspects are integrated into Ribereho daily life, creating dynamic identities and
perceptions. Riberehos are already in the market and rely on the purchase of some
basic goods (kerosene, matches, oil, batteries, medicine, school items, some clothing,
rice and sugar, etc). They are also traveling to different places, towns and Iquitos,
interacting with urban people there and in their villages, through projects, churches,
tourists, and so on, perceiving and breathing modernity. Some changes are visible in
their living conditions.7
External markers can be confusing when discussing Riberehos ethnic
identity. For instance the language, since most Riberehos speak only Spanish.
Their parents, indigenous descendants, did not speak to them in their language, in a
conscious effort to erase their cultural identity and make them mestizo, more able to
be accepted in the regional and national society. When asked about their affiliation,
all people I interviewed explicitly refused to identify themselves as native or
8For example: some houses have been closed in using sawn boards to give more
privacy, imitating urban models; soccer teams have bought uniforms according to
modem patterns; some clothing has changed for males and sometimes for women and
the influence of tourists is important since they many times trade used clothing for
local handicrafts.

108
indigenous, since for them that means to live in the forests like Indians and they do
not live that way: we are people (nosotros somos gente). They were not able to
speak about their lineage beyond their grandparents, to say where they came from.
Farmers (campesinos) was the term people used most to describe themselves, and
to a lesser extent pobladores and Riberehos. It seems reasonable that a group that
does not claim a specific ethnic identity for themselves cannot be considered as such.
Yet, it is important to reassess the question of what it means to be indigenous in the
contemporary regional context, after the historical process of subordination and
assimilation. Some elements of their daily lives do reflect traditional cultural
backgrounds.8
Riberehos are a social group in a transitional stage, which can lead to final
assimilation and ethnic denial, or to a process of reconstruction of their ethnic
identities. There are external agents favoring ethnic reconstruction, such a AIDESEP
(Indigenous Peruvian Amazon Association) which has an agreement with the Ministry
of Education and the PPS (Programa Pacaya Samiria WWF-AIF/DK) for a Bilingual
Training Program for school teachers. The program recruits rural youth and teaches
them about their specific ethnic heritage, and how to make space within school
teaching to legitimatize and rebuild the local ethnic identity of school children and
8Their beliefs about cutipar (being affected by the spirit or force of things, plants,
rivers, animals, fruits, motors, etc); the prohibition to give medicine to anyone if you
have sex the previous night, are pregnant or with the menstrual period; daily routines
and customs such as sleeping on the floor without using a mattress, not eating salted
but fresh fish; not using the table in the living room, but eating in the kitchen on the
floor close to the fire, etc., are referred by Rengifo (1997) as ethnic markers.

109
their parents. The school in San Martin del Tipishca is part of this program, and
Cocama ethnic heritage is addressed. As a result, many school teachers in different
villages have a different approach and no longer act as typical modernization agents
(as most school teachers do in the region) but as bridges to rescue and validate
traditional heritage. There are still many problems to overcome in this program in
order to make it more effective and less ambiguous. But it is definitely an element
that may help to recapture ethnic identity in a new context. Some important church
groups are also taking of ethnicity9 into consideration. Agencies such as AIDESEP,
AIDECOS (Indigenous Association for Conservation of the Samiria river) and similar
indigenous organizations, despite their limitations, represent the voices of ethnic
groups against the mainstream of society.
This type of external agent may act as a catalytic element of a process that is
also internal. For example, at the end of my fieldwork, the leaders of San Martin
were trapped in an internal conflict, and reluctant to apply the Internal Rules and
Regulations that govern all communities in the area. All communities have to follow
the legal framework provided by the Ministry of Agriculture which is in charge of
community affairs. The Internal Rules and Regulations, done by Ministry of
For example the Catholic Center of Research, Documentation and Publication
(CETA) has been playing a key role promoting indigenous cultures in the region.
Catholic nuns in Nauta have been working in education and development projects for
the last 20 years, facing several failures until they recently decided to try a more
bottom-up approach and switched the language of the meetings to Cocama, even
though it is not an extended language in the area. To their surprise, this shift allowed
a wider participation and a change of the focus of the projects and now they are more
engaged in teaching the Cocama language and facilitating the participation process
rather than in the success of the projects itself.

110
Agriculture officials, prescribe in detail all procedures to deal with domestic and local
issues, infractions, etc. It is a set of community organization rules that is external to
the culture and agency of most communities.
At some point the San Martin leaders realized that these rules did not fit into
their own way of dealing with problems, since they were leading to conflict
aggravation instead of solution. They asked the Bilingual Teaching Programs advisor
to help them find their own way: they wanted to learn how their ancestors used to
rule a community and to solve their problems. This is an example of how traditional
cultural backgrounds may serve as the basis for new proposals for community
organization at local and regional levels. It is important to remember the
contradictory nature of most processes within Ribereho communities at the
economic, social and cultural levels, which will be explored in the next sections.
The Case of the Communities of San Martin and Buenavista
San Martin
San Martin del Tipishca (SMT) is located in the tipischa of the Samiria River
(see Figure 3.2), approximately 50 miles from the Maranhon river.10 The village
10At a place called Santa Clara where large boats stop to pick up and deliver
passengers and cargo. In a speed boat it takes 50 minutes, and in a canoe it takes
four to five hours to reach San Martin. From Santa Clara, the large boat or lancha
takes 21 hours to the port of Iquitos. The cost of the trip is S/ 18.00 (approx $ 9)
per person and S/. 2.00 (approx $1) per piece of cargo equivalent to a 23 kg bag.
For a villager who has no access to the boats of the PPS, this one way trip lasts
more than 24 hours with a cost of approximately S/20.00 without considering the
cost of their cargo and their food.

Ill
that started in 1942 with a dozen inhabitants,11 had in 1997 a total estimated
population of 388 people. This population is formed by 67 families organized in 49
households. This ratio of 1.36 families per household reveals the importance of
extended family in SMT. The survey applied in 1996 shows that 100% of SMT
households interviewed included at least one member of the extended family, while
only 16.7% of the Buenavista sample included a member of the extended family.
Most households in SMT include a daughter that is a single mother or a son with his
own family but with no means of making a living without their parents support. At
the same time, the incidence of emigration of family members is high, with 69% of
cases reporting at least one family member emigrant.12
The physical organization of the village (See Figure 4.2) is along the river and
around the soccer field that serves as a plaza, with the church and the health post at
the bottom, the PPS house to the right and the school in the front, close to the river.
Following the river there is only one street that extends parallel to it. The plots are
nSan Martin del Tipishca (SMT) was founded in 1942 by three brothers and their
families: Jose, Manuel and Juan Cruz Canaquiri, as told by Domingo Canaquiri, 65,
who came as a boy to SMT. These brothers were bom in Lagunas (Huallaga river,
close to Yurimaguas and located in the upper watershed of the Maranhon river) and
had been established first in Nueva Arica, a neighbor community, where they started
traditional crops such as cassava and plantain. However, from Nueva Arica it was
more difficult to reach the Maranhon river in order to sell and buy their basic
products (See Figure 3.3). For this reason, the brothers went out to find a better
place to establish. At that time this region was scarcely populated and people tried
different locations before choosing the definitive one. They settled in what is now
SMT, because of the abundance of river mammals, turtles and large fish species.
12The same trends were found in the community of Llachapa, in the Napo river, a
relatively isolated village, in contrast to the community of Santa Ana, in the lower
Tahuayo river (See Espinosa, 1994).

112
located behind the church and the houses, and also close to the river further east and
on the other riverbank.
The SMT territoryas for most of the communities around the PSNRis
formed by lowland forests; for that reason, all plots and even the village is flooded in
most if not all years. San Martins territory of 1,200 ha is classified as 71.4% for
forest use only and 28.25% for permanent crops (Ministerio de Agricultura, 1997a).
However, the community reports no presence of mudflats and/or levees to sustain
permanent crops, and only 120 has. under cultivation, swamps as 50% of its territory
and high forests being less than 25%. Within the communal territory, there are three
cochas: Lagarto, Huiuri and Caro that are very important for fishing (Ministerio de
Agricultura, 1997b).
Figure 4.2 Distribution of Households, Institutional Buildings
and Plots (Fieldwork, 1996).

113
The fact that the riverbanks of SMT are in a tipishca and not in a river
protects them from dramatic changes in their structure, as occurs in most riverine
villages, a fact that explains the extreme mobility of riverine populations. This
relative stability of their settlement and the good fish available are positive factors that
compensate for the limitations imposed by the flood cycle: no permanent crops, fruit
trees or trees exist in SMT, but they can have a short cycle agriculture in the fertile
soils that are cleared after the floods. The fact that SMT is located in lowland forests
that flood every year was not considered an obstacle, according to villagers. They
take advantage of the fertilization that floods bring to soil, and are able to develop an
intensive agricultureintensive in the use of the soil but not in labor or inputs. In
contrast to agriculture developed in the upland forest, they use the same plots year
after year without a resting period. The amount of labor required for clearing a plot
after the flooding is significantly less, as compared to clearing a five year old fallow.
They plant short cycle crops such as cassava, maize, rice and beans. They always try
plantain even though the harvest comes in the second year, because of its importance
in their diet. They risk planting it in some parts of their plots, and when the flood
comes, they set soil and branches around the plantains, to keep the roots cool and
avoid their being ruined by the heat of flood waters. Some plantains survive flooding
through this technique. However, cassava is the main crop: it is the first that is
planted and even if the floods come early, they harvest cassava and bury it in a
traditional way that allows the semi-processed cassava to be conserved. After the
floods they unearth the cassava, expose it to the air to eliminate acidity, grate it and

114
toast it in large metal containers, preparing the faria for sale and for their own
consumption. Farinha is an important component of their diet, especially during the
floods. Plantain may not survive the floods, and villagers of SMT have to rely on
buying and exchanging plantains from the neighbors of Nueva Arica who have
plantains but not as much fish as people of SMT. It is interesting to note that the
founders of SMT abandoned their plots in Nueva Arica, even though they were
located in levees that are not available in SMT. Nueva Arica is at a walking distance
of only 45 minutes from SMT.
How did the village develop after the Canaquiri families had established
residence? Between 1950 and 1955, the families of Arturo Yuyarima, Alfonso
Rimachi and Antonio Canaquiri came to SMT. They were all relatives of the
Canaquiri and wanted to establish homes close to their family, since they liked the
place very much, and it was so empty. In 1949, a former forest guard of the
Ministerio de Agricultura, A.V., came to SMT and started a private school. Parents
built the school and paid his salary. Every family paid 5 soles to the teacher, a
respectable amount considering that the minimum wage was between 0.50 and 1.50
soles for that period. Other families, tied through friendship and not by kinship, such
as R.T., J.C., and V.M., a small trader who had his business outside of SMT and did
not act as a local trader and habilitador for villagers, came to SMT.
An important feature of the story of SMT is that it has always been a village
free of patrons or habilitadores, with no restriction on the access to land and no
exploitation through social relations of production. This area was not targeted by

115
rubber exploitation, since natural rubber trees were scarce and very dispersed. In and
around SMT, there were no rubber plantations or patrons. Markets were developed
early after the creation of the republic, the main poles of attraction being Iquitos,
Nauta or Yurimaguas. Even though this area was scarcely populated, people living
here and coming from other regions did hunt and fish for markets, selling game meat,
skins, salted and dried fish, timber and other forest products in the markets of
Nauta13 and Iquitos. In the beginning, connection with markets was sporadic, but
increased influence of the school system and Western culture deepened their
dependence on basic goods they did not produce. People started hunting using guns
instead of bows and arrows, using kerosene instead of natural resins and oils, and so
on. These changes had already occurred in the families who came to SMT in the
1940s and 1950s. In the 1960s, other changes increased the dependence of local
people on markets: people started relying more on fishing nets, decreasing the use of
harpoon and farpa,14 using oil instead of animal fat, consuming rice, pasta and sugar
and some canned food as occasional and appreciated staples. Also, plastic displaced
metal receptacles which previously had displaced indigenous ceramics. Soaps and
detergents were widely adopted, replacing the use of soapy leaves and fruits.
Batteries for flashlights became necessary, since they were used for fishing and
hunting at night, and less frequently for radios. Before, these activities were done in
13It takes a journey in the large boats to get to Nauta from the Maranhon river mouth
near San Martin.
uFarpa is a special harpoon that is used to catch large fish such as paiche (Arapaima
gigas).

116
the darkness or during full moon nights, and people were able to see in the darkness
and to fish and hunt. Now everybody relies on flashlights even for a walk in the
village.
The school system since 1949 involved some expenses to families such as the
teacher payment, books, notebooks, pencils, uniform or clothing, shoes and some
occasional contributions to certain feasts and events. As the market dependence
increased, wildlife experienced more harvesting pressure and become more dispersed
and remote from villages, demanding more time and energy to hunt and fish. Prices
of urban goods increased while prices of skins and meat remained stable or decreased,
due to fluctuations of regional and international demands. That is why, even though
the villagers did not experience the presence of patrons and habilitadores as in other
regions, they experienced exploitation through the market's uneven terms of
exchange. Cultural oppression likewise has been exerted through the school system,
the church, local state authorities and representatives. These issues will be discussed
later.
Land access has been always free for families, since patrons were not within
SMT territory. Even though not recognized de jure but only de facto, land belongs to
the community. Any villager who is registered as an active member of the
community can claim his right to open a plot, as long as it is not someone elses plot.
However, land under cultivation is restricted by family access to labor. In a context
of poverty and stagnation of local, regional and national economy, wage labor is a
restricted option for most Riberemho families. Agriculture is done with family labor

117
and with the support of mingas15 or manhaneros that are forms of reciprocal
labor exchange. Villagers agree that an average family cannot plant more than 1.5 or
2 ha unless it has access to wage labor.16
Public elementary school was established in 1960, because of the paperwork
done by villagers and their representatives. High school was established in 1994, as
part of the agreement between PPS, AIDESEP (the indigenous regional organization)
and the Ministry of Education, to create an experimental Bilingual Education
Program.
In 1994, the village of SMT started their claim as part of 13 villages organized
in AIDECOS (Indigenous Association of Communities of Samiria) for legal
recognition as a Native or Indigenous Community. This was part of a process of
organization, institutionalization and mobilization coordinated by the regional
indigenous union AIDESEP and the PPS, in order to facilitate the inclusion of local
people in conservation and development activities. However, the change from
iSMinga is an exchange of reciprocal labor that is done in a rotating system. The
person who invites the minga has to provide abundant and good quality food (game
meat or good fish), masato to drink and has to attend the mingas of the people
coming to his/her own. This person expects people attending the minga to work a
whole working day. But this is not so effective due to the time spent eating and
drinking masato. For this reason-and to avoid the time and cost of food and drink-
many villagers prefer to invite a manhanero or morning minga, where they have
people working from 6 to 9 in the morning and there is no obligation to provide game
meat and masato, only some alcoholic beverage in smaller amounts.
16This is validated by the 62.25 has. projected to be planted in 1997 (Ministerio de
Agricultura, Censo de Comunidades Nativas M.A., 1996) for 67 families, making an
average of less than one hectare per family. This information coincides with the
Report delivered by the SMT to M. de Agricultura in 1997 for their recognition as a
Native Community.

118
village to native community was not free of debate and disagreements: many people
opposed the change, since they did not want to be labeled as native-a process of self
denial that started with their parents and grandparents. The agreement was achieved
only when the leaders explained that this term was not related to the indigenous
concept of native, but rather with the claim that they were the people who had been
settled and/or bom in these places. For this reason the adoption of the organization
of native community has to be understood more in an instrumental way rather than as
part of a process of acceptance and claim of any ethnic identity.
There are two sport clubs in SMT, which not only organize games and
competitions, but act as reciprocal networks in case of members serious problems.
There is also the Club de Madres,11 which groups the mothers of the village. They
have accomplished the building of their institutional house, with the support of PPS,
and earn income generated by a plot of maize that was cropped by all members with
the support of their husbands and children. They are not very active, due to the death
of the husband of the President, who was a very active leader who supported his
wifes leading role; after his death, she has been concerned with taking care of the
family economy and also suffering from chronic health problems that keep her in
pain. Internal conflicts have also reduced the effectiveness of this organization.
11 Club de Madres is a type of organization that started in Peru in the 1970s, as a way
to group all women with children in rural and marginal urban settlements and as a
way to facilitate channeling governmental and non-governmental food relief programs
and other projects targeted to women and children.

119
There is a lack of alternative leadership to do the necessary paperwork to obtain milk
and cereal supplies for their children.
Buenavista
Buenavista is located in the Quebrada Rio Blanco, close to the entrance of the
Tamshiyacu-Tahuayo Communal Reserve, 100 miles from Iquitos and 40 miles from
Tamshiyacu (see Figure 3.3) which is connected by two river taxis that combine their
schedules in order to offer daily service to and from Iquitos. Buenavista is located in
restinga alta, protecting the village and some plots from floods. According to the
villagers, 60% of their territory is formed by high levees and 40% is annually
flooded. This fact and the closer location to Iquitos favored the development of
agriculture as well as extractive activities since the end of the last century (Coomes,
1991).
Buenavista has a total population of 215 people, 35 families and 30 households
for 1997 (Sanchez, 1997), showing a low ratio of families per household: 1.17. The
survey applied in 1996 reported little incidence of extended families: 16.7% of the
sample had at least one relative that did not belong to the nuclear family, living at
home. Emigration of family members also was low, with only 11.5% of cases
reporting at least one member of the nuclear family emigrated.
Until the 1960s, Buenavista was an estate owned by the Bezerra brothers who
were Brazilians (Brashicos).n The last Bezerra, Wenceslao, left Buenavista in the
18The place where the village is now located used to be a large pasture, since the
Bezerra brothers raised cattle. On the other riverbank they planted cassava. When
the harvest time arrived, they hired 15 to 20 women to grate cassava to prepare

120
1970s and passed his land rights to the village. At that time the village started the
paperwork to get legal recognition, because they wanted to have their own authorities.
Their legal status as a Community was obtained in 1974. The police post was formed
in 1947 (see Figure 4.3). The events that precipitated its creation are good indicators
of the situation of Indians at that time, and of the willingness of the Peruvian State to
offer protection to the nationals and foreigners who were developing the region19.
farinha that was sold at the regional markets. At that time there were only 12 families
settled in Buenavista. They had access to a piece of land to crop, and relied on
fishing and hunting for their subsistence, and occasional wage labor in the estate.
They started receiving two soles as wage and five soles in the 1960s. The estate
also exploited at a small scale shiringa or rubber and planted and processed sugar
cane into chancaca to sell. In 1942, the original owners sold the site to their nephew,
Wenceslao Bezerra, a Peruvian borne in Buenavista, who died in Iquitos in 1996. In
1950, the Bank repossessed the cattle since the brothers were unable to pay their debt.
After Wenceslao lost the cattle, he moved his family to Iquitos and worked for some
years as a boat captain in the Ucayali river. He returned to Buenavista and
established people there to exploit the rubber, and stayed ten years before leaving
Buenavista in the 1970s.
19I will refer to the story as it was told to me by two elders: There were two related
incidents. First a man called Paima went to the forest close to the Blanco river and
shot and killed an Indian. Then he went to Buenavista to buy chancaca and when he
returned to his place, he was killed by Indians who had followed him and took
revenge for their fellow killed by Paima. A few weeks later, a man called Penha
passed through Buenavista with his brother-in-law and his Yawuas (group of Yawa
Indians who were his mitayeros, that is, who went to hunt for him). One day, one of
his Yawas told his patron, Penha, that he had seen an Indian path in the forest. So,
Penha thought that he could catch those Indians and make them work for him as his
mitayeros. The following day he went to the path and left mirrors on the ground.
The next day he returned and did not find the mirrors, so he left some cheap jewelry
that disappeared when he returned the next day. Thinking that the Indians were
ready to work for him, he decided to return very early in the morning the next day
and he found two teen age female Indians, whom he sexually forced and then returned
home. The next day he went to buy cassava in Chino, the village next to
Buenavista. They went to the plot to harvest the cassava, and he was invited to stay
for dinner and to spend the night. When he returned to his camp with his Yawas, the
forest Indians killed him and wounded his Yawas. They escaped and came to
Buenavista asking for help. The estate owners asked the government for army

121
Q

O


a
f
plots
- .
Figure 4.3 Distribution of Households, Institutional Buildings and Plots,
Buenavista (Fieldwork, 1996).
intervention to find the Indians. The soldiers came in a boat and went deep into the
Blanco river, but did not find the corpse of Penha nor the Indians who killed him.
The petition included the establishment of an army post to protect the people from
the Indian raids. Instead, a police post was established in 1947.

122
After the Bezerra transferred their land rights to the people of Buenavista-in a
national context where estate owners were expropriated by the Land Reform Program-
-families could access the estate land, and more families came to establish themselves
in the village. Buenavista was recognized as a Comunidad Campesina by the Ministry
of Agriculture in 1974. The public school was built in 1988 but the request for its
recognition started in 1982. In the summer of 1997 the government, through
FONCODES20, provided the materials and technical assistance to build a new
school, made from bricks and concrete while the community provided unskilled labor.
In 1988, there were some problems with the neighbor community of Cunshico
in regard to the right to access some upland plots. The Ministry of Agriculture
created the Buenavista Agrarian Producers Association, giving land to those enrolled
in the association. Those plots are far away and few families crop them, even though
they have legal titles on that land. The restingas altas, closer to the village have no
legal titles. This combination of plots that flood with others that do not, allows
people in Buenavista to have a more diversified range of crops and to distribute
agricultural activities throughout the year, since agriculture is not such a marked
seasonal activity as it is in San Martin del Tipishca. They have access to good
hunting in the areas around and within the TTCR, good fishing in some cochas close
to the village and the possibility of planting fruit trees and short cycle crops for
20FONCODES is a governmental institution that channels international donors funds
mainly to promote infrastructure projects that may improve services for rural
populations, such as roads, communal buildings, health units and schools, etc., and
also provide wage labor for rural people.

123
consumption and selling. They have the opportunity to send cargo or to travel to
Iquitos every day, since the river taxi literally passes by the door of their houses.
The river taxi owners and some villagers act as habilitadores and this also contributes
to make the local economy more dynamic.
Land access in Buenavista is slightly better than in San Martin del Tipishca:
families have better access to land, not only because they have access to levees beside
the lowlands, but because agriculture does not have a strong seasonality, so they can
work larger amounts of land throughout the year. The average family has between 3
and 5 ha distributed in several small plots in different locations and altitudes.
As reported for SMT, changes in consumption patterns occurred early in the
1960s: the use of soaps and detergents, plastic replacing the metallic containers, oils
instead of fat, etc. The use of guns to hunt goes back to the beginning of this
century, but the use of flashlights and nets to fish was expanded in the 1960s.
Changes in food consumption (incorporation of rice and pasta, sugar instead of
chancaca,21 oil instead of animal fat, etc.) were started in the 1970s but are still now
restricted by the access to cash each family has. Still now there are families who use
chancaca instead of sugar. Manual presses are used to juice the sugar cane and
prepare home-made brew and/or chancaca.
21Chancaca is a ball of solid unrefined sugar; it is made of juice extracted manually
from sugar cane, and boiled until thickened juice is set in wooded molds and becomes
solid when cooled. Its use is still very widespread among rural poor that cannot
afford to buy sugar. Urban populations use chancaca to prepare a syrup that is used
for all traditional dishes (They boil the chanchaco again in a pan with water, clove,
cinnamon and orange peel until they obtain a smooth syrup).

124
In 1996, CARE-Peru, a US based NGO operating in several regions of Peru,
started the CASPI project in the Tahuayo river, aimed to promote agroforestry,
agricultural technical support and income-generating activities as a way to alleviate
pressure on natural resources. In Buenavista there are 20 people enrolled in the
CASPI project in order to plant from 0.5 to 2.0 has of camu-camu22 The CARE
organization provides the seeds and technical assistance as part of a three-year loan.
People are already planting camu-camu, even though nobody knows for sure what the
prices will be for the product three years from now. The project has also provided an
improved boar for local pigs. CASPI also provides subsidized vaccination for chicken
and pigs, improved seeds for maize, chiclayo beans and peanuts, insecticides and
weed control. Artificial fish ponds are projected to be built in order to alleviate
pressure on fish populations. Fine wood tree nurseries have been started. ADAR, a
regional NGO, provides health support for the communities in the area, focused on
weight control and a nutrition supplement program for infants. According to the
survey applied in 1996, 56.7% of informants, men and women, were using some
form of birth control, and 76.7% expressed their interest in practicing some way of
birth control. Like most communities in the area, Buenavista has its Mothers Club
{Club de Madres) that is able to channel milk and food supplies from the regional
government and other sources.
22Camu-camu {Myrciaria dubia) is a fruit tree that is resistant to floods, which has a
high content of vitamin C and is in great demand from developed countries such as
Japan.

125
Buenavista received an electricity generator from Plan International, an
international NGO23 and ADAR, a local NGO. It is a community with very
dynamic leaders and a well-organized population, proud of their level of participation
in community issues.
Like Chino, Buenavista was very active in supporting the creation of the
TTCR. When researchers and public officials consulted peoples feelings toward the
creation of a reserve, the reaction was: not a state reserve but a communal reserve.
Everybody supported the creation of the communal reserve and the agreements to
limit extraction, as well as the communal tax paid per animal ( 0.50 soles per smaller
mammals such as paca or majas, and 1.00 sol per larger mammals such as peccary or
huangana). However, once the management plan was approved in 1992-and
modified on at least five occasions through open and democratic discussion in
communal meetings-participation in the management of the reserve is not significant
for most families on a daily or monthly basis. Nor do they participate, as do some
families of Chino or San Pedro (the communities that are closer to the entrance of the
TTCR) in biological research related to conservation management.
The cable network installation is still pending due to lack of budget from the district
government, which offered to finance it. While other communities were asking for
speed boat motors, Buenavista asked for a generator, so that the children could have
enough light to do their homework.

126
Summary
In this chapter the main characteristics of the physical environment have been
presented, as well as the Ribereho livelihood strategies as they adapt to the physical,
economic and social environment. The discussion of their traditional and
modem elements, their ambiguity and their rationalityas established by the
regional and national economy, which denies Riberehos better access to income-has
been initiated. A description of the communities of San Martin and Buenavista, their
local history, socio-demographic features and the most important activities has been
presented, in order to provide a context for the next chapter, which analyses the use
of natural resources in San Martin and Buenavista.

CHAPTER 5
MARKETS, HABITATS AND INSTITUTIONAL FRAMEWORKS: USE OF
NATURAL RESOURCES IN SAN MARTN AND BUENA VISTA
Livelihood strategies are complex combinations of activities in terms of time
and space allocation, with different impacts on the natural resources, different
integration to market dynamics and different results for family survival. The analysis
focuses first on the specific seasonality of livelihood strategies for SMT and
Buenavista, and second, on the amount and type of resources extracted or used and
how this relates to market dynamics and to the survival and well-being of community
families. The underlying research question is whether families of Buenavista, a
community involved in community-based conservation but immersed in a more
dynamic economic environment, are making different uses of resources as compared
to families of San Martin, who do not participate in conservation management of the
PSNR, and who are in a less dynamic economic environment. This chapter is
devoted to the analysis of resource use at the community level and it will provide the
required framework to understand inter-household differentiation in resource use, the
topic of Chapter 6.
Livelihood Strategies
Seasonal changes associated with the flood cycle allow distribution of activities
throughout the year, and a strategy of diversification that is so characteristic of
127

128
Ribereho livelihood strategies. For most villagers, fishing provides the main food
and income supply. Game meat provides cash for hunters, although there are no
more than seven hunters in SMT and eleven in Buenavista. Other sources of income
are selling: faria, small stock (chicken, pigs and ducks) and food crops ( maize,
watermelon, beans and plantains).
Buenavista and San Martin have some differences in terms of access to
resources, location and market integration and the role played in conservation
management: these differences result in different use of natural resources. San Martin
has access to privileged aquatic resources, fair access to game, while no access to
levees, and marginal access to the regional markets, in terms of distance, cost and
accessibility. It is no surprise that fishing is the most important activity, while
agriculture is limited to partial food provision. The local economy is not dynamic but
depressed. On the other hand, Buenavista has access to good hunting, fair fishing,
flood plains and uplands, and a better location vis a vis regional markets, so
agriculture can play a more dynamic role. Fishing is still important for consumption
and provision of income, but it is a more diversified economy as compared to SMT.
Families in Buenavista also have the support of the CASPI/CARE project that
provides technical assistance for agriculture and domestic animals, and other
institutions who operate in the area. Buenavista also has better integration with
regional markets, in terms of distance, cost and accessibility. However, in both
places survival is an uncertain endeavor and morbidity and mortality are high among
children and adults. For most families, adaptation has meant reducing their

129
consumption, and the emigration of children to Iquitos as a way to secure the material
production of the remaining family members in the village. This strategy of
emigration is less accentuated in Buenavista, as already presented in Chapter 4. As
seen in Chapter 3, the regional structure remains basically dependent on extraction of
natural resources, even after so many important changes in terms of use of territory,
social relations and structure.
Ribereflho communities combine traditional cultural and livelihood strategies
with market integration and a process of assimilation to national society. This
mixture and their subordinated integration to markets and society is expressed by
some duality within the livelihood strategies of Riberehos. Duality is understood as
a dynamic tension between modem and traditional elements, and affects the use of
resources as will be explored in Chapter 6.
Comparing Tables 5.1 and 5.2, it is possible to observe that in Buenavista,
agricultural activities are spread more throughout the year because of the access to
both lowlands and uplands. Even though flood cycles are similar, the fact that
Buenavista has more access to levees means that the land starts drying or emerging
from water a little earlier and the agricultural cycle can start earlier. Agriculture in
Buenavista takes more time than in San Martin because they have access to more land
that they work in different seasons. In San Martin, agriculture is a very seasonal
activity, with significant time and labor pressure for clearing and planting, in order to
be able to harvest before the flood starts. Extraction of aguaje is more active during
the winter, especially in SMT, when forests are flooded and transport of the products

Table 5.1 Yearly Seasonality of Activities and Events, San Martin del Tipishca.
Summer (vaciante) / Winter (creciente)
Activities
Ma
Jun
Jul
Aug
Set
Oct
Nov
Dec
Jan
Feb
Mar
Apr
Subsistence fishing
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
Commercial fish.
X
X
X
XX
XX
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
Hunting
XX
XX
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
XX
XX
Aguaje extraction
X
X
X
X
X
X
Turtle eggs collect
XX
Chonta extraction
X
Timber Extraction
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
Clearing
XX
X
Planting
X
X
Weeding
X
X
X
Harvest
X
X
X
X
X
Faria
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
Masato
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
Canoe construction
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
Feasts
X
School Expenses
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
Flood
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
Paiche Price (SI.)
2.0
3.5
7.0
8.0
SOURCE: Fieldwork (1996, 1997).

