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International Journal of Biodiversity Science, Ecosystem Services & Management Vol. 6, Nos. 3–4, September–December 2010, 106–118 Impact assessment of the harvest of a medicinal plant (Anadenanthera colubrina (Vell.) Brenan) by a rural semi-arid community (Pernambuco), northeastern Brazil Gustavo Taboada Soldati and Ulysses Paulino de Albuquerque* Laboratório de Etnobotânica Aplicada, Departamento de Biologia, Universidade Federal Rural de Pernambuco, Recife, Pernambuco, Brazil Rural communities depend on plant resources, and research is necessary to evaluate the impact of their exploitative practices. This study evaluated the use of Anadenanthera colubrina (Vell.) Brenan, angico, a tree species widely employed by the rural community of Carão (Pernambuco, Brazil) and the impacts of this harvesting practice. Angico has been cited as having 28 uses in ﬁve categories, and the bark is the most used. The medicinal uses are dominant in the community and the species is collected in four collection zones: home gardens, mountain, pasture and mountain base. In order to evaluate the sustainability of this practice, the extraction events in an A. colubrina population were recorded in 2008, and the population structure was analysed. The 101 interviews resulted in identiﬁcation of 28 uses of which the medicinal category was most prevalent. The most exploited parts of A. colubrina were the bark and stem; the main collection zones were home gardens and mountains. Of the 1040 A. colubrina individuals that we recorded in an area of 2.7 ha, 70 showed signs of extraction. Although diameter classes do not show any individual preference, the population structure tends towards an inverted J model, which suggests that it is stable and its viability is not affected by the extraction being carried out. The data collected in this study suggest that maintaining the current methods and rates of exploitation of the A. colubrina population is sustainable and allows for the permanence of this local resource stock used by the Carão community. However, projections from our results on A. colubrina population structure should be considered carefully because only one population was analysed, over one-time period. Keywords: ethnobotany; caatinga; bark extractivism; tannins The cultural aspects associated with extractive Introduction practices, such as the distribution of knowledge about a Recent ethnobotanical investigations have focused on the plant, the part collected, forms of extraction, collection knowledge that certain social groups have of the plants intensity and exploited locations, are factors that most in their environment, the ways in which these plants are inﬂuence the sustainability of NTFP collection (see used and the implications of such use (Ladio and Lozada Dzerefos and Witkowski 2001; Ghimire et al. 2005; Gaoue 2004; Estomba et al. 2006; Oliveira et al. 2007; Lins and Ticktin 2007). As a result, there is a cultural network Neto et al. 2008; Ramos et al. 2008). Among species that determines the extraction of NTFPs, and this increases that are regularly used by local communities, non-timber the complexity of any study of these processes, making forest products (NTFPs) stand out because their use has it more difﬁcult to analyse the impacts of these activities. the potential to meet the demands of local development However, such aspects should be considered in studies and biodiversity conservation (Ticktin 2004; Soldati and that seek to examine the environmental and cultural Albuquerque 2008). It is commonly thought that the use viability of NTFP extraction (Soldati and Albuquerque of NTFPs has little impact on natural systems, but Peters 2008). (1994) considered that such use could be potentially unsus- Given the inherent complexity of NTFP use by local tainable and dangerous. Some researchers assume that if a communities, Godoy and Bawa (1993) proposed that the resource has been exploited by a given community over sustainability of exploitation practices can only become a long period of time this means that its extraction is clear through direct evaluation of related variables, such inherently sustainable (Bitarilho et al. 2006). However, as the demand and resource abundance. There are different such sustainability is hard to prove scientiﬁcally. Some methods of accessing the impact of NTFP use (Hall and studies have shown that the collection of NTFPs may be Bawa 1993; Peters 1994), and methods based on the pop- unsustainable, even if this is undertaken by traditional pop- ulation of the resource are most commonly applied. Based ulations (Kala 2000, 2005; Pfab and Scholes 2004). The on the assumption that the ﬁrst signs of extraction events over-exploitation of such natural resources not only affects are reﬂected by the density, survival rates and reproduction the different spheres of biological organisation (such as (Ticktin 2004) of the resource, and because of difﬁcul- plant populations and ecosystems), but also affects the ties of carrying out long-term studies, the most common subsistence of social groups that depend on the diversity method used for this kind of analysis is observations of of available species in the environment (Bitarilho et al. the population structure of the resource (Tabuti 2007). 2006). *Corresponding author. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org ISSN 2151-3732 print/ISSN 2151-3740 online © 2010 Taylor & Francis DOI: 10.1080/21513732.2011.565729 http://www.infomaworld.com International Journal of Biodiversity Science, Ecosystem Services & Management 107 Such evaluations, based on the distribution of individuals This study was carried out in the town of Altinho, in diameter or life-stages classes, allow for inferences to Agreste region, which has a population of 20,000, be made on important aspects, including recruitment rates, equally distributed between rural and urban zones preferred habitats, distinct responses to extraction and the (CONDEPE/FIDEM 2005). This municipality is 160 km future viability of populations (Hall and Bawa 1993; Peters from the state capital, Recife, and 40 km from Caruaru, 1994). Pernambuco’s second largest city. The average air temper- The demand for natural resources by local communi- ature is 23.1 C, and annual precipitation