ABSTRACT Among the recently discussed evolutionary issues on medical systems, one of the most controversial issues is the replacement of local medical systems with the biomedical system. Our study investigates the hybridization of two medical systems and the role that the perception of incidence and severity of diseases has in memorization and transmission of information about their treatments. We collected data from a rural population in Brazil during two different periods separated by eight years and compared the periods for changes according to the knowledge on treatments with drugs in the biomedical system and according to the incidence and severity of the diseases. We found 147 medicinal plants belonging to 58 botanical families. Our results show that biomedical and local systems complement each other and change over time for the cure of recurrent, instead of the most severe, events. We suggest that based on cultural biases, biomedical and local knowledge can coexist by complementing each other with regards to the range of resources used for healthcare, and that disease perception can guide the evolutionary path of medical systems. Our findings can help elucidate new biases that guide the evolution of medical systems and reinforce important issues in the healthcare literature.
ABSTRACT The cultural importance of medicinal plants has been measured in terms of popularity (number of people who know a plant) and versatility (number of therapeutic indications mentioned for a plant). Previous works have provided evidence about some drivers of medicinal plant importance, such as attributes of availability, efficiency, palatability and taste. The present study tested whether local perception of efficiency, availability (ease of acquisition), palatability (degree of pleasantness), and taste influence the popularity and versatility of medicinal plants in two rural communities of Buíque, Brazil. Free-listing was applied to identify the medicinal plants known/utilized in the communities, while semi-structured interviews were performed to collect more information about the plants. Informants participated in exercises to score the plant-parts that they knew and used. Statistical analysis was performed through multiple linear regressions, with none of the models retaining all variables as explanatory for popularity and versatility. However, availability and efficiency jointly explained versatility in one of the communities, while palatability was inversely related to versatility and popularity in the other. This study demonstrated that the studied individuals select plants differently, which makes exposing the driving forces of such differences a challenge.
ABSTRACT Plants have been reported as used by local populations to treat various infections for a long time, which has directed several pharmacological studies. The main aim of this work was to evaluate three plant selection criteria with better predictive power to detect extracts with antifungal action: (1) medicinal plants that are not used for indications of infection and inflammation; (2) plants with direct citations for inflammation, except for infection; (3) plants with direct citations for inflammation and infection selected quantitatively by Syndromic Importance Value (SIV). We tested the action of 23 hydroethanolic extracts of plants against the fungi Candida albicans, Cryptococcus neoformans, and Cryptococcus gattii and found no differences in the number of active extracts among the different strategies used, but activity quality varied. The extract of Anacardium occidentale presented fungicidal activity against the three analyzed fungi. At least five species - A. occidentale, Myracrodruon urundeuva, Poincianella pyramidalis, Anadenanthera colubrina var. cebil, and Mimosa oftalmocentra - presented fungistatic and fungicidal effects against all strains. Our findings indicate that selecting plants based on popular indications and quantitative prioritization techniques increases the chance of detecting potential antifungal candidates, and that the plants selected by these criteria were more effective against C. neoformans.
ABSTRACT The similarity in traditional knowledge of medicinal plants was evaluated to draw inferences about the most important models for local knowledge transmission. The following questions were addressed: (1) Do related individuals possess greater similarity in knowledge of medicinal plants than unrelated individuals? (2) Do related individuals of the same generation possess greater similarity in knowledge than do related individuals of different generations? Semi-structured interviews were conducted on the medicinal plants known by the residents of a rural community in western Bahia. Mann-Whitney tests were used to compare Jaccard similarity values between related and unrelated individuals and between relatives of the same generation and relatives of different generations. Related individuals were found to have more similar knowledge than unrelated individuals, and relatives of the same generation were found to have more similar knowledge than relatives of different generations. These findings suggest that there are factors that favor cultural transmission between relatives of the same generation other than just vertical transmission.