Table 5.2 Yearly Seasonality of Activities and Events, Buenavista.
Summer (vaciante) / Winter (creciente)
Activities
Ma
Jun
Jul
Aug
Set
Oct
Nov
Dec
Jan
Feb
Mar
Apr
Subsistence fish.
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
Commercial fish.
X
X
X
XX
XX
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
Hunting
XX
XX
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
XX
XX
Aguaje extraction
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
Turtle eggs
collect
Chonta extraction
X
X
X
X
X
X
Timber Extraction
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
Clearing
Low
Low
Low
Low
Upl
Upl
Low
Planting
Low
Low
Low
Low
Upl
Upl
Weeding
X
X
X
X
X
X
Harvest
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
Faria
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
Masato
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
Canoe construct.
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
Feasts
X
SchoolXp
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
Flood
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
Paiche Price (S/.)
2.0
3.5
7.0
8.0
SOURCE: Fieldwork (1996, 1997). KEYS: Low=lowlands and Upl=uplands.

132
can be done in canoes instead of carrying it on the shoulders. Timber extraction and
canoe making also are winter season activities. However, a significant cash demand
may force people to go for aguaje or chonta as a way to make some income, even
when it is not the best time for this activity. This is specially true for SM, where
other sources of cash are more limited, as compared to Buenavista.
Besides the difference in the agricultural activities and in extraction of aguaje,
the rest of the activities are similarly distributed throughout the year in San Martin
and Buenavista. As already mentioned, in the summer, fish are concentrated in the
rivers and lakes and more easily caught, while mammals are dispersed in the forests.
In the winter, fish are spread in the flooded forests called tahuampas, while mammals
are concentrated in the scarce levees, and are therefore easier to locate and hunt.
This explains why the major expenses differ in time and nature, since in San Martin,
expenses are more related to school demands, while in Buenavista, the scarcity of
food supplies requires families to buy food during flood peaks. Families in San
Martin do not have the cash to buy food supplies during flooding, when they rely on
fish and faria. During especially heavy floods, they have to rely on food relief
programs since they are unable to afford to buy the food. For example the 1993
floods were so severe that families in San Martin and Buenavista, as most Ribereho
communities, lost their crops, and special emergency relief programs were required to
mitigate the famine and to restore the productive cycle, since they also lost their
seeds. These events show the fragility of the Ribereho livelihood systems in terms

133
of food security, an issue that is usually overlooked when discussing natural resource
management in the region.
In Chapter 7, the gender and age division of labor is presented, to explain how
families manage to do activities that are simultaneous, such as clearing the plots in the
lowlands and fishing, extracting timber, aguaje, and so on. A brief description of the
main activities is presented before analyzing how much wildlife and what species are
extracted by families in San Martin and Buenavista.
Fishing
All families in San Martin and Buenavista rely on fishing for their
consumption and for income generation. Commercial fishing is done in different
places and times as compared to subsistence fishing done on a daily or every-other-
day basis in places close to the village. However, there is no strict separation
between fishing for consumption and selling in the sense that the fish for the day or
subsistence fishing can produce a surplus that is distributed as gifts to relatives,
smoked for the next day, salted for future sales outside the village or sold the same
day in the village. It is interesting to note that most villagers in SMT and Buenavista
do not consume fish that is salted or dried, but fresh fish or smoked fish caught the
day before.1 The salted or dried fish are sold in Iquitos or Nauta. This is a
characteristic attributed to traditional Riberehos that differentiates them from mestizo
Tn their view, someone who eats salted or dried fish is not well regarded, since it is
an indicator of not being able to get fresh fish for himself and his family; it is like a
recognition of being an incompetent (un incapaz)', this custom reveals to what extent
these villagers are fishermen.

134
Riberehos who salt and dry fish for their own future consumption (Rengifo, 1997).
It may seem strange for an outsider, that the fish caught has to be consumed, sold or
given to relatives that same day but not stored, unless it is for outside selling. This
means that the next day there is again the need to fish. Fish is part of the everyday
diet, for breakfast/lunch and nightie. Most families have only two food intakes
instead of three per day. This custom may explain why, even when prices at regional
markets change with the flood cycle and the relative abundance or scarcity of fish,2
in the village, a kilogram of any fresh fish is always between S/.1.00 and S/.1.50.
The price of fresh fish never goes up or down in the village and is independent of
regional market dynamics.
The other main element of everyday food is faria and plantainnot the sweet
plantain called maduro but the green plantain that is boiled.3 There is a wide variety
of fish species with different flavors and textures, that can be prepared in different
ways (smoked, grilled, roasted enveloped in some special palm leaves, boiled, fried,
stewed and so on).
While subsistence fishing is done with small and thinner nets (3" x 2"),
commercial fishing requires wider and thicker nets (4"x 5"). As already mentioned,
while subsistence fishing is done close to the house every day or two, commercial
fishing is done in 5 to 10 day expeditions, in special locations where commercial
2For example the kilogram of paiche in Iquitos can go from S/.2.00 to S/.8.00
between the months of June and March.
3Plantains are boiled alone as a substitute for yuca (casssava), or boiled together with
the fish in the typical everyday dish called pango.

135
species are more abundant and with special nets and traps. In Chapter 6, the analysis
of the different factors affecting inter-household differentiation in wildlife resource
use is presented.
According to the surveys applied in 1996 (see Appendix B), at the subsistence
level, families in San Martin extract an average of 247.1 kgs of fish per month while
families in Buenavista extract an average of 257.3 kgs of fish per month. Everybody
was involved in subsistence fishing and the average caught per family per month did
not differ for the two communities. At the commercial level, families surveyed in
San Martn reported an average of 408 kgs per month, while families of Buenavista
reported 292.1 kgs per month. Some 2.5% of cases in Buenavista, and 0.9% in San
Martn were not doing commercial fishing, expressing the greater importance of
fishing in San Martin, due to better access to aquatic resources. The average catch
for those doing commercial fishing is 411.6 kgs/family/month for Buenavista and
473.4 kgs/family/month for San Martin. Fishermen in San Martin reported a larger
catch, and also a higher productivity: while fishermen in Buenavista obtained an
average of 70.2 kg per day, fishermen in San Martin obtained 82.8 kg per day.4
These differences are expressed in the resource situation as mentioneded in Chapter 4.
In regard to the species captured, Table 5.3 shows that some species have
similar occurrence for both places, such as boquichicos, acarhuasa, fasacu, gamitara,
while the rest have very different incidence in San Martin and Buenavista.
4The total time invested per family/month in Buenavista for this activity was 129 days
in Buenavista and 142.9 days in San Martin (See Tables in Appendix B).

136
Table 5.3 Most Prevalent Species Fished in San Martin and Buenavista.
LOCAL
NAME
Scientific name
S. Martin
%
Buenavista %
Boquichicos
Prochilodus
amazonesis
55
60
Acarchuasa
Astronatus ocellatus
45
37
Zungaros
Fam.
Trychomicteros
34
23
Fasacu/
huasaco
Hoplias malabaricus
31
37
Palometa
Serrasalmus sp.
21
77
Tucunare
Cicla bilineatus
14
47
Gamitana
Serrasalmus rumbus
17
20
Doncellas
Fam.
Trychomicteros
10
0
Lizas
Leporinos sp.
7
33
Vacamarina
Manatee
7
0
Paiche
Arapaima gigas
24
0
Buj urque
Cichlaurus spp.
14
40
Sbalos
Brycon sp.
0
47
Panhas
Serrasalmus piraya
0
7
Paco
Fam. Prochilodus
0
20
Cahuara
Pimelodus spp.
0
7
N
29
30
SOURCE: Survey (1996).
Testimonies in Buenavista suggest that some species are not available any more due to
extinction. There is also an awareness that some species are protected and should not
be caught, such as paiche, and vacamarina, the manatee, an aquatic mammal.

137
Hunting
Even though hunting is done throughout the year, commercial hunting reaches
a peak during February, March, April and May that coincides with the flood peak.
However, it is important to note that hunting is an activity that is not as much a part
of all family activities as fishing. This could be attributed to the fact that game
conditions in SMT are not as good as in other areas.5 However, the same is true for
Buenavista that has access to good hunting in the TTCR. Hunting is an activity that
is done always by men, in San Martin and in Buenavista. While every family has a
male member fishing for consumption and almost everybody fishes for selling to
some degree, not every family has a male member involved in hunting. According to
the survey applied in 1996, only 69% of the interviewees reported that someone in
their family did hunt. From those who hunt, 80% kill between one and three animals
per trip, 20% went hunting only once or twice per year, 30% 4 to 6 times per year,
only 35% hunted monthly and 10% did it twice per month. When people were asked
how many families were more oriented to hunting, they estimated between six and ten
families for each village. The 1997 fieldwork through interviews with the villagers,
the school teachers, local leaders and project technicians confirmed that there were 7
true hunters in SMT and 11 in Buenavista. The average amount of catch per hunter
5The community evaluated game conditions within their territory as bad with a peak
period between February and April and fishing as good, with its peak at July and
August (Informe Socioeconmico para la Inscripcin de la Comunidad Nativa de San
Martn. D.L. 22175, January 23-01-97. Ministrio de Agricultura, Iquitos).

138
per month was 613.7 for Buenavista and 133.8 kgs for San Martin.6 This
information and the fact that more hunters were identified in Buenavista as compared
to San Martin, express the larger importance that hunting has for families in
Buenavista.
Better game resources and access to markets are important factors that favor
hunting activity in Buenavista. The presence of more habilitadores also seems to
stimulate hunting. It seems that communal access to conservation management as
opposed to state control and seizures, also is a positive factor in the sense that it
eliminates the risk and danger of losing the hunt proceeds. Communal presence in
the management of TTCR has proven to be very effective in controlling outsiders.
Besides the amount that is hunted in each community, it is important to
consider what species are hunted in both places. Table 5.4, based on the survey
applied in 1996, shows that forbidden species, according to national regulations and
the local management plan, are hunted in both communities (especially monkeys).
Both communities have made agreements to limit the amount hunted per
person per expedition, to 50 kg, an agreement that fits into the current state
regulations. In the case of San Martin, the agreement was made with the PSNR post
located close to the community, and in the case of Buenavista, the agreement was
done with Chino in 1992. Levels of sustainable harvest based on biological research
have not been established for either protected area. The complex and unpredictable
The amount of hunt reported by the survey, divided among the whole sample gave an
average of 3.9 Kgs per family per month in Buenavista, as compared to 92.3 kgs per family
per month in San Martin.

139
Table 5.4 Most Prevalent Species Hunted in San Martin and Buenavista.
Local name
Scientific name
English name
SMT
(%)
Bv
(%)
Huangana
Tayassu pcari
White-lipped peccari
48
37
Majas
Agouti paca
Paca
38
50
Monos#
Cebus sp.
Monkeys
38
50
Sajino
Dyctiles torcuatus
Collared peccari
28
0
Venado
Mazama americana
Red brocket deer
10
0
Carachupa#
Dosypus sexcintus
Armadillo
7
3
Motelo
Geochelone sp.
Tortoise
7
7
Anhuje#
Dasyprocta aguti
Agouti
7
7
Paujil
Crax sp.
Curassow
3
3
Achuni#
Nasua sp.
Coati
3
0
Panguana#
Crypturellus undulatus
Guam
0
3
Pucakunga
Penelope jacquacu
Bird
0
10
Other birds
Pyrenus sp.
Birds
0
12
Ransack
Hydrochaeris hydrochaeris Capybara
1
3
Ardilla#
Sciurus sp.
Squirrel
0
3
SOURCE: Data from survey, 1996; Bergman (1990:183-184) and Coomes
(1992:218) provided the scientific names.
KEYS: The symbol # identifies species included in the National List of
Threatened Species, forbidden to be hunted.

140
processes affecting wildlife populations and their ecosystems make it difficult to
estimate levels of harvest that might be sustainable. Besides the hunting pressure,
harvest and extraction of several fruit trees affect food availability for wildlife
species. Natural phenomena such as floods and the relative presence of predators also
affect wildlife populations. Evaluation of hunting pressure on wildlife populations
found that some wildlife species were more vulnerable than others, due to their low
intrinsic rate of natural increase, longevity, and long generation times. For these
species the replacement of a hunted individual takes more time, risk, and energy
compared to species which have high rates of intrinsic natural increase, short life
cycles, and generation times. Among the species that are more vulnerable to hunting
pressure are lowland tapir, all primates and carnivores, such as jaguar, puma, and
achuni. The less vulnerable species include brocket deer, peccaries, and large
rodents, such as paca, agouti, acouchi, and squirrels. Vulnerable species were
reported to make up at least 50% of the game hunted by Ribereho families in both
areas (Bodmer, 1995; Bodmer et al., 1997).
However, in both places, not all families were aware of these regulations (see
Chapter 6). The survey also showed that most families were not aware of the
national laws and regulations affecting their use of natural resources: 72.4% in San
Martin and 90% in Buenavista. Information shows that people are extracting more
than the allowed 50 kg per trip in both places. In regard to the economic cost and
benefit from hunting, it is difficult to estimate them from informants recall, due to
the variability of animals sizes, weight and prices. However, some information

141
obtained from interviews with hunters, such as the average total weight, meat weight
and prices for different animals hunted in San Martin and Buenavista, is presented in
Table 5.5, to complement the information provided by Table 5.4. Prices are
unstable. Many informants reported that they might listen to the radio about good
prices for game meat or fish; however, when returning from the expedition and
selling products, prices may have changed, usually for the worse. There is also the
risk of facing rain, storms and accidents that may result in poor results or no game at
all, even though the investment is the same. While some men go once or twice a
year to hunt, regular hunters take two trips per month, obtaining an average of 130 kg
per trip. They usually combine hunting with extraction of aguaje. If the hunter has
been habilitado and faces a bad trip, the result will be a debt that may attach him to
the habilitador until he can pay off the loan. Risk is one element that works against
the economic wealth of hunters, despite the larger amount of money they potentially
can get, as compared to the other activities done in the village. Another important
element is the diminished labor available for subsistence agriculture which makes
hunters families rely more on purchased food supplies, making their food security
more vulnerable and dependent on the cash obtained through hunting and/or
collection.
It has to be mentioned that heavy consumption of alcohol is often associated
with hunting. Four of seven from San Martin, and nine of 11 hunters of Buenavista
have heavy drinking habits. In both places, women react to men spending money on
alcohol instead of providing for family needs, by buying by credit in local stores:

142
Table 5.5 Average Total Weight, Meat and Prices for
Main Game Species in San Martin & Buenavista.
Local Name
English name
Alive
animal
weight (kg)
Meat/uni
t
(kg)
Price
S/.
Price
US $
Sachavaca
Lowland Tapir
120
80
75.00
Huangana
White-lipped Pcari
40
30
60.00
Sajino
Collared peccari
30
25
Majas
Paca
9
6
40.00
Anhuje
Agouti
5
3
15.00
Ronsoco
Capybara
40
30
70.00
Carachupa
Armadillo
5
3
10.00
Oso
hormiguero+ +
Giant ant eater
40
30
**
Achuni
Acouchi
6
4
8.00
Paujil
Curassow
4
3
15.00
Pucakunga
Bird
1.5
1
7.5
Mono choro
Wolley Monkey
8
6
15.00
Mono coto
Red Howler Monkey
8
6
15.00
Mono negro
Black Monkey
3
2
12.00
Motelo
Turtle
8
4
Paloma
Dove
0.75
0.25
Panguana
Guam
1
0.75
Perdiz
Partridge
3
2
Otorongo++ *
Jaguar
40
30*
**
Tigrillo ++ *
Ocelots margays
10
6
**
SOURCE: Interviews, fieldwork (1997); Bodmer et al. (1993) and Coomes
(1992:218) provided the scientific names.
KEYS: skin as well as meat can be sold; ++ these species have no demand,
but smoked they can be sold as huangana.

143
sodas, rice, canned food and other items besides basic staples. That is their way to
even the score.
Alcohol consumption suggests issues that deserve further exploration in terms
of 1) the gender and intra-household implications ( for family consumption and
income), 2) the socio-economic dependence of hunters on local stores, habilitadores or
river taxi owners, 3) the frustration of getting no profits after so much hardship, and
4) the stress that hunting puts on hunters. Hunting is done in two-men expeditions
that last 10 or 15 days, in which hunters live in the open forest. An expedition is a
difficult endeavor, even for those used to the forests from an early age. There are
many dangers, risks and uncertainties including the discomfort of being away from
their families, and physical exhaustion. Maybe the closeness that hunters keep with
the forest along with traditional elements of their ethnic identity, and their awareness
of the conflicts between them and the modernization process are part of the reason
that hunters search for an escape in alcohol.
The average cost of an expedition, S/. 83.50 (US $38.10) is estimated based
on information provided by interviews with hunters, shown in Table 5.6.
Habilitadores may inflate the cost of the expedition to as high as S/. 150.00, as in the
case of one of the taxi boat owners who supplies hunting expeditions in Buenavista
and Chino.
As reported by hunters, if skilled and with good luck, a hunter can make
S/.500.00 to 600.00 per trip (between US$ 227.27 and 272.72). That means an
income of S/. 350.00 to S/.450.00 after paying the loan to the habilitador (between

144
Table 5.6 Average Cost of Hunting Expedition.
Item
(S/.)
(US$)*
Munitions (1 pkg)
30.00
13.6
Batteries (1 box)
15.00
6.8
Salt (20 kgs)
10.00
4.5
Faria (10 kgs)
20.00
9.0
Mapacho cigarettes (100)
3.00
1.4
Sugar (1 kg)
2.50
1.1
Flashlight (1)
3.00
1.4
TOTAL
83.50
38.1
SOURCE: Fieldwork (1997) 1 US$ = S/. 2.20
US$ 159.09 and 204.54). However, even skilled hunters do not always have an
optimal harvest, and prices are not always good, especially when the habilitador tries
to maximize his profit, at the expense of the hunter. As shown in Chapter 6, most
hunters are not among the better-off in San Martin or Buenavista, due to their
inability to diversify their livelihoods and provide their own food supply. Even
though they get more cash than other familiess, they also spend much more buying
food and alcohol.
Agriculture
While fishing is a constant activity throughout the whole year, the other
important activity for survival, agriculture, is more seasonal, especially in SMT. The
Seasonal Calendar prepared for SMT shows how flood cycles affect the whole range
of activities on which their livelihood strategies rely. The alternation of peak seasons

145
for hunting and commercial fishing does not create conflicts in labor allocation, even
though both activities are done exclusively by males. However, the coincidence of
the hunting season with the clearing and planting of agricultural plots in May is
solved by the division of labor within households: even though some males participate
in planting and weeding, especially those who do not hunt or do much commercial
fishing, and those who like agriculture, most people working in the plots are women
with their children. Agricultural activity is mainly a female activity. There are some
males who participate in agriculture besides cutting and clearing the plot, but there
are practically no women who are not directly involved in planting and weeding the
family plot during the months of May to August, in harvesting maize and rice from
September to October, and harvesting yuca (cassava) from November to December.
The whole family participates in the harvest, especially when the floods come early
and everybody is busy trying to beat the flood and harvest before losing their crops.
Female involvement in agriculture is less clear in Buenavista, where nine
women make handicrafts to sell and exchange in the nearby tourist lodges market.
However, all these women also work in their plots. They put additional time into
weaving, since it provides a better income: an average of between US$ 5 and US $ 15
per selling trip. However, they have to alternate weaving with agriculture, not only
to secure their subsistence, but due to the fact that weaving is a very demanding
activity. After a couple of days of concentrated weaving, their hands, neck and eyes
get very tired.

146
Agriculture in the uplands is done during the floods time, while in the ebb
agriculture is done in the lowlands. This spread of agriculture throughout the year
allows families to crop more land and to face less time stress; therefore they are more
able to diversify their activities.
Agricultural tasks in this Amazon region are done with some particularities,
due to the characteristics of the soils, the extreme heat and the relatively short
distances to the plots. In San Martin, people go to their plots very early in the
morning, leaving their homes at 6 am, usually making a canoe trip or walk of 10 to
15 min. In a few cases, the canoe trip can be up to 1 hour or 1 hour and 20 minutes,
where plots are larger and require support of male wage labor for some tasks. In this
case, men are the ones who do the rowing. Starting at 6:15 am, they work until 9 or
10 am, depending on the other tasks they have for the day, the support they have at
home for domestic work and child care, etc. In most cases, the sun, heat and
mosquitos make it very hard to continue and they stop at 9:30 am, and return home to
rest for a while. The extreme heat and humidity and the assault of insects represent
an aggressive environment that limits peoples expenditure of energy. Women wash
clothes or prepare food; men go fishing. June is the time of the year to make faria;
either men or women or both are involved. It takes approximately three hours of
stirring the mixture over the fire, for an amount that can last one month for a family
of five.
They return to their plots in the afternoon for a couple of hours, when the heat
is a little less. After that, everybody is ready for the daily bath in the river, just

147
before sunset. In Buenavista, plots are not so close to the village, and women and
men devote a whole time block (a whole day or half day) to work in their plots,
instead of dividing the workload in two shifts, as done in San Martin.
As people clearly recognize, family labor restrictions limit the amount of land
they can crop to 1.5 or 2 ha. That explains why agricultural areas do not expand
even though there are no restrictions to land access. Cash to pay wage labor is
restricted to the families of extractivists, or to those who have tambo or an external
source of income. Information provided by the Community of SMT to the Ministry
of Agriculture corroborates this limited expansion of agriculture in SMT: each family
crops an average of 2 ha and there is no land under communal management.
In Buenavista, people can crop more land, since there is no seasonality of
agriculture, as already mentioned. For example, 20 villagers enrolled in the Proyecto
CASPI are planting camu-camu and pijuayo in a range from 0.5 to 2 ha. 55 % of them
planting 1 ha. In addition they keep 2 ha. in uplands and from 0.5 to 1 ha. in the
lowlands, and they also manage old fallows to collect fruit for their consumption and
to sell. There are around 6 families that are better off, since they had access to
sources of cash to start a store, and develop more commercial agriculture and
domestic livestock. They use wage labor and have between 10 and 15 ha. in the
lowlands and uplands, besides old fallows that provide fruit to sell. In general,
agricultural plots in Buenavista are one or two hours from the village, either by canoe
or walking. Table 5.7 provides prices of agricultural wildlife products, based on
information provided by interviews in Buenavista and San Martin. As can be seen,

148
agricultural prices cannot compete with prices of fish, game meat, and aguaje in its
peak price season, especially when considering the time invested in the whole
production cycle. Watermelon is the only product that fetches higher prices, mainly
due to its seasonality.
Other Extractive Activities
Aguaje fruit is extracted by only four families in San Martin, since there are
no aguaje palm swamps nearby. This extraction is more intense in December. In
Buenavista aguaje is extracted by more hunters and farmers. In San Martn, chonta
is collected during June for the Communal Feast of San Juan, while collection of
turtle eggs takes place during August on the nearest beaches. Logging and canoe
construction are done in April, at the peak of flooding when it is easier to transport
trunks through flooded waters. Extraction of aguaje, timber and charcoal selling are
more prevalent in Buenavista, but not by all families. It takes four days to go and
bring aguaje to Buenavista: two days of round-trip rowing and two days to extract an
average of 15 bags per trip. Bags are sold at a variable price that ranges from S/.
3.00 to SI. 40.00, when the product is more scarce. A couple of families have
started preparing charcoal; the whole process takes eight days of intensive work.
Every three hours they have to check the oven.7 In those spots of the oven where
smoke escapes, they have to seal them, in order to get an even bum that allows
7The oven is made by first putting in the timber to be burned, very compacted; after
that comes a layer of straw, then soil and finally shapaja palm leaves (.schelea
brachyciada).

149
Table 5.7 Average Prices for Agricultural and Some Wildlife Products*
Product
Cargo
cost**
S/.
High Low
US $
High Low
Best price
Yuca (23 kgs. Bag)
2.00
10.00
4.60
Winter
Plantain (bunch)
1.00
30.00 3.00
13.6 1.4
Winter
Tender maize kernels (100)
2.00
10.00 5.00
4.60 2.3
Dry maize (23 kgs. Bag)
2.00
16.00 7.00
7.3 3.2
June
Watermelon (100)
5.00
90.00
40.9
August
Uvilla fruit (planted) (a
bunch)
1.20 0.50
0.5 0.2
Pineapple (unit)
(15-18 units/bag)
2.00
1.00 0.50
17.00 8.00
0.4 0.2
November
Farina (Kg)
2.00
2.00 2.00
0.8 0.8
Winter
Small basket -handicrafts
0.00
5.00 5.00
2.3 2.3
N/a
Paiche fish (40kg)
4.00
320.0 120.0
145.5 54.6
March
Fresh fish (15 kg)
2.00
45.00 30.00
20.5 13.6
Summer
Aguaje (23 kgs. Bag)
2.00
40.00 3.00
6.8 1.4
Summer
Game meat (kg)
2.00
5.00 4.00
2.3 1.8
Summer
Chicken (half a dozen)
1.00
48.00 30.00
21.8 13.6
Winter
SOURCE: Interviews in Buenavista and San Martin (1997). 1US$ = S/. 2.20
* prices are reported for Iquitos market
** the usual cargo fee is 2.00 soles per 23 kg bag
good production of charcoal. Every charcoal processing unit produces between 150
and 170 bags of charcoal, each of which is sold at S/. 5.00.
Men extract fiber from chambira palm and from the heart (cogollo) of aguaje
palm, providing fiber that women process (peeling, boiling and dying) and use for

150
weaving baskets and other handicrafts that are sold or exchanged in the tourist lodge.
Men also extract fuel wood for household consumption, and less commonly, for house
repair or construction and to sell.
Domestic Organization
The domestic economy and the provision of food for these families is different
from our notion of domestic organization. Getting food is a daily enterprise for most
families whose diets rely on faria and fish, plantain, and occasionally rice and game
meat. There is no fixed time for eating, aside from breakfast for school children.
The men go out to catch fish. If enough is caught, they can later sell some at the
village (1kg = 1.5 to 2.5 soles) and buy plantain, rice, fat or something required for
cooking. If not, dinner will be faria with fish. When selling fish at regional
markets, men are supposed to buy rice, sugar, beans, soap and detergent, kerosene,
matches, batteries, etc. Some do so and some even buy milk, canned food, clothing
and shoes for their kids, and anything else that is required at home. But this is not
the case for every household. Most men spend part of their earned money on getting
drunk, and some take no responsibility for their familys needs. Nor is planning part
of the daily vision, especially for men, as they recognize that they are used to
abundance, to finding fish every time they go to get it. They believe that consuming
everything now and sharing it (acabndolo todo ahora y compartindolo) is a way to
assure that next time they go, they will find even more. Networks of reciprocity
allow them to borrow almost everything: kerosene, rice or sugar, brooms, etc. In
this way, they can bridge the gap, and return the favor the next day. Reciprocity is

151
very important among relatives and also friends and good neighbors. When hunters
and fishers come back from their expeditions, they first distribute some of their catch
to their networks, then reserve some for their own household and the rest is sold. A
common saying is Neither all eaten nor all sold.
Tables 5.8 and 5.9 present the division of labor for productive activities, by
gender and age. It shows that men are in charge of extractive activities such as
fishing, hunting and collection of aguaje, chonta and fibers. For the case of San
Martin, the whole family participates in the collection of turtle eggs during the month
of August. Women send some fish or game meat to their reciprocal networks and
sometimes are also in charge of selling any surplus of fish in the village. Women
play an important role in agriculture, especially in San Martin, where seasonality of
agriculture in the lowlands coincides with extractive activities. Male participation in
agriculture in San Martin is mostly in the clearing of the plots, an activity in which
women are also involved. Men are more involved in agriculture in Buenavista, since
it is an activity that is more market oriented, the amount of land cropped is larger,
and the activity is spread throughout the year, since these families have access to
lowlands as well as to uplands. Children help in the plots cleaning, burning and
weeding. Men provide the fiber required for handicrafts made by women; however
they are the ones who process and dye the fibers. In Buenavista, where selling
handicrafts is a regular activity for most women, men support them by doing the 3
hours rowing to the tourist lodge where every other Thursday the fair takes place. It

152
Table 5.8 Time Allocation for Productive Activities,
by Gender and Age, San Martin.
Activity
Time per
activity
Frequency
Done by
Subsistence fishing
2 hours
every day or
two
M or m or
(m+F)
Sale/distribution
of remnants of subst.
fishing
30 min
every
day or two
F +
f+m
Commercial
fishing
5 days
1 or 2
/month
M or
M+m
Selling catch of
comm, fish*
1 day
1 or
2/month
M
i
Hunting
12 days
variable
M
Aguaje/chonta
extraction
5 days
variable
M
Fiber/leaves/bar
k collect.
3 days
variable
M
Selling forest
products
1 day
variable
M
Turtle egg
collection and packing
for sell
3 days
1/year
Whole
family
Clearing plot
(cutting)
1 day
w/ minga labor
1/year
per plot
M
Clearing plots
(moving and burning)
3 days
1/year/p
lot
F +
f+m
Getting seeds
1/2 day
1 /year/p
lot
M or F
or M/F
Planting
3 days
1/year/p
lot
F +f+m
Weeding
3 days
2/year/p
lot
F +f+m

153
Harvest/carrying
4 days
1/year/p
lot
whole
family
Burying cassava
3 days
1/year
whole
family
Processing
faria
xh day
1/month
; more for
selling
M or F
Processing
masato
1 day
2/month
F
Raising
domestic livestock
10 min
2/day
F or
f+m
Selling domestic
livestock
1 day
1/45
days
F/M
Selling harvest*
1 day
1/year
per crop
M
SOURCE: Fieldwork 1996, 1997).
KEYS: M = adult male, F = adult female, f = female child or adolescent,
m = male child or adolescent.
is important to remember that San Martin has no direct access to public
transportation. Besides a ride in the PPS motor boat, the only way to access Santa
Clara, at the mouth of the Maranhon River, is a canoe trip that takes 5 to 6 hours.
Most families take their products there and send them through the boat captain, who
acts as an intermediary selling the products in Iquitos. The prices families get selling
at the boat are lower than the prices they could get selling in Iquitos. However, they
avoid making the trip to Iquitos, that would require at least four days and an average
of $20. Those who make the trip take several products, have better access to cash
and take advantage of the trip to buy food and basic supplies and visiting relatives. In

154
most of the cases for San Martin, those who travel to Iquitos are men. Buenavista
has direct access to the river taxi and that allows women to directly negotiate their
selling with the river taxi owner or to make the trip to Iquitos, since it is cheaper and
shorter as compared to San Martin.