is 622 mm (con- ties of a semi-arid region in northeastern Brazil is high centrated in 2 months, June and July) (LAMEPE/ITEPE (Albuquerque 2006; Araújo et al. 2007). This region is 2008). Commerce is the main economic activity of dominated by a type of vegetation called caatinga, which, Altinho’s urban centre, while the rural zone contains small- despite being the only exclusive Brazilian biome and being and medium-sized farms that mainly cultivate beans, corn, high in diversity of endemic species, is still relatively manioc, sweet potato and banana. Animal husbandry is unknown from a biological standpoint (Silva et al. 2004). another common activity in the region. The caatinga suffers from strong extraction pressures and The rural community selected for study, known as ◦ ◦ is one of the country’s most altered biomes, due in particu- Carão (8 35 225 S, 36 05 576 W), is 16 km from lar to the conversion of areas where it grows into pastures Altinho’s urban centre via unpaved roads; transportation is (Silva et al. 2004; Araújo et al. 2007; Oliveira et al. 2007). scarce and costly. According to data from the local health- Human populations of the caatinga are highly depen- care unit, 189 people live in the community, of which 112 dent on the use of a wide range of natural resources (Araújo are over 18 years of age (67 women and 45 men) (Araújo et al. 2007). Thus, it is impractical to access and monitor et al. 2008). There is a population nucleus, but most prop- the ecological implications of human use for all species erties are remote from each other (approximately 400 m). that are recognised as useful. Previous studies selected The community, at the base of Letreiro Mountain, is mainly target species based on special characteristics such as pasture and cultivated areas. The inhabitants extract the their distribution, density and local importance (see Botha plant resources necessary for their survival from four main et al. 2004; Pfab and Scholes 2004; Bitarilho et al. 2006; resource zones: mountain, the local designation for the Monteiro et al. 2006b; Tabuti and Mugula 2007). For the Letreiro Mountain; the base of the mountain where it over- present study, we chose a plant that is of particular impor- laps with the community; and ﬁelds, which are private tance to caatinga communities, Anadenanthera colubrina fenced areas near residences. The ﬁelds vary in size; in Vell. (Brenan) (Mimosaceae), commonly known as angico addition to pastures and home gardens, some small farming or angico-de-caroço. This species, distributed throughout areas (roçados – areas to cultivate corn, palma and beans) almost the entirety of Brazil (Morim 2010), is widely may also be part of the ﬁelds (Lins Neto 2008). known and used in popular medicine, mainly to treat infec- tions and inﬂammation and for building (Monteiro et al. 2006a, 2006b; Albuquerque et al. 2007). As a result of this Cultural contextualisation of the study and A. colubrina wide use, A. colubrina is on the Brazilian list of medicinal extraction species with priority for conservation (Vieira et al. 2002). This study aimed to characterise the distribution of This study is part of a major project developed in knowledge about A. colubrina, its use, the parts of the the municipality of Altinho (see Araújo et al. 2008; plant exploited and its resource zones in a Brazilian semi- Lins Neto 2008) that has one aim: understanding the arid rural community. Additionally, this information was processes for obtaining knowledge on and the use of compared with data from other communities with the same plant resources, especially medicinal plants, from an proﬁle in an effort to verify regional patterns of use and ecological/evolutionary perspective, as well as the impli- knowledge of the species. Finally, this study sought to ﬁll a cations of these practices on the exploited ecosystems. For gap in our knowledge of this species by analysing its popu- this purpose, A. colubrina, which is one of the species of lation structure and related extraction practices in the only greatest medicinal importance to the community, and in known population in the study region that grows with little some ways to all of populations of typical Brazilian semi- anthropogenic interference. arid caatinga vegetation, was selected with the objective of deepening our understanding regarding cultural knowledge of this species, forms of its exploitation, environmental factors inﬂuencing its collection and the impact of these Materials and methods practices on natural populations of the species. Study area For this purpose, two complementary texts were pro- The area selected for this study is in northeastern Brazil, duced, one of which is the present study, and the other state of Pernambuco, in a region with notable seasonal- (Soldati 2009) analysed the process used by residents of ity covered by caatinga vegetation, which is xerophytic, the Carão community for resource selection during extrac- caducifolious and spiny, and is characterised by its striking tion events as well as bark extraction practices in one of the climatic seasonality and distinct composition and physiog- populations of A. colubrina in the region. As such, under- nomy (Andrade-Lima 1981; Araújo et al. 2007). standing the part of the results presented here requires a 108 G.T. Soldati and U.P. de Albuquerque better understanding of the environmental and cultural con- as well as to invite the population to participate in the text in which angico extraction is performed. A detailed study. Those who were not present were later invited to description of this can be found in Soldati (2009) and is participate personally at their respective homes. All of the summarised here. informants that agreed to participate signed an informed In the community of Carão, A. colubrina grows in consent form, as required by the Brazilian National Health different landscapes, in particular home gardens, moun- Council (Resolution 196/96 CNS). tain base and mountain zones, all of which are potential The method used to access the ethnobotanical infor- sites for angico extraction. According to Soldati (2009), mation was based on semi-structured interviews between these areas are distinct from each other. Home gardens August 2006 and July 2007. A total of 101 community res- are highly