Diversity of locally useful tropical forest wild-plants as a function of species richness and informant culture

Diversity of locally useful tropical forest wild-plants as a function of species richness and informant culture

Different conservation values and perspectives can lead to divergent conservation
objectives. Understanding such differences is crucial to developing more comprehensive
and inclusive conservation approaches. Using plots, we assessed how numbers of
useful species as reported by indigenous forest-dwelling people relate to plant species
richness. We used 173 plots recording both trees and herbaceous vegetation and the
knowledge of both Merap- and Punan-dominated communities in Malinau, Kalimantan
(Indonesian Borneo). We used general linear models (GLMs) to characterise the relationships.
Useful species increase with species richness in all cases. The relationship varied
across culture and community and was not always linear. The proportion of tree species
reported as useful by Merap (primarily agriculturalist) informants was not constant but
declined significantly as plot diversity increased; this was not the case for Punan (primarily hunter-gatherer) informants. There was no decline for the reported proportion of useful herbs as richness increases, as assessed by either ethnic group. Communities with less wealth and less schooling generally reported a higher proportion of the useful species. We interpret these results in terms of how landscape patterns of plant diversity are experienced. Understanding of these relationships can help us develop a more explicit approach to weighing and reconciling different conservation values and management objectives in
changing forest landscapes.

Authors: Sheil, D.; Salim, A.

Topic: ethnobotany,value systems,indigenous knowledge,conservation

Publication Year: 2012

ISSN: 0960-3115

Source: Biodiversity and Conservation 21(3): 687-699

DOI: 10.1007/s10531-011-0208-8


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