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Oligarchic forests of economic plants in amazonia: utilization and conservation of an important tropical resource

Oligarchic forests of economic plants in amazonia: utilization and conservation of an important tropical resource

Conservation Biology: the Journal of the Society for Conservation Biology 3(4): 341-349

ISSN/ISBN: 0888-8892

PMID: 21129021

DOI: 10.2307/2386215

Tropical forests dominated by only one or two tree species occupy tens of millions of hectares in Amazonia. In many cases, the dominant species produce fruits, seeds, or oils of economic importance. Oligarchic (Gr. oligo = few, archic = dominated or ruled by) forests of six economic species, i.e., Euterpe oleracea, Grias peruviana, Jessenia bataua, Mauritia flexuosa, Myrciaria dubia, and Orbignya phalerata, were studied in Brazil and Peru. Natural populations of these species contain from 100 to 3,000 conspecific adult trees/ba and produce up to 11.1 metric tons of fruit/ha/yr. These plant populations are utilized, and occasionally managed by rural inhabitants have only a minimal impact on forest structure and function, yet can generate substantial economic returns. Market-oriented extraction of the fruits produced by oligarchic forests appears to represent a promising alternative for reconciling the development and conservation of Amazonian forests.

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Accession: 002175319

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