Mobility and landscape
Processes of spatial mobility among the Mbya
are of interest in anthropological and ethnobiological studies, as these processes are related to transformations in the landscape and the environment. Despite this, ethnographic literature usually focuses on the mobility of Guaraní
communities from the perspective of population dynamics on a regional scale [13
These views acknowledge the sociological aspects of a complex phenomenon which evidences how in these processes of spatial mobility the relationship that the Mbya have with the Monte is a core subject, both historically and at present.
The lifestyle and, especially, the economy of the Mbya-Guarani, have been modified over time as a result of the interactions with other American ethnic groups and with Europeans during the long process of conquest and colonization. The colonization of the forest in the province of Misiones is based on different kinds of economic activities (i.e. industrial-type cultivation and the exploitation of timber trees) and has gradually reduced and modified the features of this habitat affecting the territory and culture of the native communities.
Consequently, the Mbya characterised by their large scale migrations, that nowadays would be considered transnational, exhibit at present a sedentary tendency, while simultaneously searching through the socio-environment for conditions that make the development of their traditional activities possible.
Indeed, at present as well as in the past, the monte is the background setting where the Mbya displacements become significant. This is what is called "Guaraní horizon" in archaeological literature  – a setting that is characterised by bio-geographical and cultural features which are used to form a map outlining the location and positioning of these ethnic groups. Yet, very little research is devoted to actually exploring the characteristics and dynamics of this mobility as a constitutive aspect of the life and subsistence strategies of the Mbya people.
Our ethnographic research on the subsistence activities which are performed in the domestic sphere of two Mbya villages has enabled us to recognize patterns of mobility on a micro-scale. The daily trips of both men and women in these communities are the result of a multiplicity of pathways articulating and unifying spaces such as the monte, the capuera, or the chacra. These spaces, moreover, are designed by these subsistence activities.
In the case of the gathering of plant species as therapeutic resources, we have observed how the spaces and the pathways are outlined by the individual. It is the individual who daily recognises those spaces – or micro-environments – where the collecting of medicinal plants is or can be performed. It is also the individual who daily perceives and values these micro-environments – either in terms of the possibility to find the necessary resources, or in terms of how effective these resources might be depending on where they are found or grown. Guided by their own personal knowledge and interests, each individual chooses either to take certain established pathways, to clear a path where there was none or to ensure the availability of specific natural resources by planting and growing them next to their house. In this sense, we found that the most frequently used therapeutic resources were those from spaces adjacent to the dwellings (namely, in the capueras and chacras), which accounts for the increasing importance attached to these spaces as a source of medicinal plants – both for their consumption within the household, and for their commercialization for profit . As use of these plants increases (with the Mbya and others as the agents of this increasing use), so does the process of planting and growing these plants in the capueras and chacras, which constantly configures and reconfigures the environment of the Mbya and their setting. This literally brings the monte closer to the Mbya capueras and chacras.
Both differences in personal itineraries and age also account for the transformations of the Mbya setting. Indeed, several factors contribute to the fact that the Mbya's knowledge and use of "monte" species is smaller than it used to be. These factors include processes of socialization and an increasing contact of the younger generations with environments that are modified by the intervention of groups other than the Mbya themselves – in particular their access to formal education and health services.
Even though, in the course of our research, we have observed that those spaces involved in the obtaining of therapeutic resources were diversified, it is interesting to point out that, in the way the Mbya view the world, both the chacras and the capueras are perceived as transformations of the monte – spaces where the monte has been transformed or modified in some way, but where it is still "monte" area. It is in this sense that the vernacular categories that refer to these modified spaces – ka'aguy ete, ka'aguy karape, kokue, kokue re – are all terms that reassert the sequential and evolutionary nature of the monte – the ka'aguy or ka'aguy ete, – in that all of them refer to stages or phases in the transformation of a single space as a consequence of human intervention.
The notion of monte as a pristine space, unaltered by humans, is used more often than not in reference to spaces which are increasingly removed from human dwellings. The pathways, that were originally designed to reach the faraway monte, today keep the monte closer and closer to the dwellings. We have in this sense observed what can be called an opportunistic and multiple use of pathways. For example, hunting prey or checking a snare may present itself as a good chance to also collect plants. Or conversely, the need to collect resources for the treatment of a given illness may be used to also collect other resources, as well as to set traps and snares. As a consequence of this, the diverse paths not only help to link different spaces – what we have previously called "micro-environments" – but they also constitute a space in themselves. Pathways are thus a space which serves the purpose of articulating other spaces, a space whose characteristics become relevant as they relate to achieving the specific goals of specific activities.
In the everyday life of the Mbya, the notion of forest is realized as a space that is the product of human activity, not as a pristine reserve of wild species. This notion is in agreement with what Balèe  pointed out when he characterized the relationship between Amazonian societies and the forest environment. Balèe introduces here the concept of "anthropogenic forest" – a notion also referred to by Rival  – which is the result of centuries of aboriginal interaction within its rainforest environment, and which reflects human activity insofar as human activity modifies both the distribution of different species and the associations those species have with one another. This modification results in a configuration of the environment which is closely connected with those values the community considers central to their way of life [29,30].
Both the narratives offered by different members of the community during our interviews on the one hand, and our direct observations as they manipulate different plant resources during their search trips on the other, have provided us with significant information about the strategies used by the Mbya to domesticate the monte .
MC and MRM have made substantial contributions to conception, design, analysis and interpretation of data; they also have been involved in drafting the manuscript, revising it critically and have given final approval of the version to be published. MLP has collected and identified medicinal plants, and has participated in ethnobotanical and ethnoecological data collection and analysis. CR has made substantial contributions to acquisition of observational data, analysis and interpretation of data; and has been involved in drafting the manuscript. AS has made substantial contributions to acquisition of data, analysis and interpretation of data; and has been involved in drafting the manuscript. LT has made substantial contributions to analysis and interpretation of data and has been involved in drafting the manuscript. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.
Our special acknowledgment to the members of "Ka'aguy Poty" and "Yvy Pyta" communities, for their invaluable cooperation and warm hospitality during our stay in the field, and for their permission to publish results. We also wish to thank the Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas (CONICET) and the Universidad Nacional de La Plata for their financial support.