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Environment, Development and Sustainability

, Volume 11, Issue 5, pp 1005–1029 | Cite as

Rural fences in agricultural landscapes and their conservation role in an area of caatinga (dryland vegetation) in Northeast Brazil

  • V. T. Nascimento
  • L. G. Sousa
  • A. G. C. Alves
  • E. L. Araújo
  • U. P. Albuquerque
Article

Abstract

Fences are very common in rural areas, and represent important landscape elements in both tropical and temperate climate regions. In spite of their marked presence and importance, fences have been little studied, principally in Brazil. The present study examined the types of fences, the diversity of species used in their construction, as well as the diversity of their uses in a rural community in the municipality of Caruaru, Pernambuco State, northeastern Brazil. Fifty meters of fence-line in each of 50 rural properties in the community were examined, noting the diameter, height and identity of all vegetation elements used in their composition. Semi-structured interviews were also held with their builders in order to obtain information concerning fence uses. In the total of 2,500 linear meters of fence-line, 4,953 individual plant elements were identified, belonging to 51 different species. A majority of the fence elements were non-living fence posts, although the number of living posts was high. Of the total number of fence elements, 66.7% were native to the caatinga region. The large number of native species used as non-living fence posts indicates an intensive use of the caatinga vegetation and suggests the need to stimulate the use of living fence posts for conservation purposes.

Keywords

Ethnobotany Wood resources Agroforest systems Seasonal tropical forests Rural communities 

Notes

Acknowledgements

The authors would like to thank the Empresa Pernambucana de Pesquisa Agropecuária (IPA) in Caruaru and its Director, Sr. Jair Pereira, for logistic support provided during the research; CNPq, for the grant to the first author and the productivity grant awarded to U.P. Albuquerque; the researchers at the Laboratório de Etnobotânica Aplicada da Universidade Federal Rural de Pernambuco, especially Reinaldo Farias Paiva de Lucena, Patrícia Muniz de Medeiros, Alyson Luiz Santos Almeida, and Marcelo Alves Ramos, for their help in the field research; the Riachão de Malhada de Pedra community, in the municipality of Caruaru, for their hospitality and assistance during our work there and especially for the rich local knowledge passed on, in part, to us.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • V. T. Nascimento
    • 1
  • L. G. Sousa
    • 1
  • A. G. C. Alves
    • 1
  • E. L. Araújo
    • 1
  • U. P. Albuquerque
    • 1
  1. 1.Biology DepartmentFederal Rural University of Pernambuco (Universidade Federal Rural de Pernambuco)RecifeBrazil

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