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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.

Show MeSH
Proposed restoration approaches for the Pepital River in Alcântara,Brazil (n = 58).
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Figure 6: Proposed restoration approaches for the Pepital River in Alcântara,Brazil (n = 58).

Mentions: When asked about forest restoration, more than half (58%) of the interviewees hadnever heard about it whereas the others had very little understanding. Just afterthis question, restoration was described through language easy to understand by themand respondents were almost unanimous on the need to restore the Pepital Riverriparian forest. When asked how it could be done, 74% of them replied(Figure 6) and the majority of respondents (56%)suggested planting trees. Furthermore, almost half of the interviewees (47%) claimthat it is necessary to stop deforestation and preserve the remnant forest fromslash-and-burn and other underlying causes of degradation. Indeed, restoration is apalliative solution where degradation of conserved forests still occurs [38]. Conserving the remaining standing forests is a priority in the Pepitalwatershed. First, there is a need to increase the environmental awareness within thelocal population and to augment the control over these areas by government, as 19%and 9%, respectively, of respondents suggested.


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)

Proposed restoration approaches for the Pepital River in Alcântara,Brazil (n = 58).
© Copyright Policy - open-access
Related In: Results  -  Collection

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

Figure 6: Proposed restoration approaches for the Pepital River in Alcântara,Brazil (n = 58).
Mentions: When asked about forest restoration, more than half (58%) of the interviewees hadnever heard about it whereas the others had very little understanding. Just afterthis question, restoration was described through language easy to understand by themand respondents were almost unanimous on the need to restore the Pepital Riverriparian forest. When asked how it could be done, 74% of them replied(Figure 6) and the majority of respondents (56%)suggested planting trees. Furthermore, almost half of the interviewees (47%) claimthat it is necessary to stop deforestation and preserve the remnant forest fromslash-and-burn and other underlying causes of degradation. Indeed, restoration is apalliative solution where degradation of conserved forests still occurs [38]. Conserving the remaining standing forests is a priority in the Pepitalwatershed. First, there is a need to increase the environmental awareness within thelocal population and to augment the control over these areas by government, as 19%and 9%, respectively, of respondents suggested.

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