Volume 1 Special Issue 1 2008
Ethnobotany: Focus on Brazil
How to reference: Winter K, McClatchey W (2008) Quantifying Evolution of Cultural Interactions with Plants: Implications for Managing Diversity for Resilience in Social-Ecological Systems. In: Albuquerque UP (Ed) Ethnobotany: Focus on Brazil. Functional Ecosystems and Communities 2 (Special Issue 1), 1-10
Ulysses Paulino de Albuquerque
Universidade Federal Rural de Pernambuco, Brazil
CONTENTS AND ABSTRACTS
Kawika Winter, Will McClatchey (USA) Quantifying Evolution of Cultural Interactions with Plants: Implications for Managing Diversity for Resilience in Social-Ecological Systems (pp 1-10)
Original Research Paper: The discipline of ethnobotany has gathered an abundance of data about the diversity of ecological resource management methodologies, but has yet to do so using standard units of measure such that cross regional comparisons can be made. Both biological diversity and sociocultural diversity are important factors to manage for resilience in social-ecological systems. Sociocultural evolution has strong links to biological evolution. Quantum ethnobotany provides theory and models to measure links between biological diversity and sociocultural diversity for comparisons across regions. Links between biological and cultural diversity are dynamic relationships cycling between processes of co-evolution and co-extinction. The ability to measure links between biological and sociocultural diversity is provided by quantum ethnobotany. This will be useful for resource managers, policy makers, stakeholders and cultural practitioners to manage both biological and cultural diversity through co-extinction cycles for the purpose of maintaining or increasing resilience in social-ecological systems.
Maria Christina de Mello Amorozo (Brazil) Maintenance and Management of Agrobiodiversity in Small-scale Agriculture (pp 11-20)
Invited Mini-Review: This review addresses issues of interest for understanding small-scale agricultural systems, particularly the maintenance and management of crop diversity. Following a general presentation of theses systems, some aspects related to the structure and dynamics of intra-specific diversity are discussed with respect to: their organization in space and time; the supply and circulation of propagules and seeds; and locally-developed knowledge regarding crop varieties. Some of the impacts resulting from changes in traditional farmers’ ways of life, when they begin to experience a more profound influence of the urban-industrial society, are cited, since the maintenance of these phytogenetic resources depends on the cultural value of diversity and the importance attributed to its survival.
Gustavo Taboada Soldati, Ulysses Paulino de Albuquerque (Brazil) Non-Timber Forest Products: An Overview (pp 21-31)
Invited Mini-Review: This article will present an overview of different approaches related to the use of non-timber forest products (NTFP), focusing on the ecological and social domain of their exploitation. We also discuss the role of ethnobotany in the study of these resources.
Alyson Luiz Santos de Almeida, Patrícia Muniz de Medeiros, Taline Cristina da Silva, Marcelo Alves Ramos, Shana Sampaio Sieber, Ulysses Paulino de Albuquerque (Brazil) Does the June Tradition Impact the Use of Woody Resources from an Area of Atlantic Forest in Northeastern Brazil? (pp 32-44)
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Original Research Paper: In this work, we will approach a woody usage that is a cultural symbol: bonfires in honor of Catholic Saints (John the Baptist, Anthony and Peter). We aimed to investigate the contribution of the bonfire tradition to woody resource use in an area of the Atlantic Forest in the Três Ladeiras community, NE Brazil. We sought to verify the extent to which this tradition can impact forest resources, as well as to register the local population’s impressions about such traditions. This study was carried out in June celebrations (festas juninas) of 2007 and 2008 (except for the Saint Anthony celebration in 2007), when we performed semi-structured interviews, photographic recordings and measurements of all the community bonfires. We registered a total volume of 146.26 m³ of piled wood in the bonfires. Resource acquisition for bonfires in recent years was classified as being difficult by 90% of the respondents, mainly due to the local context of prohibition against forest resource use. These findings indicate that extraction of wood products for bonfires in the community is not concentrated in forest areas, hence one has to be cautious when inferring about the impacts resulting from this tradition.
Patrícia Muniz de Medeiros, Alyson Luiz Santos de Almeida, Marcelo Alves Ramos, Ulysses Paulino de Albuquerque (Brazil) A Variation of Checklist Interview Technique in the Study of Firewood Plants (pp 45-50)
Original Research Paper: Woody plant parts are not commonly used as stimuli in ethnobotanical studies to elicit information about wood resources. The present work describes the use of a checklist interview technique using plant part samples as visual stimuli in testing the reliability of local information concerning the identity of firewood in a rural community in northeastern Brazil. Twenty-five informants were selected and subjected to semi-structured interviews about plants they knew, used, and preferred as firewood. Subsequently, 38 samples of woody species were shown to these informants for species identification. Overall, an average of 33.89% of the species were correctly recognized, but if known, used, or preferred species were considered individually, the recognition percentages increased to 63.06%, 73.05%, and 88.67%, respectively. Checklists including branch and trunk samples can be useful tools in collecting ethnobotanical data concerning wood usage, but require the researcher to have a good knowledge of local taxonomic terms in order to avoid identification errors.
