Paper No. 3
Presentation Time: 1:35 PM


LONDONO, S. Carolina, School of Earth & Space Exploration, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ 85287-1404, GARZON, Cristina, Geoscience Department, National University of Colombia, 610 E Gilbert Dr. Apt #226, Bogota, AZ 10111, Colombia, SEMKEN, Steven, School of Earth and Space Exploration, Arizona State University, PO Box 871404, Tempe, AZ 85287-1404 and BRANDT, Elizabeth, School of Human Evolution and Social Change, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ 85281,

Current pressing issues on global water resources call for management and conservation strategies framed within the environmental, economic and cultural context particular to a place. In addition to biological, ecological, geological, hydrological, and socioeconomic studies involving mainstream disciplines, the traditional environmental or ecological knowledge (TEK) of people indigenous to the study area should also be considered if the resource is on their traditional or legal homeland. Ethnogeology -the study of cultural-based understanding, assessment, and use of geological knowledge- links native and western Earth sciences. We present a research case study in the Predio Putumayo Indian reservation, in the Colombian Amazon. Our principal goal for this ethnoscientific study was to better serve needs and concerns of this native community in their homeland region.

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.

  • Londono gsa 29_10.pptx (13.7 MB)