Advertisement

Economic Botany

, 50:280 | Cite as

Use of ecological methods in ethnobotany: Diversity indices

  • Alpina Begossi
Article

Abstract

The application of ecological concepts to ethnobotanical studies, in particular of diversity, is analyzed. Diversity indices are important tools that may help in understanding human-environment interactions. Those indices allow comparisons on the use of plants by different populations in different environments. A review on recent major ethnobotanical journals was carried out, and 10 studies (7 from Latin America, 2 from Asia and 1 from Europe) were selected based on available data to calculate diversity indices. The Shannon-Wiener indices and rarefaction curves were obtained. High diversity on plant uses were found for studies carried out at Peru, Mexico, Brazil and Thailand. A low diversity was found for Tonga, and island biogeography theory is used to discuss these results. Sampling effort is evaluated through rarefaction curves. The estimation of the diversity of resources used by native populations may be useful when planning conservation areas and their management.

Key Words

biodiversity diversity indices ethnobotany island biogeography 

O Uso de Métodos Ecológicos em Etnobotânica:Índices de Diversidade

Résumé

A aplicação de conceitos de ecologia em estudos etnobotânicos, em particular diversidade, é analisada. Os índices de diversidade são ferramentas importantes que nos ajudam a entender as interações humanas com o ambiente. Esses indices permitem comparar o uso de plantas por populações diferentes em ambientes diferentes. Foi realizada uma revisão nos principals periódicos recentes de etnobotânica e foram selecionados 10 estudos (7 da America Latina, 2 da Ásia e l da Europa), com base na disponibilidade de dados, para o cálculo dos indices de diversidade. Indices de Shannon-Wiener e curvas de rarefação foram obtidas. Foi encontrada uma alta diversidade de uso de plantas para Peru, México, Brazil e Tailândia. Uma baixa diversidade foi encontrada em Tonga, e a biogeografia de ilhas é usada para discutir os resultados. O esforço de amostragem é avaliado com base nos curvas de rarefação. A estimativa da diversidade dos recursos usados por populações nativas pode ser util no planejamento de áreas de conservação e em seu manejo.