modiﬁed environments, close to residences, with idents were interviewed (36 men and 65 women), which isolated or sparsely distributed individuals of A. colubrina. represented 90.2% of the population over 18 years of age. The mountain base hosts a large population, resulting in From all of these interviews, only those that cited angico high availability of this resource that occurs approximately as a resource were considered for this study. These people 900 m from the core population and presents evidence of were then asked about their usage, manner of exploitation extraction. Finally, the mountain is characterised as the (or preparation in the case of medicinal uses) and area of most distant zone and is more difﬁcult to access. However, collection (resource zone) of angico. Bearing in mind that many Carão community residents own farmland in this there is no direct relationship between local knowledge zone where they go almost every day, thus making it a cited in the interviews and the use per se (Reyes-Garcia collection area. As in the home gardens, mountain angico et al. 2005; Albuquerque et al. 2006; Reyes-Garcia et al. individuals show isolated, sparse and very low-density 2006), the informants were asked whether they personally growth. used A. colubrina or only had knowledge of its properties. Because one of the objective of this study was to A third step was to select 15 informants who recognised analyse the impact of extraction activities on natural pop- angico as a resource (including local specialists) to collect ulations of A. colubrina, and taking into account the in-depth information on their use of angico, their choice of conservation of biodiversity, only the mountain- base pop- visited resource zones and selection criteria for the individ- ulation was selected for this study, as this is the largest uals exploited. These 15 informants were selected because natural population in the area. Our initial idea was to eval- they are locally recognised for their deep knowledge of the uate the impact of extraction of this resource. Preference properties and uses of the species and because angico was was given to understanding this process, despite the fact present at their residence. that it was evident that the situation encountered was not ideal for analysis of sustainability, because control popula- tions or natural populations with no extractive pressure are Population structure and extraction of A. colubrina absent. Finally, A. colubrina is a deciduous, heliophilous plant To analyse the population structure and angico extraction that tolerates shade in its juvenile phase and is typi- practices, a natural A. colubrina population was selected cally a pioneer or fast-growing early secondary species that showed evidence of bark removal and selective cut- (Maia 2004). It is also characterised by the production ting. This extraction area is an former pasture, although of many seeds, low dormancy and mortality rates, high animals still use it. It is quite near the human population germination and survival rates, and the presence of phys- nucleus (approximately 900 m) and is therefore an impor- iological and structural strategies that are resistant to the tant resource zone. It is a fenced private property of 2.7 ha dry environment (Silva and Barbosa 2000; Maia 2004). at the base of Letreiro Mountain. The species is well known and used by local populations For analysis of population structure, we conducted a of the caatinga, where it has a prominent role in several census, that is, an inventory of all angico individuals grow- use categories (Monteiro et al. 2006b), in particular tradi- ing in this area, regardless of size or any other factor. tional medicine; it is used for treatment of anaemia, the Therefore, ﬁxed plots were not used for sampling, but common cold, bronchitis, constipation, general inﬂamma- instead 15 m transects were used to subdivide the area and tion, cancer, inﬂuenza, lung inﬂammation, gastritis and an to facilitate sampling. All of the A. colubrina individuals expectorant and depurant (Albuquerque et al. 2007). in the transects were traced, identiﬁed and their geographic location noted by a ﬁeld team, including seedlings. The cir- cumference at soil level (CSL) and height were obtained for each individual, and this information was used to char- Ethnobotanical survey acterise the A. colubrina population with regard to its The ﬁrst step to access information was to contact legal distribution into diameter classes (population structure) representatives of the Altinho municipality and inform and height. The visual method described by Cunningham them of the nature and goals of the research. The next step (1993) was adapted to quantitatively evaluate extraction was to have a meeting with the community, which was activities. This consists of classifying exploitation levels organised by Carão’s association of farmers. This meet- into seven categories according to the percentage of bark ing also aimed to explain the purposes of the research, collected: 0 – no damage; 1 – >10% of bark removed; International Journal of Biodiversity Science, Ecosystem Services & Management 109 2 – 10–25%; 3 – 26–50%; 4 – 51–75%; 5 – 76–100%; trends based on the angle of the regression line. Negative, 6 for annealing; and 7 all bark removed (see Lins Neto sharp angles indicate a stable population that is capable et al. 2008). Samples from different individuals of A. colu- of self-perpetuation, while slightly negative angles point brina were collected, dried and deposited in the Professor to a declining population with poor recruitment (Condit Vasconcelos Sobrinho Herbarium (PEUFR) of the Federal et al. 1998; Tabuti 2007; Tabuti and Mugula 2007). Finally, Rural University of Pernambuco (UFRPE). to analyse the availability of A. colubrina, the popula- tion absolute density was compared using a chi-square test with secondary data from 13 angico populations grow- ing in similar contexts (Drumond et al. 1982; Fonseca Data analysis 1991; Araújo et al. 1995; Andrade 2000; Figueiredo 2000; The uses mentioned during interviews were not cate- Alcoforado-Filho et al. 2003; Albuquerque et al. 2005). gorised, but rather were included as they were cited by the For this comparison, we respected the inclusion criterion informant. These citations