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Understanding Euterpe edulis fruit production and harvesting in different social-ecological systems

Grant number: 13/19411-0
Support type:Scholarships abroad - Research Internship - Doctorate
Effective date (Start): November 10, 2013
Effective date (End): January 09, 2014
Field of knowledge:Agronomical Sciences - Forestry Resources and Forestry Engineering - Forest Management
Principal researcher:Edson José Vidal da Silva
Grantee:Saulo Eduardo Xavier Franco de Souza
Supervisor abroad: Karen A. Kainer
Home Institution: Escola Superior de Agricultura Luiz de Queiroz (ESALQ). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). Piracicaba , SP, Brazil
Research place: University of Florida, Gainesville (UF), United States  
Associated to the scholarship:11/09241-5 - Fruit management of Euterpe edulis Martius and multiple use of Atlantic Forest in Ubatuba and São Luis do Paraitinga as conservation strategy, BP.DR


Management of non timber forest products (NTFPs) by local communities from tropical regions could potentially satisfy conservation and socio-economic demands. The conspicuous palm Euterpe edulis figures among the most important NTFPs sources from the Atlantic Forests of Brazil. Though there is a great body of scientific literature about E. edulis, there is a gap of knowledge on the variation of its fruit production and harvesting. We monitored managed and unmanaged populations of E. edulis over two consecutive years in different social-ecological systems to provide understanding about the spatial and temporal variation of fruit production and harvesting. We address the following questions: (1) How do E. edulis fruit production and harvesting vary spatially and temporally in different habitats and management regimes? (2) What are the main drivers of E. edulis fruit production variation? (3) What is intensity of fruit harvesting in different social ecological systems? We hypothesize that E. edulis fruit production and harvesting are increased and variation is reduced in stands most intensively managed, where light plays a fundamental role. This study is being conducted in the northeast region of São Paulo State, Brazil, specifically in four communities situated in the buffer zones or inside Serra do Mar State Park (SMSP). We established 71 circular permanent plots (314 m2), totaling 2.23 ha of sampling along a gradient of altitude and intensity of landscape management inside and around SMSP. We have monitored fruit production and harvesting at each palm inside these plots for two consecutive years, and we are also conducting a classification of the illumination level of each palm crown. Additionally, we scored each observed infructescence, and collected data on environmental variables. To analyze these data, we first intend to discover powerful explanatory variables through principal component analysis (PCA), then build mixed models and compare them using Aikaike`s Information Criteria (AIC) and graphical analysis. Finally, individual and population fruit production variability index and the fruit harvesting intensity will be calculated. (AU)

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