Advertisement

Dietary transitions among three contemporary hunter-gatherers across the tropics

  • Victoria Reyes-GarcíaEmail author
  • Bronwen Powell
  • Isabel Díaz-Reviriego
  • Álvaro Fernández-Llamazares
  • Sandrine Gallois
  • Maximilien Gueze
Original Paper

Abstract

The diets of contemporary hunter-gatherers are diverse and highly nutritious, but are rapidly changing as these societies integrate into the market economy. Here, we analyse empirical data on the dietary patterns and sources of foods of three contemporary hunter-gatherer societies: the Baka of Cameroon (n = 160), the Tsimane’ of Bolivia (n = 124) and the Punan Tubu of Indonesia (n = 109). We focus on differences among villages with different levels of integration into the market economy and explore potential pathways through which two key elements of the food environment (food availability and food accessibility) might alter the diets of contemporary hunter-gatherers. Results suggest that people living in isolated villages have more diverse diets than those living in villages closer to markets. Our results also suggest that availability of nutritionally important foods (i.e., fruits, vegetables and animal foods) decreases with increasing market integration, while availability of fats and sweets increases. The differences found seem to relate to changes in the wider food environment (e.g., village level access to wild and/or market foods and seasonality), rather than to individual-level factors (e.g., time allocation or individual income), probably because food sharing reduces the impact of individual level differences in food consumption. These results highlight the need to better understand the impact of changes in the wider food environment on dietary choice, and the role of the food environment in driving dietary transitions.

Keywords

Animal source foods Dietary diversity Food environment Fruits and vegetables Market integration Nutrition transition 

Notes

Acknowledgements

The research leading to these results has received funding from the European Research Council under the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme (FP7/2007-2013) / ERC grant agreement n° FP7-261971-LEK. We thank the Baka, the Punan Tubu, and the Tsimane’ for their hospitality and collaboration during fieldwork. In addition to the authors, A. Ambassa, R. Duda, F. Moustapha, and E. Simpoh collected data in Cameroon; V. Cuata, P. Pache, M. Pache, I. Sánchez, and S. Huditz in Bolivia; and S. Hadiwijaya, L. Napitupulu, and D. Suan in Indonesia. We thank them all. We also thank CIFOR for logistical assistance during field-work, A. Pyhälä for database management, and C. Vadez-Reyes for research assistance. This work contributes to the “María de Maeztu Unit of Excellence” (MdM-2015-0552).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interests

The authors declare they have no conflict of interests.

Supplementary material

12571_2018_882_MOESM1_ESM.docx (17 kb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 16 kb)