Edna Maria Ferreira Chaves, Roseli Farias Melo de Barros (Brazil) Resource Use of the Flora of the Brushwood Vegetation in Cocal County, Piauí, Brazil (pp 51-58)
Original Research Paper: Knowledge of a flora’s potentials as food, forage, wood, medicine, honey, and energy production is fundamental to the design of conservation plans and sustainable extraction activities. This study aims to identify the resources of the flora of the brushwood in Cocal county, Piauí (03° 24′ 53.9′′S 41° 40′ 03.9′′W and 03° 25′ 44.9′′S 41° 21′ 27.6′′W) and to calculate the values of specific uses. Fifty interviews with people knowledgeable about uses of the local flora were conducted. The testimony materials are kept in the Herbarium Graziela Barroso (TEPB) of the University Federal of Piauí. Among the 60 species with demonstrated ethnobotanical value, categories included medicinal use (35 species), wood (28), food (27), energy production (24), honey (23), and forage (14). The greatest values of use were for Croton blanchetianus Müll.Arg. (1.92), Mimosa caesapiniaefolia Benth. (1.70) and Rollinia leptopetala (R.E.Fr.) Staff. (1.66). The most prevalent medicinal uses were to treat problems of the digestive and respiratory systems, and particularly for inflammation of the ovaries, uterus, kidneys, liver, throat, and stomach.
Lia Mendes Cruz, Natalia Hanazaki (Brazil) The Ethnobotany of an Afro-Brazilian Community at Sertão do Valongo, Santa Catarina, Brazil (pp 59-65)
Original Research Paper: This paper aims to study the ethnobotany of a rural Afro-Brazilian group at Porto Belo (Santa Catarina State, Brazil) regarding the local plants (both native and exotic) that are recognized as a resource by this community. We also analyze how this knowledge is distributed within gender and age in this group. The community is located 12.5 miles far from the coast line, in a peripheral rural area in relation to the areas colonized by Portuguese, German, Italian and Polish immigrants. In spite of their Afrodescendant origin, they currently identify themselves as Protestants rather than Afrodescendants, since they represent one of the oldest groups of Seventh Day Adventists in Santa Catarina State. We conducted 22 interviews (44% of the target population) regarding their ethnobotany knowledge, which resulted in 132 botanical species known and used for medicine, food, construction, fodder and ornamental. The knowledge is heterogeneously distributed among gender and three generations analyzed, varying according to the use category. Native plants are poorly known when compared to exotic ones, however, plant knowledge is still important for their identity as a rural community.
Ernani Machado de Freitas Lins Neto, Marcelo Alves Ramos, Rodrigo Leonardo Costa de Oliveira, Ulysses Paulino de Albuquerque (Brazil) The Knowledge and Harvesting of Myracrodruon urundeuva Allemão by Two Rural Communities in NE Brazil (pp 66-71)
Original Research Paper: The aroeira (Myracrodruon urundeuva Allemão) is a species of high regional value, with medicinal proprieties and wood-like characteristics that make it very useful. With this in mind, the aim of this work was to evaluate the state of knowledge and the uses of M. urundeuva in two communities located close to a fragment of caatinga in the municipality of Caruaru-PE. The studies were completed in about 20 ha of caatinga where 50 semi-permanent parcels were established for analyzing local availability and measuring both the structural parameters (DSL and height) and harvesting of these plant populations. Harvesting was measured by classifying the percent of extracted bark. In parallel, ethnobotanical data collection techniques were used in the communities adjacent to caatinga (Riachão and Ameixas). The two communities had multiple uses for M. urundeuva, including medicinal uses (53.2% of the citations in Riachão, 64.9% in Ameixas) and construction (31.5% in Riachão, 29.7% in Ameixas). The 27 sampled plants had an average height of 6.70 m and an average diameter of 11.80 cm. Forty-nine aroeira were found whole, from which 65.3% had no signs of harvesting. Of the other 34.7%, the great majority (58.8%) had up to 10% of the bark extracted. Thus, it can be concluded that M. urundeuva is a species with a variety of uses that does not suffer much impact from bark harvesting in the region.
