ETHNOGEOLOGY APPLIED TO MAPPING AND WATER RESOURCE MANAGEMENT IN THE NW AMAZON BASIN, COLOMBIA
We integrated methods from geology and anthropology to study and map the river system and geomorphology of the Igara-Parana basin and involve the local community through Participatory Action Research. Study results indicate the existence of a robust and intricate native ecological understanding of the tropical rainforest. Yet, geology is required to delineate watersheds, identify potentially useful aquifers, and to create zones for water use and/or conservation benefitting local populations. However, not just native knowledge is enriched, Earth scientist interested in this region can benefit from this exchange of knowledge by accessing the historical records, and the experiences accumulated by the people that have long lived among the rivers of the rainforest. Ethnogeology also presents an opportunity for geology to reflect on its own theories, models and perceptions. In conclusion, native and western Earth sciences can be complemented to represent and understand the needs of indigenous populations regarding natural resources management and economic development.