Machiguenga Gardens

TitleMachiguenga Gardens
Publication TypeBook Chapter
Year of Publication1983
AuthorsJohnson, A
EditorHames, RB, Vickers, WT
Book TitleAdaptive responses of native Amazonians
Date Published1983
PublisherAcademic Press
CityNew York
Call NumberF2230.1.S68A3 1983
Keywordscacao; coffee; forest dwellers; horticulture; hunter-gatherer; labor; maize; manioc; Native Americans; rainforests; shifting cultivation; slash and burn; soils; South America; weeds; women; yams

The present description concerns shifting cultivation among the Machiguenga, Native American inhabitants of the tropical rainforest of the Upper Amazon, specifically, a community on the Kompiroshiato River, a tributary of the Urubamba River in the department of Cuzco, Peru. The language is of the Arawakan family, and is closely allied to that of the Amuesha, Campa, and Piro Indians, who also inhabit the montana of Southeastern Peru. As is typical of the montana region, Machiguenga settlements vary from single families to small hamlets of related families located on a stream that provides clean water for household needs, near a river suitable for fishing, and with abundant forest for hunting and from which gardens are cleared. Population density is 0.3 persons/km2. The Machiguenga spend nearly as much time procuring wild foods as they do cultivating their gardens, but it is from their gardens that the vast bulk of their food derives, including a great overproduction of starchy tubers for food security under isolated and vulnerable living conditions. (author)


Chapter 2