This work is studying the social, economic and cultural values of peatlands in the Peruvian Amazon to complement existing scientific research on the carbon content, ecology and formation of tropical peatlands in the Pastaza-Marañón Foreland Basin. It also serves to test research methodologies and to build a partnership between researchers from the School of Geography and Sustainable Development, and the Amazonian Cultural Diversity and Economy Research Group at the Peruvian Amazon Research Institute (IIAP), Iquitos, Peru.
The project successfully met these objectives: research fellow, Dr Christopher Schulz, worked closely with a team of three social scientists at IIAP and conducted qualitative fieldwork in two Amazonian communities, one indigenous and one mestizo community, which provided the first insights on people’s relationships with peatlands in the study area. The findings are currently being written for two separate manuscripts: one with a focus on indigenous ecosystem classification systems, and one with a more general perspective on the management and conservation of peatlands in the Peruvian Amazon. The study was also useful to test appropriate strategies for compensating communities for their participation in research and in dealing with demands for community benefits, which will help us to shape the agenda for the team’s applied tropical peatland research in future.