155
Table 5.9 Time Allocation for Productive Activities,
by Gender and Age, Buenavista.
Activity
Time per activity
Frequency
Done by
Subsistence fishing
2 hours
every day or two
M or m or (m+F)
Sale /distribution of
remanents of subst
fishing
30 min
every day or two
F + f+m
Commercial fishing
2 days
1 or 2 /week
M or M+m
Selling catch of com
fish*
10 min
1 or 2/week
M
Hunting
12 days
variable
M
Aguaje/chonta
extraction
4 days
variable
M
Fiber/leaves/bark
collect.
1 day
variable
M
Selling forest products
10 min
variable
M
Clearing plot (cutting)
1 day w/minga
labor
1/year per plot
M
Clearing plots (moving
and burning)
2 days
1/year/plot
M+F + f+m
Getting seeds
1/2 day
1/year/plot
M or F or M/F
Planting
2 days
1/year/plot
M+F +f+m
Weeding
3 days
2/year/plot
F +f+m
Harvest/carrying
4 days
1/year/plot
whole family
Burying cassava
3 days
1/year
whole family
Processing faria
xh day
1/month; more for
sell
M or F
Processing masato
1 day
2/month
F
Raising domestic
livestock
10 min
2/day
F, f+m

156
Selling domestic
livestock
10 min
1/month
F
Selling harvest*
10 min
1/year per crop
M
Handicrafts production
10 hours/day
17 days/month
F
Handicraft
selling/exchange
8 hours
2/month
F + some M (turns
SOURCE: Fieldwork (1996, 1997).
KEYS: M = adult male, F = adult female, f = female child or adolescent,
m = male child or adolescent.
Table 5.10 presents the reproductive activities for both San Martin and
Buenavista, since no significant differences were observed in the data collected.
Women are heavily involved in daily reproductive tasks, such as cooking, washing
clothes, cleaning, doing the dishes, and so on.
Table 5.10 Reproductive Activities in San Martin and Buenavista,
by Age and Gender.
Activitiy
Time per
Activity
Frequency
Done by
Cooking
4 hours
Daily
F, F+f
Cleaning
45 min
Daily
F, F+f; f
Washing clothes
2.0 hs
Daily
F; F+f
Washing dishes/pots
20 min
Daily
f; f
Carry water
20 min
Daily
f+m;
Providing fuel
5 hours
1/week
F+f/m
Buying food locally
20 min
1/week
M; M+m
Buying food in
3 hours
1/month
F; f/m
Iquitos
2 hours
1/week
M/F
Sewing/cloth repair
4 hours
1/month
F
School meeting
Community meetings
4 hours
1/month
M/F; M
M; M/F
SOURCE: Surveys (1996).
KEYS: M = Adult male; F = Adult female; m = child or young male; f = child
or young female.

157
The presence of daughters represents an important assistance that may replace
women in cases in which they have to do agricultural or handicraft tasks, if daughters
are old enough to perform reproductive work by themselves. Women also attend
school and communal meetings as well as men. Local purchase of food is done by
women or children and usually by men when done in Iquitos. Men provide fuel for
household consumption, since it requires going outside the village to the forests. As
will be presented in Chapter 7, women in these villages are not involved with
activities done in rivers or forests.
Children play an important role in productive and reproductive activities.
They are in charge of feeding the chickens, early in the morning at 5:45 am, before
attending school. At that time female children are also in charge of washing dishes
and pots from the previous day, and carrying water for the house. They also help in
the kitchen, carry water for the household consumption and take care of small
siblings. Their participation in agriculture starts when they are five years old, and
most of them have their little machete to help with weeding.
Summary
I
The findings presented here show that, independent of the participation of
communities in conservation management, the quality and availability of natural
resources and the economic environment also play a critical role shaping resource use
among different communities. Information presented in this chapter shows that
families in Buenavista, who do participate in conservation management, do more

158
hunting than do those in San Martin. Not only were there more hunters in Buenavista
than in San Martineven though Buenavista is a smaller communitybut the average
catch per hunter per month in Buenavista was 613.7 kg, as compared to 133.8 kg in
San Martin. The hunting in Buenavista and San Martin includes species that are
prohibited by state regulations and community-based management conservation
planning, especially monkeys, agoutis, squirrels, guams and armadillos. Families in
Buenavista also extract more aguaje, chonta and timber for charcoal making because
of their stronger integration into the local markets. This conjugation of dynamic
markets and access to better resources also allows these families to develop more
agriculture for subsistence and to sell. By contrast, families of San Martin rely more
on fishing for both consumption and cash, since aquatic resources are more abundant
there. The contribution of hunting, collection, and agriculture is more restricted, due
to the lesser availability of these resources and to the less dynamic environment.
Beyond the awareness on communty regulations affecting the use of wildlife
resources, explored in the next chapter, most families of San Martin and Buenavista
(72.4% and 90% respectively) said they did not know national laws and state
regulations affecting the use of natural resources.
The description provided in this chapter also shows many common elements of
the livelihood strategies of families in both communities, the seasonal distribution of
activities and the way in which most activities are carried on. These activities are
based on family labor, with minimal or no purchase of inputs for agriculture. Cash

159
and labor constraints were common to both places, being less severe for Buenavista,
due to the more dynamic economic environment and closer location to Iquitos.
Chapter 6 will focus on the use of resources at the household level, analyzing
the role of different elements to explain the different level of wildlife resource use,
especially through hunting and fishing.

CHAPTER 6
SOCIAL HETEROGENEITY AND USE OF WILDLIFE RESOURCES WITHIN
THE COMMUNITIES OF SAN MARTN AND BUENA VISTA
Communities are not homogenous social units, but diverse social structures in
terms of class, gender, ethnicity, age, time of residence, access to education,
information, means of production and extraction, family type and size and so on. The
use of natural resources in the two communities under study shows differences among
households. The goal of this chapter is to analyze the role of several social variables
in the shaping of different uses of natural resources among households in San Martin
del Tipishca and Buenavista, in order to find out which variables most affect the
different levels of pressure that families put on natural resources, and to identify
different users and the rationality behind their behavior.
Natural Resource Use and Wildlife Extraction
The use of natural resources by local people includes a wide range of activities
that directly or indirectly affect their natural environment. The activities that provide
their subsistence are agriculture, fishing, hunting, logging, collection of non-timber
forest products and food processing. Increased pressures on resources in the study
communities are due to demographic growth and the important role of extraction
within livelihood strategies, pushing people to move to more distant locations in
159

160
search of better fishing and hunting. For other regions of the Amazon, agriculture is
often a main cause of deforestation as the agricultural frontier continues to expand due
to migration and demographic growth.1 However, for the case of San Martin and
Buenavista, agriculture is not an activity that exerts significant pressure on the forests
or the soil, since agriculture in the lowlands is conducted in plots that are used year
after year: land after floods is refertilized and therefore can be used without fallow
periods. The amount of land per family is limited to a small amount that family labor
can crop.
Chemicals are not used in agriculture, since fertilizers and pest control are not
affordable for most families. No mechanical disturbance is present in cropping, since
no tilling or furrowing is done. For these reasons, agriculture is not included in the
following analysis of natural resource use: its impact on soils and forest dynamics is
not significant. A few families occasionally collect non-timber forest products and
log, however the impact of these activities is not important. Due to the small size of
the villages, the restricted use of detergents and soaps (most families clean the pots
with ashes instead of detergent) and the lack of sewers and other outputs common in
larger towns, the impact of waste into the river is not included in the analysis of the
use of natural resources.
Fishing and hunting are the most prevalent activities that put pressure on
natural resources in San Martin and Buenavista. Therefore, the analysis of the use of
lrrhe conversion of primary forest into agricultural plots and later into secondary
forest has been addressed as a threat to biodiversity and forest conservation in some
areas of the tropics (Sharma et al., 1985 :25).

161
natural resources will focus on wildlife resources, taking as an indicator the number
of kilos caught per family per month. This indicator has been calculated using the
information from a survey applied in the summer of 1996 to a randomly selected
sample of 59 individuals, men and women. Informal interviews conducted in 1997
were used to deepen the analysis based on the results of the 1996 survey.
A high variability was found in terms of the incidence, frequency and harvest
of commercial fishing and hunting. In order to understand the difference in resource
use, the study considered both an analysis of the individual socio-demographic
characteristics and perceptions of fishermen and hunters, and an analysis of the
processes that affect individuals as part of a social group. A social group is
considered to be one that shares similar livelihood strategies and subordinated
integration onto markets, as well as limited access to means of production and
extraction, and to the return or surplus of the activities on which their reproduction
relies. Within communities, the study explores the existence of different subgroups of
individuals that have different access to commercial means of extraction and cash, and
which make different uses of resources.
In an attempt to look at intra-gender and inter-household differentiation, a first
level of analysis focuses on the individual characteristics and perceptions of fishermen
and hunters, to try to explain different economic behavior, in a context of similar
livelihood strategies. Nine variables were initially selected to explore their
association with the different levels of wildlife extraction: age, access to formal
education, time of residence in the village, family size, fish and game consumption,

162
self-perceived access to land, perception of wildlife depletion, awareness of communal
regulations on resources use, and the willingness to organize in order to improve
resource management.
Age of the hunter or fishermen and his family size were used as a proxy for
the stage of the family life cycle, an element that has received increasing attention to
explain economic behavior. The internal family demographic dynamics in terms of
consumption demands and provision of labor have been addressed as key factors
explaining economic choices of farmers, besides the market rationality of prices and
costs (Hildebrand, 1998). This first analysis sought to explore to what extent age and
family size were important to determine different levels of extraction. Family
consumption of fish and game were included to determine if family size was affecting
harvest through direct consumption or through the demand for cash. Family size and
age were studied to determine if changes in family composition affected the
importance of commercial extraction within livelihood strategies. Regression between
levels of extraction and the dependency ratio had negative results. This may be
related to the fact that commercial hunting and fishing are usually done with an adult
partner that may be a relative or neighbor, but not necessarily a member of the
family. Adolescents might go with their parents to acquire the skills, but rarely
replace the adult partner. For this reason, the changing availability of family labor in
terms of age and gender may not affect their involvement in commercial hunting and
fishing, nor the levels of extraction of these activities.

163
The analysis also included land access, in order to explore the interaction
between extraction and agriculture, and especially if people who considered that they
did not have enough land were those doing more extraction. This variable was
considered important, not only because both activities are important for livelihood
strategies, but for the potential role agriculture could play in conservation initiatives,
as an alternative source of cash.
Time living in the village was used instead of being bom or not in the village,
as an indicator of the familiarity with the area that could facilitate increasing harvests.
Education was initially considered, since different access to formal education is
usually associated with different social access to resources, especially when related to
market oriented actitivies. Education was later discarded, since statistical tests of
significance showed that differences within groups were larger than differences
between groups.
Perceptions and attitudes were included since they have been reported as
important for resource use and conservation (Bonnard and Scherr, 1994; Strum,
1994), and the study wanted to explore to what extent they were associated with
different resource uses.
Gender, marital status (reported as important for other regions, by Warner et
al, 1996) and knowledge of the laws affecting use of resources, showed no significant
variation according to the analysis of the survey data, and therefore were excluded
from further analysis. Fishing and hunting are activities always done by males. The
marital status of men and women is very homogenous since 94% of the adults are

164
formally or informally engaged in a monogamous relationships.2 Similarly, 98% of
the sample does not know the laws regulating their use of wildlife resources. The
variables selected show heterogeneity and they were chosen to analyze differences in
the level of wildlife resources extracted by families of Buenavista and San Martin.
This analysis initially considered wildlife use through three activities: subsistence
fishing, commercial fishing and hunting. However, despite some variation among
families, subsistence fishing is done by all families, and shows similar average catches
for San Martin and Buenavista: 257.3 kg per family per month and 247.1 kg per
family per month respectively. Therefore, the analysis will focus on commercial
fishing and hunting, not subsistence fishing.
Fishing
Table 6.1 shows the association between age, and time of residence in the
village, and the amount of fish caught for commercial purposes, for San Martin and
Buenavista. Since not all informants or their husbands were involved in commercial
fishing, the number of informants (Nl) is included as well as the number of
commercial fishermen (N2) and their average catch, for each age group. This
information allows us to observe the distribution of the sample and of commercial
fishermen among the different groups, as well as their average catch per group. For
example, in San Martin, the majority of informants and commercial fishermen are
between 35 and 50 years old, while in Buenavista, informants and commercial
fishermen are younger, most of them between 20 and 35 years old.
2They were only two cases per village, of widows, divorced and/or single adults.

165
Table 6.1 Age, Time of Residence in the Village and Commercial Fishing Catch.
Variable
SAN MARTN
NI N2 X kg/mo P-value
BUENAVISTA
NI N2 X kg/mo P-value
Age of male head of
HH
20 < 35 years
35 < 50 years
50 to 75 years
7 6 675.83
16 15 411.93 0.8737
6 4 400.00
15 12 408.33
7 6 364.29 0.5321
8 5 321.00
Years living at the village
< 20 years
20 < 40 years
40 years and more
12 10 339.80
13 11 390.55 0.0398
4 4 1,035.00
6 5 482.0
18 11 602.7 0.8280
7 3 873.3
Total
29 25
29 23
SOURCE: Surveys (1996).
KEYS: N1 = total sample, N2 = commercial fishermen or wives, Xkg/mo =
average kg caught per month per family, P-value = results from
Kruskal-Wallis test.
Results indicate that for both San Martin and Buenavista, the youngest heads
of households have a higher catch. This may be associated with the fact that
commercial fishing requires some investment in commercial nets and that young men
are more ready to emigrate and work hard to save some money to invest in nets; on
the contrary more mature males do not usually go out of the village or region for
work. The table also shows that long-term residents have larger catches, especially
residents of San Martin who have lived there for more than 40 years. This finding
may reflect the greater knowledge and access to fishing sites that comes with longer
residence experience. The Kruskal-Wallis test calculations in this table show

166
statistical significance only for the relationship between catch size and time of
residence. This was the only case in which the difference among groups was more
significant than the difference within each group. These variables do not allow aclear
distribution of the cases, probably since the sample is so small, considering the high
variability of responses.
That commercial fishing is mainly for the market is shown in the fact that
family size does not have a direct correlation with the levels of extraction.3 As
shown in Table 6.2, most informants and commercial fishermens families are of an
intermediate size. Results (not statiscally significant) show that in San Martin, those
with an intermediate size of family catch more, while in Buenavista, those with
smaller families catch more. In both cases, the fishermen with larger families are not
Table 6.2 Family Size, Fish Consumption, and Commercial Fishing.
Variables
SAN MARTN
BUENAVISTA
NI N2 Xkg/mo P-value
NI N2 Xkg/mo P-value
Family size
< than 6 members
2 1 320.00
11 9 407.22
6 < 12 members
26 23 484.96 0.2919
18 14 367.14 0.8563
12 and more members
1 1 360.00
1 1 250.00
Family consumption of fish
< 90 kgs/month
23 21 481.71
11 10 522.50
90 < kgs/month
5 5 343.00 0.7874
5 3 640.00 0.3847
150 < 300 kgs/month
1 1 100.00
14 10 191.00
SOURCE: Surveys (1996).
KEYS: N1 = total sample, N2 = commercial fishermen or wives, Xkg/mo =
average kg caught per month per family.
degression analysis among these two variables expresses no relationship.

167
the ones who are fishing more, showing that the level of extraction does not increase
according with the size of the family. This is corroborated by the analysis of the next
variable: family consumption of fish. Most informants and fishermen in San Martin
consume less than 90 kgs of fish per month, the lower level of consumption; in
Buenavista informants and fishermen tend either to consume less than 90 kgs or
between 150 and 300 kgs, the highest level of consumption. In San Martin, those in
the lower level of fish consumption are fishing more, while in Buenavista larger
catches are done by those in the intermediate level, followed by those in the lower
level of fish consumption. However, these results are not statistically significant,
either.
The following four variables, presented in Table 6.3, deal with perceptions
and attitudes. Land access, self-perceived as sufficient or not for family subsistence,
is presented in relation to the catch of commercial fishing. None of these
relationships are statistically significant.
While in San Martin informants and commercial fishermen are evenly divided
between those who consider themselves to have enough land and those who dont, in
Buenavista, most informants and fishermen consider that they have enough land to
meet their basic needs. In regard to their level of extraction, those who consider that
they do not have enough land have the largest average catch, both in San Martin and
t
Buenavista. However, in Buenavista, more contrast in the level of extraction is
observed between those who perceive that they have enough and those who do not.

168
Table 6.3 Perceptions and Attitudes, and Commercial Fishing.
Variables
SAN MARTIN
NI N2 Xkg/mo P-value
BUENAVISTA
NI N2 Xkg/mo P-
value
Self-perceived access to land
Sufficient
Not sufficient
15 13 462.15 0.0879
14 12 485.50
25 18 373.61 0.6620
5 5 466.00
Perception fish resources
Increasing depletion
Not much depletion
25 21 481.24 0.7385
4 4 432.00
27 21 309.52 0.3429
3 2 440.00
Willingness to organize
sustainable use of resources
yes
no
11 11 496.90 0.1296
15 12 515.66
26 20 283.85 0.1804
4 3 558.33
Awareness on communal
regulations on resource mgmt
yes
no
12 11 529.45 0.1609
13 12 444.16
23 18 338.89 0.9770
1 1 800.00
SOURCE: Surveys (1996). N = 29 for San Martin and N = 30 for Buenavista.
KEYS: N1 = total informants, N2 = commercial fishermen or wives, Xkg/mo =
average kg caught per month per family.
In regard to the perceptions on the situation of fish resources, most informants
and commercial fishermen in both communities perceive the increasing depletion of
aquatic resources. It is interesting to note that in San Martin those who perceive an
increasing depletion are those who catch more, while in Buenavista the contrary is
observed: those who catch more do not perceive increasing depletion of fish
resources. The fact that in Buenavista those who catch less are more concerned or
aware of the resources depletion, may reflect the fact that in the Tahuayo river, fish
are less abundant and diverse as compared to Pacaya-Samiria, where resources are
still rich. In San Martin, the perception of depletion is usually associated with a

169
comparison with previous decades, in which fish and game resources were extremely
abundant and easy to catch.
The greater awareness in Buenavista may also stem from their participation in
conservation management. Stated willingness to organize themselves to search for
more sustainable uses of natural resources, especially wildlife, is considered in the
analysis. The proportion of informants and fishermen who said they were willing to
organize in cooperatives in order to carry out more sustainable use of natural
resources, is larger in Buenavista, as compared to San Martin. This probably reflects
the communitys involvement in management. For both San Martin and Buenavista,
those who extract more, were also less likely to say they were willing to organize,
with a greater difference in Buenavista, where those more reluctant to organize caught
almost double the amount of those willing to organize.
In regard to the awareness of communal regulations affecting their use of
resources, the data show that almost all informants and fishermen in Buenavista were
aware of community regulations, while in San Martin the informants and fishermen
were evenly divided between those aware of community regulations on resource use,
and those not aware of those regulations. In San Martin those who were aware of
these regulations caught more than those who reported not knowing any communal
regulation, with the distribution between the two categories pretty even. In
Buenavista, the average catch of the one fishermen unaware of communal regulations,
was more than double of the average catch of those aware of communal regulations.
Thus, these findings on perceptions and attitudes suggest that those in the Buenavista
community, which is part of the Tamshiyacu-Tahuayo Communal Reserve, are more

170
aware and concerned about conservation issues and more willing to organize in
response to these concerns.
Hunting
Table 6.4 shows the distribution of hunting catch, also expressed in kilos
caught per family per month, according to age and time of residence at the village.
While most informants and hunters in San Martin belong to the intermediate age
group, that is between 35 and 50 years, in Buenavista more informants and hunters
belong to the youngest group, between 20 and 35 years. Higher age of the male
heads of the household is associated with higher hunt results, for both San Martn and
Buenavista, even though they are not the majority of respondents and/or hunters.
This is the opposite trend of that found for commercial fishing, where younger men
had higher catches.
Table 6.4 Age and Time of Residence Associated with Hunting.
Variables
SAN MARTN
NI N2 Xkg/mo P-value
BUENAVISTA
NI N2 Xkg/mo P-value
Age of male head of HH
20 < 35 years
7 5 176.9
15 11 503.6
35 < 50 years
16 10 48.2 0.3762
8 5 758.0 0.6103
50 to 75 years
6 5 261.6
8 3 776.7
Time of residence in the
village
12 9 94.4
6 5 482.0
< 20 years
13 8 136.9 0.8232
18 11 602.7 0.8244
20 < 40 years
40 years and more
4 3 243.3
7 3 873.3
SOURCE: Surveys (1996). Sample: San Martn N = 29 and Buenavista N = 30.
KEYS: N1 = total sample, N2 = commercial fishermen or wives, Xkg/mo =
average kg caught per month per family.

171
In Buenavista, even the youngest hunters catch much more than any of the
hunters in San Martin, due to ecological differences that favor the TTCR as a game
habitat, compared to San Martin, where fishing is more favored. Time of residence
in the village is associated with larger catch, for both communities. It seems
reasonable that more familiarity with the villages vicinities results in better hunting.
However, the P-value does not show statistical significance for the differences
observed in the distribution presented for age and time of residence.
Family size is a variable that seems to play a different role with respect to
hunting in San Martin and in Buenavista, as presented in Table 6.4. In both
communities, most informants and hunters have a family with 6 to 12 members.
However, in San Martin, hunters with smallest families have the larger average catch,
followed by those who have the largest families. In Buenavista, there is a clear trend
that connects largest families with larger catch. Actually, they have the largest
average catch for the whole distribution (1,100 kg per month). However, family size
does not affect catch through family consumption, since hunting is an activity
basically oriented to the markets. The next variable, family consumption of game
meat, shows that consumption levels for all three categories are well below harvest
levels, with the maximum amount of game meat consumed per month per family
being 50 kg. Most informants and hunters consume less than six kg per month.
Families of hunters who catch more do not necessarily consume more game meat. As
with commercial fishing, hunting is an activity basically oriented to the market to
obtain cash. However, reciprocity also is important to understand the interactions

172
between game consumption and hunting, since game meat available to families of men
who do not hunt comes from family and social networks, due to the practice of
hunters and fishermen sharing part of the catch with relatives and friends. The P-
value is lower for Buenavista, due to less variability within each group.
Perceptions and attitudes related to resource use and hunting catches are
presented in Table 6.5. The self-defined access to land is an important variable
considered in the analysis, since one of the research questions is to what extent
agriculture and alternative sources of income can reduce the pressure on wildlife
resources. Instead of externally establishing how much land is enough for a family,
the survey asks informants to assess their own access to land.
Table 6.5 Family Size and Game Meat Consumption, Associated with Hunting.
Variables
SAN MARTN
BUENAVISTA
N1
N2 Xkg/mo P-value
N1
N2 Xkg/mo P-value
Family size
< than 6 members
2
1
640.0
12
6
463.3
6 < 12 members
22
15
89.7 0.3616
18
12
648.3 0.1295
12 and more members
6
5
242.4
1
1
1, 100.0
Family consumption of
game meat
16
9
126.0
19
14
650.0
< 6 kgs/month
6
5
90.4 0.3297
11
4
522.5 0.1607
6 < 20 kgs/month
20 < 50 kgs/month
7
6
181.7
3
3
420.0
SOURCE: Surveys (1996). Sample: San Martn N = 29 and Buenavista N = 30.
KEYS: N1 = total sample, N2 hunters or wives, Xkg/mo = average kg
hunted per month per hunter.

173
In San Martin, those hunters who considered themselves not to have enough
land to meet their basic needs, were getting slightly better catches than those who
considered themselves to have enough. This lack of contrast between these two
categories is not a surprise for San Martin, due to the limited role of agriculture.
However, in Buenavista, where agriculture plays a more dynamic role in subsistence
and income provision, it is surprising that both categories were getting almost the
same amount of catch: 609 kg/month by those who consider themselves not to have
enough land, and 601.9 kg/month by those who consider that they do have enough
land. These results may suggest that access to enough land is not going to reduce
the incidence and amount of hunting, because hunters do not really engage in
agriculture, as much as the rest of the villagers do. To have enough land does not
prevent a focus on hunting as the main source of income for these people.
Perceiving game resources in a situation of increasing depletion was common
among respondents and hunters in both San Martin and Buenavista. Larger catches
were noted for hunters reporting increasing depletion of game resources, but these
differences were not statistically significant.
As we have seen, Buenavista residents express more willingness to organize
themselves to search for more sustainable uses of resources, than those in San Martin.
In San Martin, those hunters who are not interested in organizing catch more game
and they represent a larger segment of the informants and of the hunters. In contrast,
in Buenavista, hunters who are willing to organize get the larger average catch,
almost the double of those not willing to organize (only 3 hunters). Like the findings

174
for commercial fishing, these results probably reflect the influence of communal
participation in conservation management, and the stronger organizational skills and
benefits experienced by most families of the upper Tahuayo river.
In regard to the awareness of communal regulations affecting the use of natural
resources, the vast majority of informants and hunters in Buenavista are aware of
Table 6.6 Perceptions and Attitudes Associated with Hunting.
Variables
SAN MARTN
NI N2 Xkg/mo P-value
BUENAVISTA
NI N2 Xkg/mo P-value
Self-perceived access to
land
Sufficient
Not sufficient
15 10 126.3 0.9469
14 10 141.3
26 16 601.9 0.8652
6 4 609. 0
Perception on fish
resources
Increasing depletion
Not much depletion
27 18 144.3 0.7437
2 2 80.0
27 16 636.9 0.7385
4 3 490.0
Willingness to organize
sustainable use of
resources
yes
no
11 8 143.8 0.9386
15 10 165.8
26 15 673.3 0.7385
4 3 353.3
Awareness on communal
regulations on resource
mgmt
yes
no
12 9 54.9 0.1368
12 9 238.9
24 14 717.1 0.8860
1 1 300.0
SOURCE: Surveys (1996). Sample: San Martn N = 29 and Buenavista N = 30.
KEYS: N1 = total informants, N2 = hunters or wives, Xkg/mo
= average kg caught per month per family.

175
these regulations, while in San Martin they are evenly divided between those who
know and those who do not know about communal regulations. The same contrasting
trends are found between San Martin and Buenavista, as with willingness to organize:
those in San Martin who hunt more are not necessarily aware of communal
regulations, while in Buenavista the opposite is true. High P-values limit the
statistical significance of the differences between groups.
This analysis suggests some trends in the association of socio-demographic
variables and perception with levels of fishing and hunting in the two communities.
Age may be a factor: younger fishermen getting larger catches, while oldest hunters
are getting larger catches, for both communities. Family size and consumption were
not associated with clear differences in catch sizes. Perceptions of resource depletion,
awareness of communal regulations and willingness to organize around resource
conservation were stronger in Buenavista, which is part of the communal reserve.
The small size of the sample and the high variability limited the confidence that can
be placed in these conclusions.
Access to Means of Extraction. Personal Skills and Preferences
While the previous analysis focused on the socio-demographic characteristics
of individual hunters and fishermen, the following analysis probes further into the
economic factors that affect them as social groups and that may explain different
levels of extraction. It presents a discussion on access to means of extraction, and
personal skills and preferences, as variables that can better explain why different

176
families have different average catch sizes. These issues were mainly explored
through interviews conducted in 1997, combined with some data from the surveys
applied in 1996. In addition, in San Martin some data were available from a census
applied in 1997 by the Bilingual School Education Program, conducted by Moiss
Rengifo with my collaboration. For Buenavista, additional information came from a
focus group interview conducted in 1997 with the current and past local authorities
and the school teacher. This information reveals that there is some level of economic
differentiation among families in San Martin and Buenavista.
The goal in this second level of analysis is to explore the interactions between
socioeconomic differentiation and resource use within local communities. The
problem was addressed in terms of social access to commercial means of extraction,
and poverty, being associated with a greater or lesser pressure on natural resources.
In order to analyze this issue, it was operationalized in three questions: (1) Is access
to commercial means of extraction (commercial nets, firearms, cash income,
education, knowledge of urban markets and networks) restricted to some members of
the community? (2) Does the lack of access to specific means of extraction prevent
people from extracting more resources? and (3) Do people who extract more
resources have a better economic situation than those who extract less? Is economic
and social differentiation within each community related to wildlife or natural
resource exploitation?

177
Restricted Access to Commercial Means of Extraction
Means of extraction are the tools and knowledge that allow people to catch fish
and game and to exploit natural resources. Since this study focuses on wildlife
resources, means of extractions referred to in general are canoes, fishhooks, nets
(small nets and large nets called trampas that go from shore to shore), harpoons and
farpa* traps made from bamboo, firearms, flashlights and batteries, knives, salt to
process the meat, and so on. Personal skills and knowledge also are extremely
important both in terms of the forest and river animals, how to locate, track and catch
them, and in terms of information about markets, prices, and extra-local networks.
Commercial means of extraction are defined as those elements such as
commercial nets, firearms and cash to finance expeditions, that allow individuals to
obtain significant amounts of species preferred for commercial fishing and/or hunting.
Some means of extraction are of easy access to anyone, since they are made
from locally available materials, and even though they require some labor input the
know-how is open to everybody: for example, a canoe or a fishhook. But these
means alone are not sufficient to extract significant amounts of fish, or to get the
species preferred for commercial fishing. Other tools require expertise that is not
available to everyone, even though they are made from locally available materials:
harpoon and farpa, and traps to catch paiche,5 dolphins and small rodents. Most of
4Farpa is a harpoon that has three arrows instead of one.
5Paiche is one of the most appreciated fish in the region. It can provide up to 40 kg
of pure processed meat, and is caught using harpoons and farpa.

