Economic Botany

, Volume 69, Issue 3, pp 240–250 | Cite as

Knowledge, Use, and Management of the Babassu Palm (Attalea speciosa Mart. ex Spreng) in the Araripe Region (Northeastern Brazil)

  • Juliana Loureiro Almeida Campos
  • Temóteo Luiz Lima da Silva
  • Ulysses Paulino Albuquerque
  • Nivaldo Peroni
  • Elcida Lima Araújo
Article

Knowledge, Use, and Management of the Babassu Palm (Attalea speciosa Mart. ex Spreng) in the Araripe Region (Northeastern Brazil)

Considerable diversity has been observed in the uses of the palm species Attalea speciosa Mart. ex Spreng, including its use in human and animal food, handicrafts, construction, medicine, cosmetics, religious items, and commercial purposes. This study assesses the relationships among the knowledge, use, and socioeconomic characteristics of extractivists who utilize this species in two rural communities (Macaúba and Saco smallholdings) located in the Araripe region of northeastern Brazil. Semistructured interviews were conducted with the palm extractivists identified through snowball sampling. In Macaúba, 50 uses for A. speciosa were identified, whereas in Saco, 41 uses were identified. These uses were grouped into eight different categories, the most prominent of which were handicrafts, construction, and human food. The monthly income of extractivists at Macaúba was significantly and directly related to the number of known uses. A significant and inverse relationship was found between the age of the Macaúba extractivists and number of known uses in the community, demonstrating that there is a trend toward increased knowledge of the palm among the younger members of this community. In the Saco community, there was no significant correlation observed between the extractivist's age, monthly family income, or commercial income from babassu and the number of known uses. Neither was a significant relationship observed between knowledge and current practices regarding A. speciosa in either of the two communities studied. Babassu palm is considered a resource of high commercial importance by the residents of these communities, and its use as a subsistence resource was uncommon. However, access to technology may replace some of the traditional uses of babassu and influence the type of use practiced in the community.

Key Words

Local knowledge ethnobotany extractivism non-timber forest products babbasu palm 

Conhecimento, uso e manejo da palmeira babaçu (Attalea speciosa Mart. ex Spreng) no Nordeste do Brasil

Uma diversidade considerável de usos tem sido registrada para a palmeira Attalea speciosa Mart. ex Spreng, como na alimentação humana e de animais, na fabricação de artesanatos, construção, usos medicinais, cosméticos e religiosos. Objetivou-se verificar as relações entre conhecimento, uso e características socioeconômicas dos extrativistas dessa espécie em duas comunidades rurais localizadas na região do Araripe, Nordeste do Brasil: Sítio Macaúba e Sítio Saco. Foram realizadas entrevistas semiestruturadas com todos os extrativistas da palmeira identificados por meio da técnica de amostragem “bola de neve.” No Sítio Macaúba foram identificados 50 usos para A. speciosa, e no Sítio Saco identificamos 41 usos, distribuídos em oito categorias de uso. Aquelas que receberam mais destaque foram as categorias artesanato, construção e alimentação humana. As folhas e os frutos foram as partes úteis mais citadas pelos informantes, evidenciando uso mais intenso dessas estruturas. A renda mensal familiar dos extrativistas do Sítio Macaúba teve influência significativa e diretamente relacionada sobre o número de usos conhecidos, sugerindo que os informantes exploram o babaçu para complemento de renda mensal e não como única fonte para subsistência. No entanto, foi verificada relação significativa e inversamente relacionada entre a idade dos extrativistas dessa mesma comunidade e o número de usos conhecidos, sugerindo que há uma tendência de predomínio do conhecimento sobre a palmeira entre os mais jovens dessa comunidade. No Sítio Saco não houve correlação significativa entre idade, renda mensal familiar e renda da comercialização do babaçu com o número de usos conhecidos, sugerindo que outros fatores devem estar influenciando esse conhecimento. Não houve relação significativa entre o conhecimento e as práticas atuais de A. speciosa em nenhuma das duas comunidades estudadas. Foi possível verificar que a palmeira babaçu é considerada um recurso de elevada importância comercial para os moradores das comunidades estudadas, sendo os usos relacionados à subsistência, pouco frequentes. O acesso à tecnologias pode substituir alguns dos usos tradicionais do babaçu, além de induzir uma seleção no tipo de uso que é praticado na comunidade.

Notes

Acknowledgments

The authors thank the residents of the Macaúba and Saco communities, especially those who directly contributed to this research by sharing their knowledge, the staff of the Casa de Apoio Santa Rita-ICMBio for logistical support, all members of the Laboratory of Applied and Theoretical Ethnobiology (Laboratório de Etnobiologia Aplicada e Teórica–LEA-UFRPE), and all members of the Laboratory of Human Ecology and Ethnobotany (Laboratório de Ecologia Humana e Etnobotânica–LEHE-UFSC). They also thank the Pernambuco Research Foundation (Fundação de Amparo à Ciência e Tecnologia do Estado de Pernambuco–FACEPE) for the financial support (APQ-1264-2.05/10) and the masters scholarship awarded to the first author, housing allowance for the internship in Florianopolis, Santa Catarina State, and support of the PRONEM project. They also thank the Coordination for the Improvement of Higher Education Personnel (Coordenação de Aperfeiçoamento de Pessoal de Nível Superior–CAPES) for the financial support granted through the Brazilian Post-doctoral Program (Programa Nacional de Pós-doutorado–PNPD)/process 23038.008230/2010-75 and Brazilian National Council of Scientific and Technological Development (Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico–CNPq) for the fellowships granted to the authors.