Literature cited

  1. Amorozo, M. C. de Mello, and A. Gély. 1988. Uso de plantas medicinais por caboclos do Baixo Amazonas, Barcarena, Para, Brazil. Boletim do Museu Paraense Emilio Goeldi, Série Botanica 4:47–130.Google Scholar
  2. Anderson, E. F. 1986. Ethnobotany of Hill tribes of northern Thailand. II. Lahu medicinal plants. Economic Botany 40:442–540.Google Scholar
  3. Ashton, P. S. 1992. Species richness in plant communities. Pages 4–22in P. L. Fielder and S. K. Janin, eds., Conservation biology. Routledge, Chapman and Hall, Inc., New York.Google Scholar
  4. Balée, W. 1989. The culture of Amazonian forests. Advances in Economic Botany 7:1–21.Google Scholar
  5. Barrett, B. 1994. Medicinal plants of Nicaragua’s Atlantic coast. Economic Botany 48:8–20.Google Scholar
  6. Begon, M., J. L. Harper, and C. R. Townsend. 1990. Ecology, individuals, populations and communities. Blackwell Scientific Publ., Boston.Google Scholar
  7. Begossi, A. 1992. The use of optimal foraging in the understanding of fishing strategies: a case from Sepetiba Bay (Rio de Janeiro State, Brazil). Human Ecology 20:461–475.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. ---. 1995. Cultural and ecological resilience among caiçaras of the Atlantic Forest coast and caboclos of the Amazon (Brazil). Presented at the Fifth Annual Common Property Conference, May 24–28, Bodo, Norway, Chapter 2 in forthcoming book: Linking ecological and social systems for resilience, C. Folke and F. Berkes, eds. Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  9. ---. n. d. The application of ecological theory to human behavior: niche, diversity and optimal foraging. Proceedings of the Seventh International Meeting of the Society of Human Ecology. Society for Human Ecology, East Lansing, MI.Google Scholar
  10. —,and P. J. Richerson. 1992. The animal diet of families from Búzios Island (Brazil): an optimal foraging approach. Journal of Human Ecology 3: 433–458.Google Scholar
  11. —,and —. 1993. Biodiversity, family income and ecological niche: a study on the consumption of animal foods on Búzios Island (Brazil). Ecology of Food and Nutrition 30:51–61.Google Scholar
  12. —,H. F. Leitão-Filho, and P. J. Richerson. 1993. Plant uses in a Brazilian fishing community (Búzios Island). Journal of Ethnobiology 13:233–256.Google Scholar
  13. Benz, B. E., F. M. Santana, R. L. Pineda, J. E. Cevallos, L. H. Robles, andD. L. Niz. 1994. Characterization of mestizo plant use in the Sierra de Manantlan, Jalisco-Colima, Mexico. Journal of Ethnobiology 14:23–41.Google Scholar
  14. Berkes, F., and C. Folke. 1992. Linking social and ecological systems for resilience and sustainability. Beijer Discussion Papers 52. The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, Stockholm.Google Scholar
  15. Bonet, M. A., C. Blanche, and J. V. Xirau. 1992. Ethnobotanical study in River Tenes valley (Catalonia, Iberian Peninsula). Journal of Ethnopharmacology 37:205–212.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Boom, B. M. 1990. Useful plants of the Panare Indians of the Venezuelan Guayana. Advances in Economic Botany 8:57–76.Google Scholar
  17. Brower, J. E. and J. H. Zar. 1977. Field and laboratory methods for general ecology. Wm. C. Brown, Dubuque, Iowa.Google Scholar
  18. Carneiro, R. L. 1978. The knowledge and use of rain forest trees by the Kuikuru Indians of Central Brazil. Pages 201–216in R. I. Ford, ed., The nature and status of ethnobotany, Anthropological Papers no. 67. University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.Google Scholar
  19. Dennis, P. A. 1988. Herbal medicine among the Miskito of Eastern Nicaragua. Economic Botany 42: 16–28.Google Scholar
  20. Etkin, N. L. 1993. Anthropological methods in ethnopharmacology. Journal of Ethnopharmacology 38:93–104.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Fearnside, P. M. 1986. Human carrying capacity of the Brazilian rainforest. Columbia U. Press, New York.Google Scholar
  22. Figueiredo, G. M., H. F. Leitão-Filho, and A. Begossi. 1993. Ethnobotany of Atlantic Forest coastal communities: diversity of plant uses in Gamboa (Itacuruçá Island, Brazil). Human Ecology 21:420–430.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Girón, L. M., V. Freire, A. Alonzo, and A. Cáceres. 1991. Ethnobotanical survey of the medicinal flora used by the Caribs of Guatemala. Journal of Ethnopharmacology 34:173–187.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Glover, P. E., F. C. Magogo, and A. B. H. Mzee. 1969. A list of Digo plant names with their botanical equivalents. Kenya National Parks, Nairobi.Google Scholar
