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Economic Botany

, Volume 67, Issue 2, pp 110–120 | Cite as

Ethnobotany, Traditional Knowledge, and Diachronic Changes in Non–Timber Forest Products Management: A Case Study of Himatanthus drasticus (Apocynaceae) in the Brazilian Savanna1

  • Cristina Baldauf
  • Flavio Antonio Maës dos Santos
Article

Ethnobotany, Traditional Knowledge, and Diachronic Changes in Non–Timber Forest Products Management: A Case Study of Himatanthus drasticus (Apocynaceae) in the Brazilian Savanna. The analysis of factors and processes that affect the traditional knowledge and the management practices deriving from it are essential for devising conservation strategies for non–timber forest products. The purpose of this study is to assess the traditional knowledge and analyze diachronic changes in management systems for non–timber forest products in a case study of an intensely exploited species from the Brazilian savanna, Himatanthus drasticus, commonly known as “janaguba.” Janaguba produces a latex of commercial value, widely used in popular medicine in Brazil. Recent pharmacological evidence of its medicinal properties has increased harvesting pressure on this resource. For this reason, we carried out an ethnobotanical characterization of the management systems used to harvest janaguba latex and of the traditional ecological knowledge associated with such practices. Three management systems were identified in latex harvesting, which may have varying ecological impacts on janaguba populations, depending on the amount of bark removed and the time interval between harvestings. Among the factors that can influence changes in the management systems over time are market pressure and growing demand for the product, loss of traditional knowledge, the system of land tenure, and the biological characteristics of the species, especially its high biomass regeneration capacity.

Key Words

Medicinal plants janaguba ethnoecology conservation Cerrado harvesting 

Etnobotânica, conhecimento tradicional, e mudanças diacrônicas no manejo de produtos florestais não–madeireiros: Um estudo de caso de Himatanthus drasticus (Apocynaceae) na savana Brasileira. A análise dos fatores e processos que afetam o conhecimento tradicional, bem como as práticas de manejo derivadas dele, é fundamental para a elaboração de estratégias de conservação de produtos florestais não–madeireiros. O objetivo desse trabalho é acessar o conhecimento tradicional e avaliar as mudanças diacrônicas nos sistemas de manejo de produtos–florestais não–madeireiros, a partir de um estudo de caso com uma espécie altamente explorada na savana brasileira. O látex de janaguba (Himatanthus drasticus) é comercializado devido à sua ampla utilização na medicina popular no Brasil. A recente comprovação farmacológica das propriedades medicinais da espécie vem aumentando a pressão de coleta deste recurso. Foi realizada uma caracterização etnobotânica dos sistemas de manejo de látex de janaguba, bem como do conhecimento ecológico tradicional associado a estas práticas. Foi possível identificar três sistemas de manejo empregados para coleta do látex de janaguba, os quais podem ter impactos ecológicos distintos sobre as populações exploradas, uma vez que se diferenciam em função da quantidade de casca retirada e intervalos entre explorações. Entre os fatores que podem influenciar a mudança dos sistemas de manejo ao longo do tempo encontram-se a influência do mercado e crescente demanda pelo produto, a perda do conhecimento tradicional, a posse da terra e as características biológicas da espécie, especialmente sua alta capacidade de regeneração de biomassa.

Notes

Acknowledgments

The authors would like to thank the Programa Biodiversidade Brasil–Itália (PBBI) for the financial and logistic support; the Conselho Nacional de Pesquisa e Desenvolvimento Científico (CNPq) for supporting this research with the Edital Universal (Process 472127/2008–0), the Ph.D. fellowship granted to C.B. (Process 140813/2008–0), and the research productivity fellowship granted to F.A.M.S. (Process 308748/2010–7); the Fundação de Amparo à Pesquisa do Estado de São Paulo (FAPESP) for the research grant (Process 2008/08737–4); FLONA Araripe staff for the field support and information; and the janaguba harvesters and traders for their trust, time, and support of the “Janaguba Project.”

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Copyright information

© The New York Botanical Garden 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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