Tamshi – Sustainable Materials

Another of the materials of the Peruvian jungle is an aerial root known as ¨Tamshi”. With this fiber, baskets, brooms and baskets are made. In turn, the Tamshi is also used to join the logs in the construction of huts for the communities. Similarly, there is the fiber of the Chambira palm, used by the Yaguas tribe to make clothing, hammocks, bags and fishing nets.

The vegetable fiber of “Tamshi” plays an important role in the life of the rural population of the Peruvian Amazon, since it is common in the construction of houses, household utensils and handicrafts; however, very few are aware of the need for its preservation and management. Due to excessive use, the species is seriously threatened; However, with proper management, it can contribute to generating economic income and preserving the Amazonian tropical forests.

The name “Tamshi” is assigned to a group of plant fiber species, such as “Wire Tamshi” (Heteropsis linearis, Kunth), “Cow Tamshi” (Heteropsis oblongifolia, Smith), “Huasi Tamshi” (Heteropsis spp.), ” Tamshi Lamas “(Heteropsis spp.),” Tamshi Basket “(Thoracocarpus bissectus (Vell.) Harling), and others. These species have in common being hemi epiphytes with long, cylindrical, wire-like roots that hang or are attached to the trunks of trees over 20 meters high in primary forests.

The “Tamshies” are native species of the Amazonian forests climax or in apogee, they are not in secondary forests. Tamshies are non-timber forest products, they have multiple uses and applications. In rural areas it is an important construction material that replaces wire and is used as a tie material to hold “beams”, for example.

It is highly resistant to the attack of fungi and insects. Its use is also common in the weaving of baskets, mats, beds, hats, and other utensils and fishing materials. The “tamshies” depending on the thickness and characteristics of the species, are also used in the construction of fences for the protection of animals, assembly of beds in replacement of bed bases, lines to dry clothes and as raw material for the manufacture of handicrafts in different communities native. In urban areas it is also widely used in the manufacture of furniture, as it perfectly replaces the well-known wicker fiber.

Currently, the pressure exerted on this resource forces rural inhabitants to look for these species in areas increasingly distant from the traditional centers of production, becoming increasingly scarce and rare. However, in this situation, very little is known about the basic aspects of its taxonomy, biology, ecology and physical and mechanical characteristics.

In Peru and neighboring countries, inventories of abundance in non-intervened forests in neighboring countries have been reviewed, as well as the results of the inventory carried out in the Palma Real Native Community and the experiences in making handicrafts, using Tamshi as raw material.

A clear example of good practices for the use of this natural fiber is that developed by the artisans of the Palma Real Native Community in Madre de Dios, since they have developed habits of use that allow the sustainability of the resource. This is an empirically learned management, which has been transmitted from generation to generation. Other native communities that we can mention are the native communities of Nanay in Loreto and Puerto Esperanza of the Asheninka ethnic group in Ucayali.

 Sources:

IAAP Tamshi: Otro producto no maderable de los bosques amazónicos con importancia económica: https://bit.ly/3apXL52

Rainforest Alliance: Guía del Alambre Tamshi : http://bit.ly/3ny8duX

CESTA ARTESANAL DE TAMSHI – Comunidad Nativa Palma Real https://bit.ly/3mxNeXR

  • Tamshi
  • shipibo women
  • Ucayali
  • Tamshi Basket

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