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Ethnoecological Analysis of Theobroma bicolor Humb. & Bonpl.

Updated: Aug 29, 2018


Ethnoecological Analysis of Theobroma bicolor Humb. & Bonpl., and its relationship with the production of Bizie g'ie in the Zapotec community of Teotitlán del Valle, Oaxaca, Mexico.


Carmen Sandoval/Jordi Morató/Judith Castellanos


The study of the interactions of society with nature, can be approached from an integrating vision between the concepts of Intangible Cultural Heritage and Ecology, as a principle of environmental sustainability through the design of transdisciplinary approaches, which are able to effectively link the dimensions natural, historical and cultural aspects of the environment.

Disciplines such as Ethnobotany and Ethnoecology, help us to understand the traditional knowledge about the management of flora made by different human groups, which has generated a vast empirical knowledge present over time and transmitted from generation to generation.


Objectives and Questions

General purpose:

Analyze the ethnoecological elements of the relationship of Theobroma bicolor Humb. & Bonpl., and the elaboration of the Bizie g'ie, in the agroecosystem-cocoa of the Soconusco region, Chiapas and Teotitlán del Valle, Oaxaca.

Specific objectives:

1. Define the historical and environmental conditions of T. bicolor, as well as the old commercial route of the Camino Real del Soconusco.

2. To establish the agroecological and ethnobotanical background of T. bicolor in situ and in the Soconusco region of Chiapas.

3. Identify the microorganisms involved in the production process of Bizie g'ie.


Because the object of study of this research is an agent that links the social and biological sphere through traditional ecological knowledge, we will first appeal to the ethno-ecological approach, through the use of ethnographic methods that will support the interpretation of social reality, values, customs, ideologies and worldviews. A microbiological analysis will also be carried out in the laboratory of the Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana

Xochimilco campus, to identify the microbiological agents involved in the process of transformation of T. bicolor seeds.


About the Program

The research work "Ethnoecological Analysis of Theobroma bicolor Humb. & Bonpl., and its relationship with the production of Bizie g'ie in the Zapotec community of Teotitlán del Valle, Oaxaca, Mexico ", aims to study the interrelation between a cultural manifestation of the Zapotec ethnic group, with the use of a botanical species that lives in the cacao plantations of the Soconusco region, Chiapas, Mexico. To use the seeds of this plant, it is necessary to submit it to a procedure of "fermentation or rotting" little known and only performed by some women in the community of Teotitlán del Valle, Oaxaca, México.

This work aims to contribute to the documentation of the Intangible Cultural Heritage both at the level of culinary, ritual and technical use in accordance with the objectives of safeguarding and protection of UNESCO, as well as to pay tribute to the recognition of the role of culture for sustainable development and preservation of biodiversity, through knowledge of particular ecological and historical aspects of the species T. bicolor, close to Theobroma cacao L., which has been consumed in Mesoamerica since the pre-Columbian era and from which little or nothing is known today. in day.

Phenomena such as climatic variability, anthropogenic impacts, change of land use and loss of traditional ecological knowledge threaten their permanence that seems to be diluted, leaving behind rituals and deities associated with ancestral cultural practices, belonging to one of the largest important civilizations of Mesoamerica.



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