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Ethnobotany Availability and Use of Lianas by the Kaingang People in Suburban Forests in Southern Brazil

Journal Article

Guadagnin DL; Gravato IC

2013

Economic Botany

67

350-362

Ethnobotany Availability and Use of Lianas by the Kaingang People in Suburban Forests in Southern Brazil. Lianas are important components of tropical forests and also non-timber forest products (NTFPs). In this study we 1) record the species of lianas exploited by indigenous Kaingang people and their availability in the remnant forest patches around the city of Porto Alegre Southern Brazil 2) describe the harvesting and crafting techniques and 3) estimate the amount of lianas sold as handicrafts in the main local market and the income obtained. Lianas are exploited exclusively for the handicrafts trade. Seven liana species out of 31 found in forest remnants are used by Kaingangs. Two of them account for 90% of all handicrafts sold and 40.5% of all liana stems in secondary growth remnants—Forsteronia glabrescens Müll.Arg. and Amphilophium paniculatum (L.) Kunth. Another three species are scarce and are exploited less. Raw material must be used within a few weeks and be continuously harvested. Kaingang harvesting strategy includes mechanisms to avoid overexploitation: the division of exploitation areas into plots that are left to rest for one year before a new harvesting campaign and the family’s control of information about potential harvesting sites. The entire process from collection to sale is carried out by the Kaingang families without intermediaries contrary to the most common pattern of NTFP market chains. Trading occurs only locally. Each family earns from USD 98.15 to USD 371.12 per month (30% to 115% of the minimum Brazilian salary). In one year each family consumed on average 10328.40 meters of lianas in the manufacture of handicrafts for sale in the major fair in the city which represents about 50% of the demand for lianas. We estimated that one hectare of unexploited forest can have on average a standing crop of 10165.40 m of the most desired species. Market pressure regulates exploitation a common pattern in NTFP use but in this case leading to a mix of usually opposite trends—manufacture with increasingly sophisticated techniques but using a few liana species and an increasing number of alternative materials.

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Support

The Liana Ecology Project is supported by Marquette University and funded in part by the National Science Foundation.