This article explores how lack of cross-cultural understanding led to disappointing results in the early stages of an agricultural revitalization project focused on the cultivation of Theobroma cacao-a native plant traditionally cultivated among the indigenous Kuna People of San Blas, Panama. Interviews with elders revealed insights into the cultural dimensions of cacao and aspects of project design that failed to address the role of cultural context, locus of control, and value orientation. Communication failures between project technicians and local people represent important considerations for future development projects linking indigenous livelihoods and biodiversity conservation. Deeper consideration of local customs and values may enable conservation objectives to be achieved in ways that are locally inspired and relevant.

Additional Metadata
Keywords Cacao, Indigenous knowledge, Kuna, Livelihood, Panama, Ukupseni
Persistent URL
Journal Society and Natural Resources
Jeffrey, I.B. (Ivan Barnes), Wall, J.E. (John E.), Diaz, D. (Domingo), & Ballamingie, P. (2011). Missed understandings: Cultural and communication disconnects in indigenous livelihood revitalization and conservation. Society and Natural Resources, 24(9), 972–983. doi:10.1080/08941920.2011.559616