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How farmers use and manage tree germplasm: case studies from the Peruvian Amazon

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The results of case studies (rapid rural appraisal approach) conducted in the Pucallpa region, Peru, during 1996, are presented. Information was obtained on the socioeconomic conditions of the farmers (2 indigenous and 3 immigrant) who all practiced slash-and-burn agriculture on a 5-20 year cycle. Trees in the region are used primarily, in order of preference, for fruit, construction poles, firewood, medicines, sawn timber, fencing, canoes and soil improvement. Some trees, especially fruit trees, are planted, but management is restricted to weed control during establishment. Germplasm came mainly from natural regeneration of existing trees and on-farm collections. Selection criteria for fruit trees concentrated on fruit quality rather than quantity. It is concluded that there is obvious lack on farm of quality tree germplasm of some species, although most farmers seem unaware of this.

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