Environmental Monitoring and Assessment

, Volume 186, Issue 1, pp 349–359 | Cite as

The effect of management systems and ecosystem types on bark regeneration in Himatanthus drasticus (Apocynaceae): recommendations for sustainable harvesting

  • Cristina Baldauf
  • Flavio Antonio Maës dos Santos


Bark and exudates are widely commercialized non-timber forest products. However, the ecological impacts of the harvesting of these products have seldom been studied. The aim of this study is to investigate the relationship of tree resilience to harvesting intensity in Himatanthus drasticus, a tree that is highly exploited in the Brazilian savanna (Cerrado) for its medicinal latex. Although the traded product is the latex, the traditional harvesting systems involve the removal of the bark of the trees to allow exploitation. A 3-year experiment was conducted in two different Cerrado ecosystems (open savanna and savanna woodland). Trees were debarked at four debarking intensities to simulate the effects of traditional management systems. Measurements of bark growth were taken every 6 months, and quantitative and qualitative indexes of bark regeneration were obtained. The mortality of the debarked trees was low and could not be related to the intensity of harvesting. No signs of attack by fungi or insects were recorded. Compared with other species exploited for bark, H. drasticus is very resilient to harvesting; however, bark regeneration is relatively slow. In both analyzed ecosystems, the regeneration indexes showed higher values in the controls than in the treatments, indicating that 3 years is not sufficient for total recovery of the rhytidome. Bark regeneration occurred primarily by sheet growth and was more rapid in open savanna than in savanna woodland. No differences in the rate of bark recovery were found among management treatments. Based on the results, sustainable harvesting guidelines are suggested for the species.


Non-timber forest products Bark stripping Cerrado Brazilian savanna Medicinal plants 



The authors thank the Biodiversity Program Brazil-Italy (PBBI) for financial and logistic support; the National Council of Technological and Scientific Development (CNPq) for supporting this research with the Edital Universal (Process 472127/2008-0), a PhD fellowship granted to C.B. (Process 140813/2008-0) and a research productivity fellowship granted to F.A.M.S. (Process 308748/2010-7); the São Paulo Research Foundation (FAPESP) for a research grant (Process 2008/08737-4); the students of the “Janaguba project” and the FLONA-Araripe staff for field support; Manuel Guariguata for references and discussions on bark harvesting; and Julia Caram Sfair for her support and suggestions about the analyses.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Cristina Baldauf
    • 1
    • 2
  • Flavio Antonio Maës dos Santos
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Plant BiologyState University of Campinas (UNICAMP)CampinasBrazil
  2. 2.Department of Animal SciencesFederal Rural University of Semiarid Region (UFERSA)MossoróBrazil

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