Co-evolution and bio-social construction: The kichwa agroforestry systems (Chakras) in the ecuadorian amazonia

Daniel Coq-Huelva, Angie Higuchi, Rafaela Alfalla-Luque, Ricardo Burgos-Morán, Ruth Arias-Gutiérrez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle in a journalpeer-review

24 Scopus citations


Polycultured agrarian systems in Ecuadorian Amazonia (also called chakras or swollen gardens) are characterised by a market-oriented crop for the generation of monetary income, for example, cocoa, other agricultural products (e.g., banana and cassava), and livestock for family farm consumption. Moreover, a chakra is an outstanding example of agroforestry production, in which ecological, social and economic elements co-evolve from a set of close and strong connections. In this context, the conservation and transformation of their biological subsystems can be understood as the result of complex interactions between anthropogenic and non-anthropogenic factors. In turn, such interactions are essential to provide food and monetary income to the indigenous community. Relevant agency capabilities exist that could cause an agroforestry system to take a different path of co-evolution, that is, towards greater or lesser sustainability associated with different levels of complexity. In conclusion, chakras have key ecological features that can mitigate the impact of human population growth in Amazonia. Additionally, chakras have their own processes of social self-regulation which enhance the possibilities of adaptation of Kichwa communities to changing environmental conditions, being essential elements in local food sovereignty, equitable gender relations and the respect of ancestral wisdom.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1920
Pages (from-to)1-19
Number of pages19
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2017

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.

Copyright 2020 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • Agroecology
  • Ecological economics
  • Indigenous knowledge
  • Sumak Kawsay


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