ABSTRACT Free listing is a data collection technique used in different subject areas to characterize a given cultural domain. Analysis of a set of lists from a human population allows inferences to be made about the cultural salience of the items in that domain. However, the challenge that the salience index presents is establishing a threshold value for determining whether an item can be considered salient or not. The present analysis reveals how to determine which items of a list have non-randomly determined citation frequency and order. Monte Carlo techniques were used to create a hypothetical null scenario. The present analysis not only objectively identifies which items stand out in relation to the others, it also reveals which items can be considered idiosyncratic and how order and frequency independently influence the salience index. The present analysis represents a useful tool for analyzing data collected through free listing. It also can contribute to understanding processes related to the cultural relevance of items and to the test future hypotheses in different areas of knowledge.
ABSTRACT Restrictions to the collection of timber resources in protected areas have been scarcely studied. The aim of this study was to describe the practices of firewood collection in a protected forest and the perceptions of collectors, particularly with regard to their adjustment to the rules of the local management plan. The study involved 102 participants of a rural community adjacent to the Araripe National Forest and employed semi-structured interviews, free-listing and in-situ survey techniques for ethnobiological data collection. The volume of wood stored was measured and monitored using a modification of the weight survey technique. The residents used 69 plant species for firewood Most of the informants self-reported disagreement with the rules of the management plan, yet they tended to comply. Most interviewees felt that the rules of the management plan needed to be changed, especially those related to the day when firewood can be collected, fees charged and means of transportation. Management plans certainly represent a relevant strategy for the conservation of biodiversity, but they need continuous evaluation and adjustment to meet the needs of local human populations.
ABSTRACT We employed a biocultural approach to understanding the dynamics of knowledge ans use of natural resources associated in immaterial aspects of culture. We investigated whether factors such as sex, income, age, religion, occupation and time of participation in cultural practice influence the richness of species known and used by members of Cavalo Marinho, expression of the popular culture of the Brazilian Northeast that brings together theater, music and dance. We recorded a total of 111 ethnospecies (95 plants and 16 animals), based on information obtained from 56 informants. .There was a predominance of native plants and domestic animals in the knowledge of the participants in this cultural expression, although effective use is restricted to few species. Men had greater knowledge of the species than women, while people with greater schooling and income, and those whose occupation is related to agriculture, homecare and art, used more resources than other participant. The influence of socioeconomic factors on the knowledge and use of natural resources related to intangible aspects of culture differs, in some respects (schooling, gender and occupation), from that reported for the use of natural resources for subsistence purposes.
ABSTRACT Market integration can affect the manner in which individuals learn about and use natural resources. The present study explores the influence of market integration on the traditional ecological knowledge (TEK) and use of natural resources in handicraft production among the Fulni-ô indigenous people of Northeast Brazil. We collect data from 67 artisans about their traditional and non-traditional handicrafts, which are mainly produced for external trade demand (our proxy for market integration). Data regarding the distribution of knowledge among different segments of the population, according to socioeconomic variables, and the comparison of plant biomass used for traditional and non-traditional handicrafts, reveals that integration does not affect the distribution of TEK but leads to a higher consumption of native plant resources, which can negatively affect the populations of the species used. The present findings indicate a future scenario of the replacement of TEK with knowledge that yields higher economic returns. The most experienced artisans have greater traditional ecological knowledge of traditional handicrafts and can play a fundamental role in maintaining traditional knowledge in the context of market integration. Finally, temporal evaluation studies in particular are needed to better understand changes in knowledge derived from market integration.
ABSTRACT For at least 30 years researchers have called for a deeper reflection on the paths we desire for ethnobotanical research. Although the discipline of ethnobotany is growing, as measured by the number of publications in the area, there is still work to be done regarding the homogeneity of theoretical and methodological approaches and the implications of ethnobotanical research findings for society as a whole. In this article we present 10 questions/issues that we believe can guide the research and actions of ethnobotanists for the coming years.
