Foraging Wild Resources: Evolving Goals of an Ubiquitous Human Behavior

Abstract : Although human foraging behavior, i.e. the method used to get food procurement from the wild, is the economic criterion usually used in the academic literature in order to define hunter-gatherer societies, it is restricted neither to these societies nor to this goal. It consists of the extraction of natural resources by means of various techniques, such as hunting, fishing and gathering. It is applied to a broad range of wild resources – aquatic and terrestrial, plants, animals and minerals – even though in some cases it could be limited only to some of these resources such as the non-timber forest products (NTFPs). The aim of this paper is to demonstrate that while foraging is an ubiquitous human behavior, its goals are evolving with the passage of time. More precisely these goals that exist today have been present in some form in the past, only their importance and emphasis has changed over time and with the historical, sociological and ecological contexts. While subsistence seems naturally the most obvious motivation of human foraging behavior, the latter also occurs in various contexts such as in mixed economies. Moreover, other goals – different from the biological one – also exist. Indeed, foraging can be a mean to obtain a – primary or secondary – source of income provided through trade of harvested wild products. Socio-cultural goals may also motivate human foraging behavior. They are related to culture and heritage, recreational values, or to environmental conservation and sustainability, the latter being exemplified for instance by the recent movement of urban foragers.
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Serge Svizzero. Foraging Wild Resources: Evolving Goals of an Ubiquitous Human Behavior. Anthropology News, University of California Press, 2016, 04 (01), ⟨10.4172/2332-0915.1000161⟩. ⟨hal-02147756⟩

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