References

  1. Ahmed, S. & Herforth, A. (2017). Missing wild and cultivated environments in food environment measures. ANH Academy Newsletter, Aug 30, 2017. (https://anh-academy.org/academy-news-events/blog/2017/08/30/missing-wild-and-cultivated-environments-food-environment).
  2. Bahuchet, S. (1993). L’invention des Pygmées. Cahier, 33, 153–181.Google Scholar
  3. Bailey, R. C., & Headland, T. N. (1991). The tropical rain forest: Is it a productive environment for human foragers? Human Ecology, 19(2), 261–285.  https://doi.org/10.1007/bf00888748.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Bailey, R. C., Head, G., Jenike, M., Owen, B., Rechtman, R., & Zechenter, E. (1989). Hunting and gathering in tropical rain Forest: Is it possible? American Anthropologist, 91(1), 59–82.  https://doi.org/10.1525/aa.1989.91.1.02a00040.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Berbesque, J. C., Marlowe, F. W., Shaw, P., & Thompson, P. (2014). Hunter–gatherers have less famine than agriculturalists. Biology Letters, 10(1), 20130853.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Bliege Bird, R. L., & Bird, D. W., (1997). Delayed reciprocity and tolerated theft. Current Anthropology, 38(1), 49.Google Scholar
  7. Bowles, S. (1998). Endogenous preference: The cultural consequences of markets and other economic institutions. Journal of Economic Literature, 36, 75–111.Google Scholar
  8. Broegaard, R. B., Rasmussen, L. V., Dawson, N., Mertz, O., Vongvisouk, T., & Grogan, K. (2017). Wild food collection and nutrition under commercial agriculture expansion in agriculture-forest landscapes. Forest Policy and Economics, 84, 92–101.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.forpol.2016.12.012.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Chrisomalis, S. (2006). Comparing cultures and comparing processes: Diachronic methods in cross-cultural anthropology. Cross-Cultural Research, 40(4), 377–404.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Chweya, J. A., & Eyzaguirre, P. B. (1999). The biodiversity of traditional leafy vegetables. Rome: International Plant Genetic Resource Institute.Google Scholar
  11. Crittenden, A. N., & Schnorr, S. L. (2017). Current views on hunter-gatherer nutrition and the evolution of the human diet. American Journal of Physical Anthropology, 162, 84–109.  https://doi.org/10.1002/ajpa.23148.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  12. Davis, A., & Wagner, J. R. (2003). Who knows? On the importance of identifying "experts" when researching local ecological knowledge. Human Ecology, 31(3), 463–489.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Díaz-Reviriego, I., Fernández-Llamazares, A., Salpeteur, M., Howard, P., & Reyes-García, V. (2016). Gendered knowledge contributions to adaptive capacity and health sovereignty in Amazonia. Ambio, 45(3), 263–275.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Dounias, E. (2007). Damned pigs! Why do the Punan persist running after the migrating wild boars of Borneo? In E. Dounias, E. Motte-Florac, & M. Dunham (Eds.), Animal symbolism. Animals, keystone in the relationship between Man and Nature? (pp. 1068–1096): IRD éditions.Google Scholar
  15. Dounias, E., & Froment, A. (2006). When forest-based hunter-gatherers become sedentary: consequences for diet and health (Vol. 57, Unasylva, Vol. 224).Google Scholar
  16. Dounias, E., Selzner, A., Koizumi, M., & Levang, P. (2007). From sago to Rice, from Forest to town: The consequences of Sedentarization for the nutritional ecology of Punan former hunter-gatherers of Borneo. Food and Nutrition Bulletin, 28(2 suppl2), S294–S302.  https://doi.org/10.1177/15648265070282s208.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  17. Enloe, J. G., (2004). Hunter-gatherer food sharing: Social and economic interaction. In G. M. Crothers (Ed.), Hunter and Gatherers in theory and archaeology. Carbondale: Southern Illinois University: Center for Archaeological Investigations.Google Scholar
  18. Fischler, C. (1988). Food, self and identity. Social Science Information, 27(2), 275–292.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Froment, A., Koppert, GJA., & Loung, JF. (1993). “Eat well, live well”: Nutritional status and health of forest populations in Southern Cameroon. In C. M. Hladik, A. Hladik, O. F. Linares, H. Pagezy, A. Semple, & M. Hadley (Eds.), Tropical Forests, People and Food: Biocultural Interactions and Applications to Development (pp. 295–310, Man and the Biosphere Series, Vol. 13). Paris, France: UNESCO and The Parthenon Publishing Group.Google Scholar