ABSTRACT The aim of this work was to determine whether socioeconomic factors explain the importance of culturally salient plants to social-ecological systems. Extractive communities of the Araripe-Apodi Environmental Protection Area in Northeast Brazil were studied, and a random sample of the population was selected. Quantitative variables (education, age and income) were analyzed using Spearman correlations, while categorical variables (gender and occupation) were analyzed using Mann-Whitney tests. Relationships between socioeconomic factors and the importance of culturally salient plants were all weak. Nevertheless, age influenced the local importance of the largest number of species. Other factors not considered in this study (historical, cultural, ecological, and psychological) may be outstanding predictors of the importance of culturally salient plants and should be studied in future investigations.
ABSTRACT This study aimed to evaluate knowledge about and the usage and importance of aquatic vascular plants (AVPs) in the production of handicrafts by communities on the north coast of the state of Rio Grande do Sul in southern Brazil. The snowball technique was employed to locate people who use and have knowledge regarding the use of AVPs for handicrafts. Data were collected through semi-structured interviews and guided tours with 35 interviewees who were involved in artisanal activity at the time of the study. The data were analyzed using the importance value (IV) index and the consensus value for the forms of use (CMU). The Spearman correlation test (rs) was employed to determine the correlations of each social variable with the knowledge variables, and Mann-Whitney U tests to verify whether men and women exhibited differences in knowledge. The interviewees cited 16 AVPs that were employed in 17 types of handicrafts, among which the four main species were Schoenoplectus californicus, Typha domingensis, T. latifolia and Androtrichum giganteum. Interviewee age, residence time on site and time working with handicrafts were the main social parameters that described the level of knowledge and use of AVPs. These AVPs reflect cultural knowledge and complement family incomes.
ABSTRACT We studied the population structure and fruit availability of the babassu palm, Attalea speciosa, in three human-dominated landscapes located near a rural community in the region of Araripe, in the Northeast Region of Brazil, that were under intense fruit harvest. Fifty 10 x 10 m plots were randomly established in each of the three landscapes, and all individuals of A. speciosa within the plots were classified as seedlings, juveniles or adults, with the height of all adult individuals being measured. An additional 20 individuals were marked in each landscape, and the number of total bunches, fruits per bunch and bunches per palm tree were recorded. The populations of A. speciosa in the three landscapes exhibited an inverted J-shape plot, but pasture and shifting cultivation possessed a significantly higher number of individuals, seedlings and adults than the seasonal semideciduous forest, plus they possessed a greater seedling/adult ratio. Shifting cultivation was found to be favorable for fructification. The present study found that shifting cultivation and pastures are landscape practices that can contribute to the rapid expansion and establishment of A. speciosa, which can become a dominant species in the region of Araripe.
ABSTRACT We investigated, through a temporal comparison, the extraction of non-timber forest resources by quantitatively analyzing the Conservation Priority Index (CPI). The study focused on the Fulni-ô Indigenous Territory, in the municipality of Águas Belas, PE (Northeast Brazil), which is characterized by caatinga vegetation (seasonal dry forest). Information on the availability of the exploited resources and the reported use of the species were obtained from vegetation sampling and semi-structured interviews, respectively. Our results demonstrated a reduction in species richness overtime, which may be due to continued resource extraction in the area, and that some species with low densities were even more affected. The species reported as being at high risk in the current study apparently did not differ from their status in the previous study, which supports the idea that these species are most evident in this situation more for their high potential of use than for their high densities. When we associate these events together with the disappearance of some rare species, we can conclude that the CPI was not efficient in predicting changes, and that the combination of variables used with the biological variables of the species needs to be adjusted.
