Environment, Development and Sustainability

, Volume 10, Issue 5, pp 623–637 | Cite as

Artisanal fishers’ ethnobotany: from plant diversity use to agrobiodiversity management

  • Nivaldo PeroniEmail author
  • Alpina Begossi
  • Natalia Hanazaki


Artisanal fishers interact with plants in many ways, and with different intensities. In spite of being characterized by fisheries, Caiçaras use plants with varied degrees of management, since the less intensive management actions, extraction of forest products, until intensively management actions through the cultivation of the agrobiodiversity. This study presents the results of different research projects and includes the North and the South regions of São Paulo state coast. The objective is to characterize the diversity of extracted and cultivated species by traditional fishers at Southeastern region of Brazilian Atlantic forest. Ethnobotanical surveys revealed a high diversity of plants known and used, ranging up to a richness of 272 species known in two communities for the South coast, most of them being native. However, depending on the management intensity, this diversity can be rather particularized: we found 68 varieties of cassava (Manihot esculenta Crantz) at North region and 58 varieties at the South region, with exclusive vernacular names. Through an ethnobotanical perspective, we compare and discuss the different dynamic systems underlying the relationships between fishers and plants. The diversity of cultivated plants is analyzed in depth, focusing on the historical importance of agriculture among people who are currently characterized as fishers. A schematic model is proposed to explain the dynamic systems operating in the relationships between fishers and plants.


Ethnobotany Fishers Atlantic forest Traditional management Agrobiodiversity 



We are grateful to the Brazilian agencies that provided financial support to this research: FAPESP 03/13688-9 (N. Peroni); FAPESP 04/02301-9 e 01/05263-2 and CNPq productivity scholarship (A. Begossi). Finally, we are very grateful to all interviewed people from the Caiçaras’ communities.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nivaldo Peroni
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Alpina Begossi
    • 1
    • 3
  • Natalia Hanazaki
    • 4
  1. 1.Fisheries and Food Institute (FIFO)CampinasBrazil
  2. 2.Universidade Federal de Santa CatarinaFlorianópolisBrazil
  3. 3.Fisheries Management and Training Program, PREAC-UNICAMPCampinasBrazil
  4. 4.Department of Ecology and Zoology, Center of Biological SciencesUniversidade Federal de Santa CatarinaFlorianópolisBrazil

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