178
the tools for commercial extraction have to be purchased from the city or the
community: salt to process meat, flashlights and batteries, firearms and munitions,
and especially, commercial nets.
While nets for subsistence fishing are 3"x 2" and cost 80 soles ($35), the nets
used for commercial fishing are 5" x 4" and cost from 260 to 1040 soles (US$120 to
480). One section {panho) of commercial fish net costs 120 soles. To make a small
commercial trap requires: one section {panho) of net, 3 kgs of special thread that cost
30 soles per kilo and 50 corks or floats that cost one sol each. That makes a total
cost of 260 soles ($120) for a small commercial net. Larger commercial nets require
three or four sections of net, raising the price to $340 or $480.6 These larger net
traps are set perpendicular to the stream, impeding fish escape once in touch with
them.
Personal skills to hunt and fish are developed by boys from puberty by
accompanying a father or uncle in his expeditions. Hunting is a very specialized
activity that requires certain skills, knowledge, tricks or secrets and a special sense of
communion with the natural environment. It also requires special endurance to stay
ten or fifteen days in the open forest. It is not a coincidence that all hunters in San
Martin and Buenavista look much older than they are, showing the effect of the
6Still larger commercial net traps called arrastreras use 12 panhos and require pieces
of lead besides cork, and 36 kg of special thread, raising the cost to approximately
$1500. These traps are used in the Amazon river, usually by outsiders, and allow
large amounts of fish to be caught quickly.

179
hardship of hunting expeditions (staying awake at night to hunt, taking naps during
the daytime, eating simple and irregular meals cooked by themselves, etc.).
On the other hand, market dynamics and price knowledge, external networks
in the cities, in the rivers with boats owners, and in other hunting or fishing places
are developed according to the degree of formal education, kinship networks and
personal ability.
Peoples perceptions on the accessibility of the tools of extraction show that
most of them (95 % of interviewees in San Martin and Buenavista) believed that cash
is required to buy commercial means of extraction, yet cash is very restricted in most
households. Access to the commercial means of extraction is not open to everyone,
but rather is restricted within communities. Not every family has a firearm,
commercial net or the money to afford inputs for a hunting expedition (salt, batteries,
munition etc.). Hunting skills and market knowledge also are not part of everybodys
repertoire of knowledge.
Does Limited Access to Means of Extraction Prevent Further Resource Extraction?
People expressed clearly that they were not able to catch more fish because
they did not have enough commercial nets. People of San Martin asked the PPS to
provide them with better nets and the PPS organized some fishing groups and
financed their purchase of large commercial nets in return for a commitment to
observe some management regulations and to register information on fish species
throughout the year. These groups were organized in 1996. In 1997 they were no
longer operative, although most members kept the nets. The point is that the demand

180
made by the community to improve their access to commercial nets shows that people
identified their lack of access to commercial nets as a restriction to the level of
capture they could get.
In Buenavista, families with lower catch expressed the same concern.
Interviews revealed that 98% of households not involved in commercial fishing or
doing it at the lower levels of harvest, said that their lack of access to commercial
nets limited their catch.
Access to commercial nets is important to increase the different access to
markets. For instance, during the season in which fish are abundant, anyone can
catch large amounts of small species, with the subsistence nets. However, at this
time the demand becomes more selective, and taxi owners and traders will only accept
large species, such as zungaro, that can be caught only using commercial nets.
Fishermen who have no commercial nets have a difficult time trying to sell their small
species catch. At this time prices for them get really low, not only due to the higher
supply, but to the competition of commercial species. The study also tried to connect
information provided by the 1996 survey with information on net access provided by
the interviews in 1997, for some selected cases. Results are shown in Figures 6.1
and 6.2, which present commercial fish catch and net access for ten cases in San
Martin and 16 cases in Buenavista. In both cases the trend is consistent in the sense
that access to commercial nets improves the level of capture. However, in both
communities there are a few cases that have no commercial net and still have some
capture: these are people who either know how to catch paiche or other large and

181
Figure 6.1 Commercial Fish Catch and Net Access, San Martin del Tipischa.
Figure 6.2 Commercial Fish Catch and Net Access, Buenavista (Surveys, 1996).

182
valuable species with harpoon or bamboo traps, or they go to fish with someone who
owns commercial nets, sharing the products of the catch.
Personal skills and preferences play an important role in regard to why some
households are more or less engaged in hunting. Many men express their reluctance to
go on hunting expeditions, even when they have the skills to perform them. Some used
to go, but stopped after having an accident. Other men do not have the skills, and find
their effort fruitless and decide not to go on hunting expeditions anymore. As some
informants expressed it:
I do not like to go, to be in the open forest for days and nights, sleeping badly, exposed
to dangers. I like to work my plot and fish nearby. And if I want to eat game meat I
buy its simpler for me. Because I see that, sure, the rebusqueadores1 they get money
fast but they also spend money fast, either drinking heavily or paying the bills for food
their family has bought when they were away. Because they are always away from their
families. Whats the sense of that kind of life? (D.C., 65-San Martin)
Of our neighbors, the wife is the one who supplies hunters8. Her husband started going
to hunt with her money. The first trip went well, he caught five pacas.9 The second
trip the canoe overturned and everything was lost. He has not wanted to go back to hunt
since then. (A.F., 67-Buenavista)
Skills and preferences are more important than access to tools in the case of
hunting, since a skilled hunter can be habilitado or supplied by another person. A
skilled hunter can catch paiche with a harpoon and make a significant amount of cash.
Two friends used their friends tambo at one of his plots to process their meat, before
7Local term used by villagers to refer to those relying mainly on hunting and
commercial fishing for subsistence.
8Habilitar or to supply is to finance hunting or fishing expeditions in return for
receiving the products of those trips; once the products are sold in Iquitos and the
loan is discounted, the hunter or fisherman receives what is left.
9Paca= Majaz = agouti paca.

183
taking the ship back to Iquitos, where they lived. Both fishermen obtained a large
amount of meat in two weeks, using harpoon and farpa, and their estimated gross
income for that meat at that time was 2000 soles (each kilo was sold for 5 soles)
which is equivalent to approximately US$ 850.10 From that gross income they had
to subtract expenses such as the river boat ticket and cargo, salt and food, batteries
etc., for approximately 230 soles or $100. Each hunter could have a profit of $375,
which is fairly high income compared to the average income of villagers ($20/month)
and poor people in the cities ($ 100/month). This fact shows that for a skilled hunter
who also knows how to hunt11 paiche even if he has lost his firearm, it is not so
difficult to get the money to buy it back. In addition, a used firearm in good
condition can be purchased for $150 or $200, or even exchanged for fish to a regatn
or trader that visits communities asking for a given amount of fish he can collect and
sell in Iquitos. Therefore, for hunting, skills and preferences seem to be more
important than access to tools. This is consistent with the earlier finding that older
hunters got higher catches. The same is not true for commercial fishing, since the
skills and knowledge are available to all families, but the access to commercial nets is
more limited.
Table 6.7 presents the factors perceived by the villagers to affect their
involvement in more hunting or fishing. In both San Martin and Buenavista, having
10A11 prices provided in this chapter are valid for the region of Iquitos between the
months of May and August of 1997. Average exchange rate was US$1 =2200 soles.
Local people do not say to fish a paiche but to hunt one.

184
the skills was reported as the main reason to be involved in hunting, and having a
firearm also was an important consideration. Similarly, having the necessary tools
was reported in both places as the main factor permitting involvement in commercial
fishing. The endurance to be out in the forests for a long time was the second reason
given in San Martin for hunting. In Buenavista, the second factor was not having
other responsibilities to attend to. This is clearly associated with the greater
importance of agriculture in Buenavista, as compared to San Martin. Similarly,
preference for agriculture was a far more important reason given by informants in
Buenavista, compared with San Martin. The most significant difference observed
between San Martin and Buenavista, was in awareness of conservation issues. Three
quarters of Buenavista respondents gave this as a reason for not hunting, compared to
less than one-third of those in San Martin.
Having the money to finance both hunting and fishing expeditions was another
reason that differed significantly between the two communities, 70% and 40% giving
this reason for (hunting and fishing, respectively) in San Martin compared to 45 % and
51% in Buenavista. The lesser importance attributed to having the money to finance
expeditions may be due to the presence of more habilitadores in Buenavista, as
compared to San Martin. These findings show that hunting depends on having skills
and endurance, and both hunting and fishing require access to tools and to money to
finance expeditions. The greater importance of agriculture, and stronger

185
Table 6.7 Self Perceived Factors Related to Hunting and Fishing.
FACTORS ASSOCIATED WITH BEING A HUNTER
SM
Bv
Chi2
Having the skills
90
80
0.302
Endurance to be out in the forests for a long time
80
69
0.412
Need for fast money
14
18
0.759
No other alternatives currently for fast money
15
10
0.652
Having a fire arm
68
60
0.472
Having the money to afford the expedition
70
45
0.083
FACTOR ASSOCIATED WITH NOT BEING A HUNTER
Risks associated with hunting and selling game meat
50
63
0.367
Preference for agriculture
40
69
0.027
Preference for family life
20
40
0.107
Having other responsibilities to attend to
70
80
0.330
Responsibility to conserve resources
30
75
0.001
FACTORS ASSOCIATED WITH COMMERCIAL FISHING
Having the tools (nets, traps)
85
98
0.149
Having the money to buy salt, batteries etc,
74
51
0.078
Need for fast money
25
30
0.613
Having skills to capture some species in large amounts
16
14
0.676
FACTORS DISCOURAGING COMMERCIAL FISHING
Preference for other activities
25
60
0.005
Risks associated with expeditions
30
42
0.329
Other responsibilities to attend to
40
45
0.683
Not having so much need for cash
20
5
0.116
Preference for family life
15
10
0.652
Responsibility to conserve resources
5
10
0.317
SOURCE: Interviews applied in 1996 and 1997 to the 30 households that were
part of the survey, and which showed more contrast in the use of
resources, in San Martin and Buenavista.
* Percent of those responding who gave this answer; includes multiple
responses.
KEYS: SM = San Martin, Bv = Buenavista, Chi2 = chi square testing
statistical significance of differences between groups.

186
adherence to conservation norms, are more important constraints to hunting in
Buenavista than in San Martin.
Are Commercial Extractivists Economically Better-off in the Village?
A third question addressed in this section is whether those families who are
more oriented to extraction are situated in the highest ranks of social and economic
status within the community. I first established in each community who the families
were that most people identified as being better settled or in better economic
condition. Then I sought to find out if the extractivists were among these relatively
more wealthy families, and what mechanisms were used by local families to explain
the relative wealth of the identified families. In San Martin and in Buenavista I used
a modified Wealth Ranking Analysis12 with ten families in each community. Results
can be seen in Tables 6.8 and 6.9. These tables present nine families for San Martin
and six families for Buenavista, that were identified as being better-off than the rest.
The first column shows these families; the second column shows the percentage of
agreement among the informants. The third column shows the main activities
12As presented by Thomas-Slayter et al. (1993). Since pictures of every family were
not available I used cards with the last names written but this did not work out. The
simple interview with no tool worked sometimes and others didnt, since they were
too polite or wished to avoid any conflict with other families. I decided to draw on a
large piece of paper the location of every household in the community and to use a
different color pen for each informant family in order to circle which households were
considered to be in better economic shape. Since I reduced the sample from 15 to 10
families in each community to establish the wealth ranking and even though the color
identification was easier, I decided to use only ten informants, since the others were
still reluctant to provide this information. The method worked fine for most families,
since it reduced the stress while simulating a game, without the mess of the cards
and reading the names.

187
Table 6.8 Main Families Identified by Villagers in San Martin as Being Better-off.
B13
0
F
%
MAIN ACTIVITIES
DONE BY FAMILIES
Are
Extrac-
tivists?
MAIN MECHANISMS TO
ACCESS TO WEALTH
1
95
Store, school teacher
no
salary, trade
2
95
Bakery, habilitar, store
no
was
trade, store, former Agrarian Bank
promotional credit
3
90
store, traditional healing, boat
construction, hunting/fishing,
cropping
yes
cash income from healing, trade,
extraction, selling crops
4
87
agriculture, trade, hunt/fishing
yes
cash from extraction and selling
maize, self provision of food
5
87
small store/liquor, food board
for school teachers (pension)
no
cash from store and school teachers
food board
6
85
store, school teacher
no
cash from salary and store
7
85
agriculture, hunting/fishing
yes
retirement pension from state and
cash from selling meat and fish
8
80
agriculture, selling farinha
no
cash from agriculture, cash from
sons salary (PSNR guard)
9
80
agriculture, farinha, fish,
chicken sale
no
commercial agriculture and selling
domestic animals; former local
authority for many years, head of
the main kinship group
SOURCE: Modified Wealth Ranking Analysis applied to ten families in San
Martin, and confirmed with additional interviews between June and
July, 1997.
13These are the families identified as being better-off, not the informants, that were
ten in each community.

188
Table 6.9 Main Families Identified by Villagers of Buenavista as Being Better-off.
B
0
F
%
MAIN ACTTVITIES
DONE BY FAMILIES
Are
Extrac
tivists?
MAIN MECHANISMS TO
ACCESS TO WEALTH
1
98
store, habilitar, commercial
agriculture, selling farinha,
chicken & pigs
no
cash inheritance allowed her to start
habilitar, the store, cropping for
sale, etc
2
98
store, habilitar, commercial
agriculture, more than 100
chicken and 50 ducks to sell;
hunting/fishing
yes
child support from a public
employee allowed her to start the
store, habilitar, and agriculture to
sell; he does the extraction
3
95
liquor store, hunting & fishing
with his three adult sons
yes
former local authority for several
years, trade and extraction
4
90
formal & informal leader,
agriculture, agroforestry
(valuable species,) fishing,
no
bringing projects from NGOs and
local government (per diem); selling
yucca and farinha, fish, fruits
5
85
policeman, agriculture, store
no
cash from salary, store & crops
6
80
food board for school teacher,
little store, agriculture
no
cash from food board and store and
selling farinha and fruits
SOURCE: Modified Wealth Ranking Analysis applied to ten families in
Buenavista, confirmed with additional interviews between June and
July, 1997.
performed by these families. The fourth column informs if they are extractivists or
not. The last column refers to the main mechanisms that reportedly allowed these
families to be better-off.
The main wealth-generating mechanism identified by informants was access to
cash, mainly from external sources, such as retirement pension, salary, wages from a
family member, former Agrarian Bank credit, local store, inheritance, child support
pension from the State, provision of food board for school teachers, habilitar, trading

189
and healing. Even though commercial agriculture was mentioned for seven cases, it
was never the starting process but rather a way to invest money and to get another
source of cash. The third column shows that most of these families have diversified
livelihood strategies. Only five extractivists were included among the top wealthiest
families, and all had an additional source of cash from other activities such as a
tambo, healing, outside income or salary and so on.
Most extractivists were unable to take care of agricultural plots-with the
exception of one in San Martin (included in Table 6.8), who occasionally paid
workers to help their wives and children with the cropping, in order to obtain enough
products to sell and secure their family food supply. Extractivist families rely mostly
on the local store to buy food, and this is aggravated by the alcohol consumption
habits of most hunters. Hunters are trapped in an economic debt circle, which may
be why after a couple of days at home, they go back on another expedition.
The mechanisms identified by local people as facilitating a better economic
situation are all related to access to cash, usually from an outside source as already
mentioned. They are very aware that subsistence activities are not enough to provide
a surplus leading to investment in more diversified and profitable activities. They
also know that cash provided by extraction does not last unless the family is able to
secure their own food and create some agricultural surplus to be sold. In other
words, to be in a better economic situation, a family requires a sustained source of
cash that does not compromise their food supply and the other subsistence activities
(agriculture, fishing, etc). Families that rely only on extraction are not in a better

190
economic situation since they have to buy the food they cannot produce by
themselves. Families that combine extraction with other activities and sources of cash
are able to secure their own consumption and generate some surplus. Families that
have a stable source of cash can invest their money and diversify their economy,
orienting resources toward the most profitable activities (commerce and habilitar),
and obtain a good harvest to secure their food supply and make some cash through
selling. These conditions represent a low stress situation, as compared to the rest of
families.
Another interesting piece of information is the set of criteria used by villagers
to identify the families that are better off. Westerners would look for external
markers of wealth, such as the type of housing, clothing, furniture or items such as
radios, sewing machines, etc., to find out who is in a better economic situation.
Those external markers are not very helpful in a context of general poverty and
persistence of traditional ways. The relative better situation of these families does
not mean that they are out of the problems and limitations associated with poverty.
For example, they still have nutritional and health problems and they keep the same
lifestyle as most villagers, working hard and facing price problems, and so on. For
this reason informants were asked not only to identify these families, but to report
what criteria they were using to identify them and how they would know that
someone is better-off economically. The answers were very different than the criteria
we might use, as shown in Table 6.10.

191
Table 6.10 Criteria that Differentiate Wealthier Families from the Rest.
Capacity to afford an emergency 90%
Access to a better food supply 85%
More travels to Iquitos, Nauta, Tamshiyacu 80%
They can better afford losses and problems 70%
They can pay wage labor for their crops 70%
SOURCE: Fieldwork (1997). N = 43
This information shows that those families may be in a relatively better
economic situation, but they are still facing similar problems as most Riberenho
families. That is why external markers do not work, since they are not so wealthy as
to be able to acquire those items we are accustomed to associate with better economic
status. They are still within the lines of poverty and precarity that constrain
Riberenho families.
Summary
The information and analyses presented in this chapter can be summarized as
follows: First, while there is a common pattern of resource extraction for subsistence
fishing among families of San Martin and Buenavista, there is a high dispersion and
variability of hunting and commercial fishing catch. The analysis of this variability is
limited by the size of the sample and the village populations. Age and time of
residence in the village have a positive association with larger hunting catch, in San
Martin and Buenavista, while for both places, they appear to have an inverse
association for commercial fishing. Other variables such as education, family size

192
and family consumption seem to be not clearly associated with larger hunting and
fishing catches. Greater willingness to organize for conservation management and
more awareness of community regulations affecting the use of natural resources were
evident in Buenavista, but their effect on catch size was not clear.
Access to tools and money are important factors in the decision to hunt or fish
commercially, while skills, and preferences for agriculture are more important for
hunting. In Buenavista, conservation awareness was a much stronger factor
mentioned as important in deciding to hunt or not, compared to San Martin.
Commercial extraction of wildlife seems to be insufficient to situate extractivist
families among the better-off within each community. They are identified among the
better-off, only in those cases in which they have an additional source of income, or a
diversified economy that provides income from different activities. External and
sustained sources of incomeor activities that do not interfere with the meeting of
basic household needs-have been identified as the key mechanisms of wealth.
This chapter addressed three questions with regard to social access to
commercial means of extraction and the connections between commercial extractivism
and economic stratification. The analyses presented in this chapter could be
summarized as follows: (1) Access to the commercial means of extraction is restricted
to those members of the community who can afford to buy commercial nets and
firearms, and finance expeditions; (2) Lack of access to commercial means of
extraction prevents families from extracting more resources, especially fish; and (3)

193
Commercial extractivism is not sufficient, by itself, to elevate a family to those
among the better-off in each community.

CHAPTER 7
GENDER AND RESOURCE USE IN SAN MARTN AND BUENA VISTA
Research findings show that the definition of gender roles in the study area
prevents direct and closer interaction of women with forest and river resources.
However, there are important gender issues affecting resource use as well as
livelihood strategies, that have implications for natural resource use planning and
conservation management. This chapter aims to present the different ways in which
gender relates to resource use, family reproduction and community dynamics.
Gender. Division of Spaces and Relation with Nature
In Loreto, men and women have different relations with nature in the sense
that there are socially established female and male spaces: the forests and rivers are
not places for women but for men, while the village and the plots relatively close to
the village are female spaces. This is based on traditional thinking that persists
among Riberehos, despite their access to market and schools, their status as Spanish
speakers and Peruvian citizens. Gender and the relationship with nature cannot be
understood unless the socio-cultural context is taken into account. Riberehos are a
social group that operates within a mixture of traditional and modem frameworks,
often between notions derived from their traditional heritage and those stemming from
their insertion in market dynamics. According to the traditional way of thinking,
194

195
everything (person, plant, object and animal) has a spirit and interacts with each
other. In this interaction, powerful objects, animals, plants and persons have the
ability to affect the field of energy of others and cause a disease or even death,
usually of people who are weaker or more vulnerable. That is why women and
children are protected by a series of restrictions in terms of where they cannot go,
especially women during their menstruation.
Forests are places where many entities exist, such as the mothers (madre) of
the plants, animals and the river. There are also strong spirits that represent the evil
forces of the underground world, and the souls of the dead unable to go to the upper
world.1 They are called the tunchis and they can kill you if you are weak. Most
hunters perform some rituals before departing to hunt, to cleanse themselves, to be
protected and to attract a good hunt; once they are in the forest they ask permission
from the mother of the animals they want to hunt, and during the nights they smoke a
special tobacco called mapacho, to keep away the tunchis and other evil spirits.
According to this thinking, women are weaker than men; that is why they should not
be exposed to the supernatural forces inhabiting forests and rivers. Dangers of the
forests and rivers are also real in the form of snake and insect bites and wild animal
attacks, the possibility of the canoe turning over which requires good swimming skills
to survive, weapon accidents, etc.
'These beliefs are shared by people living in Iquitos and the surrounding region. It
has been reported in other places along the Amazon basin (Wagley, 1976).

196
There is a general fear that women can become pregnant by animals and give
birth to fetuses that are half human and half animal. The study collected testimonies
offered by women who had witnessed these fetuses. Usually these events were
connected to the mothers recollection of falling asleep under a large tree or close to
the river and dreaming of having intercourse with a large frog, a large snake or a
dolphin. During their menstrual periods women should not have their daily bath in
the river, or even go into the river or creek to wash clothing, since the dolphin can
make them pregnant. Woman during their period are considered to be impure; they
are also forbidden to walk close to any crop, since their heavy humor will kill the
plants2. Restrictions extend to what pregnant woman can and cannot eat in order to
avoid having sick or even abnormal babies. The word cutipar refers to the action
taken by any plant, animal or object that turns a human into a being like itself. For
example, if a woman eats some fruit whose texture is too liquid, the baby will be
bom with endless diarrhea, because the fruit has cutipado the baby. The prohibitions
extend to the activities the father performs before and after his childs birth. These
prohibitions are known as covada or cuvada.3 It is established that when a woman is
pregnant, the father should not drive a motor boat, to prevent the baby being bom
renegrido y con pujos, como el motor that is, sick with characteristics that are those
2This prevention of menstruating women being close to the crops and plantsin order
to avoid damage-is common in other cultures. For example it is still alive in rural
southern Spain (Garcia, 1996).
3This cuvada should not be confused with the couvade, a term within ethnography that
refers to men experiencing the pain of the delivery, while their wives are giving birth
to their child.

197
of the motor. The motor can cutipar the child. The father should not kill boas*
snakes or eels, since they are strong spirits that could cutipar his baby. The study
collected many testimonies of babies bom with symptoms attributed to cutipado.
Traditional medicine men can diagnose the animal or plant responsible and order a
cure based on it and sometimes save the child.
There are prohibitions on what pregnant women can eat. There is a long list,
such as eating tortoise or armadillo, an animal that lives in holes; in both cases the
idea is that the animals will cutipar the fetus, so that when time for the delivery
comes, the baby will not be able to come out and be bom. The cure for this problem
is to invite the mother to eat a roasted bone of the animal. There are other
supernatural causes of illness or death besides the cutipa: Manchari or susto are due
to a strong impression after an accident or shock, causing the baby or child to have
fever and unstoppable crying during the night. Mal de gente is when negative
emotions are directed in evil ways to create illness and even death, usually with the
participation of a black witch; mal de aire is produced by the black soul of the dead
or dense spirits of nature that enter the body of the child, producing dizziness, fever,
vomiting or diarrhea. Medicine men can cure these using special chanting (icarar),
smoke, and tea made of strong plants, cow hom and wild rose to expel the spirit from
the childs body. This is one of the reasons that until they are two years old, children
should never be left by themselves, putting special demands on womens time for
4Boa is a very large snake that represents a powerful force of the underground world,
in the native mythology of the region.

198
child care. Children less than two years old are not taken into the agricultural plot,
the forest or the river, not taken on trips outside the community, not even within the
community after dark. These beliefs limit the mobility of mothers of small children,
and are related to the high child mortality and morbidity found in these communities.
Daughters and/or grandmothers may replace mothers childcare care when women
have to attend to agricultural tasks.
This traditional way of thinking coexists with the ideals of modernity, and
creates ambiguity that is expressed in daily life and affects the actions of projects
working in the area. For example, some communities requested western health
support, in the form of vitamins, antibiotics, vaccination, etc. These families faced
severe health problems, did not have access to public health services and yet due to
economic restraints, did not go to their traditional healers unless they were faced with
death5. This request, however, coexisted with some resistance to follow the
instructions given by the health practitioners. For example when asked why the child
did not receive the medicine as it was prescribed, many mothers explained that they
could not administer the medicine, either because they had had sex (they referred to it
5The common strategy is to go first to the communal health promotor in order to
receive some medicine. If the problem persists, then they go to the district health
center. If they cannot cure the patient, she/he may go to the regional hospital in
Iquitos. If the patient is not cured, then the family makes a final effort and takes the
patient to the traditional healer, who is not a cheap healer. Why do they not take the
patient to the traditional healer first? The answers were: it is the last resort, reserved
for serious cases only and lets try the modern medicine first. Cost is also
important, since most Western medicine is subsidized by non-profit projects or by the
state to some degree if not completely, while the medicine men or women are
relatively expensive.

199
as having slept badly) or because they were pregnant or having their period. In either
case, women are considered to be impure, and therefore not able to administer
medicine to anyone.
It is difficult to ascertain in what ways the myths known as native were
influenced by the encounter with the Europeans. For example, a detailed description
of the five spaces or worlds according to the Cocama vision contains explicit
references to Jesus Christ as the one god who gives life to every creature: plant,
animal, human, river, sky, sun, etc. In many of these myths, a division of roles is
clearly established in terms of men doing the hunting and the fishing, and women
cropping and doing the domestic chores. Women and men are considered equals,
since no one can make it without the other. Complementarity is based not only on
the performance of the specific roles (hunting/fishing vs. cooking, cropping) but
women are recognized as giving ideas and encouraging men to perform their activities
(Caritinari, 1997).
Ethnicity reinforces gender hierarchies and ideologies that affect the use of
resources done by men and women. Traditional thinking reinforces the separation of
spaces and activities between men and women, in a context in which women are
perceived as weaker than men.
Due to this gendered division of space, men in these communities are in
charge of: collecting fuel from the forest for household consumption; collecting fiber
for handicrafts done by women; and even collecting medicine when families do collect
medicinal plants. As will be presented in the discussion of gender roles, agriculture

200
is an important activity for women. Most plots in the communities under study are
close to the village. The fact that men are in direct contact with forests and rivers
and women are not, does not imply that women have no knowledge or decisions
related to natural resources, as will be discussed later in this chapter. However,
women are not direct users of wildlife resources as fishers, hunters, extractors or
collectors.
Gender Roles and Division of Labor: Subordination and Complementarity
As already presented, there is a division of space between men and women,
and this comes with a gendered division of roles and labor. Extractive and collecting
activities are done in rivers and forests by males, agriculture is a shared activity, and
domestic activities are done by women (See Tables 6.4 and 6.5). Even though
extractive activities are typically done by men, there are some cases, shown in Table
7.1, in which families go as a group to collect chonta, aguaje, or fuel, and others in
which children and/or women do subsistence fishing close to the house. A small
proportion of women fish nearby for family consumption and selling. However, the
information provided by most men and women consistently confirms the division of
roles and spaces between men and women, with men being in charge of extraction of
i
wildlife resources, in forests, tahuampas, cochas and rivers. Women perform
activities in the village, such as raising domestic animals, taking care of the children,
preparing food, washing clothes etc., as shown in Table 7.2. In most households,

201
Table 7.1 Gender Division of Labor for Extractive Activities.
Extractive Activities Male informants (%) Female informants (%)
AM
AF
AM/F
AM
AF
AM/F
Hunting for subsistence
100
0
0
100
0
0
Hunting for selling
100
0
0
100
0
0
Fishing for subsistence
100
0
0
91.4
2.9
5.7
Fishing for selling
100
0
0
96.2
3.8
0
Collecting /"chonta"
90.9
0
9.1
90.9
0
9.1
Collecting "aguaje"
96.4
0
3.6
91.3
0
8.7
Logging
100
0
0
100
0
0
Collecting leaves & fibers
100
0
0
100
0
0
SOURCE: Surveys (1996). Study included N = 32 male informants and 27
female informants.
KEYS: AM = adult male, AF = adult female, AM/F = both AM and AF.
Table 7.2 Gender Division of Labor for Reproductive Activities.
Reproductive Activities Male informants (%) Female informants (%)
AM
AF
AM/F
AM
AF
AM/F
Collecting fuel for household
89.7
2.6
7.7
82.9
2.9
8.6
Carrying water for household
2.6
20.5
76.9
5.7
20.0
74.3
Cooking
2.6
2.6
94.8
0.0
2.6
97.3
Washing clothes & cleaning house
2.6
97.4
0
2.6
97.4
0
SOURCE: Surveys (1996). Study included N = 32 male informants and 27
female informants.
AM = adult male, AF = adult female, AM/F = both AM and AF.
KEYS:

202
men provide fuel, and when women do handicrafts, men also provide the fibers used
by women.
In regard to the participation of men and women in agriculture, Table 7.3
shows that despite the high involvement of women in agriculture, especially in San
Martin where agriculture is such a seasonal activity with high female labor, male and
female informants consider men to be more associated with agricultural labor than
women.
Informants associated agriculture as a male activity due to the fact that men
are in charge of the heavy labor during the clearing of a plot, a task that usually
requires the support of reciprocal labor (minga or manhanero). However, women
also participate in the clearing, cutting small trees and weeds with the machete,
moving them and preparing the burning. Often, after the cutting of the larger trees,
women by themselves take charge of the clearing and burning of the plot, as well as
the planting and weeding. When planting time comes, most laborers on the plot are
women, especially in San Martin where agriculture is very seasonal, as described in
Chapter 4. This bias in having the leading role assigned to males in agriculture has to
be understood within the gendered division of social roles within the household and
the community, that includes complementarity and cooperation as well as
subordination. For example, even though the mother is the one who is always at
home and with the children, a common pattern is to use the authority of the absent
father to establish order and discipline with children.