ABSTRACT The increasing loss of local ecological knowledge may have negative impacts on the resilience of socio-ecological systems and may also negatively impact bioprospecting efforts, since local ecological knowledge is an important source of information for searching new drugs. Recent studies try to evaluate whether communities are experiencing loss of local ecological knowledge. However, some of them make conclusions which are erroneously based on specific analyses of a single indicator. We propose an integrative analysis of three indicators, namely: number of plants cited by young people and elders, therapeutic choices and people's connectance in terms of medicinal plant learning. The study was carried out in the community of Sucruiuzinho (Bahia, Brazil). We conducted semistructured interviews and a therapeutic recall with 24 local dwellers. We did not find evidence of local ecological knowledge loss in the studied community. Although younger people know fewer plants, they are well connected in terms of knowledge transmission. Moreover, in illness events, young people and adults have similar proportions of choice for plants when compared to allopathy. Concomitant use of the three indicators leads to a more realistic scenario of local ecological knowledge loss than the use of only one of them.
ResumenEl proceso de dispersión de semillas es una etapa crucial en la regeneración de las plantas y el mantenimiento de la diversidad biológica de los bosques. Mientras que el número de semillas removidas es cuantitativo, la distancia a la que se elimina una semilla desde su origen es cualitativa, porque afecta la probabilidad de que una semilla germine y sea reclutada para la próxima etapa del ciclo de vida. Sin embargo, la creación de márgenes de los bosques puede afectar negativamente el proceso de dispersión, especialmente para especies de plantas con diásporas grandes. En este estudio, analizamos la remoción diásporas y la distancia de dispersión de C. coriaceum, un árbol de diásporas grandes que está en peligro de extinción. El estudio se llevó a cabo durante dos años consecutivos en un bosque protegido en el Noreste de Brasil. Cada año, un total de 1 200 diásporas fueron igualmente distribuidas, con un hilo de nylon y una cinta amarilla de satén, en 120 estaciones experimentales establecidas en el margen y en el interior del bosque. En el primer año del estudio, no se encontraron diferencias en la remocíon de las diásporas y la distancia de dispersión entre los ambientes estudiados. Sin embargo, en el segundo año el número de diásporas retiradas difería significativamente, pero la distancia de dispersión no fue diferente entre el margen de bosques y el interior. El bajo porcentaje de remoción encontrado sugiere que el reclutamiento de especies puede estar comprometido, ya que la acumulación de diásporas próximas unas de otras es propicio para un mayor ataque de hongos e insectos. Además, la mayoría de las pocas diásporas removidas fueron encontradas a pequeñas distancias de su origen (hasta 5 m), lo que puede generar una baja variabilidad genética. Prácticamente ninguna diáspora fue encontrada enterrada por los roedores recolectores y ninguna estaba depredada por estos animales. La evidencia encontrada en este estudio indica la pérdida local de dispersores de las especies, lo que puede poner en peligro el mantenimiento de la diversidad biológica de los bosques.
Abstract:The seed dispersal process is a crucial stage in plant regeneration and maintenance of forest biological diversity. While the number of removed seeds is quantitative, the distance to which a seed is removed from its origin is qualitative, because it affects the probability that a seed will germinate and recruit to the next life stage. However, the creation of forest margins can negatively affect the seed dispersal process, especially for largediaspore plant species. In this study, the diaspore removal and dispersal distance of Caryocar coriaceum, a tree with large diaspores that is in danger of extinction, were analyzed. The study was conducted for two consecutive years in a protected forest in Northeastern Brazil. Each year, 1 200 diaspores with a nylon wire and a satin tape yellow were used and equally distributed in 120 experimental stations established on the forest margin and in the interior. During the first year of the study, no differences in diaspore removal and dispersal distance were found among the investigated environments. However, for the second year of the study, the number of removed diaspores differed significantly; nevertheless, the dispersal distance was not different between the forest margin and the interior. The low diaspore removal percentages suggest that species recruitment may be compromised because the diaspore accumulation close to the relatives enables higher fungi and insect attack. In addition, most of the few removed diaspores were found at short distances from their sources (up to 5 m), which can lead to low genetic variability. Virtually no diaspore was found buried by hoarding rodents, and no diaspore was found preyed upon by these animals. Evidence found in this study suggests the local loss of species dispersers, which can compromise the maintenance of forest biological diversity. Rev. Biol. Trop. 64 (3): 1117-1127. Epub 2016 September 01.