Footprints of the Forest
Footprints of the Forest is the clearest and most comprehensive account to date of the relationship between an Amazonian people and their botanical environment.
Based on Balee's ten years of ethnological and botanical research among the Tupi-Guarani-speaking Indians, especially the Ka'apor, of eastern Amazonia, this book documents the ways in which the Ka'apor use, manage, name, and classify many hundreds of plant species found in their habitat. From a historical and ecological perspective, Balee shows that Ka'apor ethnobotany represents an interpenetration of Amazonian culture and nature and thus constitutes a domain of scientific inquiry in its own right.
The substantive chapters explore the history of the Ka'apor and their present modes of land use, the Ka'apor's influence on the composition of fragile forests in their habitat, and Ka'apor forest management practices. Balee also discusses the nomenclature and classification of indigenous plants as well as the cognitive aspects of magical, medicinal, and poisonous plants.
Footprints of the Forest concludes with an explanatory framework for understanding the similarities and differences among the ethnobotanical systems of diverse Amazonian peoples and ten cross-referenced appendices, which will aid those readers interested in specific Amazonian plants and their native names, habitats, and exact uses by the Ka'apor.