Example Of Anthropology Essay
The three community of Itza, Q’eqchi’, and Ladinos and they all share some similarity and difference in farming practices. The main similarity is their land clearing process and the land rotation practices. The three communities rely on the swidden farming practices which is mainly to slash and burn. This practice is adopted with these communities as a result of the poor soil in the Tropical. To increase the soil fertility, farmers are involved in cutting down the plants and then burning them on their plots of land. This process however improves the fertility of the soil which is very vital to the farmers. Even though this practice increases the soil fertility of the farm, the nutrients are very limited for plants and will last for a very few years. The nature of the soil has forced the farmers to practice land rotation. This is whereby they move to new plot of land and abandoning the old one after the depletion of the nutrients. The old plot of farm is always abandoned for some few years for it to reclaim itself and replace the nutrients utilized by the farmers. After the nutrients have been replaced the farmers then come back to the older plot abandoning the new plot. This process repeats its self again and again hence the name rotation farming. This type of rotational farming is very important because it gives time for the surrounding forest to reclaim itself.
The observable difference in farming for the three communities is in the size of land they cultivate, for example; Q’eqchi’ are mainly involved with large scale farming as compared to Landinos and Itza’ who mainly farm food for their own consumption. This is to mean, they are the primary consumers and producers. The main reason why Q’eqchi’ are involved in large scale farming is because of their way of cultural coordination. Their approach to farming has made them form groups which are mainly determined by kinship. These groups come together and gets involved in the farming practices such as clearing of the land together, burning the plants together and planting of the seeds together. These groups move from one plot to another until the plots for the entire group members are all prepared. This system has enabled the community to be involved with clearing of a large area of the forest. This has majorly affected the rate at which the forest recovers. Q’eqchi’ farming method has a great effect on the environment as compared to the other communities. it is involved in the clearing of a large area of land of about 4.1 hectors and provision of a very short fallow time of 3.3 years the number of species of trees they left standing in a given hector are very less which is about 12.5 and the number of canopy left standing are also very few recording at 12500. With this farm practice, a grate are of land is being destroyed and the rate of loss nutrient and moisture contents of the soil is very high and the time for fallowing is very short this is why Q’eqchi’ only cultivates once in a year.
Itza’ farming practices is friendlier to the environment, this is because; they are involved in clearing a smaller size of land as compared to the other two communities, and allowing a longer period for fallow because of this, they have been in a position to cultivate on the plots for 2.3 years as the nutrients depletion rate is slower. Itza’ is also in a position to cultivate for a longer period on a plot because of a good number of tree species (22.5/ha) and canopy (2500 m2/ha) they leave standing on fields. These numbers of trees will fast the rate of the forest reclaiming itself. Of three communities Itza’ planted variety of crops as compared to the remaining two groups. This is because they understand the need for crop rotation and its importance to the quality of the soil.
In terms of the understanding about the surrounding environment, Itza’ community response was very high. This is an indication on how the community is concerned with the surrounding environment. This also explains why the community has been involved in the farming practices that majorly help in conserving the environment. On the other hand, Q’eqchi’ community response was very low because most of the people do not understand the benefits of the environment. This is the reason why they are mainly concerned with food production and they are not concerned with the damages they are imposing on the environment through poor farming practices. Itza’ community good understanding of the environment found it more easily to identify the positive interaction and the negative interaction between a specific plants and animal as compared to the Ladinos who slightly were unable to identify the positive relation between plants and animals. The knowledge of the Itza’ community on environment is because of the presence of a person who understands the importance and need of preserving the environment.