were later divided into ﬁve cat- of each study, that is, in order to compare the population egories of use: construction (for building structures such analysed in this study with a study that used DSL (diame- as homes), medicine (therapeutic uses), fuel (ﬁrewood and ter at soil level) sampling criteria greater than or equal to coal), veterinary (animal healing or creation) and tech- 3 cm, we considered only individuals that ﬁtted this same criterion, discarding all others from the analysis. nology (artifacts). Local knowledge was evaluated at two Bark and selective cutting were analysed separately. All levels. First, differences in knowledge related to sex, local of the statistical analyses were carried out using Bioestat resource zones and plant parts used were examined, as well (5.0) (Ayres et al. 2007) or Statgraph (version 5.1) soft- as whether individuals only had knowledge of the uses of ware. the plant, or if they used the plant per se. Because the inter- view sample showed sex-related differences, we compared the total number of women and men with knowledge of the species using chi-squared and Kruskal–Wallis tests to anal- Results yse the mean and variance and the variance of use citations Knowledge of A. colubrina between men and women. The same analysis was used to compare the total citations of knowledge and the per se A total of 53 (52.47%) of the 101 informants stated that plant use. they knew about the uses of A. colubrina but did not nec- Next, we quantitatively analysed the knowledge of the essarily use it. Only two informants said they knew angico, Carão population compared to two other similar com- but not its uses. Twenty-eight distinct uses (140 citations) munities that were studied by Monteiro et al. (2006b): were mentioned, distributed among ﬁve categories, from Riachão de Malhada de Pedra and Alto das Ameixas, both which the following stood out: medicine (19 indications), in Caruraru in the Agreste region of Pernambuco. Only technology (2), construction (3), fuel (2) and veterinary use the medicinal category of knowledge was used for this (2) (Table 1). The difference between the total use cita- analysis, as Monteiro et al. (2006b) only surveyed angico tions of these categories was signiﬁcant (χ = 124.13; medicinal uses. Comparisons between these communities p < 0.0001), and the medicinal category stood out with used a quantitative group of indices based on ‘informant a total of 29 citations. Thirty-ﬁve informants (66% of consensus’ and ‘use richness’ (Silva et al. 2008), which those who cited knowledge of angico and 34.65% of the estimate knowledge distribution within the community, total) recognised A. colubrina as a medicinal resource and resource zones, plant parts used, corporal systems and the attributed 19 therapeutic uses to it (Table 1). most salient therapeutic uses. These indices are described Themostciteduse for A. colubrina was as raw material in Monteiro et al. (2006b). For this second level of analysis, to tan leather, which was cited by 25 informants (17.85%). therapeutic indications were organised into corporal sys- Leather tanned with angico bark is used to produce arti- tems according to the method of Albuquerque et al. (2007), facts, such as knife sheaths, saddles, hats and special and the resource zones of A. colubrina cited were classiﬁed cowboy clothing. The leather products are sold in the com- into anthropogenic areas, native vegetation and fairs and munity itself, either to local inhabitants or people from markets (Monteiro et al. 2006b). other communities who order such products. Other major The angico population structure was constructed based uses were charcoal (22 citations), fencing (13), fence posts on diameter classes at 3 cm intervals (Rodal et al. 1992). (11) and ﬁrewood (10). To obtain inferences about the sustainability of local prac- When asked if they only knew about or actually used tices, the population structure was visually analysed using angico, most informants answered that they did, in fact, use the negative exponential model (inverted J) as a reference, it: 104 (74.28%) of the 140 total citations. However, despite which is typical of self-perpetuating populations (Hall and the fact that more than half of Carão inhabitants indicated Bawa 1993). With the aim of supporting the inferences of angico as a useful plant, there was a signiﬁcant difference such visual analyses, a least squares linear regression slope between the total citations of use per se and the total cita- (LSLRS) (Condit et al. 1998; Lykke 1998; Tabuti 2007; tions of knowledge (χ = 5.311; p = 0.0212), that is, there Tabuti and Mugula 2007) was calculated for the diame- is no relationship between individual knowledge and actual ter distribution. This allows for inferences on population use of this plant. Although we did not triangulate the data, 110 G.T. Soldati and U.P. de Albuquerque Table 1. Uses of A. colubrina (Vell.) Brenan cited by inhabitants of the Carão community, Altinho, Pernambuco, northeastern Brazil. Category Use Part used NC Fuel Charcoal Stem (trunk) 22 Wood 1 Firewood Stem (trunk) 10 Construction Fence Stem (trunk) 13 Fencepost Stem (trunk) 11 Beam Stem (trunk) 2 Medicine General pains Bark 2 General inﬂammation Bark 2 Menstrual disorders Bark 1 Worms Leaf 1 Itching Bark 1 Abortion Leaf 1 Wound-healing Bark 2 Wounds Bark 4 Collision Wood 1 Constipation Bark 2 Kidney problems Bark 1 Uterus problems Bark 1 Throat problems Bark 1 Bronchitis Bark 4 Expectorant Bark 3 Inﬂuenza Bark 12 Flower 1 General respiratory problems Bark 1 Cough Bark 4 Flower 2 Tuberculosis Bark 2 Technology Necklaces Seed 1 Leather tanning Bark 25 Stem (trunk) 2 Veterinary General inﬂammation Bark 1 Common cold Bark 1 Does not know Do not know 2 Total 140 Notes: Total informants = 101. NC, number of citations. which were derived from speciﬁc methodologies that, in The interviews also suggested that the Carão popula- addition to capturing knowledge are also capable of cap- tion collects angico from four landscapes: home gardens, turing the behaviour of informants, the data suggested that, mountain, pasture and mountain base. Differences were while informants do use A. colubrina, they do not use it for found when all the resource zone citations were com- all of the attributed uses. pared (χ = 158.44; p < 