„Lessons Learned for the Management Policy of the Biosphere Reserve “Oxapampa-Asháninka-Yanesha” (Peru) based upon the inhabitants’ local knowledge and available global scientific knowledge"

A project funded by the Austrian Academy of Sciences (UNESCO Man and Biosphere Programme)

What are we doing right now?

Our doctoral candidate Gabriela Albarracin was at the beginning of the year in Oxapampa for a preliminary study to collect the first data and to establish a network with the local organizations.

Currently, the master student Viviane Griesinger is working in the biosphere reserve as part of her thesis. Viviane is a geographer and studies environmental and bioresource management at BOKU, she is writing her master's thesis on "Interaction between global biosphere research and local resource management" in the Oxapampa-Yánesha-Asháninka Biosphere Reserve. She is researching on how the people in the reserve relate their knowledge on the subject of resource use and reservation management and how this knowledge is passed on.
She is supported in her research by the Service of Natural Protected Areas (SERNANP) in Oxapampa.

At the end of September, we presented our project at the "National Congress of Science Research Projects in Nature Reserves" at our partner university in Peru, the Universidad Nacional La Molina (UNALM).


Within and around the Biosphere Reserve Oxapampa Ashaninka Yanesha (RBOAY) at the small plots of subsistence oriented family farms and in their neighborhood a high agricultural genetic diversity of crops along with a rich diversity of associated organisms can be found (Yarupaitán & Antezano, 2016). Besides the importance of this diversity for ecosystems, high biodiversity contributes to the sustainability of agricultural production systems and food security (Segnon & Achigan-Dako, 2014). Nevertheless, an improved understanding of the synergies between natural and managed landscapes is crucial for preserving traditional sustainable land management systems and channeling benefits to RBOAY communities that maintain resilient landscapes and biodiversity (comp. Scherr & McNeely, 2008).

About the biodiversity of the many studies have been realized already! They are published and enrich global knowledge. But are the results available for the RBOAY management or for local people? Does this global knowledge benefit local stakeholders? Is it available in the study area in an accessible form?

Our answer is: “No!”


Our project focus here is not adding new primary data but making accessible locally the results of a meta-analysis of internationally and nationally, available data not yet sufficiently integrated into the RBOAY management policies.

Thus, our aim is building bridges between the available global scientific knowledge about the RBOAY and local knowledge within the RBOAY.

In our project we are implementing an inter-disciplinary assessment and meta-analysis of already available data on agrobiodiversity conservation and other research topics that took RBOAY as study site.

Thus, we are presenting locally accessible, well designed, carefully tested answers in the form of high quality media (video, audio, posters) that can be used by local stakeholders for their efforts in promoting sustainability in the RBOAY.

The project outcomes might reveal strategies and options that can be applied in a range of settings to manage the expanded areas under protection, both in Peru and in protected area systems globally.

The project uses the concept of interdisciplinary research that will respond to the increasing urgent global imperatives to conserve both cultural and biological diversity as urged by the Convention of Biological Diversity UNESCO's 'Man and Biosphere Programme' and the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People.

The link between Austria and Peru

The study area RBOAY and Austria show some unexpected links: Austrians from the Province of Tyrol migrated to that area in 1859. The interest of Austria, especially citizens of the Province of Tyrol, in that area is therefore remarkably high.

The underlying objective for this proposal is therefore intensifying the Austrian-Peruvian interaction, exchange of experiences and capacity building on the sustainable management of bio-culturally diverse areas, as expressed by the Sevilla Strategy.

