The sparse documentation of local knowledge of Guadua (Poaceae: Bambuseae)-dominated forests has hampered development of sound timber and multiple-use management plans for this forest type. The benefits and constraints of smallholder management systems were evaluated within the context of bamboo-dominated forests using available scientific literature, local knowledge in Acre, Brazil, and botanical survey data. Scientific literature on the subject pointed to numerous benefits of Guadua-dominated forests, including fertile soil for the cultivation of important agricultural crops, results corroborated by local forest managers. Interviews with local informants also substantiated that tree removal by logging crews has favoured bamboo expansion and increased fire risk—views that correspond with the scientific literature on anthropogenic disturbances in bamboo-dominated forests. Yet, these same informants identified the important role that this forest type plays in their broader land management strategies. Field plots to quantify local tree species composition indicated the relative suitability of the Guadua-dominated site for diversification of forest management strategies. Our results suggest that integration of local and scientific bodies of knowledge can be an effective approach to sustain the natural resource base within the context of local communities. Indeed, the low commercial timber volumes associated with Guadua-dominated forests may not provide sufficient income over the long-term for landowners. Instead, this forest type should be managed based on locally-identified conservation and socioeconomic goals that support resource management strategies along the forest and land use transition curve.
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Vol. 17 • No. s1