0.0001), but there were no Angico was recognised as a useful plant by more differences when only the two most cited locations were women (31) than men (22), but there were no differ- compared, home gardens and mountain, indicating that ences when comparing the relative totals (χ = 1.673; these structurally distinct resource zones are potentially p < 0.1959). There was no difference between the two most exploited. In a parallel study, Soldati (2009) evaluated sexes total citations according to the Kruskal–Wallis test angico extraction in these resource areas and found that, in (H = 0.8789; p = 0.3485). In the community studied, fact, home gardens had a higher number of bark extrac- A. colubrina bark, stems, wood, leaves, ﬂowers and seeds tion events, but no evidence of extraction in the mountain are all recognised as resources (Table 1). In relation to plant zone. part used as a resource, there was a difference between There were different ideas within the community on the total citations (χ = 286.22; p < 0.0001). However, how bark should be managed and collected. Of the 15 there were no differences when only the total citations of informants questioned about speciﬁc aspects of A. colu- the two most cited parts, bark and stem, were compared brina extraction, 9 (60%) stated that the bark should not (χ = 1.13; p = 0.2888). When only medicinal uses were be removed down to the wood nor should trees be ring- considered, there was almost a consensus for use of bark barked because the individual either will not be able to among the Carão community (consensus value for part regenerate or will die, respectively. However, two other used, CPU = 0.842), as 32 of the 38 medicinal citations informants (14%) stated that, regardless of the volume were for bark (Table 1). collected, the bark always regenerates. Two (14%) of the International Journal of Biodiversity Science, Ecosystem Services & Management 111 15 informants preferred collecting angico bark outside of with a high CUT were wounds (0.004), expectorant (0.003) the plant’s reproductive phase (when ﬂowers and fruits are and wound-healing (0.002). absent), and 3 (20%) preferred to extract it from individuals The bark received considerably more total citations that had been gnawed by marmosets (primates of the genus in all three locations, which reveals a preference for Callithrix). The reasons given for these preferences were using this part for medicinal purposes. When consider- that the angico is ‘weaker’ during the reproductive phase ing only medicinal citations in relationship to the sampling and marmoset bites are a natural indication of trees with the area, home gardens (73 citations) and mountain (55) once most therapeutic potential. The interviews also suggest that again stood out for the Carão community, that is, an bark collection targets larger individuals, that is, those with anthropogenic and a native vegetation zone, respectively. the largest diameter. Residents state that these individu- Anthropogenic zone stood out in all three communities in als have greater therapeutic potential because the remedies regard to the number of citations; however, a native area prepared from such bark are darker, which is a characteris- was also prominent in citations from the Carão community. tic locally associated with therapeutic potential and closely linked to the concentration of tannins in the preparation. In Population structure and extraction of A. colubrina relation to management practices, seven informants (47%) A total of 1040 individuals of A. colubrina were recorded, stated that A. colubrina does not need any special care or with a total basal area of 32.99 m and an absolute den- processing, as it is a rapidly growing species even after sity of 385.19 ind/ha. Of the total number of individuals bark extraction and selective cutting. The interviews also sampled, 42 (4.03%) showed signs of selective cutting, but showed that angico in home gardens was not planted, but most of those (60% of individuals explored) were in diame- rather grew without any management and is a tolerated ter classes 3.00–5.99 cm and 6.00–8.99 cm (Figure 1). The species in this zone. distribution of bark extraction events for the A. colubrina population is presented in Table 3. Of the 1040 individuals Comparison between communities sampled, 34 (3.26%) showed some sign of extraction. The greatest sampling frequency (19 events) was in extraction Knowledge of A. colubrina medicinal properties was taken classes 25–49.99% and 50–74.99%. Only one individual as a reference point for the comparison between Carão was in the ﬁrst level of extraction. Collection evidence and other caatinga communities, although this species had was concentrated in intermediate diameter classes, and several different use citations. On average, each informant diameter class 21.00–23.99 cm had the largest number cited 0.49 medicinal uses, and the informant diversity (ID) of individuals (eight). All individuals of the three largest value was 0.073 (Table 2). Most medicinal use citations diameter classes that were found within this population attributed to angico were poorly distributed among the showed signs of extraction. No angico was ring-barked inhabitants. Of the 19 indications, 14 were only mentioned per se, although four individuals had all of their bark by one or two informants and had informant equitability removed up to a height of 2 m. values (IE) of 0.35, which conﬁrms the uneven distribu- The population structure of A. colubrina is presented tion of knowledge. Values of informant diversity (ID) and in Figure 2a. Individuals were concentrated in the smaller equitability were similar to those found in the Riachão diameter classes, but 60.79% (632) of the total ﬁt the ﬁrst da Malhada de Pedra community, but lower than val- three classes (initial life stages), whereas only four indi- ues obtained from Alto das Ameixas. The comparison viduals (0.38%) were in the seven latest phases of the life between analyses for Carão and the two other communities cycle. Therefore, this A. colubrina population followed the is presented in Table 2. inverted J model, which is characteristic of a stable plant The therapeutic indications were related to nine population. The LSLRS visual analysis, in turn, indicated a anatomical systems, following the