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The Chácobos, members of the Panoan language family of Amazonian Indians, remain as one of the least-known groups of native peoples in the area. In Bolivia there are 260 members of this tribe, their principal village located in Alto Ivón, 70 miles south of Riberalta. The surrounding forest is of great importance to the Chácobos, providing food, fuel, shelter, medicine, poisons, and other useful products. In a one-hectare site near their main village, 82% of the species and 95% of the individual trees are utilized.
Brian M. Boom was born on 24 February 1954 in Memphis, Tennessee. He attended Memphis State University (B.S. in Biology 1977), the University of Tennessee (M.S. in Botany 1979), and the City University of New York (M.Phil., Ph.D. in Biology 1983). During his doctoral studies he held a Herbarium Fellowship at the New York Botanical Garden (1980-1983); his dissertation was a taxonomic revision of the genus lsertia (Rubiaceae). Upon graduation he undertook an ethnobotanical postdoctoral assignment in Bolivia as a Research Associate in the New York Botanical Garden 's Institute of Economic Botany (1983-1984); it was during this period that his Chácobo ethnobotanical fieldwork was conducted. Since 1984 he has been an Assistant Curator at The New York Botanical Garden where his research is centered on the flora of the Guayana Highland region of northern South America. In 1985 he was awarded The Charles A. Lindbergh/Harry Frank Guggenheim Award in Anthropology to conduct an ethnobotanical study of the Panare, an indigenous group in the Venezuelan Guayana. He was awarded a Fulbright Research Award for 1986-1987 to study the taxonomy of the Theaceae in Guyana. He holds adjunct appointments at the City University of New York, New York University, Yale University, and Columbia University. From 1991-2001 he served as Vice President for Botanical Science at the New York Botanical Garden. Currently, Dr. Boom holds several positions at the New York Botanical Garden: Director of the New York Botanical Garden Press: Director, Science Outreach; Vice President for Conservation Strategy; and Bassett Maguire Curator of Botany. Brian Boom's Author Page