203
Table 7.3 Gender Division of Labor for Agriculture.
Agricultural Activities Male informants (%) Female informants (%)
AM
AF
AM/F
AM
AF
AM/F
Cropping
41.3
20.0
28.7
45.3
27.4
25.3
Domestic animals
10.6
70.5
19.9
3.8
82.9
14.3
Food supply
17.9
17.14
66.7
40.0
17.14
42.9
Processing "masato"
100.0
0.0
0.0
100.0
0.0
0.0
Processing "faria"
85.7
2.9
5.7
50.0
0.0
50.0
SOURCE: Surveys (1996). Study included N = 32 male informants and
27 female informants.
KEYS: AM = adult male, AF = adult female, AM/F = both AM and
AF.
Female work in agriculture is extremely important for the food provision of
the families, especially those which rely only on lowland agriculture. As seen in
Chapter 5, seasonality of activities puts a simultaneous demand on labor that can be
solved only by womens active role in agriculture during the clearing and planting
time.The community recognizes men as heads of the households, but exceptions are
made for widows. In community meetings, women generally attend only to replace a
husband who is unable to attend, as a way to avoid the fine and to keep up to date
with community affairs. They also replace their husbands duties in communal
volunteer work or in reciprocal labor exchange (minga or manhanero). When women
attend a community meeting, they sit apart and very rarely participate in the
discussion. This expresses subordination of women to men, in the figure of husband,
father, school teacher, community leader, priest, project technician, etc. This
subordination is reinforced by the lesser access to education that mature women have,
as compared to men of their generation. With the spread of public elementary and

204
middle education since the 1960s, the gap between boys and girls is decreasing in
terms of basic education, but remains in terms of acccess to high school, since it
usually implies going out from the village to the district center or to Iquitos.
However, gender roles have not changed very much, as will be noted later.
Subordination goes together with the complementarity that exists within couples. The
survival of the family relies on the entire economic participation of all members,
especially women, and this fact is recognized by all men interviewed. There are
some mechanisms that express this complementarity or interdependence.
Communication and shared decisions are the most important. However, their
understanding of gender and marriage is very different from the Western notion of
equity. One woman said:
The man is like the speaker of the house. We dont want to ruin his
performance, which is why we dont speak when he is present. However,
when we are alone at home, in our bedroom, then we discuss and review the
different choices and together we reach an agreement. Thats the way most
families make decisions here. Of course there are some men that are arrogant
and fools and dont listen to their wives. But sooner or later they learn to do
that, since they fail many times in their single way to decide. Two heads
think better than one, and woman always have a better sense of reality than
men. Men have the physical strength and stamina, sure, but they dont as
easily get the whole picture as a woman does, to see not only the present
moment, but beyond. (S.Y., 42)
Not all households have this shared system to make decisions. Wives of extractivists
complain in many cases that they do not see the money received by their husbands

205
from selling fish, game meat, skins etc., since it is spent on liquor or other diversions
that do not relate to the basic needs of the family.6
Division of labor and space between men and women is also associated with
ethnicity, in that similar activities have different gender identification, due to their
traditional origins. For example, cassava is processed for a beverage called masato7
and also by shredding and roasting it to get faria, a granulated cassava that can be
eaten with fish or alone as a snack. While masato is always made by women, faria
is made by men, by men and women and in some cases by women only. This
gendered division of labor in processing cassava is related with the fact that in myths
and traditions, men were portrayed to be in charge of hunting and fishing, while
women were in charge of cooking, preparing masato and cropping. This traditional
way of making masato keeps masato as a female activity, even though it is not always
practiced any more among Riberehos. The fact that faria has no such traditional
identification with men or women, allows a more flexible involvement in terms of
gender. Traditional frameworks thus affect the gender division of labor and roles
indirectly as well.
6As an example, there is an anecdote of a women who told her husband that for the
next month he would get only bikes soup since he spent the money he received
buying a bicycle instead of food for the month.
1 Masato is made by boiling the cassava and then smashing it with its liquid, until
obtaining a homogeneous texture. It is left at least one day to be fermented. The
more days of fermentation, the stronger the beverage becomes in alcohol content.
Masato is a native beverage mentioned in the indigenous myths, made by native
women chewing the cassava. Today, Riberehos do not accept very openly that
women chew the cassava, however most of them do so. Many men when offering
you some masato might call it masticado or chewed.

206
Even though agriculture involves women in both communities, the
participation of women in agriculture has some differences. Women in San Martin
were relatively more engaged in agriculture than in Buenavista. As explained in
Chapter 5, agriculture in Buenavista is less seasonal than in San Martin, due to the
access to upland plots that can be cropped throughout the year.
In addition, there is a tourist lodge in the area of Buenavista, that since 1995
has organized a handicraft fair on its grounds, every other Thursday at 5:30 a.m.
Approximately 25 women from Buenavista and Chino go to sell their handicrafts
made with fiber and seeds: baskets, bags, earrings, necklaces. Some men also make
carved wood items, mostly sold through their wives. Participation in this fair
requires two hours of canoe rowing, and some male relatives always go with the
women who go to sell. Men participating in this trip indicated that they support their
wives participation in the fair, since what they (the women) were doing was for the
benefit of the whole family. Tourists pay with dollars (US$5 for a basket or
necklace) or exchange clothing for the handicrafts. The local school teacher changes
the dollars for Peruvian currency, and the exchanged clothing is for different mens
and womens sizes, so everybody can get something from the trade. The women
involved in the handicraft production are more focused on this activity and less
involved in agriculture. Even though they get modest amounts (an average of $5 to
$25), it is money women directly decide how to spend.
In regard to the problem of men spending the money obtained from selling
their products in Iquitos, many families prefer to send their products through the river

207
taxi, even knowing that they are getting a lower price, in order to avoid the expenses
and temptations that the trip to Iquitos represents for males.
To understand gender roles it is important to go beyond the quantitative
aspects of who does what and how time is allocated between male and female
activities. All women interviewed perceived the gender division of roles as something
natural. They used the same word atender, to take care of for women and men in
regard to one another. Their idea of a couple is a sort of team, where each one
secures the success of family reproduction, child raising and harmony. They assumed
as natural that women had to do domestic chores while men provided food, mainly
through fishing and doing the heavy agricultural tasks. It was the consensus among
women in one community, to approve of one husbands getting a new wife even
though it involved adultery because the first wife did not perform the domestic
chores and the second was a good wife, one who took good care of the man. On
the other hand, when commenting on the situation of a recent widow, they agreed that
her brothers had to help to support her, since she no longer had a husband to take
care of her and her children (no tiene esposo que la atienda). This idea of
complementarity is very strong and has a material base, since family reproduction
requires strong cooperation and both partners are economically interdependent. A
good husband is one who does his best to provide food and cash for familys needs:
one who is aware of his family needs and devotes himself to his family, without
outside distractions. A good wife is one who does her best to manage family
resources and food, to work hard to keep her children and husband well fed and

208
healthy, with a clean house and clean clothes, one who devotes herself to domestic
work and has impeccable social behavior, not flirting or being involved with other
men. These are the ideal gender roles as perceived by men and women. This is what
is socially accepted.
Husbands have the recognized authority of the father figure and they can use
physical force, to correct a womans misbehavior. Moderate violence is considered
to be part of the husbands roles and prerogatives. Heavy punishment is considered
to be an excess and an abuse. The same applies for children, who receive light
physical punishment as part as their education. What is considered misbehavior is to
be judged by the husband, and can range from the wifes assumed flirtation with
another man during a party or social event, to inadequate performance of domestic
chores. This broad scope of domestic violence is accepted as natural by men and
women.
Female subordination is accepted as natural, due to gender ideologies that are
deeply rooted, and which consider women to be weaker than men and supposed to
follow mens leading roles within communities and families. Female subordination is
expressed in different ways in daily life and affects women and children as well. One
important aspect of this subordination is related to the issue of reproductive health and
will be presented later in this chapter. Female subordination is also expressed in the
lack of control of income resulting from sales, that affects the food supplies of the
whole family. Since most families do not produce all the food they need, they rely to
different degrees on food purchases. When men spend money on alcohol or other

209
things, instead of buying food and basic goods for their families, they are putting
their families in a precarious situation. This problem is aggravated by the limited
alternatives women have to get cash by themselves (besides the handicrafts in
Buenavista, and a few women who have enough domestic livestock to sell them
regularly). Gender subordination in decisions about use of income, therefore, affects
family food security, in a context of limited income and food. In addition, within the
household, available food is not equally distributed among the different members.
Food is served first to adult men, who receive the best portions, and then to the
children, with mothers being the last to eat. This is critical, since these families eat
only two meals per day, and the amount and quality of food is restricted. Children
usually eat cassava, faria or plantain as snacks between meals; however the protein
(fish or game meat) is eaten only during the main meals.
Women can participate in meetings and training (usually Club de Madres,
sewing courses, etc.) so long as they do not neglect their responsibilities. Few cases
were observed of a couple exchanging domestic roles, and in those cases, husbands
had been exposed to the influence of church or project groups that had a greater
gender-equity orientation within families and communities.
Sexuality. Gender Identities and Reproductive Health
In the villages under study, most couples honor the ideal of monogamy.
However, not all men nor all women behave according to the ideal roles described
above. The study collected testimonies of what were considered deviant behavior by

210
the villagers. In one example, a couple that seemed to be well adjusted, being one of
the few that shared all agricultural work and decisions about cropping, selling and
family economy, was involved in a case of sexual abuse. The husband had been
having sexual relations with his stepdaughterfrom a previous marriage of his wife
since she was 12. Every time they went together to a community party, the man was
jealous of his stepdaughter and when arriving home, he beat his wife. A year before,
the wife had discovered what was going on because he told her. Instead of reacting
against him, for child abuse, she reacted against her daughter, for stealing her
husband, and sent her to Iquitos. At the time of the study, the daughter was back,
because the husband wanted it so and they were all staying together. The women told
her sisters and brothers that usually she awoke at night to find that he was in the
daughters bed. Her reaction was to beat her daughter, and then the husband beat
her. The relatives of the woman tried to talk to the husband but he ran away every
time they tried. As a result, the husband did not show up in the village anymore,
being both ostracized and receiving the criticism of relatives and neighbors. People
commented that the wife had lost her mind, all because the husband was younger than
she was.
Women are not always the victims. One had been involved with her lover in
the murder of her first husband and, after leaving the jail, led a very libertine and
promiscuous sexual life. In both this and the previous case, elders and relatives were
unable to modify the deviant behavior and everyone bitterly complained that elders
and kin were not honored in their role of solving conflicts in marriage, as they used

211
to be. These examples show peoples perceptions about the loss of importance of
traditional ways of solving marital conflicts. The woman in the second case later
married and had a normal life, but died after her husband was unable to get the
resources to take her to Iquitos for treatment, until it was too late. The reciprocity
networks of families, neighbors, friends, the soccer club, etc., did not seem to
operate at all, to my surprise. After her death I started wondering if reciprocal
networks operated only when basic rules of behavior and reciprocity were observed.
A similar case was observed in the other community in 1996. Do these reciprocal
networks indirectly play a role in social control of behavior that reinforces gender
roles? In this sense, traditional institutions such as kinship and reciprocal networks
seem to reinforce gender roles and hierarchies. Is reciprocity maintained only among
members of the group that contribute to the well being of the group? Is that the
reason people keep sending fish or game meat as gifts to their relatives and friends?
Both cases of atypical sexual behavior made me aware of the intimate aspects
involved in gender, besides the economic dimension, and how intimacy is an
expression of power relations among men and women. They also reflected that
beyond social gender patterns, individuals experience their gender and sexuality in
particular ways. However, they may consequently face isolation from family and
reciprocal networks, which may act as mechanisms of social control.
How do women and men perceive themselves? Most women interviewed
considered themselves to be sort of handicapped, since they did not have access to a
good education, and they could not earn good money to make a better life for their

212
children. That is the way many men felt too, since they were so aware that their
material condition was not going to improve, and that they could not give their
children a better life at home. That is why most efforts focused on sending children
to Iquitos, to have access to a better education and a job. However, men did not feel
as powerless as women did. With all the limitations, they still were considered the
main providers, while women merely complemented, supported and helped with their
domestic role.
Access to money changes gender relations, as observed in the few cases when
women have access to cash, in the sense that those women have more active and
dominant roles. Age and race are also important in the establishment of gender
hierarchies, such as when women marry men who are younger than themselves,
usually a second marriage. In those cases, age difference can act to the benefit of
women, if they also have some access to cash; however, it can create problems
related to sexuality, especially when a third party becomes involved. Racial features
are important, in that less Indian features are considered more desirable and
beautiful.8 Women did not accept their own beauty, their own appearance, a
reflection of the process of self-denial of their native roots, as well of a process of
class subordination.
8For example when watching soccer plays where school girls participate, the
comments of married women praise as beautiful, those girls that have less indigenous
features in terms of the color of the eyes and skin, hair that is not so straight and
black, etc. Women do cut and curl their hair, when they can afford it. In the second
fieldwork season, after a bad year, women that used to wear their hair short and curly
had it long and straight, and they commented that they looked ugly.

213
For women in these communities, as in many other contexts, life is work and
more work, raising children, hoping for them to be something different than their
parents, something better, escaping for their own sake. For themselves, parents do
not expect anything. A woman expresses the opinion of many of them:
How do I feel? Here we are, tranquilastaking it easy. Wishing our children
to be healthy, to study hard, so that they can become something. Getting a
little older every year, until it comes our turn to leave this body. I cannot
complain; my husband is a good father, he tries his best to provide for his
children. That is why he is always away, but at least he does not drink, he
doesnt have another woman. I cannot complain. But I tell my daughters, you
have to study hard to become something. Forget about having boyfriends,
thats how I ruined my life, becoming pregnant so young and he did too. We
did not know better at that time. We were so young. (S.C., 43)
A stronger presence of kinship networks was observed in San Martin, that
goes along with increased conflicts between families and between women belonging to
one of the two main kinship groups. These conflicts were expressed in more criticism
of authorities and leaders from members of the opposite group, and the internal
conflicts faced by the Mothers Club in San Martin reduced the participation of half
the initial members. In Buenavista more cooperation and activity was observed
among women participating in the Mothers Club, and less conflicts in general,
among families who strongly supported their leaders and authorities, as well as the
enforcement of community agreements. Also the incidence of extended families was
less prevalent in Buenavista and no polarization was observed in terms of kinship
groups. In both communities, women participating in the Mothers Club expressed
satisfaction with their grouping, and with the benefits they had achieved, in terms of
food supplies in Buenavista, and in terms of getting some sewing machines and an

214
institutional house from the PPS, in San Martin. Besides the problems these
organizations face, they represent a space for women to gather and talk about their
concerns. These womens organizations represent a potential vehicle to incorporate
women into conservation and development initiatives, as well as to facilitate a
reflection on their own issues, problems and demands.
Early sexual initiation is common among teenagers in San Martin and
Buenavista and goes back to previous times when marriages were arranged between
families at age 12 or 13, marking a rapid transition from childhood to adulthood.
However, times have changed and marriage has been postponed, as a result of the
spread of formal education. Most boys wait until they finish high school before
beginning a family. Sexual initiation has not been postponed, and it occurs with a
blind eye from the parents, especially the mother when the father is absent. While
young men and women both participate in sexual intercourse, the risk and
responsibility of pregnancy stays with women. Unmarried adolescent mothers
commonly live with their parents, and young couples stay with the boys parents,
especially in San Martin where 61 % of households have at least one grandchild as
part of the family. This incidence is somewhat lower in Buenavista, but even there
43 % of households interviewed present this situation. Most adult women condemn
the libertine sexual behavior of some teenagers and criticize their mothers inability to
educate them properly. However, a few women were more open to recognize that
many of their peers had the same behavior when they were young. In fact, it is
common to find brothers and sisters who have different last names, from different fathers.

215
Once a woman is married she is expected to be monogamous and to behave
discreetly. This concern of not only being but looking chaste represses womens
spontaneity and fun. For example adult women dance in the communal party in a
restricted way: not only is the bodys movement minimal, but they stare at the floor
and maintain a serious expression. That is the proper behavior of a married woman,
was the answer to my observation that they did not seem to enjoy the party. It also
was a sure way to avoid any problem with their husbands, later at home.
Consumption of alcohol turns sober, gentle men into aggressive and irrational ones,
and women try to avoid fights and physical violence. This is another aspect of female
subordination that impedes women from growing in a context of respect and
recognition of their own needs, capabilities and rights. Women release the tension of
their subordinated role in some events such as the soccer games played almost every
Sunday. Women sit together and spend the whole game screaming to encourage,
criticize and tease their husbands performance. These comments are done in a
context of humor; however the criticism is sharp and women express their
disappointment very directly. On these occasions, men take it very easy, not getting
mad at the comments. They either pretend to ignore the screams or lower their head
in shame or just laugh. No evidence was collected of male violence toward their
wives after these events. This is a very vivid contrast with the usually subordinated
role of women in parties, meetings, etc. Maybe the context of a game opens a more
ludic space in which they can express their frustrations more easily. Other rare
occasions when women raise their voices are when men are making agreements that

216
affect their interests, such as Club de Madres: women start raising their voices and
support each other.
Sexual activity occurs not only among peers, but sometimes involves an
outsider such as a school teacher or a project technician. This type of sexual
interaction is perceived by some female adolescents as a way to get out of the village.
Many times they become pregnant and sometimes they have the baby. Many do not.
It is common knowledge for most of them that a concentrated cup of coffee (one can
of instant coffee dissolved in one cup of hot water) taken with three strong antibiotics
acts as an expeditious abortive. Others use mechanical methods (jumping up and
down or introducing diverse objects in the vagina to cause abortion); very few turn to
traditional recipes. Even though these methods are relatively effective in causing an
abortion, many health complications come with the use of these methods, such as
bleeding and infections.
Most adult women do not have a way to control their fertility. They start their
reproductive cycle early, usually at 15. This early initiation has been shown to be
medically associated with higher risk at the moment of delivery and later
complications in health of both mother and baby. Even though their fertility is lower
than that of their own mothers and grandmothers, it is still high: an average of six
births per woman. Prolonged lactation functions as a way to retard ovulation and as a
natural control of fertility. However, it does not always work. Some women have
access to traditional herbs and barks to prevent pregnancy. However, this knowledge
is not available to all of them. Medicinal knowledge in the Amazon always has been

217
very specialized, kept by shamans and medicine men or women and not shared by the
whole social group (Popenoe, 1996).
One of the contradictions observed among these families is the fact that while
traditional thinking persists in daily life, traditional specialized knowledge in regard to
agriculture, medicine, forests and rivers is being lost. Some 95 % of the women and
men interviewed reported not to have such knowledge.
Male absences for hunting or commercial fishing are an element that reduces
physical contact between spouses, having an indirect effect to reduce fertility. Some
NGOs since the 1970s and the state since the 1990s have facilitated access to modem
methods of birth control. Pills and condoms are freely available in the district health
post. Yet condoms are rejected by most men, and after the experience of the pills or
injections, most couples do not continue the treatment. They complain about health
problems experienced by women (headaches, problems with menstruation, blood
circulation, etc.). Some men do not want their wives using the pill since they think it
will facilitate female adultery without the complication of pregnancy. The attitude of
nurses and development practitioners to this opposition has been to label all these
reaction as a manifestation of male dominance of women, without inquiring about the
real consequences on womens health. It is important to review the approach to
population control to assess the implications for womens health.
Birth control is especially important for the Amazon, since increasing
population is related to increasing pressure on natural resources. Conservation
agencies have joined development-oriented concerns on population increase and

218
poverty, and are considering including a component of birth control in their
programs, through training or directly through the dissemination of modem methods
of birth control. The way these programs are implemented often is inadequate. Pills
and injections are disseminated without monitoring the general health conditions of the
women receiving the treatment9.
Most women in the villages where the study was conducted had health
problems. In regard to birth control, 45% of men and women in San Martin and
57% in Buenavista reported having used some method control their fertility, but only
20% and 27% still use the pill or injection. Many suffered from disorders in their
reproductive systems, as well as chronic liver and stomach conditions, malnutrition,
tumors, and so on. The physical cost of many pregnancies, prolonged lactation
periods and inadequate nutrition goes along with the physical demands of the work
load. Most women have had a non-medical abortion at some stage of their life, and
have been exposed to non-monitored intakes of contraceptives. These reasons are
behind their rejection of the pill or the injection and are usually overlooked. These
issues should be taken into account when discussing population dynamics affecting
development and conservation. This issue of reproductive health is an important point
in which conservation, development and equity issues meet. The way it is currently
addressed perpetuates the subordination of women, not only within the villages under
9It is well known that contraceptives can accelerate some blood circulation problems
and can cause or aggravate other health problems for some women. Since
contraceptives are the cheapest method, their potentially negative effects on womens
health may be overlooked: the focus is on avoiding pregnancy, without considering
the broader issue of womens reproductive health.

219
study, but in the rooms where state policies and conservation and development
strategies are designed. It is also ineffective in terms of reducing demographic
growth and pressure on natural resources.
Knowledge. Perceptions. Decision Making and Relation with the Environment
The topic of gendered knowledge is discussed in this section, focused on what
women and men know in regard to the natural resource use10. Knowledge expresses
and also shapes the interactions of women with nature. The study gives importance to
womens knowledge and perceptions on productive, economic and environmental
issues, usually considered male issues. To consider womens knowledge and
perceptions on these issues is a way to give women a voice, to overcome their
invisibility in so many gender-blind studies. In addition, the type of knowledge
women have on these issues as compared to men, especially on male activities, can
provide a proxy to measure the level of communication and complementarity within
the couple. The surveys show that women have quite accurate knowledge in terms of
location, amount and species of wildlife captured, and about extractive activities
carried out by men. These findings indicate that men and women share and discuss
activities that are done separately. In 80% of the sample, women participate in most
decisions affecting the use of wildlife resources and they know about their male
partners activities.
10The production of knowledge itself is not taken into account. There is an
interesting debate on the different ways men and women produce and transmit
knowledge (Duran, 1991).

220
The survey shows that 96% of women in San Martin and 98% of women in
Buenavista were able to identify and map at least two of the four or five locations
where men fish and hunt. They were also capable of identifying most prevalent
species fished and hunted, coinciding with male informants. Women are also aware
of the economic and consumption importance of different activities for family
survival, as Tables 7.4 and 7.5 show, although their perspectives differed from mens
in some aspects.
Table 7.4 Activities Considered Most Important for Family Consumption.
Activities
SAN MARTIN
Male Informants
(%)
SAN MARTIN
Fern.
Informants (%)
BUENAVISTA
Male Informants
(%)
BUENAVISTA
Fern. Informant
s(%)
Fishing
92.9
93.3
100.0
95.0
Agriculture
100.0
100
92.0
55.0
Hunting
50.0
13.3
28.0
5.0
Dom.
Livestock
28.6
30.0
64.0
45.0
N
15
14
17
13
SOURCE: Survey (1996).
NOTE: Answers were not exclusive; their distribution does not equal 100%.
In terms of the importance given to different activities for family consumption,
Table 7.4 shows that men and women coincide about the importance of fishing and

221
Table 7.5 Activities Considered Most Important for Familys Cash Income.
Activities
SAN MARTIN
Male Informants
(%)
SAN MARTIN
Fern.
Informants (%)
BUENAVISTA
Male Informants
(%)
BUENAVISTA
Fern. Informant
s(%)
Fishing
78.6
80.0
88.00
85.0
Agriculture
57.10
60.0
76.0
55.0
Hunting
50.0
13.3
28.0
10.0
Domestic
Livestock
28.6
33.3
64.0
45.0
Trading
14.3
20.0
0.0
0.0
Food
Processing
0.0
20.0
4.0
5.0
Wage Labor
21.4
6.7
8.0
5.0
Other
Extractive Act.
7.1
6.7
40.0
15.0
Hunting +
Extraction
7.1
0.0
12.0
5.0
Others
0.0
26.7
0.0
15.0
N
15
14
17
13
SOURCE: Surveys (1996).
NOTE: Answers were not exclusive, their distribution do not equal 100%.
agriculture, but men tend to give more importance than women to hunting. In
Buenavista, women tend to consider agriculture to be less important then men do,
while both include domestic livestock as an important activity for subsistence. Table
7.5 presents the importance that different activities have for family cash income, as
perceived by men and women in San Martin and Buenavista. Men and women
coincide to identify fishing as the most important activity, followed by agriculture.

222
Men tend to give more importance to hunting than women do, probably because they
tend to control the cash generated by that activity, with lesser or no participation of
women in decisions regarding that cash. The other important activity to provide cash,
perceived by both men and women in San Martin and Buenavista, is domestic
livestock, even though women give more importance than men to this activity in San
Martin, while the contrary occurs in Buenavista. Other extractive activitiessuch as
aguaje and chontaare reported more by men and women of Buenavista, as compared
to San Martin. This is related to the fact, already mentioned in Chapter 5, that there
is more extraction of aguaje, chonta, and preparing of charcoal in Buenavista as
compared to San Martin. These activities are perceived by men of Buenavista as
more important than by women. This issue of male control of cash may also explain
why men in Buenavista tend to give more importance to agriculture and to other
extractive activities for cash, as compared to women. On the other hand, women in
both communities mentioned other activities in which they are engaged (which
include handicrafts, washing clothes and cooking for school teachers and project
technicians), but no men did.
Women are familiar with the frequency and amount of wildlife caught by men
hunting and fishing, although there are differences in the detailed information
provided by men and women. Table 7.6 shows that in San Martin, responses of male
and female informants about hunting tend to be closer, in terms of frequency of the
activity and the number of animals hunted, in the cases in which hunting is an
occasional activity with a small catch. In Buenavista, a community in which hunting

223
Table 7.6 Hunting Activity as Perceived by Male and Female Informants.
Activity
San Martin del Tipishca (RNPS)
Buenavista (RCTT)
Hunting:
Male Inform.
Female Inform.
Male Inform.
Female Inforr
Animals per trip:
1-3
57.1
60.0
4.0
10.0
4-6
14.2
6.7
12.0
35.0
7-9
7.1
0.0
16.0
0.0
10-13
0.0
0.0
12.0
5.0
14-17
0.0
0.0
4.0
15.0
18-20
0.0
0.0
4.0
5.0
21-24
0.0
0.0
4.0
0.0
Frequency:
1 or 2 times per year
14.2
13.3
1.0
0.0
4 to 6 times per year
28.4
13.3
24.0
15.0
monthly
28.4
20.0
32.0
40.0
2 times per month
7.1
6.7
0.0
10.0
hunter in the household
78.6
60.0
56.0
70.0
SOURCE: Surveys (1996).
is more prevalent, the answers of male and female informants are closer for larger
catches. Differences between male and female responses may be associated with the
fact that hunters process (peel, slaughter and salt) the animals in the forest as they
hunt them, especially when the expedition takes 10 days, so women are not directly
involved in the processing. It has been mentioned already that most hunters do the
selling, as well as controlling the income resulting from the sale.
Table 7.7 presents the information provided by men and women in regard to
the amount caught in subsistence fishing, as well as the presence of at least one
subsistence fisherman in the household. While in San Martin women tend to report
smaller catches than men, in Buenavista, women tend to report larger catches than
men, for subsistence fishing. The amounts reported by men and women for

224
Table 7.7 Subsistence Fishing as Perceived by Male and Female Informants.
Subsistence
San Martin del
Tipishca (RNPS)
Buenavista (RCTT)
Fishing:
How much caught?
Male Inform.
Female Inform.
Male Inform.
Female Inform.
1-5 kgs
21.4
46.6
40.0
11.0
6-10 kgs
21.4
26.6
28.0
26.0
11-15 kgs
14.2
13.0
12.0
21.0
16-20 kgs
7.1
0.0
4.0
5.3
26-30 kgs
At least one subsistence
21.4
13.3
8.0
26.0
fisher at the household
85.7
100.0
92.0
95.0
SOURCE: Surveys (1996).
subsistence fishing in both places, reveal that in most cases, they exceed the family
consumption reported by themselves-that is an average of three kilos per day for
most familiesconfirming that subsistence fishing is also providing some surplus
that is shared with relatives or friends, or sold in the village.
Table 7.8 presents the information on commercial fishing, as reported by men
and women in San Martin and Buenavista. In San Martin-where commercial fishing
is quite importantanswers of men and women are closer than in any other activity
reported by the same informants, and also as compared to answers provided by men
and women in Buenavista. In Buenavista, commercial fishing does not have the same
importance, since other activities such as hunting and commercial agriculture provide
the required cash.

225
Table 7.8 Commercial Fishing as Perceived by Male and Female Informants.
Commercial
Fishing:
San Martin del Tipishca (RNPS)
Male Inform. Female Inform.
Buenavista (RCTT)
Male Inform. Female Inform.
How much caught?
10-30 kgs
21.4
13.3
20.0
10.0
31-50 kgs
33.3
40.0
16.0
10.0
51-80 kgs
7.1
6.6
12.0
20.0
81-120 kgs
14.2
13.3
4.0
15.0
121-150 kgs
7.1
6.7
0.0
10.0
151-250 kgs
0.0
0.0
0.0
0.0
251-300 kgs
0.0
6.7
0.0
0.0
At least one commercial
fisher in the household
85.8
86.7
52.0
70.0
SOURCE: Surveys (1996).
Most men and women in both San Martin and Buenavista reported sharing
decisions in regard to how much to keep for consumption and how much to sell, as
presented in Table 7.9. While some cases reported men making decisions by
themselves, it was never reported that women did so. Even though decisions on how
much remains at home and how much is sold are mostly shared, another issue is the
predominant male control of the cash resulting from selling fish and game meat, as
already discussed.
Table 7.9 Decision-Making on the Fishing Catch, as Perceived by
Male and Female Informants.
Decisions
San Martin del Tipishca (RNPS)
Buenavista (RCTT)
made by:
Male Inform.
Female Inform.
Male Inform. Female Inform.
Both spouses
93.0
95.7
94.0
96.0
Done by males
7.0
4.3
6.0
4.0
Done by females
0.0
0.0
0.0
0.0
SOURCE: Surveys (1996).

