Adaptive Ecological Knowledge among the Ndjuka maroons of French Guiana; A case study of two ‘invasive species’: Melaleuca quinquenervia and Acacia mangium

Type Article
Date 2023-05-02
Language English
Author(s) Theys Johanna1, 2, Tareau Marc-Alexandre1, 3, Ansoe-Tareau Clarisse4, Greene Alexander1, Palisse Marianne1, Ricardou Alizée2, Odonne Guillaume1
Affiliation(s) 1 : Laboratoire Ecologie, Evolution, Interactions des Systèmes amazoniens (LEEISA), CNRS, Université de Guyane-IFREMER, 97300 Cayenne, French Guiana
2 : Groupe d’Etude et de Protection des Oiseaux en Guyane (GEPOG), Remire‑Montjoly, French Guiana
3 : CIC INSERM 1424, Clinical Investigation Center, Cayenne General Hospital, Cayenne, French Guiana
4 : Interpreter‑Translator in Surinamese Maroon Languages, Okanisi Traduction et Médiation, Remire‑Montjoly, French Guiana
Source Journal of Ethnobiology and Ethnomedicine (1746-4269) (BMC), 2023-05-02 , Vol. 19 , N. 29 , P. 12p.
DOI 10.1186/s13002-023-00602-7
WOS© Times Cited 2
Keyword(s) invasive species, Maroons, savannas, Local Ecological Knowledge, biocultural interactions, environmental perceptions

Background: To understand how local ecological knowledge changes and adapts, here in the case of the recent introduction of plant species, we report the knowledge and perceptions of the Ndjuka (Maroon) of French Guiana concerning two tree species, Acacia mangium and niaouli(Melaleuca quinquenervia), which are categorized as “invasive alien plants” in the savannas of their territory. Methods: To this end, semi-structured interviews were conducted between April and July 2022, using a pre-designed questionnaire, plant samples and photographs. The uses, local ecological knowledge, and representations of these species were surveyed among populations of Maroon origin in western French Guiana. All responses to closed questions collected during the field survey were compiled into an Excel spreadsheet in order to perform quantitative analyses, including the calculation of use reports (URs). Results: It appears that the local populations have integrated these two plant species, which are named, used and even traded, into their knowledge systems. On the other hand, neither foreignness nor invasiveness seem to be relevant concepts in the perspective of the informants. The usefulness of these plants is the determining factor of their integration into the Ndjuka medicinal flora, thus resulting in the adaptation of their local ecological knowledge. Conclusion: In addition to highlighting the need for the integration of the discourse of local stakeholders into the management of "invasive alien species”, this study also allows us to observe the forms of adaptation that are set in motion by the arrival of a new species, particularly within populations that are themselves the result of recent migrations. Our results furthermore indicate that such adaptations of local ecological knowledge can occur very quickly.

Full Text
File Pages Size Access
Preprint - 10.21203/ 24 2 MB Open access
Publisher's official version 12 1 MB Open access
Informed consent form. 14 KB Open access
Questionnaire 22 KB Open access
Table of uses de A. mangium. 17 KB Open access
Table of uses of Niaouli. 21 KB Open access
Summary of the research in Nengee Tongo (Ndjuka Maroons language). 14 KB Open access
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Theys Johanna, Tareau Marc-Alexandre, Ansoe-Tareau Clarisse, Greene Alexander, Palisse Marianne, Ricardou Alizée, Odonne Guillaume (2023). Adaptive Ecological Knowledge among the Ndjuka maroons of French Guiana; A case study of two ‘invasive species’: Melaleuca quinquenervia and Acacia mangium. Journal of Ethnobiology and Ethnomedicine, 19(29), 12p. Publisher's official version : , Open Access version :