Key words

Keywords: Organic farming; Agroecology; Agricultural policy; Sustainable agriculture; Empirical social research; Ethnology; Regional development;Knowledge management; agrobiodiversity; ethnobotany; rural development

Publications from previous projects with relation to AGROBIO-K_NOW

[Translate to English:]

  • GRASSER,S., C. SCHUNKO, C. R. VOGL (2016): Children as ethnobotanists: methods and local impact of a participatory research project with children on wild plant gathering in the Grosses Walsertal Biosphere Reserve, Austria. Journal of Ethnobiology and Ethnomedicine 12 (46)
  • SCHUNKO, C; GRASSER, S; VOGL, C. R. (2015): Explaining the resurgent popularity of the wild: motivations for wild plant gathering in the Biosphere Reserve Grosses Walsertal, Austria.J ETHNOBIOL ETHNOMED. 2015; 11:55
  • GRASSER, S; SCHUNKO, C; VOGL, C.R (2012): Gathering "tea" - from necessity to connectedness with nature. Local knowledge about wild plant gathering in the Biosphere Reserve Grosses Walsertal (Austria). Ethnobiology and Ethnomedicine; 8:31   doi.org/10.1186/1746-4269-8-31
  • SCHUNKO, C; GRASSER, S; VOGL, C. R. (2012): Intracultural variation of knowledge about wild plant uses in the Biosphere Reserve Grosses Walsertal (Austria). Ethnobiology and Ethnomedicine. 8: 23 doi.org/10.1186/1746-4269-8-23
  • GRASSER, S.; C. R. VOGL; C. SCHUNKO; M. GRABOWSKI; T. VOGL und B. VOGL-LUKASSER (2012): Biokulturelle Vielfalt. Vom Lokalen Erfahrungswissen zu Pflanzen im Biosphärenpark Großes Walsertal. Endbericht zum Forschungsprojekt "Monitoring of Biocultural Diversity in the Biosphere Reserve Großes Walsertal, Austria. The use and management of biodiversity of crops, cultivars and wild gathered plant species.". Gefördert vom "Man and Biosphere (MAB)" - Programm der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften., Eigenverlag. Department für Nachhaltige Agrarsysteme, Universität für Bodenkultur Wien.
  • Haselmair, Ruth Mag.a. (2012): Weitergabe und Tradierung von Wissen über Kulinarik in der österreichisch-deutschen Siedlung Pozuzo in Peru. Supervisors: Christian R. Vogl (DNAS/BOKU), Ernst Halbmayr (Institut für vergleichende Kulturforschung, Faculty of Social Science and Philosophy, Philipps-Universität Marburg)
  • HASELMAIR, R., H. A PIRKER, E. KUHN AND C. R. VOGL (2014): Personal networks: a tool for gaining insight into the transmission of knowledge of food and medicinal plants among Tyrolean (Austrian) migrants in Australia, Brazil and Peru. J ETHNOBIOL ETHNOMED, 10:1. doi: 10.1186/1746-4269-10-1.
  • PIRKER, H; HASELMAIR, R; KUHN, E; SCHUNKO, C; VOGL, C. R. (2012):  Transformation of traditional knowledge of medicinal plants: the case of Tyroleans (Austria) who migrated to Australia, Brazil and Peru. Ethnobiology and Ethnomedicine; 8(1):44-44. Highly Accessed.
  • KUHN E.; PIRKER, H.; HASELMAIR, R.; VOGL C. R. (2012): Tirolerknödel in aller Welt. Veränderung von kulinarischem Wissen Tiroler Migranten und Migrantinnen in Peru, Brasilien und Australien In: Tiroler Heimatblätter, 87 (1), 32-38, Tyrolia Verlag, Innsbruck
  • PIRKER, H.; KUHN, E.; HASELMAIR, R.; VOGL C. R. (2012): Wissen über Heilpflanzen bei Tiroler Migrant_innen und ihren Nachfahren in Australien, Brasilien und Peru In: Tiroler Heimatblätter, 87 (2), 66-73, Tyrolia Verlag, Innsbruck
  • HASELMAIR, R; PIRKER, H; KUHN, E; VOGL C:R. (2011): Veränderung von Wissen bei Tiroler Auswanderern in Peru, Brasilien und Australien. Teil 2: Palmbuschen - Tiroler Brauch fern von Tirol. Tiroler Heimatblätter, 86 (2), 76-80
  • KUHN, E; PIRKER H; HASELMAIR R; VOGL C.R. (2011): Veränderung von Wissen bei Tiroler Auswanderern in Peru, Brasilien und Australien. Teil 1: Einführung - Projektvorstellung. Tiroler Heimatblätter, 86 (1), 2-7