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Perceptions of environmental change and use of traditional knowledge to plan riparian forest restoration with relocated communities in Alcântara, Eastern Amazon.

Celentano D, Rousseau GX, Engel VL, Façanha CL, Oliveira EM, Moura EG - J Ethnobiol Ethnomed (2014)

Bottom Line: Results included descriptive statistics, frequency and Smith’s index of salience of the free-list results.Twenty-four tree species (dbh > 10 cm) were found at the reference sites.In deprived communities of the Amazon, forest restoration must be a process that combines environmental and social gains.

View Article: PubMed Central - HTML - PubMed

Affiliation: Agroecology Graduate Program, Maranhão State University (UEMA), Campus Universitário Paulo VI, s/n, Tirirical, 65,054-970 São Luís, MA, Brazil. guilirous@yahoo.ca.

ABSTRACT

Background: Riparian forests provide ecosystem services that are essential for human well-being. The Pepital River is the main water supply for Alcântara (Brazil) and its forests are disappearing. This is affecting water volume and distribution in the region. Promoting forest restoration is imperative. In deprived regions, restoration success depends on the integration of ecology, livelihoods and traditional knowledge (TEK). In this study, an interdisciplinary research framework is proposed to design riparian forest restoration strategies based on ecological data, TEK and social needs.

Methods: This study takes place in a region presenting a complex history of human relocation and land tenure. Local populations from seven villages were surveyed to document livelihood (including 'free-listing' of agricultural crops and homegarden tree species). Additionally, their perceptions toward environmental changes were explored through semi-structured interviews (n = 79). Ethnobotanical information on forest species and their uses were assessed by local-specialists (n = 19). Remnants of conserved forests were surveyed to access ecological information on tree species (three plots of 1,000 m2). Results included descriptive statistics, frequency and Smith’s index of salience of the free-list results.

Results: The local population depends primarily on slash-and-burn subsistence agriculture to meet their needs. Interviewees showed a strong empirical knowledge about the environmental problems of the river, and of their causes, consequences and potential solutions. Twenty-four tree species (dbh > 10 cm) were found at the reference sites. Tree density averaged 510 individuals per hectare (stdv = 91.6); and 12 species were considered the most abundant (density > 10ind/ha). There was a strong consensus among plant-specialists about the most important trees. The species lists from reference sites and plant-specialists presented an important convergence.

Conclusions: Slash-and-burn agriculture is the main source of livelihood but also the main driver of forest degradation. Effective restoration approaches must transform problems into solutions by empowering local people. Successional agroforestry combining annual crops and trees may be a suitable transitional phase for restoration. The model must be designed collectively and include species of ecological, cultural, and socioeconomic value. In deprived communities of the Amazon, forest restoration must be a process that combines environmental and social gains.

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Maps and aerial photography (2013) showing the approximate location of thevillages studied along the Pepital River, in Alcântara, Brazil (source:Google®).
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Figure 1: Maps and aerial photography (2013) showing the approximate location of thevillages studied along the Pepital River, in Alcântara, Brazil (source:Google®).

Mentions: The Pepital River watershed is located between latitude 2° 20′ and 2°23′ S and longitude 44° 20′ and 44° 30′ W, in themunicipality of Alcântara, Maranhão state, Brazil (Figure 1). This watershed is part of the Great Basin of the Atlantic andflows directly into the Atlantic Ocean. The study area is situated in the Amazonregion. The soil type is low fertility Ultisol; the annual average precipitation is2,000 mm with a distinct dry season from June to December and mean temperatureof 25ºC. The original vegetation, typical of Eastern Amazon forests, featureslarge trees and a well-defined understory [12]. It varies from non-flooded riparian forests (headwaters) to floodedforest and mangroves in the delta.


Perceptions of environmental change and use of traditional knowledge to plan riparian forest restoration with relocated communities in Alcântara, Eastern Amazon.

Celentano D, Rousseau GX, Engel VL, Façanha CL, Oliveira EM, Moura EG - J Ethnobiol Ethnomed (2014)

Maps and aerial photography (2013) showing the approximate location of thevillages studied along the Pepital River, in Alcântara, Brazil (source:Google®).
© Copyright Policy - open-access
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License 1 - License 2
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4120938&req=5

Figure 1: Maps and aerial photography (2013) showing the approximate location of thevillages studied along the Pepital River, in Alcântara, Brazil (source:Google®).
Mentions: The Pepital River watershed is located between latitude 2° 20′ and 2°23′ S and longitude 44° 20′ and 44° 30′ W, in themunicipality of Alcântara, Maranhão state, Brazil (Figure 1). This watershed is part of the Great Basin of the Atlantic andflows directly into the Atlantic Ocean. The study area is situated in the Amazonregion. The soil type is low fertility Ultisol; the annual average precipitation is2,000 mm with a distinct dry season from June to December and mean temperatureof 25ºC. The original vegetation, typical of Eastern Amazon forests, featureslarge trees and a well-defined understory [12]. It varies from non-flooded riparian forests (headwaters) to floodedforest and mangroves in the delta.

Bottom Line: Results included descriptive statistics, frequency and Smith’s index of salience of the free-list results.Twenty-four tree species (dbh > 10 cm) were found at the reference sites.In deprived communities of the Amazon, forest restoration must be a process that combines environmental and social gains.

View Article: PubMed Central - HTML - PubMed

Affiliation: Agroecology Graduate Program, Maranhão State University (UEMA), Campus Universitário Paulo VI, s/n, Tirirical, 65,054-970 São Luís, MA, Brazil. guilirous@yahoo.ca.

ABSTRACT

Background: Riparian forests provide ecosystem services that are essential for human well-being. The Pepital River is the main water supply for Alcântara (Brazil) and its forests are disappearing. This is affecting water volume and distribution in the region. Promoting forest restoration is imperative. In deprived regions, restoration success depends on the integration of ecology, livelihoods and traditional knowledge (TEK). In this study, an interdisciplinary research framework is proposed to design riparian forest restoration strategies based on ecological data, TEK and social needs.

Methods: This study takes place in a region presenting a complex history of human relocation and land tenure. Local populations from seven villages were surveyed to document livelihood (including 'free-listing' of agricultural crops and homegarden tree species). Additionally, their perceptions toward environmental changes were explored through semi-structured interviews (n = 79). Ethnobotanical information on forest species and their uses were assessed by local-specialists (n = 19). Remnants of conserved forests were surveyed to access ecological information on tree species (three plots of 1,000 m2). Results included descriptive statistics, frequency and Smith’s index of salience of the free-list results.

Results: The local population depends primarily on slash-and-burn subsistence agriculture to meet their needs. Interviewees showed a strong empirical knowledge about the environmental problems of the river, and of their causes, consequences and potential solutions. Twenty-four tree species (dbh > 10 cm) were found at the reference sites. Tree density averaged 510 individuals per hectare (stdv = 91.6); and 12 species were considered the most abundant (density > 10ind/ha). There was a strong consensus among plant-specialists about the most important trees. The species lists from reference sites and plant-specialists presented an important convergence.

Conclusions: Slash-and-burn agriculture is the main source of livelihood but also the main driver of forest degradation. Effective restoration approaches must transform problems into solutions by empowering local people. Successional agroforestry combining annual crops and trees may be a suitable transitional phase for restoration. The model must be designed collectively and include species of ecological, cultural, and socioeconomic value. In deprived communities of the Amazon, forest restoration must be a process that combines environmental and social gains.

Show MeSH
Related in: MedlinePlus