Coletar ou Cultivar: as escolhas dos produtores de açaí-da-mata (Euterpe precatoria) do Amazonas

Abstract: The growing market demand for non-timber forest products offers an economic development opportunity that could combine productive social inclusion of family farmers to the conservation of forest ecosystems. However, the increase in production may mean the replacement of extractive forest management by monocultures, nullifying its positive effects on the conservation of forests. We attempted to identify the determinant factors that lead traditional family farmers of the lower Manacapuru river to have engaged in gathering or cultivation of açaí-da-mata (Euterpe precatoria), native from Amazonas State in Brazil. Since the fruit gathering is handmade by climbing the trees, the decision of production seems to depend mainly on the supply of young male labour, i.e., workers with the ability and physical strength to accomplish this task. Cultivation decision may be associated with an increased availability of financial capital that households get from the income of agricultural activities. Families that cultivate açaí also maintained the practice of gathering, indicating that the growing of small areas of intercropping is a strategy to increase production without necessarily total replacing the extraction by the species cultivation.