Patagonian Ethnopedology and Its Role in Food Security: A Case Study of Rural Communities in Arid Environments of Argentina

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Abstract

Local knowledge of horticultural soils was analysed from an ethnobiological perspective in a rural population of arid Patagonian, in order to gain a deeper understanding of how the farmers classify, use and value the soil. In this large but sparsely populated territory, a group of 27 participants was selected. The farmers use an ethnoclassification system that distinguishes nine different soil types according to their horticultural aptitude. The classification criteria are based on the morphological attributes of the soil and certain ethnoindicators (i.e., texture, structure, colour and plant species present). All these aspects, evaluated within the framework of local symbolic and cultural precepts, proved to be key to the management of soils with pronounced edaphic and climatic limitations in terms of farming. Recognition of local knowledge and its contribution to dealing with current socioenvironmental challenges and crises may favour the design of more sustainable farming production in communities that are socio-environmentally vulnerable, considering the populations, soil, and culture as components of a complex integrated system, and not as isolated elements.

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Morales, D., Molares, S., & Ladio, A. (2023). Patagonian Ethnopedology and Its Role in Food Security: A Case Study of Rural Communities in Arid Environments of Argentina. Journal of Ethnobiology, 43(2), 176–187. https://doi.org/10.1177/02780771231176364

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