  20. Godoy, R., Reyes-García, V., Byron, E., Leonard, W. R., & Vadez, V. (2005). The effect of market economies on the well-being of indigenous peoples and on their use of renewable natural resources. Annual Review of Anthropology, 34, 121–138.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Godoy, R., Nyberg, C., Eisenberg, D. T. A., Magvanjav, O., Shinnar, E., Leonard, W. R., Gravlee, C., Reyes-García, V., Mcdade, T. W., Huanca, T., Tanner, S., & Bolivian TAPS Study Team. (2010). Short but catching up: Statural growth among native Amazonian Bolivian children. American Journal of Human Biology, 22(3), 336–347.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Gurven, M. (2005). To give and to give not: The behavioral ecology of human food transfers. Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 27(4), 543–583.Google Scholar
  23. Herforth, A., & Ahmed, S. (2015). The food environment, its effects on dietary consumption, and potential for measurement within agriculture-nutrition interventions. Food Security, 7(3), 505–520.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s12571-015-0455-8.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Joiris, D. V. (2003). The framework of central African hunter-gatherers and neighbouring societies. African study Monogr Suppl, 28, 57–79.Google Scholar
  25. Jones, A. D. (2017). Critical review of the emerging research evidence on agricultural biodiversity, diet diversity, and nutritional status in low- and middle-income countries. Nutrition Reviews, 75(10), 769–782.  https://doi.org/10.1093/nutrit/nux040.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  26. Kaskija, L. (2012). Images of a Forest People, Punan Malinau – Identity, Sociality, and Encapsulation in Borneo. Vol. 52, Uppsala Studies in Cultural Anthropology. Uppsala: Uppsala University.Google Scholar
  27. Kennedy, G., Ballard, T., & Dop, MC. (2011). Guidelines for measuring household and individual dietary diversity. Rome, Italy: Food and agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).Google Scholar
  28. Kitanishi, K. (2006). The impact of cash and commoditization on the Baka hunter-gatherer society in southeastern Cameroon. African Study Monographs, 33(Supplementary Issue), 121–142.Google Scholar
  29. Koppert, GJA., Dounias, E., Froment, A., & P. Pasquet (1993). Food consumption in three forest populations of the southern coastal areas of Cameroon: Yassa - Mvae - Bakola. In Tropical Forests, People and Food. Biocultural Ineractions and Applications to Development. Paris, France: Man and biosphere Seriers #13, UNESCO: The Parthenon Publishing Group.Google Scholar
  30. Kuhnlein, HV. (2009). Introduction: Why are Indigenous Peoples’ food systems important and why do they need documentation? In HV. Kuhnlein, B. Erasmus, & D. Spigelski (Eds.), Indigenous Peoples’ food systems: the many dimensions of culture, diversity and environment for nutrition and health. Rome, Italy and Montreal, Canada: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and the Centre for Indigenous Peoples' Nutrition and Environment.Google Scholar
  31. Kuhnlein, H. V., & Receveur, O. (1996). Dietary change and traditional food systems of indigenous peoples. Annual Review of Nutrition, 16, 417–442.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Kuhnlein, H. V., Receveur, O., Soueida, R., & Egeland, G. M. (2004). Arctic indigenous peoples experience the nutrition transition with changing dietary patterns and obesity. The Journal of Nutrition, 134(6), 1447–1453.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Lara, M., Gamboa, C., Kahramanian, M., Morales, L., & Bautista, D. (2005). Acculturation and Latino health in the United States: A review of the literature and its sociopolitical context. Annual Review of Public Health, 26, 367–397.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Leclerc, C. (2012). L’adoption de l’agriculture chez les pygmées Baka du Cameroun ; dynamique sociale et continuité structurale. Paris: FMSH édition.Google Scholar
  35. Levang, P., Sitorus, S., & Dounias, E. (2007). City life in the midst of the Forest: A Punan hunter-gatherers’ vision of conservation and development. Ecology and Society, 12(1), 18.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Lu Holt, F. E. (2007). Integration to the market among indigenous peoples. Current Anthropology, 48, 593–602.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Napitupulu, L., Gueze, M., and Reyes-García, V. (2016). Sharing in a context of rural Develoment. A study among a contemporary hunter-gatherer society in Indonesia. In Hunter gatherers in a changing world, edited by V. Reyes-García and A. Pyhala: Springer.Google Scholar
