The Amazonian Caboclo and the Açaí Palm
Forest Farmers in the Global Market
by Eduardo S. Brondízio
This title is volume 16 of Advances of Economic Botany. This remarkable monograph tells the story of the boom in the açaí ( Euterpe oleracea Mart.) fruit economy—from a rural staple to a chic health food delicacy in national and international markets—and examines the development of the production systems and commodity chains required to supply the burgeoning demand for this fruit. It also carefully reconsiders the contested and stigmatized history of the social identity of caboclos.
The Amazonian caboclos who inhabit the Amazonian estuarine floodplains are, in a very real sense, forest farmers. They have been transforming their forest environment, sometimes imperceptibly, for generations. The boom in açaí provides an invaluable window through which the society, ecological knowledge, and economic life of those who produce the fruit can be viewed.
Charles Peters, editor of the Advances in Economic Botany series, comments, “Author Eduardo S. Brondízio’s treatment of caboclos and açaí sets a new standard in the study of people and plants. His monograph goes beyond description to provide key insights into why things unfolded the way they did in the Amazon estuary and what this means for the future forests and farmers of the region. For that reason, this is an important work.”
Brondízio’s research contributes greatly to the broader understanding of rural development, globalization, and the role of small-scale farmers and local resources in the sustainable development of Amazonia.
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