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Ecosystem services and use of Afro-descendant land in the Colombian North Pacific: Transformations in the traditional production system

Lozada Ordóñez, Laura, Dias da Cruz, Denise, Oliveira de Andrade, Maristela
Land use policy 2018 v.75 pp. 631-641
anthropology, biodiversity, cartography, crops, ecosystem services, ecosystems, interviews, land use, nationalities and ethnic groups, social change, tourism, villages
When understood to be a mixture of social relationships, interactions with biotic and abiotic surroundings, and historic context, the environment presents major challenges to assessments of ecosystem services (ES: ecosystem benefits that are obtained by a community) for communities that live in biodiverse and multi-ethnic areas. The objectives of this study are to assess the perception of the Joví community (an Afro-descendant community in the Colombian Pacific) of the provisioning and cultural ES, the economic activities developed in the village, and the perceived changes in services with a focus on the three main economic activities: agriculture, fishing, and tourism, with the latter being outside the traditional production system. This research is an ethnographic investigation that includes techniques such as participant observation, document research, social cartography, and semi-structured interviews, of which social cartography was critical for the identification of the main sites utilized by the community. The results indicate losses in ES and changes in land use; for example, traditional crops and cultural and community activities have been lost. This prompts a discussion on the changes in the traditional production system and the consequences for agrobiodiversity and community life. Finally, some recommendations are provided for a potential approach to the challenges that arise from the identified environmental and social changes.