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Use and knowledge of forest plants among the Ribeirinhos, a traditional Amazonian population

Couly C., Sist P.. 2013. AgroForestry Systems, 87 (3) : p. 543-554.

DOI: 10.1007/s10457-012-9575-8

This study assessed the ethnobotanical use and knowledge of forest plant diversity among the Ribeirinhos, a traditional population of the Brazilian Amazon living in a protected area (Tapajo´s National Forest, West of Para´), and compared the importance of forest plants used in their daily activities with the use of cultivated plants (agrobiodiversity) from their home gardens and swidden-fallows. We used two complementary quantitative ethnobotanical methods, based on (i) daily scan observations in 14 families' homes, and (ii) ethnobotanical inventories of trees, palms and lianas ofDBH C 5 cmin 23 plots each of 0.1-ha, set up in three types of forests. Analyses of the ethnobotanical surveys in the plots showed that most forest species (120 out of the 140 inventoried, i.e. 86 %) were acknowledged to be useful by the informants (use value[0) and accounted for 91.2 % of the inventoried individuals measuring DBH C 5 cm. However, daily observations of plant gathering in homes showed that only a few forest species considered 'useful' were used daily, whilst species cultivated in gardens and swidden- fallows represented the majority of species used. The Ribeirinhos were also found to know as much about using forest plant diversity, if not more, than other traditional groups from Amazonia or from other tropical regions of South America, including the Amerindians. The article concludes with some recommendations for adapting development practices to local uses of plant diversity in this protected area. (Résumé d'auteur)

Mots-clés : forêt; forêt tropicale humide; Éthnobotanique; connaissance indigène; groupe éthnique; taxonomie; biodiversité; composition botanique; produit forestier; arbre à buts multiples; agroforesterie; brésil; amazonie

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