226
The study also explored how many commercial extractivists were identified by
male and female informants. According to the survey, a high proportion (23.7%),
did not answer this question. Those men and women who answered, coincide to
identify between 6 and 11 commercial extractivists in San Martin. In Buenavista,
women identified more extractivists (between 6 and 13), while men identified 6 to 10.
These perceptions coincide with information provided by outsiders working with
families in San Martin and Buenavista, and the information collected through
interviews.
In regard to the reasons for commercial extractivism, Table 7.10 presents
information reported by men and women in San Martin. Women overwhelmingly
tend to identify the reasons for extractivist activities with economic benefits or getting
money faster, compared to only 20% of men. On the other hand, 20% of men
reported that commercial extractivism was due to a lack of alternatives, a reason
given by no women. The Kruskal-Wallis test found evidence of statistical
significance in the differences for these two categories, for the case of San Martin.
Men take into account other reasons, such as having the skills, an element that was
not reported at all by women in San Martin. It seems that women in San Martin are
more focused on the economic determinants of extractivism than are men.

227
Table 7.10 Reasons Associated With Commercial Extractivism in San Martin.
Reasons
Male Informants
Female Informants
P-value
Getting money
faster
20.0%
78.6%
0.002
No alternatives
20.0%
0.0%
0.077
Having the skills
13.3%
7.2%
0.584
Other reasons
13.3%
0.0%
0.157
Total respondants
66.7%
85.7%
0.231
No answer
26.7%
14.3%
0.411
N
15
14
SOURCE: Surveys (1996).
A very different picture emerged in the data from Buenavista, as shown in
Table 7.11. Men overwhelmingly considered the advantage of extractivism to be
getting money faster compared to only 35% of women. Almost as important for men
Table 7.11 Reasons Associated with Commercial Extractivism.
Reasons
Buenavista
Male Inf.
Buenavista
Female Inf.
P-value
Getting money
faster
76.5%
30.8%
0.012
No alternatives
11.8%
15.4%
0.773
Having the skills
64.7%
0.0%
0.001
Other reasons
11.8%
7.7%
0.713
Total respondants
100.0%
56.2%
0.002
No answer
0.0%
56.2%
0.001
N
17
13
SOURCE: Surveys (1996).

228
was having the skills required for extractivism, a reason not mentioned by any
women. P-values for Table 7.11 show that differences between men and women are
statistically significant for these two responses.
Differences in how men and women perceive environmental stress or the
degradation of natural resources, and their stated willingness to participate in actions
favoring conservation of natural resources, are explored in Table 7.12 for San Martin
and Buenavista. The majority of men and women agree in their perception that
natural resources are diminishing, especially fish and game. Increasing human
population seems to be the main reason perceived by men and women in San Martin
and Buenavista, although the proportions between men and women differ. More
outsiders using the resources is an important reason given by women in San Martin
and to some extent by women in Buenavista. (The test for statistical significance was
favorable for this difference observed between men and women in San Martin, while
for Buenavista, it was for men perceiving demographic pressure as more important
than women do). Selling more is the second reason for men in San Martin and
Buenavista and the third reason for women in both places. It is interesting that the
use of better technologies (commercial nets) is reported more by women in San
Martin and Buenavista than by men in both places. Corrupt authorities who do not
control wildlife extraction, and who are infractors themselves, were mentioned more
by women than men in San Martin, and not an issue at all for men and women in
Buenavista. Table 7.13 presents information on how men and women in San Martin
and Buenavista relate to the situation of resource degradation that is presented in
Table 7.12. More women than men in both places expressed concern about the

229
Table 7.12 Perceptions on the Status of Natural Resources (%).
Perceptions
S. Martin
Men
S. Martin
Women
P-
value
Bv
Men
Bv
Women
P-
value
Total
Forests reduced
93.3
78.6
0.249
76.5
84.6
0.773
86.4
Game reduced
93.3
78.6
0.249
94.1
76.9
0.170
86.4
Less fish
93.3
92.9
0.968
94.1
92.3
0.844
93.2
Why? Increasing
human populations
53.3
78.6
0.153
82.4
46.2
0.037
66.1
More outsiders
6.7
64.3
0.001
23.5
30.8
0.657
30.5
We sell more now
26.7
21.4
0.742
47.1
23.1
0.177
30.5
Bad authorities
6.7
21.4
0.249
0.0
0.0
missing
6.7
Because of floods
6.7
7.2
0.960
0.0
7.7
0.245
5.1
Better technology used
0.0
14.3
0.129
5.9
23.1
0.170
10.2
SOURCE: Surveys (1996).
situation of degradation of natural resources, and this concern was more associated
with the fact that resources were more distant or gone.
Women in San Martin were more willing to organize than men, and to seek
more sustainable uses of natural resources, as compared to men. In Buenavista, men
were more eager than women to organize; however more than half of the women in
Buenavista still expressed their interest in organization. P-values for this variable in
both communities reflect statistically significant difference between mens and
womens responses. The other difference between men and women that seems to be

230
Table 7.13 Attitudes Related to the Status of Natural Resources.
Perceptions
S. Martin
Men
S. Martin
Women
P-
value
Bv
Men
Bv
Women
P-
value
Total
Worried
53.3
85.7
0.060
76.5
84.6
0.580
74.6
No worried
33.3
14.3
0.231
23.5
15.4
0.580
22.0
No answer
13.3
0.0
0.157
0.0
0.0
miss
3.4
WHY?
RR more
distant/gone
26.7
42.9
0.359
70.6
84.6
0.368
55.9
Our kids: no sustenance
13.3
35.7
0.159
11.8
7.7
0.713
16.9
No, we can sell
easier
6.7
0.0
0.326
0.0
0.0
miss
1.7
Willing to organize
20.0
64.3
0.016
100.0
61.5
0.005
62.7
Not willing to
organize
60.0
35.7
0.191
0.0
30.8
0.014
30.5
No answer
20.0
0.0
0.077
0.0
7.7
0.245
6.8
N
15
14
17
13
59
SOURCE: Surveys (1996).
statistically significant is the greater concern expressed by women in San Martin, with
respect to resource degradation.
The information presented shows that while perceptions on resource
degradation are similar between men and women, women in San Martin and
Buenavista show more concern than men. In San Martin, where livelihood strategies
depend more on natural resource extraction, women express more willingness than
men to organize for sustainable use of resources. In Buenavista men express more
interest in organization, probably due to the stronger communal organization already

231
existing there. The fact that livelihood strategies are more diversified in Buenavista,
where women are more involved in handicrafts, and already active in the Club de
Madres which provides specific benefits like powdered milk supply, may explain their
lesser interest in organization for sustainable use of resources.
The information presented above shows that women have knowledge,
perceptions and concerns about wildlife resource use, even though they are not direct
users. They know about male activities through the communication that occurs
between the couple and through the decision-making process. At the very least, most
of them help to decide on the amount that remains for consumption and the amount
that is sold. Control over the cash resulting from the sale, however, is highly
variable; in a significant proportion of households (60% for San Martin and 45% for
Buenavista) husbands decide and make use of this money without wives participation.
Given this access that women have to knowledge and use of wildlife resources,
and their concerns with resource conservation, they should be included in
conservation and natural resource management initiatives. Even though they are not
direct users of natural resources, they are indirect users and decision makers.
Gender. Socioeconomic Differentiation and Traditional Cultural Backgrounds
The different relationships established by men and women with the
environment, and the effects of traditional thinking that separates women from wild
nature (forests and rivers) have been presented. It cannot be assumed, however, that
traditional thoughts are solely responsible for the separation of women from nature,
since the social context also plays an important role. Fear is an important element in

232
the socialization of children and in the social control of individual behavior. In order
to control childrens behavior, mothers and older daughters threaten children that the
tunchi will take them away, if they dont behave. Fear also is an element that is very
present in the social interaction among adults. The perception of women as weaker
than men and the rules of avoidance affecting them in regards to the environment, are
also an expression and an instrument of the subordination of women within the social
group. For example, medicine men and medicine women relate differently to nature,
since they are empowered through their connection with supernatural forces and their
own source of power. Therefore, even though ethnicity seems to play an important
role in shaping the differentiated interaction with nature for men and women, the
particularities of the process of social subordination for the families under study have
to be taken into account. Economic constraints and gender hierarchies that affect
female nutrition and health care may explain why women experienced more and more
pronounced health problems in both places, as compared to men (Santamara, 1996
and 1997).
Constant influence of modernizing messages through the media, school system,
church, projects etc., and through the conscious efforts of their parents to erase their
Cocama-Cocamilla identity, culture and language, and their separation from forests
and rivers, may have created a separation of women from the forces of nature and
life. Even though people still refer to the madre (mother) of the forest, river, plants
and animals, as the primary soul or spirit that brings them into life, women do not
establish contact with this feminine spirit of life at a personal level in daily life. They
increasingly rely on external forces and ways to cope with their illnesses, to solve

233
their conflicts, and to make their hopes come true. All their expectations to improve
life are oriented to modem ways and external actors. These are effective to the extent
that women with access to cash and education have less subordinated positions. This
choice of modernity in a context that requires keeping traditional ways for family
survival constructs a net of ambiguity around the social interactions of men and
women, and of both with nature and the larger society. Most women and men have
little traditional knowledge in terms of their ancestors roots and origins, and in terms
of practical knowledge about forests, rivers, medicinal plants, agriculture, social
organization, and so on. They still keep some basic knowledge on how to treat
headaches, diarrhea and colds with traditional methods, but they increasingly rely on
external medicine available through projects and the state. Some researchers suggest
that these families combine modem medicine with traditional plants and practices,
even though they are not open to report this fact, since they want to show they are
civilized (Penn, 1998). This is an issue that deserves further research.
Interactions between men and women are not the same within each household.
Many factors intervene, such as age, stage of the life cycle, access to formal
education, family history, level of income and subjective elements. Observations and
interviews show that older women, who also have less access to formal education,
tend to play a more traditional role in terms of decision making within the household
and less participation in community dynamics. Access to formal education and
especially access to cashthrough selling of small cattle, handicrafts or basic goods in
small tambos, or habilitarseem to provide the basis for a less subordinated position
of women, as observed for the few women in these positions. The family story in

234
terms of role models also is a factor, as well as influence of experiences outside the
community, such as church and health training.
Gender is a complex phenomenon that includes intimate aspects of family
dynamics, and the knowledge an outsider can get about it is limited to scratching the
surface. This study was limited to exploring the way gender interacts with
socioeconomic differentiation and traditional cultural backgrounds to shape the pattern
of natural resource use. It is important however to explicitly recognize that there are
some aspects that still remain to be explored more in- depth, such as sexuality,
fertility and population dynamics, gender and cultural identities and how they are
affected by the school system, markets and the projects operating in the area. Some
elements will be presented as they relate to the viability of the livelihood strategies of
these families and their interaction with natural resource use.
Access to formal education has a double-edged effect. It is true that women
with better access to formal education seem to better negotiate their relations with
men. At the same time, formal education has been a key element in the penetration
of Western culture and the displacement of native culture. In this way, it has been an
element of ethnic subordination. Older women are more subordinated since they are
considered and perceived as more traditional, less trained, less prepared, less capable.
In this context and in these cases, the phrase that women are more Indian comes
true. This opposition between traditional and modem values or worth is expressed in
the generation gap between mothers and daughters. There is a loss of authority
among many parents, since their children consider that their parents know less than
they do. The traditional ways of doing things are considered old-fashioned and

235
worthless, and this is reinforced by most parents goal of sending the children out of
the village, generally to Iquitos, to continue further education and/or to get a job.
The general condition of poverty also reinforces the sense that traditional ways of
living are worthless. This is not true for all families, since many consider that
children have to learn the discipline of getting things done and be able to support
themselves in the village, in the eventuality that things go wrong in the city. They
mean, support in terms of subsistence and not in terms of a job. These parents keep
children and adolescents involved in domestic and productive tasks, and keep a strict
surveillance on their school work also. Usually they are slightly better-off than the
rest and have a strong commitment to improve their material living conditions. They
have more cooperation and women are involved in the Club de Madres and in
community events. These parents use physical punishment to keep discipline and at
the same time they keep a close relation with their children. These types of families
represent no more than 20% of families in San Martin and 35% of families in
Buenavista.
Most families, however, experience a generation gap, especially when parents
have little or no formal education, feeling diminished authority. This problem is
associated with absent fathers doing hunting or fishing. These men also play a more
authoritarian role, with women in a more subordinated role. In these families
children struggle to perform domestic roles, especially daughters, and they have
problems in school too. Some of these girls are engaged in sexual explorations and
they may become pregnant. Other women criticize these mothers that are unable to
teach and guide their daughters, that they are too weak and have become the servants

236
of their own daughters, doing all the chores while the senhoritasyoung ladies-do
nothing at home and nothing at school. In the opinion of many women, the more lazy
and unprepared a young woman is, the more dependent she is on a man, and
according to the prevailing opinion, a woman cannot rely on any man to completely
support her. This is related to the fact that lazy women are not considered a good
candidate with whom to start a family, since they will be a burden rather than a
contributor. Also, early pregnancy and marriage are associated with loss of
opportunities to continue education or to make a better start as a family.
In the cases described above, the influence of the school system on some types
of families has the effect of changing socialization patterns in terms of traditional
gender roles for younger generations, breaking authority models and traditional
values, and reinforcing the reproduction of female subordination and poverty. This is
true from the perspective of these mothers, and also from the perspective of the
young daughters, who may be unable to fit into the urban western world-due to a
poor formal education-and also unable to make their best if they remain in the
village.
In general, women have few opportunities to interact with the outside world,
especially in San Martin. Men are traveling not only to sell products, but also to
perform community duties. They are more exposed to markets and urban contexts,
and also they have better access to formal education. They behave like mestizos and
are more reserved to talk about traditional thinking, than are women. It seems that
men have more options or ethnic roles to play-mestizo outside the house and the

237
community and more traditional inside the houseas compared to women. This is
something that requires further research.
The fact that hunters and extractivists stay closer to forests and rivers comes
together with their closeness to their ethnic heritage. They have not only the skills,
but the preference for that type of life, staying in the open forests, isolated,
performing their rituals for protection and for a good catch. Most of the hunters
interviewed expressed that they liked to be in the forests and felt uncomfortable when
they remained in the village too long. Maybe their awareness of the contradiction
between this way of life and the need to be modem in order to succeed, or the
awareness of the ecological and economic limits to their way of life, or their inability
to improve their familys life, is what keeps them involved in alcohol consumption
and away from home, one expedition after another. This is an issue that deserves
more study in order to better understand what is behind the social and economic
behavior of hunters and extractivists. Their case is a good example of how traditional
ways are not necessarily more gender equity oriented.
Summary
Persistence of traditional world views that reinforce separated spaces and
activities between men and women, affect the way they interact with the environment.
In that sense, traditional cultural backgrounds mediate the gendered interaction with
the environment. The village and the plots become spaces for women, while rivers
and forests are considered masculine spaces. Due to gender and cultural ideologies
and hierarchies, men are direct users of natural resources, especially wildlife, while

238
women are indirect users of wildlife resources. Agriculture is an activity that
involves participation of men in the heavy clearing of the plots, while women are in
charge of the burning, planting and weeding, with the harvest done by the whole
family.
Rules of avoidance limit the interaction of women with nature and put
additional pressure on them in terms of pregnancy and child care. Subordination is
perceived as natural, since like children, women are considered weaker and
dependent. The role of traditional cultural elements reinforcing gender ideologies and
hierarchies occurs in a context of subordination of the Riberehos to the larger
society, through market mechanisms and social and political structures of domination.
Even though gender, socioeconomic and cultural hierarchies seem to set worse
conditions for women, different individuals might experience gender in different
ways. The construction of individual identity and practice occurs in a conflictive and
ambivalent context of tension between modernity and tradition, between ethnic self-
denial and persistence, with objective conditions in which traditional ways become
functional for family survival; gender asymmetries are usually reinforced by
traditional cultural backgrounds, through traditional world views and through
reciprocal and kinship networks that play a role of social control of behavior. While
men interact more with the outside world, claiming a mestizo identity, they seem to
keep a more traditional identity within the family. This may explain the persistence
of traditional thinking in a context of market integration and spread of formal
education. On the other hand, women in general have fewer opportunities to go
outside the village and remain closer to traditional ways and practices.

239
Subordination of women is expressed in their lack of control of cash generated
by sales of fish, game meat and/or agricultural products; in most cases, men spend
this cash on alcohol and other items instead of buying food and basic goods. Gender
asymmetries in this case affect food security of Ribereho families, and the
effectiveness of livelihood strategies.
Subordination of women also is expressed in their sexuality and reproductive
health, since responsibility for parenthood and control of fertility are done in ways
that put their health in danger. Violence is exerted over women and children, to
different degrees, by males who have the legitimacy to correct women, the same
way they correct their children. Alleged inadequate performance of domestic
chores and/or flirtation with another man are common causes that justify violence
toward women. Low self-esteem, fear and self-repression were observed among
women. Access to better education and cash were factors associated with more
independent and assertive roles played by women, in regard to men.
Complementarity also is part of gender interactions, due to the livelihood
strategies that require cooperation of men and women within families, as well as
reciprocal networks outside the family. Complementarity is explored in the study,
through shared information, attitudes and perceptions that men and women have in
common, including activities performed by men only. Main results show:
1. While there is confluence of mens and womens identification of the main
activities for food and cash, men tend to give more importance to hunting than
women do, for food and cashassociated with the lack of female control of income
resulting from hunting.

240
2. While women were able to identify at least two of the places used by men
for hunting and fishing, as well as the species caught by them, there was more
variability in the answers of men and women in terms of specific amounts of catch
and frequency. Decisions in regard to how much remains for consumption and how
much goes for sale, similarly were perceived as shared by men and women in both
communities.
3. A similar proportion of men and women coincided to identify between 6
and 10 extractivists per community. However, women tended to identify
extractivism with economic determinants such as getting the money faster, lack of
alternatives sources of cash- more than did men.
4. Men and women share their perceptions on resource depletion; however,
women tend to be more concerned by this situation than are men, and also say they
are more willing to organize to seek more sustainable use of natural resources.
These findings show that even though women are not direct users of wildlife
resources, they have knowledge of the use of these resources made by men. In
addition, they express greater concern and willingness to organize themselves and
seek ways to conserve natural resources.

CHAPTER 8
DISCUSSION
1
Study Findings and Implications for Conservation Management
Community-based conservation initiatives result from the convergence of the
recognition among conservationists of the limits of conservation models that exclude
local people, with the increasing awareness of local communities of their need to seek
sustainable uses of the resources in order to protect their own livelihood systems.
The discussion of the experiences of community-based conservation at a global level
(Western et al., 1994; Bissonette and Krausman, 1995; University of Wisconsin-
Madison, 1995) calls attention to the internal complexity and heterogeneity of
communities, and also to market dynamics as a threat to community-based
conservation.
While participation of communities in conservation management, within
institutional frameworks that legitimatize and secure access of communities to
conservation benefits, is a positive step toward more socially sustainable alternatives
in conservation, the results from this study suggest that it is a necessary but not a
sufficient condition. Dynamic economic environments may work against favorable
institutional frameworks, stimulating increasing extraction of wildlife by families of
communities involved in community-based conservation, as compared to families of
241

242
communities in a less dynamic environment which do not participate in conservation
management.
The study compared wildlife extraction among families of Buenavistapart of
the Communal Reserve Tamshiyacu-Tahuayo-and families of San Martin del
Tipishca, in the Papaya-Samiria National Reserve. Results show that more dynamic
economic environment is associated with larger hunting and extractive harvests, also
favored by a more diverse habitat and larger wildlife populations. Participation of
communities in conservation management seems unable to neutralize the stimulating
effect of a more dynamic economic environment, which is expressed in 1) closer
location to Iquitos and Tamishiyacu, 2) the daily transportation available, and 3) the
presence of habilitadores, and regatones that supply hunters expeditions and facilitate
selling harvested products. The study reports that wildlife species harvested include
several listed as endangered species by the Peruvian government, and identified as
more vulnerable to hunting pressure by biological researchers. The study also reports
slightly increasing commercial fishing in San Martin, as compared to Buenavista.
More extraction of aguaje and chonta was reported in Buenavista, as well as timber
extraction for charcoal making and a greater prevalence of market oriented
agriculture. Better access to uplands and levees and palm swamps, and better
integration to markets explain more incidence of these market oriented activities, the
extraction of aguaje and chonta is highly destructive, since the palm trees are cut in
order to harvest the fruits of aguaje and the heart of the stem of chonta palm trees.

243
While families in neither Buenavista nor San Martin were aware of the state
laws regulating their use of wildlife resources, more families in Buenavista were
aware of communal regulations affecting the use of these resources. The proportion
of people perceiving increasing depletion of natural resources was similar in both
communities, but their stated willingness to organize themselves and participate in
community-based conservation was weaker in San Martin and stronger in Buenavista.
These results show that there is a need in both places to implement
environmental education in regard to the legal framework affecting the use of
resources by families in both protected areas, as well as the species allowed to be
hunted and those required to be protected. It seems that participation of communities
in conservation management provides a more effective and motivated scenario for
environmental education, as well as for seeking alternatives for more sustainable uses
of natural resources.
The comparison of the levels of wildlife extraction made in Buenavista and San
Martin could have been stronger, if at least one community of TTCR immersed in a
less dynamic environment, as well as a community of PSNR in a more dynamic
environment, had been included. However, for the case of the TTCR, the four
communities in charge of reserve management share the same dynamic environment,
and the inclusion of an additional research site within PSNR was beyond the resources
available for this study. Even with these limitations, the findings of this study call
attention to market dynamics as an important element affecting the level of extraction
of wildlife resources, potentially weakening the effects of community participation in

244
conservation management. In that sense, they call for a reflection on the need to
consider broader contexts affecting local conservation efforts.
Conservation efforts have to look beyond the local level to include regional
and macroeconomic considerations. The consideration of regional and
macroeconomic mechanisms and policiesspecially relative prices structure and
policies affecting agricultureand concerted efforts toward sustainable development at
a larger scale, should be included in conservation agendas.
On the other hand, results also show that community-based conservation
generates more awareness, interest and willingness among people to organize and seek
alternative uses of resources that are more sustainable. This provides a better
scenario for participatory environmental education to bridge the existing gap observed
in both communities, in terms of legal frameworks and conservation management
recommendations affecting their use of resources.
Socioeconomic Differentiation Among Households and Wildlife Resource Uses
The identification of different users of wildlife resources, and the logic behind
this difference, is important for conservation initiatives, in order to tailor specific
approaches to specific groups of users, and in order to plan alternatives that fit into
current livelihood strategies. The study found a high variability in the use of wildlife
resources and explored some individual socio-demographic characteristics, personal
skills and preferences, as well as social access to commercial means of extraction.

245
The analysis also included the interactions between resource use and economic
differentiation within each community.
The main findings of the study show a high variability of resource use,
especially for commercial fishing and hunting in terms of frequency and catches.
Even though the analysis of this variability is limited by the size of the sample and the
village populations, results suggest some interesting clues. The interactions between
economic differentiation and use of wildlife resources, according to this study, can be
summarized as follows:
(1) Access to commercial means of extraction is restricted to those members
of each community who can afford to buy commercial nets and firearms and to
finance the cost of expeditions. That means that not all members of the community
have the same access to commercial means of extraction. The presence of
habilitadores may increase the number of families doing commercial hunting, even
though they obtain lesser returns from this activity because they have to pay the
habilitadores for their services. For the case of commercial fishing, families rely on
their own means to get the money to purchase commercial nets, and this limits the
spread of ownership of commercial nets.
(2) Lack of access to commercial means of extraction prevents families from
extracting more resources, especially fish, since commercial nets are more expensive
than firearms and there are no habilitadores who finance the purchasing of
commercial nets. In addition to the expensive price of commercial nets, they are
constantly damaged by fish and require repair; that is one of the reasons commercial

246
nets are not lent nor exchanged between different families. It also increases the cost
of maintaining the nets, once acquired. Families who have access to commercial nets
are those who can afford the purchase and maintenance of commercial nets, as well as
the cost of expeditions. Levels of commercial extraction are linked to access to
commercial means of extraction, such as firearms and especially commercial nets. In
that sense, the lack of access to commercial nets limits the level of extraction.
(3) Commercial extractivism is not sufficient by itself to elevate a family to
those among the better-off in each community. The study identified in each
community the families perceived by villagers as being "better-off." Only those
commercial extractives who had an additional source of income and/or diversified
livelihood strategies that included agriculture for subsistence and market, were within
the category of better-off families. Sustained sources of cashsuch as retirement
pension or salary, a store, being an habilitador, selling domestic livestock and/or
agricultural products in regular amounts, among others-or activities that did not
interfere with meeting subsistence needs, were identified as the main mechanisms to
achieve a better economic status.
Different Users of Natural Resources. Different Needs
The high variability of wildlife resource use among Ribereho families in the
communities under study reinforces the need to acknowledge different types of
resource users within each community, with specific interests and demands, who may
require specific approaches. The study results suggest three groups for Buenavista

247
and San Martin, whose relevance for other communities has to be explored: (a)
subsistence fishermen, (b) commercial fishermen, and (c) commercial hunters.
Subsistence Fishermen
Families engaged in subsistence fishing are also engaged in small amounts of
commercial fishing, due to their lack of access to commercial nets and to cash to
finance expeditions. Most of these families are not engaged in hunting on a regular
basis, due to lack of firearms, cash to finance expeditions and/or lack of hunting skills
and preferences. In Buenavista, this group might be more involved in agriculture
and/or domestic livestock as well as some sporadic collection of aguaje or chonta,
and fruits from managed fallows. In San Martin, floods and lack of access to levees,
as well as distances to markets, limit the importance of agriculture, domestic livestock
and extraction to a more seasonal pattern. This group seems unable to get enough
food and cash to meet their basic needs. Little attention has been paid to improving
subsistence agriculture, without increasing monetary costs. Efforts could be oriented
in this direction, to improve their livelihoods in terms of their food security. This
group represent approximately 70% of the families in San Martin and Buenavista.
Commercial Fishermen
Those families engaged in commercial fishing-besides subsistence fishing that
is common to all familieshave access to commercial nets. Most commercial
fishermen are not involved in commercial hunting, but in agriculture as far as
ecological and economic environments allow this activity to developed. For this
group, commercial agriculture could be improved, as well as other income generating

248
activities, in order to provide alternative sources of income. Recommendations
regulating seasonality and amount of the catchesif availablemay improve the
sustainability of their resource use. This group represent approximately 20% of the
families in both communities.
Commercial Hunters
Those involved in commercial hunting, due to their access to firearms, and
more important, to their personal skills and preferences. Usually hunters combine
hunting with commercial fishing as part of their expeditions and if results from
hunting are low, they can also do some forest product extraction, in order to make
their trip worthwhile. Commercial hunters rarely are involved in agriculture, unless
they pay wage labor to assist the labor of their wives and children. In those cases,
agriculture is carried out not only for subsistence but for sale, providing an additional
source of cash for the families. Most hunters families rely on the purchase of food,
since their subsistence agriculture is limited by the lack of male labor required for the
clearing of the plots. This dependence on food purchases as well as heavy
consumption of alcohol works against their wealth. Even though they might have
higher gross income derived from commercial extraction, they also have high bills to
pay to the local stores and/or to habilitadores. Conservation efforts should focus on
integrating hunters into wildlife management planning and regulations, and improving
hunters family involvement in agriculture in order to cut their dependence on
habilitadores and local stores. If womens participation in decisions affecting cash
could also be increased, these families could have better access to food and basic

249
needs. However, these are delicate issues and require a bottom-up and long term
approach. This group represent approximately 10% of the families in both
communities.
These differences in wildlife resource use and in access to commercial means
of extraction need to be explored in a wider sample in order to answer an important
question concerning to what extent these differences challenge the definition of
Riberehos as a social group. Using the definition provided by Schmink and Wood
(1987:13-14), a social group is comprised of people sharing similar access to
productive resources and similar social relations to make a living. They have
common grounds that provide shared visions and perceptions in regard to their own
situation and the way to improve it; these common grounds and visions are what
allow concerted actions and the transformation of individual actors into political
collectives.
Are market dynamics accentuating the internal differentiation of Riberehos,
especially in regard to their resource use? Further research is required to answer this
question. However, the conclusion here is that the three groups described above still
share the subordinated integration into market dynamics and common patterns of
making a living as well as life styles, kinship and reciprocal ties. However, as
market integration increases, it can be expected that the differentiation in resource use
will become sharper, and so might become the economic differentiation among
Riberehos, in terms of their uses of resources, and also in terms of poverty and
wealth. These changes may undermine their capacity to work together as a political

250
collective, and their potential for reviving a common ethnic identity or for forging
consensus on resource use regulations.
Factors Affecting Wildlife Resource Pressure
Access to commercial tools and money to finance expeditions are common
issues for involvement in both commercial fishing and hunting. However, access to
commercial means of extraction seems to be more important to influence the level of
catch in commercial fishing, whereas skills, attitudes and preferences seem to be more
significant for hunters. This is important, because it may suggest that besides social
access to means of extraction, the economic importance of agriculture providing
income affects the pressure on wildlife through hunting. In addition to economic
considerations, cultural factors such as personal skills and preferences also affect the
use of resources through hunting.
This requires a consideration of different factors affecting conservation of
wildlife resources at the local level. Cultural elements should not be overlooked in
their influence on hunting pressures, avoiding romantic or stereotyped generalizations
associating traditional people with sustainable use of resources. In addition, the
forces of markets and macroeconomic policies affecting prices and technical assistance
for agriculture should also be considered. Finally, it seems that economic
differentiation plays a key role limiting the extraction levels of the poorest, while
giving a comparative advantage to those with access to commercial nets.