classiﬁcation of negative exponential model between the centre of the diam- Albuquerque et al. (2007) (Table 2). An inverse mea- eter class (Cli) and the Neperian logarithm of class plus surement of medical versatility of A. colubrina revealed one (Cli = 46.2579–7.36836 × ln(l + 1); R = 91.4138) that ‘disorders of the respiratory system’ was the highest (Figure 2b). A. colubrina also shows a hiatus in popula- medicinal use cited (seven). Thus, this area had the highest tion structure in that there is an absence of individuals in at use diversity value (UD = 0.37), followed by lesions, poi- least four diameter classes, which signals that these classes sonings and other external injury (0.16), undeﬁned pains must receive most exploitation. In regard to vertical struc- and illnesses (0.11) and disorders of the genitourinary ture, the population is characterised by more individuals in system (0.11). Similarly, disorders of the respiratory sys- the intermediate height classes, especially between 3 m and tem was the anatomical system with the highest index of 3.99 m (Figure 3). use diversity among the Malhada de Pedras and Alto das Ameixas communities, which suggests that these thera- peutic attributions may have regional consensus. The most Discussion cited medicinal uses among the Carão community were Knowledge of A. colubrina inﬂuenza (consensus value for use-types, CUT = 0.014), cough (0.005) and bronchitis (0.004), all of which are The data collected in this study suggest that a large number related to the respiratory system. Other medicinal citations of Carão inhabitants know and actually use angico, which 112 G.T. Soldati and U.P. de Albuquerque Table 2. Compilation of measurements from several studies on A. colubrina (Vell.) Brenan among three rural communities of Pernambuco’s Agreste region, northeastern Brazil. Riachão Ameixas Carão Total informants 101 55 101 Number of informants that knew the plant (%) 46 (45%) 47 (85%) 53 (52%) Average uses per informant 1.66 1.31 0.49 Total medicinal uses 24 21 19 Total citations 168 72 140 Average value of use diversity per informant (ID) 0.070 0.025 0.073 Average equitability value per informant (IE) 0.410 0.420 0.350 Corporal systems UD UE UD UE UD UE Undeﬁned pains and illnesses 0.16 0.27 0.07 0.14 0.11 0.29 Skin and subcutaneous tissues 0.08 0.16 0.22 0.40 0.05 0.14 Disorders of the genitourinary system 0.02 0.03 0.12 0.24 0.11 0.29 Disorders of the respiratory system 0.58 1.00 0.50 1.00 0.37 1.00 Disorders of the digestive system 0.01 0.02 0.03 0.06 0.05 0.14 Infectious diseases 0.06 0.10 – – 0.05 0.14 Diseases related to the endocrine – – – – 0.05 0.14 system, nutrition and metabolism Lesions, poisoning and other – – – – 0.16 0.43 consequences of external damage Pregnancy, birth and puerperium – – – – 0.05 0.14 Diseases of the skeleton, muscles and 0.01 0.01 – – – – connective tissue Diseases of the blood and 0.01 0.02 – – – – hematopoietic system Consensus value for the sampling area (CVS) Anthropogenic 0.53 0.66 0.57 Native vegetation 0.46 0.33 0.43 Markets and fairs 0.01 0.00 0.00 Consensus value for the part used (CPU) Bark 0.09 0.88 0.84 Bark and spines 0.03 0.00 0.00 Leaf 0.07 0.12 0.03 Inner bark 0.02 0.00 0.03 Flower 0.00 0.00 0.08 Wood 0.00 0.00 0.03 Note: ID, informant diversity value; IE, informant equitability value; UD, use diversity value; UE, use equitability value. Source: Data on the Riachão de Malhada de Pedra and Alto das Ameixas communities were extracted from Monteiro et al. (2006a). Diameter classes (cm) Figure 1. Distribution of selective cutting events among a population of A. colubrina (angico) at the Carão community, Pernambuco, Brazil. Diameter classes are 3 cm intervals. Number of individuals 0−2.99 3−5.99 6−8.99 9−11.99 12−14.99 15−17.99 18−20.99 21−23.99 24−26.99 27−29.99 30−32.99 33−35.99 36−38.99 39−41.99 42−44.99 45−47.99 48−50.99 51−53.99 International Journal of Biodiversity Science, Ecosystem Services & Management 113 Table 3. Distribution of the signs of extraction per diameter class in a population of A. colubrina (Vell.) Brenan (angico) at the community of Carão, Altinho, Pernambuco, northeastern Brazil. Levels of bark extraction Total Overall 0 1 23456 7 exploited total Diameter class (cm) (0%) (1–10%) (11–25%) (26–50%) (51–75%) (76–99%) Ring-barked (100%) 1 (0–2.99) 230 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 230 2 (3–5.99) 211 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 212 3 (6–8.99) 190 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 190 4 (9–11.99) 124 1 0 0 1 1 0 0 3 127 5 (12–14.99) 102 0 0 0 1 0 0 2 3 105 6 (15–17.99) 57 0 0 0 3 0 0 1 4 61 7 (18–20.99) 32 0 0 3 1 1 0 0 5 37 8 (21–23.99) 31 0 1 4 1 1 0 1 8 39 9 (24–26.99) 12 0 0 2 0 1 0 0 3 15 10 (27–29.99) 11 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 1 12 11 (30–32.99) 5 0 2 0 1 0 0 0 3 8 12 (33–35.99) 1 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 2 13 (36–38.99) 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 14 (39–41.99) 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 15 (42–44.99) 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 16 (45–47.99) 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 17 (48–50–99) 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 1 1 18 (51–53.99) 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 Total 1006 1 6 11 8 4 0 4 34 1040 114 G.T. Soldati and U.P. de Albuquerque (a) Diameter classes (cm) (b) Diameter classes (cm) Figure 2. Analysis of a population of A. colubrina (angico) from the Carão community, Pernambuco, Brazil. (a) Population structure into classes with 3 cm diameter intervals. (b) Linear regression (least squares linear regression slope, LSLRS) between the centre of the diameter class (Cli) and the Neperian logarithm of class plus one (Ln(Ni + 1)). Cli = 46.2579 – 7.36836×ln(l + 1); R = 91.4138. indicate potential pressure on A. colubrina populations situation, Oliveira et al. (2007) found that the most cited growing in the region. According to Reyes-Garcia et al. medicinal tree species suffered the most exploitation pres- (2005), it is necessary to differentiate knowledge and actual sure. Despite the difference in use categories evaluated in use in ethnobotanical studies, as most research assumes these two studies (which may inﬂuence the ﬁnal results