Literature Cited

  1. Albuquerque, U. P., M. A. Ramos, R. F. P. Lucena, and N. L. Alencar. 2014. Methods and techniques used to collect ethnobiological data. Pages 15–37 in U. P. Albuquerque, L. V. F. C. Cunha, R. F. P. Lucena, and R. R. N. Alves, eds., Methods and techniques in ethnobiology and ethnoecology. Springer, New York.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Anderson, A. B., P. H. May, and M. J. Balick. 1991. Nature’s subsidy. Pages 1–17 in A. B. Anderson, P. H. May, and M. J. Balick, eds., The subsidy from nature: Palm forests, peasantry, and development on an Amazon frontier. Columbia University Press, New York.Google Scholar
  3. Araújo, F. R. and M. A. Lopes. 2012. Diversity of use and local knowledge of palms (Arecaceae) in eastern Amazonia. Biodiversity and Conservation 21:487–501.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Ayres, M., M. A. Junior, D. L. Ayres, and A. A. S. Santos. 2007. BioEstat: Aplicações estatísticas nas áreas das ciências bio-médicas. Belém, Pará, Brazil.Google Scholar
  5. Baldauf, C. and F. A. M. Santos. 2013. Ethnobotany, traditional knowledge, and diachronic changes in non-timber forest products management: A case study of Himatanthus drasticus (Apocynaceae) in the Brazilian Savanna. Economic Botany 67:110–120.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Balick, M. J. 1984. Ethnobotany of palms in the neotropics. Advances in Economic Botany 1:9–23.Google Scholar
  7. ——— 1987. The economic utilization of the babassu palm: A conservation strategy for sustaining tropical forest resources. Journal of the Washington Academy of Sciences 77:215–223.Google Scholar
  8. Balslev, H., T. R. Knudsen, A. Byg, A. M. Kronborg, and C. Grandez. 2010. Traditional knowledge, use, and management of Aphandra natalia (Arecaceae) in Amazonian Peru. Economic Botany 64(1):55–67.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Byg, A. and H. Balslev. 2001a. Diversity and use of palms in Zahamena, eastern Madagascar. Biodiversity and Conservation 10:951–970.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. ——— and ———. 2001b. Traditional knowledge of Dypsis fibrosa (Arecaceae) in Eastern Madagascar. Economic Botany 55:263–275.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. ——— and ———. 2004. Factors affecting local knowledge of palms in Nangaritza Valley, Southeastern Ecuador. Journal of Ethnobiology 24(2):255–278.Google Scholar
  12. Endress, B. A., D. L. Gorchov, and J. Berry. 2006. Sustainability of a non-timber forest product: Effects of alternative leaf harvest practices over 6 years on yield and demography of the palm Chamaedorea radicalis. Forest Ecology and Management 234:181–191.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. González-Pérez, S. E., M. Coelho-Ferreira, P. Robert, and C. L. L. Garces. 2012. Conhecimento e usos do babaçu (Attalea speciosa Mart. e Attalea eichleri [Drude] A. J. Hend.) entre os Mebêngôkre-Kayapó da Terra Indígena Las Casas, estado do Pará, Brasil. Acta Botanica Brasilica 26(2):295–308.Google Scholar
  14. Hajdu, Z. and J. Hohmann. 2012. An ethnopharmacological survey of the traditional medicine utilized in the community of Porvenir, Bajo Paragua Indian Reservation, Bolivia. Journal of Ethnopharmacology 139:838–857.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  15. Hall, B. and K. Bawa. 1993. Methods to assess the impact of extraction of non-timber tropical forest products on plant population. Economic Botany 47:234–247.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. IBAMA. 2004. Plano de manejo da Floresta Nacional do Araripe. Instituto Brasileiro do Meio Ambiente e dos Recursos Naturais Renováveis, Brasília.Google Scholar
  17. Lorenzi, H., L. Noblick, F. Kahn, and E. Ferreira. 2010. Flora Brasileira Arecaceae (Palmeiras). Instituto Plantarum, Nova Odessa, Brasil.Google Scholar
  18. Macía, M. J., P. J. Armesilla, R. Cámara-Leret, N. Paniagua-Zambrana, S. Villalba, H. Balslev, and M. Pardo-de-Santayana. 2011. Palm uses in northwestern South America: A quantitative review. The Botanical Review 77:462–570.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Martins, R. C., T. S. Filgueiras, and U. P. Albuquerque. 2014. Use and diversity of palm (Arecaceae) resources in central western Brazil. The Scientific World Journal:14.Google Scholar
  20. May, P. H., A. B. Anderson, M. J. Balick, and J. M. F. Frazão. 1985. Subsistence benefits from the babassu palm (Orbignya martiana). Economic Botany 39:113–129.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Mitja, D. and I. Ferraz. 2001. Establishment of babassu in pastures in Pará, Brazil. Palms 45:138–147.Google Scholar
