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Ethnobotany of Artisanal Fishers

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Abstract:

This chapter has its focus on the artisanal fisher's traditional local knowledge on plant resources in particular, and environments in general. Human Ecology and Ethnobotany are closely related approaches, differing in the emphasis on behaviour or on perception, respectively. Artisanal fishers' knowledge and use of natural resources at different scales can be studied through a combination of these approaches. In this chapter the knowledge and use of plants and environments is analysed using case studies of artisanal fishers in the Brazilian coast. Artisanal fishers interact with plant resources through their farming activities, through occasional use of medicinal plants, and through extraction of plant resources for the building of fishing traps, among others. We discuss the general use of plant resources by different island-dwelling communities, contrasting some aspects of their history and environments. We then discuss the distinctive aspects of plant cultivation and plant extraction, focusing on small scale farming activities and on the use of native trees and bamboos to build fishing traps. Fisher communities have been increasingly connected to urban areas and to new economic alternatives, such as tourism exploration. In association to these changes, the knowledge related to the terrestrial environment in general and to the plant resources in particular can persist dynamically among artisanal fishers. Here we illustrate some aspects of such rich knowledge.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5848/CSP.0441.00005

Publication date: January 1, 2009

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  • Current Trends in Human Ecology
    Anthropology, sociology, and ecology come together in this book, where the unifying goal of theorizing and practising interdisciplinarity in human ecology is shown by, closely tracking examples of current trends and developments. This book is a harvest from the XV International Meeting of the Society for Human Ecology, held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, October 4-7, 2007. This volume ends by indicating several lines of thought and of analyses on current subjects, as follows: sustainability in different cultural contexts and perspectives, methods towards approaching sustainable systems, and current global concerns. Those include agriculture in tropical areas (slash-and-burn practices), climate change, and nature and human behavioural patterns, among others.
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