251
Diversification of Livelihoods
More diversified livelihood strategies are not necessarily associated with lower
levels of commercial extraction, when the prices for agricultural and extractive
products do not allow families to break the level of poverty, as observed when
comparing Buenavista and San Martin. The greater importance of agriculture and/or
domestic livestock, and handicrafts does not provide enough income to decrease the
economic importance of commercial extraction. This is associated with the lower
prices obtained for agricultural products, as compared to wildlife, as presented in the
study. It is important to keep in mind, that the comparative importance of agriculture
and extraction in the Tahuayo has a seasonality that goes beyond the year frame. The
time frame of the study, 1996 and 1997, included very bad years for agriculture. The
relative importance of agriculture and extraction might be different during better times
for agriculture. In addition, the floods of 1993 and 1994 had such a devastating
effect on agriculture and food security, that food relief programs had to intervene to
support these families.
Conservation and Development
In Loretos regional rural economy, commercial fishing currently is the main
profitable activity. Since access to commercial nets is a key constraint, any additional
cash or credit available to these families would be likely to go to the purchase of
commercial fishing nets. This would lead to an increase in resource extraction.
The choices affecting resource extraction are not limited by factors at the local
level, but involve regional and national market dynamics and policies as well. The

252
lack of profitability of agriculture requires this activity to be developed at a larger
scale and with wage labor and inputs, in order to get better results. Families that do
not have an external source of cash cannot afford the losses due to unfavorable prices
and natural factors that make agriculture a risky activity. Hence, resource extraction
is likely to increase.
Profitable cash crop might provide an alternative to wildlife extraction, while
support to subsistence agriculture would improve food security of these families.
These are two different strategies oriented to meet two different needs and targeting
two different users: the support to subsistence agriculture should be done without
increasing monetary costs, oriented to solve the food security crisis that most families
face in this area, while commercial crops need to provide alternative cash to wildlife
extraction. In order to become profitable, commercial agriculture requires technical
assistance to increase productivity and most important, favorable and stable prices to
justify the investment.
This trend shows that the problem of wildlife resource uses goes beyond the
limits of conservation efforts, and is linked with development patterns as well as with
policies toward agriculture. Without a concerted effort between conservation efforts
and development policies favoring agriculture, a decrease in the economic pressure on
wildlife resource cannot be assured. Conservation and sustainable development
agendas have to come together in order to push for changes at the macroeconomic
level, in terms of policies and strategies.

253
Community-Based Management
However, many families-especially those in Buenavistaare aware of resource
depletion. Even those families aware of community regulations are extracting
significant amounts of fish and/or game meat. Their willingness to organize
themselves to seek more sustainable uses of resources potentially can lead to a better
management of these resources in terms of species caught and seasonality of the
harvest. Community-based management seems to provide a better institutional
framework to take advantage of this willingness and awareness.
Gender and Traditional Cultural Backgrounds Shape
Social Dynamics and Resource Use
Gender and traditional cultural backgrounds are linked in different ways,
affecting the ways men and women use natural resources and how they relate to each
other at the individual and social levels. The findings of the study show that in the
two communities, even though women are not direct users of wildlife resources, they
have knowledge of the use of these resources made by men. In addition, they express
greater concern and willingness to organize themselves and to seek ways to conserve
natural resources.
The role of traditional elements reinforcing gender ideologies and hierarchies
occurs in a context of subordination or Riberehos to the larger society, through
market mechanisms and social and political structures of domination. Even though
gender, socioeconomic and cultural hierarchies seem to set worse conditions for
women, different individuals might experience gender in different ways. The

254
construction of individual identity and practice occurs in a conflictive and ambivalent
context of tension between modernity and tradition, between ethnic self-denial and
persistence, with objective conditions in which "traditional" ways become functional
for family survival.
While the dominant discourse is toward modernity and assimilation, the
regional economy is unable to modernize Riberehos livelihood strategies, to convert
them into commercial farmers or to support agroindustrial activities based on
sustainable use of resources. Lack of profitability of agriculture, lack of credit and
investment, lack of sufficient and appropriate information and linkages with global
markets, and lack of public or non-profit services supporting modernization of the
regional economy, explain this contradiction. The only modernization at the
economic level is the expansion of Western-urban patterns of consumption.
In this context, Riberehos extractive practices, and their livelihood strategies
that combine market oriented with subsistence activities done in traditional ways, are
functional to keep the reproduction cost of these families low, and therefore,
affordable for such a low income population. Even so, emigration of family members
is a strategy that allows families to try to achieve some social mobility as well as to
reduce the pressure on natural resources and family reproduction costs.
Gender asymmetries are usually reinforced by traditional cultural backgrounds,
through traditional world views and through reciprocal and kinship networks that play
a role in controlling social behavior. While men interact more with the outside
world, adopting more of a mestizo identity, they seem to keep a more traditional

255
identity within the family. This may explain the persistence of traditional thinking in
a context of market integration and spread of formal education. On the other hand,
women have fewer opportunities to go outside the village and remain closer to
traditional ways and practices.
These findings suggest that conservation initiatives should include womens
participation, even though they are not direct users of wildlife resources.
Complementarity of gender interactions shown in this study indicates that womens
knowledge, perceptions and participation in decisions affecting the use of resources
should not be ignored, since they have implications for family food security, labor
allocation and planning of resource use.
Gender subordination expressed in their lack of control of cash that affects the
familys food supply, and family planning methods that affect womens health, and
domestic violence should be taken into account as elements that may diminish
participation of women in conservation and development initiatives as well as
affecting the equity and effectiveness of their current livelihood strategies.
The influence of traditional cultural backgrounds and ethnic identities and
ideologies should be further explored in its interactions with gender and with
socioeconomic differentiation, in the shape of the social and economic behavior of
Riberehos men and women. The findings presented in this study are preliminary
results presented mainly as a way to open a discussion on these issues and change the gender
and ethnic-blindness that characterizes much of our research and interventions.

256
Lessons Learned Regarding Conservation. Market Dynamics and Riberehos
Market dynamics seem to play a key role in the differentiation of resource use,
influencing the level of extraction by different communities and by families within
communities. Even though Riberehos share a common situation of poverty and
subordination in terms of their market, social and ethnic integration, there are
different layers of poverty that allow different levels of wildlife resource sue.
Socioeconomic differentiation among Riberehos is an important consideration for
further research, especially in terms of its implications for resource use. Analysis of
socioeconomic differentiationunderstood as an analysis of the differences resulting
from the social access to means of production and extraction expressed through
production, circulation, distribution and consumptioncan be useful to understand and
to assess the validity of identifying Riberehos as a social group. Internal
differentiation of Riberehos might affect their capacity to articulate social movements
to defend their interests, and to claim and redefine their own ethnic and social
identity.
In regard to conservation, it is essential to integrate conservation and
development agendas, since factors affecting wildlife resource use to a great extent go
beyond the local level. There is a need to include changes in the policies affecting
agriculture and other economic activities, in order to convert them into effective
alternative sources of cash. However, this approach would not be effective, unless
the models of development are reviewed in order to include more equitable
distribution of power and benefits, in terms of region, socioeconomic, cultural and

257
gender groups. This revision of the concepts and methodologies of conservation and
development also has to include the way agencies and practitioners relate to local
people, and their position in the on-going process of modemization/civilization that
has shown little respect for indigenous cultures, and the different ways they have been
redefined by social actors and dominant structures and institutions. A truly bottom-up
participatory process has to be begun, allowing the redefinition of conservation and
development agendas by local people, if conservation and development processes are
to be sustainable. Riberehos have to find out by themselves who they are, what they
want and how they want to relate to conservation and development agencies ad to the
State.
Conservation will fail the same way development has failed for so many
decades, unless the struggle is included for social change and to empower local
peoples organization and social movements. In this perspective, researchers can help
to draw the socioeconomic map of interests and conflicts affecting not only resource
uses, but possible alliances and partnerships. Public opinion through the media, at the
regional, national and global level can help to push the changes required to achieve
this goal.
The results of this exploratory study should be taken as inputs for a discussion
involving local institutions working in conservation and development in the region,
with participation of local people as well. This process of collective digestion of
these results, and the further participatory research to deepen or challenge them,
would be a way to convert this academic exercise into useful practice.

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Press.

Missing
From
Original



215
Once a woman is married she is expected to be monogamous and to behave
discreetly. This concern of not only being but looking chaste represses womens
spontaneity and fun. For example adult women dance in the communal party in a
restricted way: not only is the bodys movement minimal, but they stare at the floor
and maintain a serious expression. That is the proper behavior of a married woman,
was the answer to my observation that they did not seem to enjoy the party. It also
was a sure way to avoid any problem with their husbands, later at home.
Consumption of alcohol turns sober, gentle men into aggressive and irrational ones,
and women try to avoid fights and physical violence. This is another aspect of female
subordination that impedes women from growing in a context of respect and
recognition of their own needs, capabilities and rights. Women release the tension of
their subordinated role in some events such as the soccer games played almost every
Sunday. Women sit together and spend the whole game screaming to encourage,
criticize and tease their husbands performance. These comments are done in a
context of humor; however the criticism is sharp and women express their
disappointment very directly. On these occasions, men take it very easy, not getting
mad at the comments. They either pretend to ignore the screams or lower their head
in shame or just laugh. No evidence was collected of male violence toward their
wives after these events. This is a very vivid contrast with the usually subordinated
role of women in parties, meetings, etc. Maybe the context of a game opens a more
ludic space in which they can express their frustrations more easily. Other rare
occasions when women raise their voices are when men are making agreements that


278
Valcarcel, M., 1991. Evolucin del rol productivo de la Amazonia. Barclay et al,
eds. 1991 .Amazonia 1940-1990. El extravio de una ilusin .Terra
Nuova/CISEPA.
Varese, M., 1995. El mercado de productos de fauna silvestre en la ciudad de Puerto
Maldonado. Lima. Conservation Intemational-Peru Office.
Varese S., 1972. The Forest Indians in the present political situation of Peru. IWGIA
Document #8, Copenhagen. International Work Group for Indigenous Affairs.
Villarejo, A., 1979. Asi es la Selva. Iquitos. Publicaciones CETA. 2nd Edicin.
Wagley, Charles, 1976. Amazon Town: A study of man in the tropics. London.
Oxford University Press.
Warner, M.N., Al-Hassan R.M., and G.J. Kydd 1996. Beyond Gender Role?
Conceptualizing the social and economic lives of rural people in sub-Saharan
Africa. Some evidence from northern Ghana. Development and Change Vol
35:210-242.
Webb R., and Femandez-Baca G.,1990. Peru en Nmeros 1990. Lima. Cuanto S.A.
Webster, D. 1991. Abafazi Bathonga Bafihlakala. Ethnicity and Gender in a
KwaZulu Border Community. African Studies Vol 50, No. 1-2:243-271.
Western D. and R.M. Wright (Eds.) Natural Connections. Perspectives in
Community-based Conservation. Washington D.C.-Covelo, California. Island
Press.


Page
APPENDIX
A SURVEY 258
B FISHING AND HUNTING PRESSURE 267
REFERENCES 270
BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH 279
x


179
hardship of hunting expeditions (staying awake at night to hunt, taking naps during
the daytime, eating simple and irregular meals cooked by themselves, etc.).
On the other hand, market dynamics and price knowledge, external networks
in the cities, in the rivers with boats owners, and in other hunting or fishing places
are developed according to the degree of formal education, kinship networks and
personal ability.
Peoples perceptions on the accessibility of the tools of extraction show that
most of them (95 % of interviewees in San Martin and Buenavista) believed that cash
is required to buy commercial means of extraction, yet cash is very restricted in most
households. Access to the commercial means of extraction is not open to everyone,
but rather is restricted within communities. Not every family has a firearm,
commercial net or the money to afford inputs for a hunting expedition (salt, batteries,
munition etc.). Hunting skills and market knowledge also are not part of everybodys
repertoire of knowledge.
Does Limited Access to Means of Extraction Prevent Further Resource Extraction?
People expressed clearly that they were not able to catch more fish because
they did not have enough commercial nets. People of San Martin asked the PPS to
provide them with better nets and the PPS organized some fishing groups and
financed their purchase of large commercial nets in return for a commitment to
observe some management regulations and to register information on fish species
throughout the year. These groups were organized in 1996. In 1997 they were no
longer operative, although most members kept the nets. The point is that the demand


252
lack of profitability of agriculture requires this activity to be developed at a larger
scale and with wage labor and inputs, in order to get better results. Families that do
not have an external source of cash cannot afford the losses due to unfavorable prices
and natural factors that make agriculture a risky activity. Hence, resource extraction
is likely to increase.
Profitable cash crop might provide an alternative to wildlife extraction, while
support to subsistence agriculture would improve food security of these families.
These are two different strategies oriented to meet two different needs and targeting
two different users: the support to subsistence agriculture should be done without
increasing monetary costs, oriented to solve the food security crisis that most families
face in this area, while commercial crops need to provide alternative cash to wildlife
extraction. In order to become profitable, commercial agriculture requires technical
assistance to increase productivity and most important, favorable and stable prices to
justify the investment.
This trend shows that the problem of wildlife resource uses goes beyond the
limits of conservation efforts, and is linked with development patterns as well as with
policies toward agriculture. Without a concerted effort between conservation efforts
and development policies favoring agriculture, a decrease in the economic pressure on
wildlife resource cannot be assured. Conservation and sustainable development
agendas have to come together in order to push for changes at the macroeconomic
level, in terms of policies and strategies.


141
obtained from interviews with hunters, such as the average total weight, meat weight
and prices for different animals hunted in San Martin and Buenavista, is presented in
Table 5.5, to complement the information provided by Table 5.4. Prices are
unstable. Many informants reported that they might listen to the radio about good
prices for game meat or fish; however, when returning from the expedition and
selling products, prices may have changed, usually for the worse. There is also the
risk of facing rain, storms and accidents that may result in poor results or no game at
all, even though the investment is the same. While some men go once or twice a
year to hunt, regular hunters take two trips per month, obtaining an average of 130 kg
per trip. They usually combine hunting with extraction of aguaje. If the hunter has
been habilitado and faces a bad trip, the result will be a debt that may attach him to
the habilitador until he can pay off the loan. Risk is one element that works against
the economic wealth of hunters, despite the larger amount of money they potentially
can get, as compared to the other activities done in the village. Another important
element is the diminished labor available for subsistence agriculture which makes
hunters families rely more on purchased food supplies, making their food security
more vulnerable and dependent on the cash obtained through hunting and/or
collection.
It has to be mentioned that heavy consumption of alcohol is often associated
with hunting. Four of seven from San Martin, and nine of 11 hunters of Buenavista
have heavy drinking habits. In both places, women react to men spending money on
alcohol instead of providing for family needs, by buying by credit in local stores:


222
Men tend to give more importance to hunting than women do, probably because they
tend to control the cash generated by that activity, with lesser or no participation of
women in decisions regarding that cash. The other important activity to provide cash,
perceived by both men and women in San Martin and Buenavista, is domestic
livestock, even though women give more importance than men to this activity in San
Martin, while the contrary occurs in Buenavista. Other extractive activitiessuch as
aguaje and chontaare reported more by men and women of Buenavista, as compared
to San Martin. This is related to the fact, already mentioned in Chapter 5, that there
is more extraction of aguaje, chonta, and preparing of charcoal in Buenavista as
compared to San Martin. These activities are perceived by men of Buenavista as
more important than by women. This issue of male control of cash may also explain
why men in Buenavista tend to give more importance to agriculture and to other
extractive activities for cash, as compared to women. On the other hand, women in
both communities mentioned other activities in which they are engaged (which
include handicrafts, washing clothes and cooking for school teachers and project
technicians), but no men did.
Women are familiar with the frequency and amount of wildlife caught by men
hunting and fishing, although there are differences in the detailed information
provided by men and women. Table 7.6 shows that in San Martin, responses of male
and female informants about hunting tend to be closer, in terms of frequency of the
activity and the number of animals hunted, in the cases in which hunting is an
occasional activity with a small catch. In Buenavista, a community in which hunting


11
Chapter 7 discusses the connection between traditional world views and gender
hierarchies and division of spaces and roles in the context of cultural and social
subordination.
Methodology
Research Sites
San Martin del Tipishca, within the Pacaya-Samiria National Reserve, and
Buenavista, near the border of the Tamshiyacu-Tahuayo Communal Reserve were
selected as the two communities in which to conduct the study. Considering the high
degree of heterogeneity among communities in this region, the enormous territory,
and the communication problems in terms of cost, availability, and security, the
reasons these two communities were selected was quite simple. First, their location
in regard to market dynamics and to research logistics was ideal. Market dynamics
were an important component of the first research question. Therefore, it was
necessary to compare two communities with very different types of articulation into
market dynamics. San Martin represents a case of relative isolation, whereas
Buenavista represents integration into a dynamic economic environment. The second
reason was that these two communities presented advantages in terms of the research
logistics.1
'San Martin was one base for the Programa Pacaya-Samiria (WWF-AIF/DK) and they
offered to allow me to stay at their project house; technicians travel in and out of San
Martin with some regularity; therefore, there is a small motor boat that periodically
connects that remote community with the main route of the large public boats,
something important to consider when traveling by myself to an unknown remote area


253
Community-Based Management
However, many families-especially those in Buenavistaare aware of resource
depletion. Even those families aware of community regulations are extracting
significant amounts of fish and/or game meat. Their willingness to organize
themselves to seek more sustainable uses of resources potentially can lead to a better
management of these resources in terms of species caught and seasonality of the
harvest. Community-based management seems to provide a better institutional
framework to take advantage of this willingness and awareness.
Gender and Traditional Cultural Backgrounds Shape
Social Dynamics and Resource Use
Gender and traditional cultural backgrounds are linked in different ways,
affecting the ways men and women use natural resources and how they relate to each
other at the individual and social levels. The findings of the study show that in the
two communities, even though women are not direct users of wildlife resources, they
have knowledge of the use of these resources made by men. In addition, they express
greater concern and willingness to organize themselves and to seek ways to conserve
natural resources.
The role of traditional elements reinforcing gender ideologies and hierarchies
occurs in a context of subordination or Riberehos to the larger society, through
market mechanisms and social and political structures of domination. Even though
gender, socioeconomic and cultural hierarchies seem to set worse conditions for
women, different individuals might experience gender in different ways. The


235
worthless, and this is reinforced by most parents goal of sending the children out of
the village, generally to Iquitos, to continue further education and/or to get a job.
The general condition of poverty also reinforces the sense that traditional ways of
living are worthless. This is not true for all families, since many consider that
children have to learn the discipline of getting things done and be able to support
themselves in the village, in the eventuality that things go wrong in the city. They
mean, support in terms of subsistence and not in terms of a job. These parents keep
children and adolescents involved in domestic and productive tasks, and keep a strict
surveillance on their school work also. Usually they are slightly better-off than the
rest and have a strong commitment to improve their material living conditions. They
have more cooperation and women are involved in the Club de Madres and in
community events. These parents use physical punishment to keep discipline and at
the same time they keep a close relation with their children. These types of families
represent no more than 20% of families in San Martin and 35% of families in
Buenavista.
Most families, however, experience a generation gap, especially when parents
have little or no formal education, feeling diminished authority. This problem is
associated with absent fathers doing hunting or fishing. These men also play a more
authoritarian role, with women in a more subordinated role. In these families
children struggle to perform domestic roles, especially daughters, and they have
problems in school too. Some of these girls are engaged in sexual explorations and
they may become pregnant. Other women criticize these mothers that are unable to
teach and guide their daughters, that they are too weak and have become the servants


147
before sunset. In Buenavista, plots are not so close to the village, and women and
men devote a whole time block (a whole day or half day) to work in their plots,
instead of dividing the workload in two shifts, as done in San Martin.
As people clearly recognize, family labor restrictions limit the amount of land
they can crop to 1.5 or 2 ha. That explains why agricultural areas do not expand
even though there are no restrictions to land access. Cash to pay wage labor is
restricted to the families of extractivists, or to those who have tambo or an external
source of income. Information provided by the Community of SMT to the Ministry
of Agriculture corroborates this limited expansion of agriculture in SMT: each family
crops an average of 2 ha and there is no land under communal management.
In Buenavista, people can crop more land, since there is no seasonality of
agriculture, as already mentioned. For example, 20 villagers enrolled in the Proyecto
CASPI are planting camu-camu and pijuayo in a range from 0.5 to 2 ha. 55 % of them
planting 1 ha. In addition they keep 2 ha. in uplands and from 0.5 to 1 ha. in the
lowlands, and they also manage old fallows to collect fruit for their consumption and
to sell. There are around 6 families that are better off, since they had access to
sources of cash to start a store, and develop more commercial agriculture and
domestic livestock. They use wage labor and have between 10 and 15 ha. in the
lowlands and uplands, besides old fallows that provide fruit to sell. In general,
agricultural plots in Buenavista are one or two hours from the village, either by canoe
or walking. Table 5.7 provides prices of agricultural wildlife products, based on
information provided by interviews in Buenavista and San Martin. As can be seen,


70
interaction. It has been already presented how market dynamics can influence the
patterns of population settlement, Iquitos being the big pole of attraction due to its
important commercial, political-administrative and service supply role. There are
other processes that explain how, parallel to this concentration of population in
Iquitos, the expansion of the frontier has continued and will continue.
It is not the pressure for agricultural land that explains this continued
expansion of settlements, since land is not a restricted or scare resource among most
Ribereho villages. People mainly move on looking for better hunting and fishing
resources. Livelihood strategies of Riberehos require some degree of geographical
dispersion or limited pressure on natural resources, otherwise fishing, collection,
cropping and hunting activities, on which they rely for subsistence, are too difficult,
unproductive and time-consuming. Sometimes social conflicts play a role.
Associated with this is the search for administrative autonomy, the desire to be
recognized as an independent village with its own authorities and its own school.
However, in order to be able to be recognized as a village by the state and be
assigned a teacher paid by the state, they have to show a critical number of children
already attending school. Here begins the process of recruitment of relatives living in
other places; kinship networks of Ribereho families extend far beyond the locality.
This is an important factor in explaining the mobility within the region and the
expansion of the frontier.
The indigenous population is estimated as 30.4% of Loretos rural population
according to the 1981 census, the main ethnic groups being the Cocama-Cocamillas,


30
living. This notion originally was used to describe the ways urban poor found a way
to make a living, as a structurally marginal social segment. The concept of survival
strategies recognized their active role in creating their own jobs and income,
overcoming the portrait of poor and passive "victims" (Torrado, 1981; Jelin, 1982).
This notion also allowed researchers to examine differential responses of different
social groups and individuals facing similar structural conditions (Schmink, 1984). It
was later used and expanded to understand the rationality of family goals and behavior
within the farming systems approach (Brush, 1988; Mayer, 1979).
Disaggregation in terms of gender, generation, marital status, role within
kinship and/or community structures, among other variables, has contributed to a
better understanding of the concept of livelihood strategies as a phenomenon that is
not restricted to economics. For the case of Peruvian farmers, Aramburu and Ponce,
(1987) compared different regional contexts of market dynamics, access to land and to
formal education, and found that associated with economic strategies tending toward
either productive diversification or specialization, are demographic strategies tending
either toward family fission (family members emigration) or fusion (family members
remain and some relatives are added). Some results for Ribereho families at the
Napo River suggest (Espinosa, 1994) that families located in more distant villages
rely more on subsistence agriculture, fishing and hunting, with high rates of
emigration and more complementarity and female involvement in agriculture. By
contrast, villages more integrated into market dynamics show less emigration of
family members and families rely more on commercial agriculture and commercial


10
6. As an introduction to this topic, a description of livelihoods in both communities
is provided in Chapter 5.
The second set of research questions is as follows: What is the degree of
differentiation among families in regard to natural resource use, especially in terms of
wildlife resources? What are the factors, processes, and variables associated with the
differential use of resources? While linkages with the market have been addressed by
several researchers, few studies have focused on the connections between market
dynamics and internal differentiation, especially in regard to resource use. On the
other hand, some studies have addressed the importance of intra-gender differences as
well as perceptions and attitudes in regard to resource use and internal differentiation
(Bonnard and Scherr, 1994; Warner et al., 1995). This study explored the role of
socio-demographic variables, as well as class, ethnic, and gender differences in regard
to different resource uses. In addition, the study aspired to relate the role of wildlife
extraction to the process of social and economic differentiation within each
community. Do those families who extract more wildlife have a higher standard of
living in their communities or are they among the poorest? Is poverty preventing
local people from extracting resources in a more intensive way or is poverty pushing
them into more extractive activities? Chapter 6 is focused on this exploration.
The third research question contemplated the way gender intersects with
socioeconomic differentiation and traditional cultural backgrounds to shape the way
men and women relate to each other, to the environment, and what perceptions,
knowledge, and attitudes are associated with these hierarchies and ideologies.


61
population growth in the region. Migration has been important more in the
redistribution of Loretos population than in its growth: most migrants come from
within the Amazon region, even from Loretos remote zones or from the upper
Amazon. This is a particular phenomenon, as compared to the case of the upper
Amazon, whose population has received large contingents of migrants from the
highlands (Rodriguez, 1991).
The upper Amazon has been more populated than the lower Amazon, Loreto
representing 72.6% of the lower Amazon in 1972 and 28.2 % of the whole Amazon
region, as seen in Table 3.1. While in the upper Amazon the main demographic and
economic changes were immigration, colonization and the development of agricultural
activities, in the lowlands the pattern was the internal mobilization of population
without changing the economy, based on extraction of natural resources. Rural
Table 3.1. Evolution of the Amazon Population 1940-1972.
1940
1961
1972
Whole Amazon
381,028
835,895
1, 328,354
Upper Amazon
207,467
483,911
811,543
Lower Amazon
173,561
351,984
516,812
Loreto
158,597
272,933
375,007
SOURCE: Rodriguez, 1991:146.


244
conservation management. In that sense, they call for a reflection on the need to
consider broader contexts affecting local conservation efforts.
Conservation efforts have to look beyond the local level to include regional
and macroeconomic considerations. The consideration of regional and
macroeconomic mechanisms and policiesspecially relative prices structure and
policies affecting agricultureand concerted efforts toward sustainable development at
a larger scale, should be included in conservation agendas.
On the other hand, results also show that community-based conservation
generates more awareness, interest and willingness among people to organize and seek
alternative uses of resources that are more sustainable. This provides a better
scenario for participatory environmental education to bridge the existing gap observed
in both communities, in terms of legal frameworks and conservation management
recommendations affecting their use of resources.
Socioeconomic Differentiation Among Households and Wildlife Resource Uses
The identification of different users of wildlife resources, and the logic behind
this difference, is important for conservation initiatives, in order to tailor specific
approaches to specific groups of users, and in order to plan alternatives that fit into
current livelihood strategies. The study found a high variability in the use of wildlife
resources and explored some individual socio-demographic characteristics, personal
skills and preferences, as well as social access to commercial means of extraction.


154
most of the cases for San Martin, those who travel to Iquitos are men. Buenavista
has direct access to the river taxi and that allows women to directly negotiate their
selling with the river taxi owner or to make the trip to Iquitos, since it is cheaper and
shorter as compared to San Martin.


183
taking the ship back to Iquitos, where they lived. Both fishermen obtained a large
amount of meat in two weeks, using harpoon and farpa, and their estimated gross
income for that meat at that time was 2000 soles (each kilo was sold for 5 soles)
which is equivalent to approximately US$ 850.10 From that gross income they had
to subtract expenses such as the river boat ticket and cargo, salt and food, batteries
etc., for approximately 230 soles or $100. Each hunter could have a profit of $375,
which is fairly high income compared to the average income of villagers ($20/month)
and poor people in the cities ($ 100/month). This fact shows that for a skilled hunter
who also knows how to hunt11 paiche even if he has lost his firearm, it is not so
difficult to get the money to buy it back. In addition, a used firearm in good
condition can be purchased for $150 or $200, or even exchanged for fish to a regatn
or trader that visits communities asking for a given amount of fish he can collect and
sell in Iquitos. Therefore, for hunting, skills and preferences seem to be more
important than access to tools. This is consistent with the earlier finding that older
hunters got higher catches. The same is not true for commercial fishing, since the
skills and knowledge are available to all families, but the access to commercial nets is
more limited.
Table 6.7 presents the factors perceived by the villagers to affect their
involvement in more hunting or fishing. In both San Martin and Buenavista, having
10A11 prices provided in this chapter are valid for the region of Iquitos between the
months of May and August of 1997. Average exchange rate was US$1 =2200 soles.
Local people do not say to fish a paiche but to hunt one.


273
Denevan, W., and C. Padoch, Eds. 1988. Swidden-Fallow Agroforestry in the
Peruvian Amazon. Advances in Economic Botany 5. New York. New York
Botanical Garden.
Duran, J. 1991. Toward a Feminist Epistemology. Maryland. Rowman and
Littlefield Publishers.
Epstein, A.L. 1969. Politics in an Urban African Community. Manchester,
Manchester University Press.
Egoavil, E.O. 1992. Perfil Demogrfico de la region Loreto. Iquitos. Instituto de
Investigaciones de la Amazonia Peruana. Peru.
Espinosa, M.C. 1994. Markets, livelihood strategies and gender: the riberenhos of
Loreto. Paper presented to the Annual Meeting of the Society for Applied
Anthropology. Cancn, Mexico. April.
Feldstein, H.S. and S. Poats (Eds.). 1990. Working Together: Gender Analysis in
Agriculture. Vol 1. Connecticut. Kumarian Press.
Folbre, N. 1989 The Black Four of Hearts: Toward a New Paradigm of Household
Economics. World Development Vol 14 No 2:23-34.
Garcia, J., 1994. Proceso de construccin de identidad de las poblaciones en la
Amazonia Peruana. Beuzeville, R., Bemex, N., Gonzalez del Rio, M.,
Garcia, J., Rodriguez, M., Parrairfo, M., and M.Valcarcel (Eds.) Amazonia:
En busca de su palabra. Iquitos. IIAP.
Gladwin, C. 1989. On the division of labor between Economics and Economic
Anthropologists. Plattner S. (Ed.) Economic Anthropology .Standford,
California. Standford University Press.
Hartrup, B.K., 1994. Community conservation in Belize: demography, resource use,
and attitudes of participatory landowners. Biological Conservation 69:235-
241.
Hiraoka, M. 1985. Mestizo Subsistence in Riparian Amazonia. National Geographic
Research 1:236-246.
1989. Agricultural Systems on the Floodplains of the Peruvian Amazon.
Browder, J. Ed. Fragile Lands of Latin America: Strategies for Sustainable
Development, pp 75-101. Boulder, Colorado. Westview.


36
the chain of subordination, dependent on marriage and men to start their own ethnic
upper mobility. Hence, the phrase "women are more Indian" came into existence.
Patriarchal chiefs of extended families control a network of resources within the
community and decide the marriage of their kin; however, increasing migration and
the influence of urban and market dynamics is changing their base of power,
facilitating mestizaje for women through the acquisition of urban knowledge.
Some studies also have called attention to the gender and ethnic inequities that
exist at the community level. For example, in the case of Nepal, Thomas-Slayter and
Bhatt (1994) report that projects might contribute to increasing differentiation between
two ethnic groups: the Bhamin and Tamangs. For the Andes, similar conflicts over
resources exist between Indians and Mestizos or Mistis (De la Cadena, 1992; Paulson,
1996).
These studies present two major issues, (1) the linkages between gender and
ethnicity as hierarchies of domination, and (2) the mobility and interchangeableness of
ethnic roles according to the social context, the advantages for the individual and the
type of personal interactions. These findings imply the need to uncover the specific
ways in which gender and ethnic hierarchies and ideologies reinforce each other, or
conflict, in a context of class subordination. Additionally, there is the need to
recognize the dynamic role of social actors in redefining and using multiple ethnic
roles as part of their livelihood strategies. There is also the need to redefine the
tension between modernity and tradition, not only according to the dynamic of Third-
World capitalist development, but also to the personal choices of individuals.


