Extraction from woody forest plants in flood plain communities in Amazonian Peru: Use, choice, evaluation and conservation status of resources
Forest Ecology and Management
The extraction and use of materials from woody forest species in communities along the lower Ucayali river in Amazonian Peru is discussed distributed at the categories food, construction, technical uses, medicine and commerce, represented with 5, 8, 11, 12 and 7 uses for specific purposes, respectively. The amounts of materials extracted are compared with the evaluation of the same resources. Three methods served to quantify the extraction, namely (1) recording of the plant-resources extracted by 12 households during a 1-year-long study; (2) observations of peoples activities in the forests and elsewhere and (3) recording of originally extracted materials present in or near the houses of 42 households. Two methods served to evaluate local perceptions of these materials, namely (4) village studies mostly of medicinal plants selected and described by informants and (5) forest plot-studies. Informants were interviewed on the potential uses of 276 pre-selected tree and liana species. Main conclusions are (1) probably all local tree and liana species may be used, but among thousands of potential uses only 291 uses of 156 species were found to be extracted frequently and/or evaluated to be particularly useful in interviews; (2) the importance interviewed informants give to forest resources does often not correlate with how often they extract them; (3) forest types vary much in their potential to provide extracted products, mostly in accordance with floristic compositions; (4) for nearly all purposes the population extracts from a few preferred species constituting a small percentage of the trunks in the forests, while more species representing a larger share of the trunks are recognised as potentially useful; (5) nearly all extracted plant-resources important for the livelihood of the population can be replaced with materials from other local species reducing the consequences of depletion and (6) an intensive exploitation mainly for commerce has depleted local populations of 10 plant species, and 15 species may currently get depleted.