5 years ago

Medicinal plants at Rio Jauaperi, Brazilian Amazon: Ethnobotanical survey and environmental conservation

Medicinal plants at Rio Jauaperi, Brazilian Amazon: Ethnobotanical survey and environmental conservation
The Amazon basin is a mosaic of different environments. Flooded riparian and upland forests play a significant role for the establishment of human settlements. Riparian communities in the Amazon have evolved depending on the use of plants applied for therapeutic purposes, thus developing important knowledge about their management and preparation. Aim of the study This paper describes and analyzes the use and management of medicinal plants in order to establish links to environmental conservation. The categorization of habitats of occurrence and categories of diseases were held in five riparian communities at Rio Jauaperi, in the border between Roraima and Amazonas states in Brazil. The study sight is poorly investigated in terms of scientific research. Materials and methods Quantitative and qualitative ethnobotanical field inquiries and analytical methods including observations, individual and focus group discussions, individual interviews, preference ranking by free listing tasks, guided tours and community mapping were applied. Sutrop's cognitive salience index was applied in order to check the most important ethnospecies and diseases. The survey was conducted from February to December 2012. Results A total of 62 informants were interviewed, resulting in 119 botanical species documented. The most salient medicinal species are usually wide distributed and recognized transculturally. Arboreal habit was the most important corresponding to 47% of total species used. The most frequent accessed environments were terra-firme (upland forest), vargeado (flooded forest), poultry (regenerating forest) and restinga (seasonally flooded forest) which together provides 59% of the total medicinal plant species. Exotic species played a secondary role with only 20% of the total. Thirty seven percent of the species were cultivated. Plants at homegardens are usually associated with children's or women's disease. Xixuaú is the community with improved ability to environmental preservation using more forestry species. The most worrying disease was malaria. Biomedical assistance is precarious in the region and many diseases and healing rituals are culturally built. Conclusions Ethnobotanical surveys of medicinal plants can indicate the level of biodiversity conservation and human health by integrating social and ecological analytical elements. Considering a predominance of management for subsistence, the higher richness of native medicinal species availability indicates that biodiversity and associated traditional knowledge are better preserved. The methods applied here might contribute for the decision-making process regarding conservation public policies and medical assistance in remote areas of the Amazon basin.

Publisher URL: www.sciencedirect.com/science

DOI: S0378874116301696

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