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Human Ecology

, Volume 44, Issue 4, pp 449–461 | Cite as

Wild Food Harvesting and Access by Household and Generation in the Talamanca Bribri Indigenous Territory, Costa Rica

  • Olivia Sylvester
  • Alí García Segura
  • Iain J. Davidson-Hunt
Article

Abstract

We contribute to a growing body of literature on wild food harvesting by examining culturally specific relationships with wild food, the extent and frequency of wild food use in forests, and young people’s wild food consumption. We gathered qualitative data in the Talamanca Bribri Territory, Costa Rica, using participant observation, interviews, and household surveys. We found that wild food consumption was related to nutrition, health, religious beliefs, identity, dietary variety, and resource availability. Consumption occurred in all households and its frequency depended upon opportunities to harvest and/or access to sharing networks. In all households, younger members consumed wild plants and in most households they also ate wild meat. All households harvested their own plants but not all households harvested their own meat. Consequently, sharing was relatively more common for meat than plants. Lastly, sharing was important for older and younger generations and women who lacked opportunities to harvest food due to health, time, school, and work constraints. Our results can be used to design forest management policies that respect community access to wild food.

Keywords

Ethnobiology Forest food harvesting Hunting Food sharing La Amistad biosphere reserve Costa Rica 

Notes

Acknowledgments

Wë́ste wë́ste, thank you to our Bribri colleagues who shared their knowledge and provided guidance on how to present our research. Thank you to Carlos Morales who helped with plant identification. This work was carried out with the aid of a grant from the International Development Research Centre, Ottawa, Canada. Information on the Centre is available on the web at www.idrc.ca. This work was also supported by a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) Doctoral Fellowship awarded to Sylvester and a SSHRC Grant awarded to Iain J Davidson-Hunt.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Olivia Sylvester
    • 1
  • Alí García Segura
    • 2
  • Iain J. Davidson-Hunt
    • 3
  1. 1.University for PeaceSan JoséCosta Rica
  2. 2.Escuela de Filología, Lingüística y LiteratureUniversidad de Costa RicaSan JoséCosta Rica
  3. 3.Natural Resources InstituteUniversity of ManitobaWinnipegCanada

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