Vegetation units of the Argentine semi-arid Chaco: The Toba-Pilaga'perception
Scarpa, Gustavo F.; Arenas, Pastor
This paper studies the nomenclature and classification assigned to vegetation units by the Toba-PilagáIndians of the Gran Chaco. The ethnobotanical research consisted of 12 campaigns in which we worked with 58 informants. The study describes a particular aspect of the traditional knowledge of plants: the perception of the plant environment. The vernacular names of plants, the names of vegetation units, and their respective classification are provided. Of a total of 235 recorded species, 217 taxa form part of some type of vegetation unit, whereas 18 are not part of any type of plant unit. A total of 196 vernacular names referring to 304 vegetation units were recorded. An ethnotaxonomic system by which the Toba-Pilagáclassify 277 vegetation units into 27 categories according to attributes such as physiognomy, succession, relative accessibility and visibility, and according to their association with elements of the landscape is revealed. These categories are organised in turn within a hierarchical system with different degrees of inclusiveness.