• Amazonia;
  • exchange networks;
  • home gardens;
  • Peru;
  • planting material

ABSTRACT. This article examines how peasant farmers build and maintain agrobiodiversity in home gardens found in two traditional peasant communities along the Marañón River in the Peruvian Amazon. Data were gathered through household and garden surveys as well as in-depth interviews with garden tenders in an upland mixed agricultural village and a lowland fishing village. Substantial variations in cultivated plant diversity were encountered in gardens between and within the villages, which are found to be related to differential exchange of seeds, cuttings, suckers, and other planting material as well as to specific garden and household characteristics. Planting material flows along multiple pathways—from gift giving and purchase to inheritance and scavenging—to the gardens, reflecting a complex and often extensive network of exchange that enables the establishment and maintenance of home garden plant diversity in seemingly isolated and small communities. Further research is needed to identify broader geographical and sociocultural patterns of agrobiodiversity in Amazonia.