that use and knowledge are related when, in fact, such because each category has speciﬁc processes attributed to a relationship may or may not occur. Thus, many infer- use), these data suggest that, for the caatinga, it might ences in the ethnobotanical literature that are based on the be wrong to use citations as indications of use pressure intrinsic relationship between use and knowledge might without precise veriﬁcation. be wrong. For the speciﬁc case of the Carão community, knowledge citations in interviews cannot be viewed as an Comparison between the communities indirect tool for analysis of use pressures on A. colubrina or as a way to understand processes that call for distinctions The data from this study support further investigation between knowledge and use (such as knowledge erosion and suggest that angico is quite versatile, being used processes). Ramos et al. (2008) found a similar relation- in many use categories (Monteiro et al. 2006a; Lucena ship in another rural community of the caatinga, where 2009). Following the literature, this study also highlights the diverse species recognised for their fuel uses were not the importance of A. colubrina as a medicinal source necessarily used in practice. Conversely, for a very similar (Monteiro et al. 2006a; Albuquerque et al. 2007; Lucena 0–2.99 3–5.99 6–8.99 9–11.99 12–14.99 15–17.99 18–20.99 21–23.99 24–26.99 27–29.99 30–32.99 33–35.99 36–38.99 39–41.99 42–44.99 45–47.99 48–50.99 51–53.99 Ln(Ni + 1) Number of individuals 0–2.99 9–11.99 21–23.99 30–32.99 39–41.99 48–50.99 59–61.99 International Journal of Biodiversity Science, Ecosystem Services & Management 115 Height classes (m) Figure 3. Vertical structure of A. colubrina (angico) at the community of Carão, Pernambuco, Brazil. 2009). Albuquerque et al. (2007) inventoried the literature compared the importance of these two zones in another on medicinal plants and concluded that angico is one of rural area of the caatinga, concluding that anthropogenic the 10 most important species for rural communities of the areas are not important resource zones. However, the diver- caatinga. gence from the ﬁndings of Albuquerque (2006) may be the The quantitative comparison between the Carão com- effect of the tools used for analysis; although he exam- munity and the two communities investigated by Monteiro ined the entire local pharmacopoeia, the investigations in et al. (2006b) shows some local peculiarities. Following the the three communities focused on a single species that classiﬁcation of Albuquerque et al. (2007), use in three may occur in both areas and may not necessarily reﬂect anatomical systems was speciﬁc to the Carão commu- a general pattern. nity: diseases related to the endocrine glands, nutrition and Some studies, such as those of Ladio and Lozada metabolism; lesions, poisoning and other consequences of (2004) and Estomba et al. (2006), conﬁrmed that different external damage; and pregnancy, birth and puerperium. resource zones have different use and species richness pat- Therefore, ﬁve therapeutic uses (wounds, menstrual distur- terns that are both known and used. Thus, the different bances, collision, wound-healing and abortion) are exclu- landscapes recognised as resource zones may be explored sive to Carão. The fact that these uses are not shared in different ways. This pattern, however, does not occur in in the communities studied by Monteiro et al. (2006b) the Carão community, where the individuals found in the might be related to sampling errors due to the methods home gardens, mountain and mountain base zones are sub- used (Monteiro et al. 2008) or the result of speciﬁc local ject to selective bark extraction and cutting. In contrast to experiences. the ﬁndings of this study, it was expected that individu- For the Carão community, both the bark and the als from home gardens were used in less damaging ways stem had most potential in all categories. Nevertheless, (such as bark extraction) so that A. colubrina individu- Monteiro et al. (2006b) found that when leaves were avail- als were retained near homes for easy access in case of able, they had the highest tannin concentration, which is the emergency. However, several informants mentioned that active chemical in angico. How can such a contradiction be they cut angico in their home gardens for fuelwood or explained? Albuquerque and Andrade (2002) suggest that construction. This lack of a distinct use pattern among col- resource-use patterns may reﬂect ecological adaptations to lection zones may be a result of local knowledge of this environmental pressures, and that the preference for more species’ growth, as most interviewees stated that growth perennial parts in the caatinga (e.g. bark in the Carão com- is fast and the tree regenerates easily, even after selective munity) may be explained by temporal availability. This cutting. hypothesis, the climatic seasonality hypothesis, was ﬁrst proposed by Albuquerque (2006). Population structure and extraction of A. colubrina The data from the Carão, Malhada de Pedras and Alto das Ameixas communities suggest that, for the spe- Comparing the population analysed here with other angico ciﬁc case of A. colubrina, areas with a higher degree populations, it is clear that the density at Carão is of human interference had the highest collection poten- considerably higher (Table 4). The density is approximately tial. However, Albuquerque (2006) analysed all of the 4.8 times higher than in other populations, so more medicinal species of anthropogenic and native zones and resources are available to the Carão community. However, 0Ð0.99 1Ð1.99 2Ð2.99 3Ð3.99 4Ð4.99 5Ð5.99 6Ð6.99 7Ð7.99 8Ð8.99 9Ð9.99 10Ð10.99 Number of individuals 116 G.T. Soldati and U.P. de Albuquerque Table 4. Comparison between absolute densities of 13 populations of A. colubrina (Vell.) Brenan from the literature and the population studied here. Characteristics of each phytosociological study are presented. Study State Area Inclusion criteria Area (ha) AD χ p< This study PE Altinho CSL ≥ 3 cm 2.7 385.19 – – Fonseca (1991) SE Poço redondo CSL ≥ 3 cm 0.15 260 24.29 0.0001 Albuquerque et al. (2005) PE Alagoinha CSL ≥ 3 cm 0.1 140 114.46 0.0001 Drumond et al. (1982) PE Santa Maria da Boa Vista CSL ≥ 5 cm 0.43 105 54.408 0.0001 Araújo et al. (1995) PE Custódia