Learning soil classification with the Kayapó indians

Aprendendo a classificar solos com os índios Kayapó

Miguel Cooper Edson Roberto Teramoto Pablo Vidal-Torrado Gerd Sparovek About the authors

The Kayapó Xicrin do Cateté (Xicrin) indigenous reserve is located within the Amazon forest in Pará (Brazil). The Xicrins have developed a soil classification system that is incorporated in their language and culture. The etymology of their classification system and its logical structure makes it similar and comparable with modern soil classification. The etymology of the Xicrin's language is based on the junction of radicals to form words for different soil names. The name of the soil is formed by the main noun radical "puka", to which adjectives referring to soil morphological attributes are added. Modern classification systems are also based on similar morphological variables, and analytical support for defining boundaries of chemical or physical soil attributes are important only in lower hierarchical levels. Soil scientists have developed a soil classification system that is sensitive for the restrictions and potentialities the soil will show for modern agriculture. The Xicrins classify soils for what is important for their life style, i.e. a harmonic and friendly life with the resources they gain from the forest.

Xicrin do Cateté; Amazon; Brazil; indigenous knowledge

São Paulo - Escola Superior de Agricultura "Luiz de Queiroz" USP/ESALQ - Scientia Agricola, Av. Pádua Dias, 11, 13418-900 Piracicaba SP Brazil, Tel.: +55 19 3429-4401 / 3429-4486, Fax: +55 19 3429-4401 - Piracicaba - SP - Brazil
E-mail: scientia@usp.br