  38. Nasi, R., Taber, A., & Vliet, N. V. (2011). Empty forests, empty stomachs? Bushmeat and livelihoods in the Congo and Amazon basins. International Forestry Review, 13(3), 355–368.  https://doi.org/10.1505/146554811798293872.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Padoch, C., & Sunderland, T. (2013). Managing landscapes for greater food security and improved livelihoods. Unasylva, 214(64), 3–13.Google Scholar
  40. Parrotta, JA., Dey de Pryck, J., Darko Obiri, B., Padoch, C., Powell, B., Sandbrook, C., et al. (2015). The historical, environmental and socio-economic context of forests and tree-based Systems for Food Security and Nutrition. In B. Vira, C. Wildburger, & S. Mansourian (Eds.), Forests, Trees and Landscapes for Food Security and Nutrition. A Global Assessment Report (Vol. 33, pp. 51–86): IUFRO World Series.Google Scholar
  41. Popkin, B. (2004). The nutrition transition: An overview of world patterns of change. Nutrition Reviews, 62, S140–S143.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Powell, B., Ouarghidi, A., Johns, T., Ibn Tattou, M., & Eyzaguirre, P. (2014). Wild leafy vegetable use and knowledge across multiple sites in Morocco: A case study for transmission of local knowledge? Journal of Ethnobiology and Ethnomedicine, 10(1), 34.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Powell, B., Thilsted, S., Ickowitz, A., Termote, C., Sunderland, T., Herforth A. (2015). Improving diets with wild and cultivated biodiversity from across the landscape. Food Security, 1–20.Google Scholar
  44. Puri, R.K. (2001). Bulungan Ethnobiology Handbook. Bogor, Indonesia: Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR).Google Scholar
  45. Reyes-García, V., and Pyhälä, A. (Editors) (2017). Hunter gatherers in a changing world. Springer.Google Scholar
  46. Reyes-García, V., Godoy, R., Vadez, V., Ruiz-Mallen, I., Huanca, T., Leonard, W. R., et al. (2009). The pay-offs to sociability. Human Nature-an Interdisciplinary Biosocial Perspective, 20(4), 431–446.Google Scholar
  47. Reyes-García, V., Paneque-Galvez, J., Bottazzi, P., Luz, A. C., Gueze, M., Macia, M. J., et al. (2014). Indigenous land reconfiguration and fragmented institutions: A historical political ecology of Tsimane' lands (Bolivian Amazon). Journal of Rural Studies, 34, 282–291.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jrurstud.2014.02.007.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Reyes-García, V., Menendez-Baceta, G., Aceituno-Mata, L., Acosta-Naranjo, R., Calvet-Mir, L., Domínguez, P., et al. (2015). From famine foods to delicatessen: Interpreting trends in the consumption and gathering of wild edible plants through their connection to cultural ecosystem services. Ecological Economics, 12, 303–311.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Reyes-García, V., Gueze, M., Diaz-Reviriego, I., Duda, R., Fernández-Llamazares, Á., Gallois, S., et al. (2016). The adaptive nature of culture. A cross-cultural analysis of the returns of local environmental knowledge in three indigenous societies. Current Anthropology., 57(6), 761–784.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Reyes-García, V., Gallois, S., Díaz-Reviriego, I., Fernández-Llamazares, Á., Napitupulu, L. (2018). Children’s diets in three Indigenous societies. Journal of Ethnobiology. 38(2), 244–260.Google Scholar
  51. Rosinger, A., Tanner, S., & Leonard, W. R. (2013). Precursors to overnutrition: The effects of household market food expenditures on measures of body composition among Tsimane' adults in lowland Bolivia. Social Science & Medicine, 92, 53–60.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.socscimed.2013.05.022.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Rowley, K. G., Gault, A., McDermott, R., Knight, S., McLeay, T., & O'Dea, K. (2000). Reduced prevalence of impaired glucose tolerance and no change in prevalence of diabetes despite increasing BMI among aboriginal people from a group of remote homeland communities. Diabetes Care, 23(7), 898–904.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Sackett, R., and Johnson A. (1998). Direct systematic observation of behavior. In Handbook of methods in cultural anthropology, edited by H. R. Bernard. Walnut Creek, California: Altamira Press.Google Scholar