Lúcia Gomes Pereira dos Santos, Roseli Farias Melo de Barros, José Luís Lopes Araújo, Fábio José Vieira (Brazil) Diversity of Useful Plant Resources in the City of Monsenhor Gil, Piauí State, Brazil (pp 72-80)
Original Research Paper: The state of Piauí, northeastern Brazil, has 8349.759 hectares of Cerrado dominant area and 3507.107 hectares in transition area. The objectives were to know the botanical species traditionally used by the locals of Monsenhor Gil (PI). The botanical collecting was accomplished from February 2006 to May 2007, and the testimonials are part of the collection of Herbarium Graziela Barroso (TEPB/UFPI). Semi-structured interviews were applied to the locals, 21 interviewees who were over 45 years old and living in the city for over 15 years, chosen by community leaders as encyclopedic experts. The interviews were based on standard forms, on which were the general data of the interviewees, as well as information related to the studied native plants, which were classified into the use categories medicinal, fodder, mellifluous, lumbering, alimentary, ornamental and energy producer. Quantitative data were compiled with the calculation of the species’ Use Value, from the formula VU= ∑U/ n. 112 useful botanical species were sampled of herbaceous and shrub-arboreal habit, distributed into 83 genera and 42 families, with Leguminosae being the best represented, twenty species, followed by Poaceae (10), Myrtaceae and Cyperaceae (8) families. The usecategory with the largest number of indications was fodder, with 76 species, followed by the mellifluous uses (55). The calculation of the Use Value for each species revealed that Mimosa caesalpiniifolia Benth. (unha-de-gato) (3.80), Caryocar coriaceum Wittim. (pequi) (3.38), Mimosa acutistipula Benth. (jurema, unha-de-gato-preta) (3.23) and Tabebuia serratifolia (Vahl.) G. Nicholson. (pau-d’arco-amarelo) (3.10) were the species found to have the largest values.
Fábio José Vieira, Lúcia Gomes Pereira dos Santos, José Luis Lopes Araújo, Roseli Farias Melo de Barros (Brazil) Quilombola of Macacos Community, São Miguel do Tapuio City, Piauí State: History, Use and Conservation of Plant Resources (pp 81-87)
Original Research Paper: The Quilombola dos Macacos [African descendents] community is located 26 km Southbound from the city hall of São Miguel do Tapuio city – Piauí state, in a vegetation transitional area, predominantly of caatinga. The study aimed at surveying the history, use and modes of conservation of plant resources by the community. Botanical collection and semi-structured interviews were carried out, for an ethnobotanical, socioeconomic and cultural survey. The population of 106 inhabitants lives on subsistence farming, small breeding of domestic animals and wild animal extrativism, occupying an area of 2000 hectares approximately. The agricultural system adopted is the traditional cut-and-burn, using the area for three or four years following a period of fallow not less than six years. The homegardens have a great cultural importance, approaching the family and neighbor bonds and being used as well for vegetable production, complementing nourishment. They use a peculiar language of rural regions and they incorporate rhymes, called “décimas”. The main cultural manifestation is expressed by the reisado (typical dance followed by traditional songs) and the superstitions and popular beliefs are marked by the Aziague day (Unlucky day). Among the modes of use of the vegetal resources, the categories medicinal (74 species), fodder (62), edible (58), mellifluous (47), and woody (45), are manifest. The environment awareness is verified, especially in the use of species considered to be a good lumbering and medicinal resource, since these deserve special attention, for they have their extraction limited, aiming at their maintenance and conservation. A real possibility of loss of knowledge was observed in the community, mainly because younger generations demonstrate a lack of interest in keeping this knowledge alive, by seizing upon new cultures.
Elba L. C. Amorim, João E. Nascimento, Júlio M. Monteiro, Tadeu J. S. Peixoto Sobrinho, Thiago A. S. Araújo, Ulysses P. Albuquerque (Brazil) A Simple and Accurate Procedure for the Determination of Tannin and Flavonoid Levels and Some Applications in Ethnobotany and Ethnopharmacology (pp 88-94)
Invited Mini-Review: In this work, we present protocols for the determination of tannin and flavonoid levels in plant extracts and their application in ethnobotanical and ethnopharmacological studies, developed from the investigations of our research group. In addition, we test the application of these protocols to provide analysts with an understanding of the variables that might affect the quality of their results, from literature data and from our researches, for example, the effect of temperature and solvent in the flavonoid content in Bauhinia cheilantha. We also discuss the necessity of validating of these methods in order to obtain robust and reproducible results. We exemplify this with the procedure for flavonoid validation for the cited species.