South American Biodiversity and Its Potential in Medicinal and Aromatic Plants

  • Alissandra Trajano Nunes
  • Ulysses Paulino Albuquerque
Part of the Medicinal and Aromatic Plants of the World book series (MAPW, volume 5)


The Americas are characterized by an array of ecosystems and are home to one of the most biologically diverse areas in the world, in addition to a vast cultural diversity represented by different ethnic groups. Historically, South American peoples have shown a high degree of dependence on natural resources, especially on plants, which are used for a variety of purposes. This relationship has resulted in potential sources for new natural products, possibly including the extraction of plant-derived chemical compounds for medicinal and aromatic purposes. The global herbal market is worth billions of dollars, but in South American countries, incentives for research and the development of bioproducts by domestic companies are lacking. Moreover, a lack of scientific knowledge on these resources causes native plants to be undervalued, and the high degree of environmental degradation threatens the biological diversity and associated traditional knowledge.


Ethnobotany Sociobiodiversity Traditional ecological knowledge Diversity of useful plants 


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© Springer Nature B.V. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alissandra Trajano Nunes
    • 1
  • Ulysses Paulino Albuquerque
    • 2
  1. 1.Universidade de Pernambuco, Licenciatura em Ciências BiológicasGrupo de Pesquisa em Biotecnologia e Inovação TerapêuticaGaranhunsBrasil
  2. 2.Departamento de BotânicaCentro de Biociências, Universidade Federal de PernambucoRecifeBrazil

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