Home Institution

Tufts University

Publication Date

Fall 2005

Program Name

Panama: Development and Conservation


The term “agroecology” is used to describe the sustainable design and management of agricultural systems by the application of ecological concepts and principles. The resulting agroecosystems, often practiced by indigenous or poor farmers in marginal environments without access to external technologies, are systems of food production that integrate cultivated crops into surrounding ecosystems. The Naso-Teribe, an indigenous community of approximately 3,800 individuals living in the forests of western Panama, practice a complex agroecological system. The Naso farmers’ agricultural practices contribute to, and are dependent on, the biodiversity of resources available. The ways in which Naso farmers manage, maintain, and preserve the biodiversity on which their agroecosystems depend, affects not only the conservation of their forests, but the preservation of their culture. This paper examines the diversity of resources managed by the Naso farmers, while also addressing the broader cultural and socioeconomic issues influencing their traditional practices.


Agricultural and Resource Economics | Anthropology | Natural Resources and Conservation | Social and Cultural Anthropology


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