© 1. WWF / Edward PARKER; 2. WWF / Mauri RAUTKARI; 3. Nigel DICKINSON
Amazon peopleLeft to right: 1. Maria, daughter of an amazonian rubber tapper Alto Juruá Extractive Reserve Acre, Brazil; 2. Kayapo Indian Chief Kanhok Gorotire Amazonas, Brazil; 3. Capones, peasant farmers live in extreme poverty on the edges of tropical rainforest, just surviving to feed themselves, Brazil.
© WWF / Edward PARKER
Community life on the varzea…Much larger populations are found in the varzea, the riverside areas that are flooded during the rainy season, because of the presence of fishes, birds, turtles and fertile soil.
People living here are called caboclos, riberenos, mestizos or campesinos, depending on the area. They harvest wild rice and crops (beans, pepper, coca, bananas) and manioc, which grow faster in the varzea (6 months instead of 12 months elsewhere).
However, the unpredictability of the flooding cycle means that sometimes there is shortage of food.
…and life on the 'dry land'On terra firma (parts of the Amazon rainforest not impacted by flood), populations rely on slash-and-burn, shifting cultivation, with the principal crop being manioc.
But in those areas, crop yields drop quickly as rainforest soils become nutrient-poor after most natural flora and fauna are cleared. As a result, farmers are forced to keep clearing new plots for their crops. Protein is obtained from animals, nuts, fruits and seeds.