24
they have the information, the capacity and the willingness to calculate their
alternatives. Typical neoclassical studies neglect the reproductive aspects of
household dynamics and focus on monetary aspects of livelihood strategies. They
also tend to ignore the constraints on small scale livelihood systems in which
household is an integral part of the system.
The assumptions that markets operate within perfect competition, and that
economic agents are homogenous, neglect the fact that competition in real markets is
never perfect. Economic agents that compete in markets have different control over
market conditions, as well as different productive conditions and locations. That is
the reason that markets are mechanisms that accentuate differentiation among
economic agents, reproducing and aggravating their differences. For instance,
producers of urban basic goods establish their prices, usually operating as
concentrated enterprises that control national markets, as in the case of two
enterprises that produce canned milk for the whole Peruvian market. By contrast,
rural households are atomized and numerous. They do not control the prices for their
products, and usually they cannot hold their products and wait for better prices. That
is one of the reasons why terms of exchange are so unfavorable to farmers. In
addition, rural households have different locations, yields, type of products, seasonal
supplies, etc., that make them compete in the markets with different returns. As the
peasant economy becomes more monetarized or more linked to the markets, the
process of differentiation among rural households increases.


237
community and more traditional inside the houseas compared to women. This is
something that requires further research.
The fact that hunters and extractivists stay closer to forests and rivers comes
together with their closeness to their ethnic heritage. They have not only the skills,
but the preference for that type of life, staying in the open forests, isolated,
performing their rituals for protection and for a good catch. Most of the hunters
interviewed expressed that they liked to be in the forests and felt uncomfortable when
they remained in the village too long. Maybe their awareness of the contradiction
between this way of life and the need to be modem in order to succeed, or the
awareness of the ecological and economic limits to their way of life, or their inability
to improve their familys life, is what keeps them involved in alcohol consumption
and away from home, one expedition after another. This is an issue that deserves
more study in order to better understand what is behind the social and economic
behavior of hunters and extractivists. Their case is a good example of how traditional
ways are not necessarily more gender equity oriented.
Summary
Persistence of traditional world views that reinforce separated spaces and
activities between men and women, affect the way they interact with the environment.
In that sense, traditional cultural backgrounds mediate the gendered interaction with
the environment. The village and the plots become spaces for women, while rivers
and forests are considered masculine spaces. Due to gender and cultural ideologies
and hierarchies, men are direct users of natural resources, especially wildlife, while


205
from selling fish, game meat, skins etc., since it is spent on liquor or other diversions
that do not relate to the basic needs of the family.6
Division of labor and space between men and women is also associated with
ethnicity, in that similar activities have different gender identification, due to their
traditional origins. For example, cassava is processed for a beverage called masato7
and also by shredding and roasting it to get faria, a granulated cassava that can be
eaten with fish or alone as a snack. While masato is always made by women, faria
is made by men, by men and women and in some cases by women only. This
gendered division of labor in processing cassava is related with the fact that in myths
and traditions, men were portrayed to be in charge of hunting and fishing, while
women were in charge of cooking, preparing masato and cropping. This traditional
way of making masato keeps masato as a female activity, even though it is not always
practiced any more among Riberehos. The fact that faria has no such traditional
identification with men or women, allows a more flexible involvement in terms of
gender. Traditional frameworks thus affect the gender division of labor and roles
indirectly as well.
6As an example, there is an anecdote of a women who told her husband that for the
next month he would get only bikes soup since he spent the money he received
buying a bicycle instead of food for the month.
1 Masato is made by boiling the cassava and then smashing it with its liquid, until
obtaining a homogeneous texture. It is left at least one day to be fermented. The
more days of fermentation, the stronger the beverage becomes in alcohol content.
Masato is a native beverage mentioned in the indigenous myths, made by native
women chewing the cassava. Today, Riberehos do not accept very openly that
women chew the cassava, however most of them do so. Many men when offering
you some masato might call it masticado or chewed.


Pages
267-269
Missing
From
Original


200
is an important activity for women. Most plots in the communities under study are
close to the village. The fact that men are in direct contact with forests and rivers
and women are not, does not imply that women have no knowledge or decisions
related to natural resources, as will be discussed later in this chapter. However,
women are not direct users of wildlife resources as fishers, hunters, extractors or
collectors.
Gender Roles and Division of Labor: Subordination and Complementarity
As already presented, there is a division of space between men and women,
and this comes with a gendered division of roles and labor. Extractive and collecting
activities are done in rivers and forests by males, agriculture is a shared activity, and
domestic activities are done by women (See Tables 6.4 and 6.5). Even though
extractive activities are typically done by men, there are some cases, shown in Table
7.1, in which families go as a group to collect chonta, aguaje, or fuel, and others in
which children and/or women do subsistence fishing close to the house. A small
proportion of women fish nearby for family consumption and selling. However, the
information provided by most men and women consistently confirms the division of
roles and spaces between men and women, with men being in charge of extraction of
i
wildlife resources, in forests, tahuampas, cochas and rivers. Women perform
activities in the village, such as raising domestic animals, taking care of the children,
preparing food, washing clothes etc., as shown in Table 7.2. In most households,


59
for the period 1950-59 (Barclay et al., 1991:59). The Industrial Development Law
issued in 1959 aimed to promote industrialization in the Amazon through tax
exemptions that were supposed to act as incentives to promote regional industrial
development. At this time the region was considered a way to consolidate national
security not only in terms of external threats, but in terms of solving internal conflicts
(Barclay et al., 1991:65-67). Besides the growth of administrative structures and
services, national policies promoting agriculture in the lowlands started in the 1950s
and 1960s, restricted to some short cycle cash-crops such as rice and maize, and later
jute, grown primarily on the mudflats of the lowlands. However, the land tenure
systems and social relations affecting labor, as well as the high prices of transport,
were barriers to these initiatives. Many laborers left the fundos and moved further
into the interior to start independent villages, expanding the frontier and combining
subsistence and commercial agriculture, fishing, hunting and collection of other forest
products (Chibnik, 1994:49-50).
Even though national policies did not achieve the goal of promoting capitalist
development and industrialization, and did not change the productive pattern of the
region, they had an impact on the social relations over the rural landscape.
Intensification of river transportation and commerce eroded the monopoly of patrones
and regatones and the control they had over local labor, and favored the free
exchange of goods and labor (Padoch, 1988; Barclay et al., 1991:71). Local people
could escape from the patronage system, but they could not escape from the market
dynamic, since they already needed cash to buy goods that had become part of their


182
valuable species with harpoon or bamboo traps, or they go to fish with someone who
owns commercial nets, sharing the products of the catch.
Personal skills and preferences play an important role in regard to why some
households are more or less engaged in hunting. Many men express their reluctance to
go on hunting expeditions, even when they have the skills to perform them. Some used
to go, but stopped after having an accident. Other men do not have the skills, and find
their effort fruitless and decide not to go on hunting expeditions anymore. As some
informants expressed it:
I do not like to go, to be in the open forest for days and nights, sleeping badly, exposed
to dangers. I like to work my plot and fish nearby. And if I want to eat game meat I
buy its simpler for me. Because I see that, sure, the rebusqueadores1 they get money
fast but they also spend money fast, either drinking heavily or paying the bills for food
their family has bought when they were away. Because they are always away from their
families. Whats the sense of that kind of life? (D.C., 65-San Martin)
Of our neighbors, the wife is the one who supplies hunters8. Her husband started going
to hunt with her money. The first trip went well, he caught five pacas.9 The second
trip the canoe overturned and everything was lost. He has not wanted to go back to hunt
since then. (A.F., 67-Buenavista)
Skills and preferences are more important than access to tools in the case of
hunting, since a skilled hunter can be habilitado or supplied by another person. A
skilled hunter can catch paiche with a harpoon and make a significant amount of cash.
Two friends used their friends tambo at one of his plots to process their meat, before
7Local term used by villagers to refer to those relying mainly on hunting and
commercial fishing for subsistence.
8Habilitar or to supply is to finance hunting or fishing expeditions in return for
receiving the products of those trips; once the products are sold in Iquitos and the
loan is discounted, the hunter or fisherman receives what is left.
9Paca= Majaz = agouti paca.


87
deer, lowland tapir, paca and capybara who provide an estimated total commercial
value of $17,932, a direct consumption value of $3,008, and a total value of $20,940
per year, for those families involved in hunting (Bodmer et al., 1994).
The TTCR was the result of the convergence of different conservation
concerns from different groups of interests such as: the communities of the upper
Tahuayo, who have been witness to the resource depletion after the 1970s by locals
and outsiders, and who had started community-organized control systems to avoid the
intrusion of non-resident extractors; government agencies who understood the
importance of the area and its rich biodiversity; NGOs involved in sustainable
development and conservation of the Amazon; and researchers working in the area,14
many of whom had a long-term commitment and were aware of the social dimension
of biological conservation.
The management of the TTCR is handled by the communities of the upper
Tahuayo,15 after the regional government granted these communities the necessary
status as stewards of these resources, and closed the TTCR to other communities and
people outside the upper Tahuayo river. Decisions are made in an open and
democratic way. The communities discuss and vote on their affairs, with autonomy
The Instituto de Investigacin Tropical y de Altura- IVITA, from the Universidad
Nacional Mayor de San Marcos, Lima, had established a research station, which
attracted many researchers involved in biological research. Many theses and
dissertations were done by foreign and national students focused on biological,
economic and social issues in the area of the TTCR, as well as on-going long term
research involving local communities (Bodmer et al, 1995).
15These communities are Esperanza, Charo, Buenavista, Cunshico and Chino, the
closest to the subsistence zone of the reserve.


232
the socialization of children and in the social control of individual behavior. In order
to control childrens behavior, mothers and older daughters threaten children that the
tunchi will take them away, if they dont behave. Fear also is an element that is very
present in the social interaction among adults. The perception of women as weaker
than men and the rules of avoidance affecting them in regards to the environment, are
also an expression and an instrument of the subordination of women within the social
group. For example, medicine men and medicine women relate differently to nature,
since they are empowered through their connection with supernatural forces and their
own source of power. Therefore, even though ethnicity seems to play an important
role in shaping the differentiated interaction with nature for men and women, the
particularities of the process of social subordination for the families under study have
to be taken into account. Economic constraints and gender hierarchies that affect
female nutrition and health care may explain why women experienced more and more
pronounced health problems in both places, as compared to men (Santamara, 1996
and 1997).
Constant influence of modernizing messages through the media, school system,
church, projects etc., and through the conscious efforts of their parents to erase their
Cocama-Cocamilla identity, culture and language, and their separation from forests
and rivers, may have created a separation of women from the forces of nature and
life. Even though people still refer to the madre (mother) of the forest, river, plants
and animals, as the primary soul or spirit that brings them into life, women do not
establish contact with this feminine spirit of life at a personal level in daily life. They
increasingly rely on external forces and ways to cope with their illnesses, to solve


210
the villagers. In one example, a couple that seemed to be well adjusted, being one of
the few that shared all agricultural work and decisions about cropping, selling and
family economy, was involved in a case of sexual abuse. The husband had been
having sexual relations with his stepdaughterfrom a previous marriage of his wife
since she was 12. Every time they went together to a community party, the man was
jealous of his stepdaughter and when arriving home, he beat his wife. A year before,
the wife had discovered what was going on because he told her. Instead of reacting
against him, for child abuse, she reacted against her daughter, for stealing her
husband, and sent her to Iquitos. At the time of the study, the daughter was back,
because the husband wanted it so and they were all staying together. The women told
her sisters and brothers that usually she awoke at night to find that he was in the
daughters bed. Her reaction was to beat her daughter, and then the husband beat
her. The relatives of the woman tried to talk to the husband but he ran away every
time they tried. As a result, the husband did not show up in the village anymore,
being both ostracized and receiving the criticism of relatives and neighbors. People
commented that the wife had lost her mind, all because the husband was younger than
she was.
Women are not always the victims. One had been involved with her lover in
the murder of her first husband and, after leaving the jail, led a very libertine and
promiscuous sexual life. In both this and the previous case, elders and relatives were
unable to modify the deviant behavior and everyone bitterly complained that elders
and kin were not honored in their role of solving conflicts in marriage, as they used


199
as having slept badly) or because they were pregnant or having their period. In either
case, women are considered to be impure, and therefore not able to administer
medicine to anyone.
It is difficult to ascertain in what ways the myths known as native were
influenced by the encounter with the Europeans. For example, a detailed description
of the five spaces or worlds according to the Cocama vision contains explicit
references to Jesus Christ as the one god who gives life to every creature: plant,
animal, human, river, sky, sun, etc. In many of these myths, a division of roles is
clearly established in terms of men doing the hunting and the fishing, and women
cropping and doing the domestic chores. Women and men are considered equals,
since no one can make it without the other. Complementarity is based not only on
the performance of the specific roles (hunting/fishing vs. cooking, cropping) but
women are recognized as giving ideas and encouraging men to perform their activities
(Caritinari, 1997).
Ethnicity reinforces gender hierarchies and ideologies that affect the use of
resources done by men and women. Traditional thinking reinforces the separation of
spaces and activities between men and women, in a context in which women are
perceived as weaker than men.
Due to this gendered division of space, men in these communities are in
charge of: collecting fuel from the forest for household consumption; collecting fiber
for handicrafts done by women; and even collecting medicine when families do collect
medicinal plants. As will be presented in the discussion of gender roles, agriculture


145
for hunting and commercial fishing does not create conflicts in labor allocation, even
though both activities are done exclusively by males. However, the coincidence of
the hunting season with the clearing and planting of agricultural plots in May is
solved by the division of labor within households: even though some males participate
in planting and weeding, especially those who do not hunt or do much commercial
fishing, and those who like agriculture, most people working in the plots are women
with their children. Agricultural activity is mainly a female activity. There are some
males who participate in agriculture besides cutting and clearing the plot, but there
are practically no women who are not directly involved in planting and weeding the
family plot during the months of May to August, in harvesting maize and rice from
September to October, and harvesting yuca (cassava) from November to December.
The whole family participates in the harvest, especially when the floods come early
and everybody is busy trying to beat the flood and harvest before losing their crops.
Female involvement in agriculture is less clear in Buenavista, where nine
women make handicrafts to sell and exchange in the nearby tourist lodges market.
However, all these women also work in their plots. They put additional time into
weaving, since it provides a better income: an average of between US$ 5 and US $ 15
per selling trip. However, they have to alternate weaving with agriculture, not only
to secure their subsistence, but due to the fact that weaving is a very demanding
activity. After a couple of days of concentrated weaving, their hands, neck and eyes
get very tired.


114
toast it in large metal containers, preparing the faria for sale and for their own
consumption. Farinha is an important component of their diet, especially during the
floods. Plantain may not survive the floods, and villagers of SMT have to rely on
buying and exchanging plantains from the neighbors of Nueva Arica who have
plantains but not as much fish as people of SMT. It is interesting to note that the
founders of SMT abandoned their plots in Nueva Arica, even though they were
located in levees that are not available in SMT. Nueva Arica is at a walking distance
of only 45 minutes from SMT.
How did the village develop after the Canaquiri families had established
residence? Between 1950 and 1955, the families of Arturo Yuyarima, Alfonso
Rimachi and Antonio Canaquiri came to SMT. They were all relatives of the
Canaquiri and wanted to establish homes close to their family, since they liked the
place very much, and it was so empty. In 1949, a former forest guard of the
Ministerio de Agricultura, A.V., came to SMT and started a private school. Parents
built the school and paid his salary. Every family paid 5 soles to the teacher, a
respectable amount considering that the minimum wage was between 0.50 and 1.50
soles for that period. Other families, tied through friendship and not by kinship, such
as R.T., J.C., and V.M., a small trader who had his business outside of SMT and did
not act as a local trader and habilitador for villagers, came to SMT.
An important feature of the story of SMT is that it has always been a village
free of patrons or habilitadores, with no restriction on the access to land and no
exploitation through social relations of production. This area was not targeted by


193
Commercial extractivism is not sufficient, by itself, to elevate a family to those
among the better-off in each community.


5
Organization of the Chapters
Chapter 2 presents the statement of the problem, research questions,
methodology and the theoretical framework that has guided this study, including a
review of the most relevant literature related to the region and the research questions.
Chapter 3 discusses the regional context in terms of the historical evolution
that has shaped the economic and socio-demographic structures, and the current
institutional and legal frameworks that rule natural and wildlife resources. This
chapter includes a description of the two protected areas where the study was
conducted: Pacaya-Samiria National Reserve and Tamshiyacu-Tahuayo Communal
Reserve.
Chapter 4 describes the ecological context of the lowlands, and the
characteristics of the communities of San Martin and Buenavista, while Chapter 5
characterizes the livelihood strategies adopted by Ribereho families in San Martin
and Buenavista. This chapter also includes an analysis of the wildlife use in each
community, in terms of quantity, productivity and species caught.
Chapter 6 analyzes the role of different economic and socio-demographic
variables to explain differences among households in terms of wildlife use, with
special emphasis on the social access to means of extraction for the case of
commercial fishing, and skills, preferences, and attitudes, in the case of hunting. The
interactions between wildlife extraction, poverty and improved standard of living are
analyzed for each community.


159
and labor constraints were common to both places, being less severe for Buenavista,
due to the more dynamic economic environment and closer location to Iquitos.
Chapter 6 will focus on the use of resources at the household level, analyzing
the role of different elements to explain the different level of wildlife resource use,
especially through hunting and fishing.


accessible to local markets, may override their greater conservation awareness. The
unfavorable terms of exchange faced by both communities limit the viability of
innovative conservation approaches to influence resource use patterns. Within each
community, differences were found both among and within families in the amount of
fish and game they harvest to sell and in their attitudes toward conservation. Men
who have access to tools for commercial extraction, and cash to finance hunting and
fishing expeditions, and whose participation in agriculture is limited, harvest more
wildlife resources. The wealthiest families, however, are not the commercial
extractivists, unless they have additional sources of cash. Poverty seems to be a
factor inhibiting over-use of resources. Skills and preferences are also factors behind
the choices of hunters to be heavily involved in hunting. While women do not
participate directly in hunting and fishing, they are knowledgeable about these
activities and often participate in decisions about resource use. They appear to be
more concerned than men about conservation. However, female subordination is
expressed in their lack of control over income generated by commercial extraction,
affecting the purchase of food and basic goods for family needs, and the food security
and well being of these families. These findings suggest that conservation programs
might focus their efforts on improving agriculture and other alternatives for income
and should work with specialized hunters and fishermen, incorporating women into
designing management efforts.
xvi


138
per month was 613.7 for Buenavista and 133.8 kgs for San Martin.6 This
information and the fact that more hunters were identified in Buenavista as compared
to San Martin, express the larger importance that hunting has for families in
Buenavista.
Better game resources and access to markets are important factors that favor
hunting activity in Buenavista. The presence of more habilitadores also seems to
stimulate hunting. It seems that communal access to conservation management as
opposed to state control and seizures, also is a positive factor in the sense that it
eliminates the risk and danger of losing the hunt proceeds. Communal presence in
the management of TTCR has proven to be very effective in controlling outsiders.
Besides the amount that is hunted in each community, it is important to
consider what species are hunted in both places. Table 5.4, based on the survey
applied in 1996, shows that forbidden species, according to national regulations and
the local management plan, are hunted in both communities (especially monkeys).
Both communities have made agreements to limit the amount hunted per
person per expedition, to 50 kg, an agreement that fits into the current state
regulations. In the case of San Martin, the agreement was made with the PSNR post
located close to the community, and in the case of Buenavista, the agreement was
done with Chino in 1992. Levels of sustainable harvest based on biological research
have not been established for either protected area. The complex and unpredictable
The amount of hunt reported by the survey, divided among the whole sample gave an
average of 3.9 Kgs per family per month in Buenavista, as compared to 92.3 kgs per family
per month in San Martin.


133
of food security, an issue that is usually overlooked when discussing natural resource
management in the region.
In Chapter 7, the gender and age division of labor is presented, to explain how
families manage to do activities that are simultaneous, such as clearing the plots in the
lowlands and fishing, extracting timber, aguaje, and so on. A brief description of the
main activities is presented before analyzing how much wildlife and what species are
extracted by families in San Martin and Buenavista.
Fishing
All families in San Martin and Buenavista rely on fishing for their
consumption and for income generation. Commercial fishing is done in different
places and times as compared to subsistence fishing done on a daily or every-other-
day basis in places close to the village. However, there is no strict separation
between fishing for consumption and selling in the sense that the fish for the day or
subsistence fishing can produce a surplus that is distributed as gifts to relatives,
smoked for the next day, salted for future sales outside the village or sold the same
day in the village. It is interesting to note that most villagers in SMT and Buenavista
do not consume fish that is salted or dried, but fresh fish or smoked fish caught the
day before.1 The salted or dried fish are sold in Iquitos or Nauta. This is a
characteristic attributed to traditional Riberehos that differentiates them from mestizo
Tn their view, someone who eats salted or dried fish is not well regarded, since it is
an indicator of not being able to get fresh fish for himself and his family; it is like a
recognition of being an incompetent (un incapaz)', this custom reveals to what extent
these villagers are fishermen.


197
of the motor. The motor can cutipar the child. The father should not kill boas*
snakes or eels, since they are strong spirits that could cutipar his baby. The study
collected many testimonies of babies bom with symptoms attributed to cutipado.
Traditional medicine men can diagnose the animal or plant responsible and order a
cure based on it and sometimes save the child.
There are prohibitions on what pregnant women can eat. There is a long list,
such as eating tortoise or armadillo, an animal that lives in holes; in both cases the
idea is that the animals will cutipar the fetus, so that when time for the delivery
comes, the baby will not be able to come out and be bom. The cure for this problem
is to invite the mother to eat a roasted bone of the animal. There are other
supernatural causes of illness or death besides the cutipa: Manchari or susto are due
to a strong impression after an accident or shock, causing the baby or child to have
fever and unstoppable crying during the night. Mal de gente is when negative
emotions are directed in evil ways to create illness and even death, usually with the
participation of a black witch; mal de aire is produced by the black soul of the dead
or dense spirits of nature that enter the body of the child, producing dizziness, fever,
vomiting or diarrhea. Medicine men can cure these using special chanting (icarar),
smoke, and tea made of strong plants, cow hom and wild rose to expel the spirit from
the childs body. This is one of the reasons that until they are two years old, children
should never be left by themselves, putting special demands on womens time for
4Boa is a very large snake that represents a powerful force of the underground world,
in the native mythology of the region.


41
(1980) for Peruvian national society.11 Mora (1995) challenged this approach, based
first on the specific characteristics of the Loreto economy, which has remained based
on mercantilist capitalism and extraction of natural resources. The region has been
unable to develop an industrial productive base to facilitate a process of occupational
change and social mobility for larger segments of the regional population, a process
that has been critical in the formation of cholo groups among large segments of
migrants recruited in Andean mines, coastal fisheries, and urban-industrial sectors.
The second element, not present at the regional level in Loreto, is the process of
grouping that characterized the development of the cholo social group, and their
identity redefinition. This lack of grouping is part of a characteristic of the immature
process of building the Amazon social space, as addressed in Barclay et al. (1991).
Finally, Mora reviewed the case of the Cocamilla of the lower Huallaga, who after
1981 (based on Stocks study), started to claim their ethnic identity for instrumental
reasons. They sought better conditions to claim and obtain titles on territorial land,
access to credit, and exclusive right to use forests, rivers, and lakes within their
territory. They formed an indigenous organization, the Federation de Cocamilla
Communities, affiliated to the regional indigenous organizations. While his critique
nQuijano addresses the process of social mobility made possible by new occupational
roles, emigration and urbanization that allowed a process of detachment from Indian
peasants that were not totally assimilated by the dominant groups, and who formed a
new social and ethnic group called cholos, who were able to group themselves at the
local and regional level, keeping some traditions and values, and in the later decades
have been able to permeate the whole national society (which is called the
cholificacion of the Peruvian society, based on their demographic weight and their
assertiveness).


189
and healing. Even though commercial agriculture was mentioned for seven cases, it
was never the starting process but rather a way to invest money and to get another
source of cash. The third column shows that most of these families have diversified
livelihood strategies. Only five extractivists were included among the top wealthiest
families, and all had an additional source of cash from other activities such as a
tambo, healing, outside income or salary and so on.
Most extractivists were unable to take care of agricultural plots-with the
exception of one in San Martin (included in Table 6.8), who occasionally paid
workers to help their wives and children with the cropping, in order to obtain enough
products to sell and secure their family food supply. Extractivist families rely mostly
on the local store to buy food, and this is aggravated by the alcohol consumption
habits of most hunters. Hunters are trapped in an economic debt circle, which may
be why after a couple of days at home, they go back on another expedition.
The mechanisms identified by local people as facilitating a better economic
situation are all related to access to cash, usually from an outside source as already
mentioned. They are very aware that subsistence activities are not enough to provide
a surplus leading to investment in more diversified and profitable activities. They
also know that cash provided by extraction does not last unless the family is able to
secure their own food and create some agricultural surplus to be sold. In other
words, to be in a better economic situation, a family requires a sustained source of
cash that does not compromise their food supply and the other subsistence activities
(agriculture, fishing, etc). Families that rely only on extraction are not in a better


153
Harvest/carrying
4 days
1/year/p
lot
whole
family
Burying cassava
3 days
1/year
whole
family
Processing
faria
xh day
1/month
; more for
selling
M or F
Processing
masato
1 day
2/month
F
Raising
domestic livestock
10 min
2/day
F or
f+m
Selling domestic
livestock
1 day
1/45
days
F/M
Selling harvest*
1 day
1/year
per crop
M
SOURCE: Fieldwork 1996, 1997).
KEYS: M = adult male, F = adult female, f = female child or adolescent,
m = male child or adolescent.
is important to remember that San Martin has no direct access to public
transportation. Besides a ride in the PPS motor boat, the only way to access Santa
Clara, at the mouth of the Maranhon River, is a canoe trip that takes 5 to 6 hours.
Most families take their products there and send them through the boat captain, who
acts as an intermediary selling the products in Iquitos. The prices families get selling
at the boat are lower than the prices they could get selling in Iquitos. However, they
avoid making the trip to Iquitos, that would require at least four days and an average
of $20. Those who make the trip take several products, have better access to cash
and take advantage of the trip to buy food and basic supplies and visiting relatives. In


274
INRENA. 1989. Reserva Nacional Pacava-Samiria. Memoria Descriptiva. Lima.
Ministerio de Agricultura. Repblica del Peru.
Jelin, E. 1982. Pan y afectos: la organizacin domestica en la produccin y la
reproduccin. Buenos Aires, CEDES.
Kabeer N., 1994. Reversed Realities. Gender Hierarchies in Development Thought.
London, New York. Verso.
Kamaruzaman, J. and N.M. Majid, 1995. "Integrating Needs of Local Community to
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79
Within the Loreto region, the regional government partially funds the
supervision and management of PSNR and is trying to promote an increasing
participation of local authorities as a way to include local populations in conservation
management. However, specific mechanisms to secure broad participation of local
people at the community level have not been officially created or recognized, and
conflicts still persist between local and outsider users, and between local users and
conservation authorities (AIF-DK, 1995).
There are two important protected areas within Loreto: the Pacaya Samiria
National Reserve created in 1972 and the Tamshiyacu-Tahuayo Communal Reserve
created in 1991 (See Figure 3.2). The PSNR and TTCR exhibit some differences in
terms of flood cycle and presence of natural levees that may affect wildlife
populations and the resources available in both places. Basically the existence of
more upland or levees in a place allow more trees and fruit trees to develop, which
attract and support wildlife populations. The Tamshiyacu-Tahuayo Communal
Reserve has more upland forests and, therefore, is assumed to have larger populations
of wildlife (Bodmer, 1995; Extremadoyro, 1997).
Pacava-Samiria National Reserve (PSNR!
The Pacaya-Samiria National Reserve was created in 1972, through the
Decreto Supremo 06-72-PE and its territory was later expanded in 1982 to 2,080,000
has. The PSNR is the largest Peruvian conservation unit and one of the largest in the
whole Amazon basin (COREPASA, 1996). It is located in the lowlands of Loreto,


66
Loretos population in the 1990s represented 26.4 % of the whole Amazon
region. Its population had experienced significant growth between 1940 and 1981,
the province of Maynas and especially the city of Iquitos within Maynas being the
main poles of growth. Iquitos is the seventh most populated city of Peru, since the
1970s (INEI, 1993). This significant growth of Iquitos reflects urbanization and
centralization as predominant patterns of settlement (Rodriguez, 1991:124-125). The
growth of Iquitos has been due to its position as the main commercial and
administrative center for the region, and during the 1970s as the main labor market
for the oil operations in the region. Urbanization concentrates population in the main
city of Iquitos, and other minor cities such as Nauta, Tamshiyacu and Requena play
similar commercial and service supply roles.13
However, in the rural scene, the type of predominant livelihood strategies for
the rural population, based on extraction of natural resources, led to increased
dispersion of settlements. Even though 52.12% of Loretos population was urban in
1981, and Maynas province has 69.95% of its population in urban areas, this was not
the case for other provinces of Loreto, where urban population was not predominant:
only 39.23% for the case of Alto Amazonas, 19.60% for Loreto province, 13.20%
for Ramon Castilla, 38.33% for Requena and 29.16% for Ucayali. These provinces
were mainly rural, reflecting the big contrast between growing urbanization around
Iquitos and a predominantly dispersed rural settlement for the rest of Loreto.
13The 1981 census reported seven towns larger than 2000 inhabitants, besides the
cities of Iquitos, Yurimaguas and Contamana, that were not registered as such in the
1940 census (Rodriguez, 1991:153).


23
1974:89). A family can be a nuclear family that is formed by only the parents and
their children, or can be an extended family when other members such as the
grandfather or grandmother, sister or brother in