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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:The management of wild yam tubers by the Baka pygmies in southern Cameroon
Author:Dounias, Edmond
Periodical:African Study Monographs: Supplementary Issue
Geographic term:Cameroon
game meat
Abstract:The Baka pygmies of southern Cameroon have elaborated an original form of wild yam exploitation which the author has termed 'paracultivation'. Paracultivation defines a set of technical, social and cultural practices aimed at managing wild resources while keeping them in their natural environment. Wild yams are not only food resources, they are also keystone elements of Baka cosmogony. Baka classification of wild yams is predominantly functional, since it is based on tuber morphology, which is important in defining techniques for extracting and harvesting tubers. The achieved knowledge of the Baka about the ecology and biology of wild yams has influenced new paths of research on these starch-rich tuber plants. Results obtained from a quantitative experimental survey undertaken from 1993 to 1998, using Baka expertise on yams as a starting point, indicate that paracultivation increases the production of tubers without affecting plant survival. Paracultivation enables the Baka better to control the spatial and temporal availability of yam resources. Bibliogr., sum.