  54. Sahlins, M. (1974). The original affluent society. In Stone Age Economics: Routledge.Google Scholar
  55. Sakai, S., Harrison, R. D., Momose, K., Kuraji, K., Nagamasu, H., Yasunari, T., Chong, L., & Nakashizuka, T. (2006). Irregular droughts trigger mass flowering in aseasonal tropical forests in asia. American Journal of Botany, 93(8), 1134–1139.  https://doi.org/10.3732/ajb.93.8.1134.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  56. Sercombe, P. G., & Sellato, B. (2007). Beyond the green myth: Hunter-gatherers of Borneo in the twenty-first century. Copenhagen: NIAS Press.Google Scholar
  57. Serrasolses, G., Calvet-Mir, L., Carrió, E., D’Ambrosio, U., Garnatje, T., Parada, M., Vallès, J., & Reyes-García, V. (2016). A matter of taste: Local explanations for the consumption of wild food plants in the Catalan Pyrenees and the Balearic Islands1. [journal article]. Economic Botany, 70(2), 176–189.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s12231-016-9343-1. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Sibhatu, K. T., Krishna, V. V., Qaim, M. (2015). Production diversity and dietary diversity in smallholder farm households. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 112(34), 10657–10662.Google Scholar
  59. Vadez, V., Reyes-García, V., Godoy, R., Leonard, W., Huanca, T., & Byron, E. (2008). Income diversification of rural households: What role for agriculture? Household evidence from the Tsimane' Amerindians of the Bolivian Amazon. Human Organization, in press.Google Scholar
  60. van Vliet, N., Quiceno-Mesa, M. P., Cruz-Antia, D., Tellez, L., Martins, C., Haiden, E., et al. (2015). From fish and bushmeat to chicken nuggets: The nutrition transition in a continuum from rural to urban settings in the tri frontier Amazon region. Ethnobiology and Conservation, 4(2015).Google Scholar
  61. Woodburn, J. (1998). Egalitarian Societies. In J. Gowdy (Ed.), Limited wants, unlimited means: A reader on hunter-gatherer economics and the environment. Washington DC: Island Press.Google Scholar
  62. Yasuoka, H. (2009). Concentrated distribution of wild yam patches: Historical ecology and the subsistence of African rainforest hunter-gatherers. [journal article]. Human Ecology, 37(5), 577–587.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s10745-009-9279-5. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Yasuoka, H. (2013). Dense wild yam patches established by hunter-gatherer camps: Beyond the wild yam question, toward the historical ecology of rainforests. Human Ecology, 41(3), 465–475.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. Zane, N., & Mark, W. (2003). Major approaches to the measurement of acculturation among ethnic minority populations: a content analysis and an alternative empirical strategy. In C. KM, O. PB, & M. G (Eds.), Advances in Theory, Measurement and Applied Research (pp. 39–60). Washington, D.C: American Psychological Association.Google Scholar
  65. Zycherman, A. (2013). The changing value of food: Localizing modernity among the Tsimane’ Indians of lowland Bolivia. University of Columbia,Google Scholar
  66. Zycherman, A. (2015). Shocdye' as world. Food, Culture & Society, 18(1), 51–69.  https://doi.org/10.2752/175174415x14101814953684.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© International Society for Plant Pathology and Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institució Catalana de Recerca i Estudis Avançats (ICREA)BarcelonaSpain
  2. 2.Institut de Ciència i Tecnologia AmbientalsUniversitat Autònoma de BarcelonaBellateraSpain
  3. 3.Institute of Environmental Science and Technology (ICTA-UAB) ICTA-ICP, Edifici Z Carrer de les ColumnesUniversitat Autònoma de BarcelonaBellaterraSpain
  4. 4.Department of Geography and African Studies ProgramPennsylvania State UniversityUniversity ParkUSA
  5. 5.Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research – UFZLeipzigGermany
  6. 6.Global Change and Conservation (GCC), Helsinki Institute of Sustainability Science (HELSUS), Faculty of Biological and Environmental SciencesUniversity of HelsinkiHelsinkiFinland
  7. 7.Organismal and Evolutionary Biology Research Programme, Faculty of Biological and Environmental SciencesUniversity of HelsinkiHelsinkiFinland
  8. 8.Faculty of ArchaeologyLeiden UniversityLeidenNetherlands

Personalised recommendations