- A collaborative research process studying fruit availibility and seed dispersal within an indigenous community in the Middle Caquetá River region, Colombian Amazon
- Ecology and Society
- Volume | Issue number
- 12 | 2
- Number of pages
- Document type
- Faculty of Science (FNWI)
- Institute for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Dynamics (IBED)
The objective of this paper is to present a collaborative research process between the Nonuya indigenous community and western scientists whilst studying fruit production patterns and the role of animals in the spatial distribution patterns of terra firme rain forest tree species in the Colombian Amazon. The process is presented in four stages: initially with a distant relationship between western scientists and indigenous people, with little exchange of knowledge, which progressed into a collaborative research relationship involving a high exchange of knowledge. The first stage consisted of the indigenous people’s participation an exclusively scientific research project on natural sciences, as passive fieldwork guides. The second stage occurred when the guide became a fieldwork assistant and received training and expertise in scientific methodologies for data collection. The relationship between western scientists and indigenous people developed into the ability to have frequent debates and discussions over observations, findings, and interpretations. In the third stage, the indigenous fieldwork assistant proposed his own research, wherein he combined both scientific methodologies, and dialogue with elders in order to obtain information. During the fourth stage of the process, high quality information, relevant to the needs of both the western scientists and indigenous people was generated. This collaborative research process allowed the exchange of experiences, methodologies, and learning, leading to a better understanding of tropical rainforests. In this paper, the implications of this experience for future studies with the indigenous communities are discussed.
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