  22. Monteiro, J. M., U. P. Albuquerque, E. M. F. Lins-Neto, E. L. Araújo, and E. L. C. Amorim. 2006. Use patterns and knowledge of medicinal species among two rural communities in Brazil’s semi-arid northeastern region. Journal of Ethnopharmacology 105:173–186.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  23. Pinheiro, C. U. B., V. M. Santos, and F. R. R. Ferreira. 2005. Usos de subsistência de espécies vegetais na região da baixada maranhense. Amazônia: Ciência & Desenvolvimento 1:235–250.Google Scholar
  24. Pulido, M. T. and J. Caballero. 2006. The impact of shifting agriculture on the availability of non-timber forest products: The example of Sabal yapa in the Maya Lowlands of Mexico. Forest Ecology and Management 222:399–409.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Ribeiro-Silva, S., M. B. Medeiros, B. M. Gomes, E. N. C. Seixas, and M. A. P. Silva. 2012. Angiosperms from the Araripe National Forest, Ceará, Brazil. Checklist 8(4):744–751.Google Scholar
  26. Rufino, M. U. L., J. T. Medeiros-Costa, V. A. Silva, and L. H. C. Andrade. 2008. Conhecimento e uso do ouricuri (Syagrus coronata) e do babaçu (Orbignya phalerata) em Buíque, PE, Brasil. Acta Botanica Brasilica 22(4):1141–1149.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Sambou, B., A. Goudiaby, F. Ervik, D. Daouda, and M. C. Camara. 2002. Palm wine harvesting by the Bassari threatens Borassus aethiopum populations in north-western Guinea. Biodiversity and Conservation 11:1149–1161.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Sampaio, M. B., I. B. Schmidt, and I. B. Figueiredo. 2008. Harvesting effects and population ecology of the Buriti palm (Mauritia flexuosa L. F., Arecaceae) in the Jalapão region, Central Brazil. Economic Botany 62:171–181.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Silva, P. A. D. and A. Scariot. 2013. Phenology, biometric parameters and productivity of fruits of the palm Butia capitata (Mart.) Beccari in the Brazilian cerrado in the north of the state of Minas Gerais. Acta Botanica Brasilica 27(3):580–589.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Silva, V. A., V. T. Nascimento, G. T. Soldati, M. F. T. Medeiros, and U. P. Albuquerque. 2014. Techniques for analysis of quantitative ethnobiological data: Use of indices. Pages 379–395 in U. P. Albuquerque, L. V. F. C. Cunha, R. F. P. Lucena, and R. R. N. Alves, eds., Methods and techniques in ethnobiology and ethnoecology. Springer, New York.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Sousa Junior, J. R., U. P. Albuquerque, and N. Peroni. 2013. Traditional knowledge and management of Caryocar coriaceum Wittm. (Pequi) in the Brazilian Savanna, Northeastern Brazil. Economic Botany 67(3):225–233.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Souto, T. and T. Ticktin. 2012. Understanding interrelationships among predictors (age, gender, and origin) of local ecological knowledge. Economic Botany 66(2):149–164.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Souza, M. H. S. L., C. A. Monteiro, P. M. S. Figueredo, F. R. F. Nascimento, and R. N. M. Guerra. 2011. Ethnopharmacological use of babassu (Orbignya phalerata Mart) in communities of babassu nut breakers in Maranhão, Brazil. Journal of Ethnopharmacology 133:1–5.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  34. StatSoft, Inc. 2013. Electronic statistics textbook. Tulsa, Oklahoma: StatSoft. http://www.statsoft.com/textbook/.
  35. Ticktin, T. 2004. The ecological implications of harvesting non-timber forest products. Journal of Applied Ecology 41(2):11–21.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Vallejo, M. I., G. Galeano, R. Bernal, and P. A. Zuidema. 2014. The fate of populations of Euterpe oleracea harvested for palm heart in Colombia. Forest Ecology and Management 318:274–284.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Zambrana, N. Y. P., A. Byg, J. C. Svenning, M. Moraes, C. Grandez, and H. Balslev. 2007. Diversity of palm uses in the western Amazon. Biodiversity and Conservation 16:2771–2787.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© The New York Botanical Garden 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Laboratório de Etnobiologia Aplicada e Teórica, Departamento de BiologiaUniversidade Federal Rural de Pernambuco (UFRPE)RecifeBrasil
  2. 2.Departamento de Ecologia e ZoologiaCentro de Ciências Biológicas da Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina (UFSC)FlorianópolisBrasil
  3. 3.Laboratório de Ecologia Vegetal dos Ecossistemas Nordestinos, Departamento de BiologiaUniversidade Federal Rural de Pernambuco (UFRPE)RecifeBrasil

Personalised recommendations