  25. Hames, R. B., and W. T. Vickers. 1982. Optimal diet breadth theory as a model to explain variability in Amazonian hunting. American Ethnologist 9: 358–379.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Hardesty, D. L. 1975. The niche concept: suggestions for its use in human ecology. Human Ecology 3:71–85.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Hawkes, K., H. Kaplan, K. Hill, and A. M. Hurtado. 1987. Aché at the settlement: contrasts between farming and foraging. Human Ecology 15:133–162.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Hill, K. 1988. Macronutrient modifications of optimall foraging theory: an approach using indifference curves applied to some modern foragers. Human Ecology 16:157–197.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Huston, M. A. 1994. Biological diversity. Cambridge U. Press, Cambridge, UK.Google Scholar
  30. Johns, T., J. O. Kokwaro, and E. K. Kimanani. 1990. Herbal remedies of the Luo of Siaya District, Kenya: establishing quantitative criteria for consensus. Economic Botany 44:369–381.Google Scholar
  31. Kainer, K. A., and M. L. Duryea. 1992. Tapping women’s knowledge: plant resource use in extractive reserves, Acre, Brazil. Economic Botany 46: 408–425.Google Scholar
  32. Krebs, C. J. 1989. Ecological methodology. Harper and Row Pub., New York.Google Scholar
  33. Latham, R. E. and R. E. Ricklefs. 1993. Pages 294–314in R. E. Ricklefs and D. Schluter, eds., Species diversity in ecological communities, historical and geographical perspectives. The University of Chicago Press, Chicago.Google Scholar
  34. MacArthur, R. H., and E. O. Wilson. 1967. The theory of island biogeography. Princeton U. Press, Princeton.Google Scholar
  35. Magurran, A. 1988. Ecological diversity and its measurement. Princeton University Press, Princeton.Google Scholar
  36. May, R. M. 1975. Patterns of species abundance and diversity. Pages 81–120 in M. L. Cody and J. M. Diamond (eds.), Ecology and evolution of communities. The Belknap Press of Harvard U. Press, Cambridge.Google Scholar
  37. Moerman, D. E. 1991. The medicinal flora of native North America: an analysis. Journal of Ethnopharmacology 31:1–42.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Mueller-Schaerer, H., T. M. Lewinsohn, and J. H. Lawton. 1991. Searching for weed biocontrol agents—when to move on? Biocontrol Science and Technology 1:271–280.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Pake, C. V. 1987. Medicinal ethnobotany of Hmong refugees in Thailand. Journal of Ethnobiology 7: 13–26.Google Scholar
  40. Peet, R. K. 1974. Measurement of species diversity. Annual Review of Ecology and Systematics 5:285–307.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Phillips, O., and A. H. Gentry. 1993a. The useful plants of Tambopata, Peru: I. Statistical hypothesis tests with a new quantitative technique. Economic Botany 47:15–32.Google Scholar
  42. —,and —. 1993b. The useful plants of Tambopata, Peru: II. Additional hypothesis testing in quantitative ethnobotany. Economic Botany 47: 33–43.Google Scholar
  43. —, —,C. Reynel, P. Wilkin, and C. B. Gálvez-Durand. 1994. Quantitative ethnobotany and Amazonian conservation. Conservation Biology 8:225–248.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Pielou, E. C. 1975. Ecological diversity. John Wiley and Sons, New York.Google Scholar
  45. Prance, G. T., W. Balée, B. M. Boom, and R. L. Carneiro. 1987. Quantitative ethnobotany and the case for conservation in Amazonia. Conservation Biology 1:296–310.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Ricklefs, R. E. 1990. Ecology. W. H. Freeman and Company, New York.Google Scholar
  47. Rosenzweig, M. L. 1995. Species diversity in space and time. Cambridge U. Press, Cambridge.Google Scholar
  48. Sanders, H. L. 1969. Benthic marine diversity and stability-time hypothesis. Pages 71–81in G. M. oodwell and H. H. Smith, eds., Diversity and stability in ecological systems. Brookhaven Symposia in Biology no. 22. U.S. Department of Commerce, Springfield.Google Scholar
  49. Schluter, D. and R. E. Ricklefs. 1993. Species diversity. Pages 1–10in R. E. Ricklefs and D. Schluter, eds., Species diversity in ecological communities, historical and geographical perspectives. The University of Chicago Press, Chicago.Google Scholar
  50. Simberloff, D. 1979. Rarefaction as a distributionfree method of expressing and estimating diversity. Pages 159–176in J. F. Grassle, G. P. Patil, W. Smith, and C. Taillie, eds., Ecological diversity in theory and practice. International Co. Pub. House, Fairland.Google Scholar
  51. Whistler, W. A. 1991. Herbal medicine in the kingdom of Tonga. Journal of Ethnopharmacology 31: 339–372.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Whittaker, R. L. 1975. Communities and ecosystems. Macmillan Pub. Co., Inc., New York.Google Scholar
  53. Wing, E. S., and S. R. Wing. 1995. Prehistoric ceramic age adaptation to varying diversity of animal resources along the West Indian Archipelago. Journal of Ethnobiology 15(1):119–148.Google Scholar
  54. Zar, J. H. 1984. Biostatistical analysis. Prentice-Hall, Inc., Englewood Cliffs.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The New York Botanical Garden 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alpina Begossi
    • 1
  1. 1.Núcleo de Estudos e Pesquisas AmbientaisUniversidade Estadual de CampinasCampinas, SPBrazil

Personalised recommendations