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Environmental heterogeneity influences plant resource use – A case study in a rural community of NE Brazil

Barros, Fernanda Novais, Pinto, Bárbara Luzia Santos, Sá, Cleiçon Félix de, Feitosa, Ivanilda Soares, Medeiros, Patrícia Muniz de
The Science of the total environment 2019 v.671 pp. 362-368
case studies, conservation status, human population, indigenous species, interviews, landscapes, rural communities, wood, Brazil
In regions of high environmental heterogeneity, it is important to observe if different landscape units are used differently by human populations, which can have consequences for the conservation of these units. Thus, the present study seeks to answer the following questions: (1) are different native vegetation units used for different purposes by the local population? (2) is there a difference between the conservation status of native vegetation units according to the local perception? The study was implemented in the rural community of Morrão de Cima, in the municipality of São Desidério (Northeast Brazil). Data were collected through semi-structured interviews and participatory workshops. The main native vegetation units recognized by the interviewees were Brejo, Mata Seca, Serra and Chapada. The community uses the different units of native vegetation for different purposes. The extraction of medicinal resources was important in the Chapada, while the exploitation of food resources was important in the Brejo, and the collection of wood resources was more substantial in Mata Seca and in Serra. We also found differences in the perceived conservation status of the native vegetation units. Our findings indicate the need of caution when proposing conservation strategies in heterogeneous environments, since each landscape unit may be undergoing specific processes, requiring different strategies.