Repurposing Ethnobiological Knowledge: Influences of cultural tourism on biological resource use by the Brunka of Costa Rica

Date and Time: 
Friday, 6 May, 2011 - 21:50 to 22:10
Tammy Y. Watkins

This study uses current and historical knowledge and practices of biological resource use among the Brunka of Costa Rica to examine the influence of cultural tourism on the contemporary uses of traditional resources. The Brunka’s use of natural resources in Costa Rica was documented in 1959 by Doris Stone, when most people in the area depended on natural resources and subsistence agriculture. With the current national focus on tourism, Brunka have adapted traditional crafts and social activities to cater to the tourist industry. While they still use natural fibers, dyes and other materials to produce their crafts, preferences of the tourist market have changed traditional uses of these resources. One response has been a shift from production of utilitarian wares to decorative ones. This study compares the changes in the corpus and praxis of Brunka ethnobiological knowledge since 1959 within the context of changing social and economic environments.