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Biodiversity and Conservation

, Volume 18, Issue 1, pp 127–150 | Cite as

How ethnobotany can aid biodiversity conservation: reflections on investigations in the semi-arid region of NE Brazil

  • Ulysses Paulino de Albuquerque
  • Thiago Antonio de Sousa Araújo
  • Marcelo Alves Ramos
  • Viviany Teixeira do Nascimento
  • Reinaldo Farias Paiva de Lucena
  • Júlio Marcelino Monteiro
  • Nélson Leal Alencar
  • Elcida de Lima Araújo
Original Paper

Abstract

Ethnobotany is a relatively new discipline but its social and scientific roles are becoming more consistently defined and its importance as a tool for complimenting management and conservation strategies at local and regional levels is now well recognized by the scientific community throughout the world. In the present work we have collected information from four years of ethnobotanical study in an area of caatinga vegetation in the semi-arid region of northeastern Brazil with the goal of defining a model for conservation and management actions in the region. Drawing on ethnobotanical and ecological information obtained through traditional techniques of ethnobotanical and vegetation surveys, we discuss the uses of 166 native and exotic plant species and suggest specific actions and specific groups of species for conservation and sustainable use programs. We also discuss the limitations of our approach and indicate what information must still be collected in order to construct robust and workable plans of action.

Keywords

Conservation priorities Local knowledge Seasonal dry forests Useful plants 

Notes

Acknowledgements

The authors would like to thank the Caruaru branch of the Empresa Pernambucana de Pesquisa Agropecuária (IPA) for their logistic support; CAPES and CNPq for the Masters program and the research productivity grants awarded to the researchers; CNPq for their financial support to the project coordinated by U.P. Albuquerque; the informants within the communities of Riachão de Malhada de Pedra and Alto das Ameixas for their invaluable help; and the anonymous reviewers for their important and relevant suggestions.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ulysses Paulino de Albuquerque
    • 1
  • Thiago Antonio de Sousa Araújo
    • 1
  • Marcelo Alves Ramos
    • 1
  • Viviany Teixeira do Nascimento
    • 1
  • Reinaldo Farias Paiva de Lucena
    • 1
  • Júlio Marcelino Monteiro
    • 1
  • Nélson Leal Alencar
    • 1
  • Elcida de Lima Araújo
    • 1
  1. 1.Departamento de Biologia, Área de BotânicaUniversidade Federal Rural de PernambucoRecifeBrazil

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