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

Couly, C. and Sist, P. (2013) Use and knowledge of forest plants among the Ribeirinhos, a traditional Amazonian population. Agroforestry Systems, 87 (3). pp. 543-554.

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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 (Tapajós National Forest, West of Pará), 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 of DBH ≥ 5 cm in 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 ≥ 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.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Amazon forest, Traditional ecological knowledge (TEK), Ethnobotany, Forest plant diversity, Agrobiodiversity, Ribeirinhos
Author Affiliation: Laboratoire d’Ethnobiologie, Département Hommes, Natures et Sociétés, Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle, UMR 208 ‘Patrimoines Locaux’ IRD-MNHN, 45 rue Cuvier CP 26, 75231, Paris Cedex 5, France
Subjects: Environmental Science > Ecology
Environmental Science > Natural Resources
Divisions: General
Depositing User: Mr Balakrishna Garadasu
Date Deposited: 14 May 2013 05:18
Last Modified: 14 May 2013 05:18
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