CSL ≥ 1.5 cm 1.5 99 140.502 0.0001 Fonseca (1991) SE Poço redondo CSL ≥ 3 cm 0.15 93 178.54 0.0001 Alcoforado-Filho et al. (2003) PE Caruaru CSL ≥ 3 cm 0.72 82 196.76 0.0001 Fonseca (1991) SE Canindé CSL ≥ 3 cm 0.15 80 200.22 0.0001 Araújo et al. (1995) PE Floresta CSL ≥ 1.5 cm 1.5 40 251.38 0.0001 Fonseca (1991) SE Canindé CSL ≥ 3 cm 0.15 40 280.25 0.0001 Fonseca (1991) SE Poço redondo CSL ≥ 3 cm 0.16 33.3 221.72 0.0001 Figueiredo (2000) PE Sertânia CSL ≥ 3 cm 1.5 31 301.43 0.0001 Araújo et al. (1995) PE Floresta CSL ≥ 1.5 cm 1.5 23 291.78 0.0001 Andrade (2000) PE Brejo da M. de Deus CSL ≥ 3 cm 1.0 9 359.01 0.0001 Note: AD, absolute density; χ , chi-square for comparison between population densities; p, signiﬁcance for this test; PE, Pernambuco; SE, Sergipe. this comparison should be viewed in context, because the However, four larger diameter classes lacked any rep- present study sampled all individuals in the area, whereas resentatives, which might have three possible causes. First, other investigations were based on less rigorous sampling. this angico population is relatively new and has not yet This discrepancy may be the result of factors speciﬁc to the established many individuals in higher diameter classes. area, such as land-use history, topography and the presence Second, this population hiatus could be the result of inten- of temporary creeks (which favour soil water retention) tional selective cutting that favours larger adult individuals. (Silva and Barbosa 2000). Third, this result may reﬂect the population structure that In relation to selective cutting, this was concentrated we constructed from the small interval (3 cm) diameter in the intermediate class diameters. Conversely, results for classes. Fieldwork revealed that the ﬁrst two explanations bark removal indicate that local people prefer to collect are more plausible, especially because some dead indi- from individual trees of greater diameter and, consequently, viduals were found due to clear-cutting. Many plants are larger amount of bark. As noted earlier, this preference is capable of supporting high levels of extraction due to their linked to the perception of residents that the bark of larger biological characteristics, such as life history and repro- angico produces stronger remedies. In Benin, Gaoue and duction rate (Siebert 2004; Ticktin 2004). Characteristics Ticktin (2007) recognised that people also preferred indi- inherent to angico are: initiation of the reproductive phase viduals of greater diameter. The same pattern was identi- as early as the third year (Maia 2004), production of large ﬁed by Purohit et al. (2001), who evaluated bark extraction amounts of fruit and seed, high rates of germination and of a widely distributed and used medicinal species from the survival and low mortality (Silva and Barbosa 2000). Himalayas in India. However, projections from our results on A. colu- The population structure of A. colubrina tends towards brina population structure require a great deal of care an inverted J model (i.e. it is able to self-perpetuate), because only one speciﬁc population was analysed, with- which was conﬁrmed in our LSLRS analysis. According out comparisons with other populations and time intervals. to Condit et al. (1998), such a population trend can be con- Monteiro et al. (2006a) studied the structure of two A. col- ﬁrmed from the angle of the line. A negative slope (as in the ubrina populations close to Carão, and concluded that the case of angico: −7.36836) indicates that the population is angico population more distant from the community had a capable of self-perpetuation. However, in order to categor- diameter distribution that suggests some stability, while the ically state that angico extraction in the Carão community population closer to households lacks intermediate diame- is sustainable, that is, it does not compromise population ter class, which makes it vulnerable. These data suggest viability, it is necessary to compare the population tar- that local speciﬁcities can compromise the presence of geted for extraction with a control population without bark A. colubrina in the environment. collection events. The context of the community studied Guedje et al. (2007) used the same tools to examine does not allow for such analysis because, as stated ear- the environmental sustainability of Garcinia lucida Vesque lier, the population inventoried in this study is the only bark extraction and concluded that, despite the diameter one in the region growing in its natural environment. Thus, distribution being a typical stable population model, it was based on the fact that a stable population has an inverse J not possible to provide long-term conclusions about the distribution and the high population density found, we con- persistence of this species if extraction events continue. clude that the data presented here show that extraction by The analysis here of the state of the A. colubrina popu- the community does not currently compromise the plant lation structure is static in time and characteristic of only population studied. one-time point. Our evaluation supports a strong inference International Journal of Biodiversity Science, Ecosystem Services & Management 117 on the status of the population, but, as stated by Guedje Alcoforado-Filho FG, Sampaio EVSB, Rodal MJN. 2003. Florística e ﬁtossociologia de um remanescente de vegetação et al. (2007), care is needed when making long-term asser- caducifólia espinhosa arbórea em Caruaru, Pernambuco. tions, especially because cultural aspects of human popu- Acta Bot Bras. 17:287–303. lations (knowledge management, manner of use) change Almeida CFCBR, Albuquerque UP. 2002. Uso e conservação over time. However, this conclusion must be contextu- de plantas e animais medicinais no estado de Pernambuco alised in relation to the available literature (see Almeida (Nordeste do Brasil): um estudo de caso. Interciencia. 26:276–285. and Albuquerque 2002; Vieira et al. 2002; Monteiro et al. Andrade WM. 2000. 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International Journal of Biodiversity Science, Ecosystem Services & Management – Taylor & Francis
Published: Dec 1, 2010
Keywords: ethnobotany; caatinga; bark extractivism; tannins
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