Cultural, Psychological, and Organoleptic Factors Related to the Use of Stingless Bees by Rural Residents of Northern Misiones, Argentina

  • Fernando ZamudioEmail author
  • Norma Ines Hilgert


This chapter explores the relationship between cultural (e.g., utilitarian), psychological (e.g., prominence and ease of observation), and organoleptic factors (e.g., taste perceptions) related to the use of stingless bees. We chose this subject in order to understand human drivers of resource exploitation and discuss it from an ethnobiological point of view according to the “ecological apparency hypothesis.” Understanding how valuation and election processes operate can contribute to conservation and management approaches for stingless bees. We explored the relationships between eight quantitative explanatory variables based mainly on information provided by local people. The results reveal, contrary to expectations, that the use of stingless bees is not associated with their appearance or characteristics of their honey. The process of evaluating ethnospecies could in turn be influenced by some aesthetic and behavioral variables such as beauty, unhygienic habits, or other behaviors. Our analysis allowed identifying scarcely considered variables in the assessment of natural resource exploitation and management, primarily cultural and psychological factors. The combined use of local and scientific knowledge to solve complex socio-ecological problems is promising but requires more effort. Studying in what circumstances, under which methodologies, and to what scale local ecological knowledge is useful to predict exploitation of natural resources is posed as a future priority.



The authors would like to thank the rural inhabitants of Misiones for sharing their knowledge and great cordiality; P. Tubaro, F. Silveira, C. Rasmussen, and L. Álvarez, for their contribution to the identification of the collected stingless bees; and CONICET and The Rufford Foundation for financial support. We thank Centro de Investigaciones del Bosque Atlántico (CeIBA) and IBS for institutional support and Conservación Argentina (CA) foundation and “yateí” reserve for logistic support. The authors are researchers from Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas (CONICET).


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Instituto Multidisciplinario de Biología Vegetal (IMBIV), CONICET, UNCCórdobaArgentina
  2. 2.Instituto de Biología Subtropical (IBS), CONICET, Universidad Nacional de Misiones (UNaM). Facultad de Ciencias Forestales (UNaM)Puerto IguazúArgentina

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