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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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Degradation of riparian forest in the Pepital River watershed inAlcântara, Brazil: a) Intact Forest (photography by D. Celentano), b) Logged tree (Alexandra da Piedade), c) Charcoal production (Ananda Asevedo; and d) Area recently burned for agriculture (Liliane Ribeiro).
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Figure 5: Degradation of riparian forest in the Pepital River watershed inAlcântara, Brazil: a) Intact Forest (photography by D. Celentano), b) Logged tree (Alexandra da Piedade), c) Charcoal production (Ananda Asevedo; and d) Area recently burned for agriculture (Liliane Ribeiro).

Mentions: A field trip led by two local specialists along the entire Pepital River allowedthree plots of 0.1 ha to be set up in the most conserved areas. This expeditionrevealed more areas of conserved forest areas than expected. Indeed, the mostdegraded areas are those close to the main headwaters (the first 6 km of theriver) and community settlements as shown in a recent satellite image (see bottom ofFigure 1). These areas are certainly the priority sitesfor restoration. The illegal practices mentioned by the interviewees (logging,recently burned areas, agricultural fields, and charcoal production) were evidencedin the field several times (Figure 5).


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)

Degradation of riparian forest in the Pepital River watershed inAlcântara, Brazil: a) Intact Forest (photography by D. Celentano), b) Logged tree (Alexandra da Piedade), c) Charcoal production (Ananda Asevedo; and d) Area recently burned for agriculture (Liliane Ribeiro).
© Copyright Policy - open-access
Related In: Results  -  Collection

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

Figure 5: Degradation of riparian forest in the Pepital River watershed inAlcântara, Brazil: a) Intact Forest (photography by D. Celentano), b) Logged tree (Alexandra da Piedade), c) Charcoal production (Ananda Asevedo; and d) Area recently burned for agriculture (Liliane Ribeiro).
Mentions: A field trip led by two local specialists along the entire Pepital River allowedthree plots of 0.1 ha to be set up in the most conserved areas. This expeditionrevealed more areas of conserved forest areas than expected. Indeed, the mostdegraded areas are those close to the main headwaters (the first 6 km of theriver) and community settlements as shown in a recent satellite image (see bottom ofFigure 1). These areas are certainly the priority sitesfor restoration. The illegal practices mentioned by the interviewees (logging,recently burned areas, agricultural fields, and charcoal production) were evidencedin the field several times (Figure 5).

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