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“Return” and Extension Actions After Ethnobotanical Research: The Perceptions and Expectations of a Rural Community in Semi-arid Northeastern Brazil

  • Ulysses Paulino de AlbuquerqueEmail author
  • Luciana Gomes de Sousa Nascimento
  • Fabio José Vieira
  • Cybelle Maria de Albuquerque Duarte Almeida
  • Marcelo Alves Ramos
  • Ana Carolina Oliveira da Silva
Articles

Abstract

The scientific community has debated the importance of “return” activities after ethnobiological studies. This issue has provoked debate because it touches on the ethics of research and the relationships with the people involved in these studies. This case study aimed to investigate community perception of an ethnobotany research project that was carried out in the semi-arid region of northeastern Brazil. Furthermore, we reported how the residents of this rural community felt about participating in the activities of “return” that arose from the projects. Our findings demonstrate that “return” activities should be planned from the design phase of the research until its closure as a lifelong process that allows the communities involved to gradually take ownership of the information and actions that are being generated. Similarly, we argue that such activities must be negotiated with the people of the community so that they have decision-making power and autonomy to decide what is most relevant to their lives.

Keywords

Ethnobiology Ethics in science Medicinal plants Traditional ecological knowledge 

Notes

Acknowledgments

This is a publication of the project, “Medicinal Plants and Popular Medical Practices in CaatingaEnvironmental and Culture Sustainability,” kindly funded by CNPq (Ministério do Desenvolvimento Agrário/Secretaria de Agricultura Familiar; Ministério do Desenvolvimento Social e Combate à Fome/Secretaria Nacional de Segurança Alimentar e Nutricional; Edital: MCT/CNPq/MDA/SAF/MDS/Sesan 36/2007—Agricultura Familiar). The authors would like to thank the CNPq for the financial aid (“Edital Universal”) and productivity grant for research awarded to U.P. Albuquerque; to the municipal prefecture of Altinho, especially the Secretary of Agriculture and Production, Sr. Miguel Andrade, Jr., for logistic support; all of the members of the Laboratório de Etnobotânica Aplicada/UFRPE, for their invaluable help and contributions to the analyses; and, principally, the community of Carão for their help, receptivity, and efforts in sharing their knowledge. We are also grateful to the anonymous reviewers for their important contributions that undoubtedly enriched our work.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ulysses Paulino de Albuquerque
    • 1
    Email author
  • Luciana Gomes de Sousa Nascimento
    • 1
  • Fabio José Vieira
    • 1
  • Cybelle Maria de Albuquerque Duarte Almeida
    • 1
  • Marcelo Alves Ramos
    • 1
  • Ana Carolina Oliveira da Silva
    • 1
  1. 1.Departamento de Biologia, Laboratório de Etnobotânica AplicadaUniversidade FederalRecifeBrazil

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