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CAMAFU > Estudios y Sistematizaciones de Casos > Indigenous Fire Management in the cerrado of Brazil: The Case of the Krah ˆ o of Tocant´ıns.

Indigenous Fire Management in the cerrado of Brazil: The Case of the Krah ˆ o of Tocant´ıns.

Indigenous Fire Management in the cerrado of Brazil: The Case of the Krah ˆ o of Tocant´ıns
Indigenous peoples have been using fire in the cerrado (savannas) of Brazil as a form of management for thousands of years, yet we have little information on why, when and how these fire practices take place. The aim of this paper was to explore the traditional use of fire as a management tool by the Krahˆo indigenous group living in the north-eastern region of Tocant´ıns state, Brazil. The results indicate that the Krahˆo burn for a variety of reasons throughout the dry season, thereby producing a mosaic of burned and unburned patches in the landscape. The paper discusses this burning regime in the context of contemporary issues regarding fire management, and in the face of changing perceptions to fire by the Krahˆo themselves.
INTRODUCTION
Fire is a major determinant of the savannas (cerrado) of Brazil. Wildfires have been significant in the cerrado for thousands of years, shaping the landscape and its biotic components since at least the Middle Holocene, some 6000 years B.P. (Miranda et al., 2002; Vernet et al., 1994). However, it was the “second fire” (Pyne, 2001) i.e., humans, that changed the nature of wildfires, increasing fire frequency and behavior. Indigenous people have occupied the cerrado from between 35,000 and 15,000 years ago (Lavall´ ee, 1995; Watanabe et al., 2003), and probably used fire to manipulate the landscape and its resources at various times of the year. However, anthropogenic fires became more prominent some 10,000 years ago, as the indigenous population spread out, the climate became more seasonal, and the cerrado we see today became established towards the mid- Holocene (Barbosa, 2002; Behling, 1998; Salgado-Labouriau et al., 1998). Charcoal deposits found in palaeoenvironmental studies indicate that fire was increasingly employed throughout the Holocene (Alexandre et al., 1999; Barberi et al., 2000; Behling, 1995, 2002).


Autor(es): Jayalaxshmi Mistry, Andrea Berardi,2 Valeria Andrade, Txicapr ˆo Krahˆ o, Phocrok Krahˆ o, and Othon Leonardos



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