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Ethnobotanical comparison of "Pau Brasil" (Brosimum rubescens Taub.) forests in a Xavante Indian and a non-Xavante community in Eastern Mato Grosso State, Brazil

Marimon, B.S., Felfili, J.M.
Economic botany 2001 v.55 no.4 pp. 555-569
Brosimum, ethnobotany, tropical forests, American Indians, nationalities and ethnic groups, plant communities, botanical composition, indigenous knowledge, biodiversity, savannas, Brazil
A monodominant forest of Brosimum rubescens Taub. located in an Indian Reservation was compared with a similar forest located on a farm owned by non-Xavante settlers, in terms of its phytosociology and the patterns of plant use. In both areas, 60 (10 X 10 m) nested-plots were established in a representative portion of the forest. All woody plants were identified, and their common and scientific names and uses were recorded. The ethnobotanical study was conducted by open-interviews initially and ranking at a later stage for a total of two years of study. The Xavante people use more species, 56% of the 57 species fit in five categories of direct use while the settlers have direct use for 50% of the 44 species found in the forest. The Xavante culture has strong links with the native biodiversity, valuing the multiple use of the species while the settlers use them mostly for timber. The species with higher IVI in the phytosociological study were also the most valued in both communities. Brosimum wood is used for the making of traditional clubs by the Xavante, the fruits are edible and attract wildlife for hunting. The non-Xavante people have been heavily logging these trees for fence posts used in the large farms of the region.