Disruption of biomes could be problematic for Peru

By Michael P Garrett

Assistant professor of ecology and evolutionary biology at KU Caroline Chaboo said the disruption of biomes could cause major problems for the indigenous tribes and people of Peru.

Chaboo spoke earlier today about the affects of insect biology and biodiversity along the Andes-Amazon transect in Peru at Bailey Hall as part of the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies’ Merienda Lecture series. She worries the diversity of Peruvian biomes are attracting disruptive individuals or corporations looking to reap the benefits of the country’s resources.

“As loggers and gold miners and other people go into these areas, they affect the indigenous people,” Chaboo said.

According to Chaboo’s lecture, both ingenious tribes and the Peruvian people could be in harms way. Mercury from gold mining gets dumped into the rivers of Peru. This causes drinking water and easting fish to be unsafe.

During her research in Peru, Chaboo has conducted studies that are essential to informing the indigenous people and the Peruvian people on what biodiversity exists in Peru and how to value it.

The cities Cuzco and Lima are where all of Peru’s political decisions are made, according to Chaboo.

“Ecology is different there from the Andes and Amazon,” Chaboo said. “They (politicians) need to be informed.”

Understanding the biodiversity is important for every one of all ages. Chaboo often takes children from indigenous schools along with her as she conducts research in the field. She said she wants to help teach them about the biodiversity around them as well as learn things from them.

“Just having the kids come and walk around and study with us is important,” Chaboo said. “I want to learn form them, but I don’t want to change anything in a negative way with the presence of western culture.”

Chaboo leaves for her next research trip to Peru on June 6.

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Free red beans and rice are provided at the Merienda lecture series each Thursday from 12 p.m. to 1 p.m. in Bailey Hall, rm. 318.

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Professor Chaboo discusses the success of students that have accompanied her on her exhibitions to Peru.

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Students that attended the lecture came from several different disciplines, including entomology, biology and Latin American studies.

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