Print version ISSN 0100-6762
FRANCELINO, Márcio Rocha; FERNANDES FILHO, Elpídio Inácio; RESENDE, Mauro and LEITE, Helio Garcia. Caatinga forest contribution to the sustainability of settlement projects on rio grande do norte backwoods. Rev. Árvore [online]. 2003, vol.27, n.1, pp. 79-86. ISSN 0100-6762. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0100-67622003000100011.
A floristic survey was conducted to characterize the caatinga forest resources as well as to determine its contribution to the sustainability agrarian reform projects in western Rio Grande do Norte. This survey showed that the pioneer species were better distributed in the sampling units, indicating that these forests had been explored prior to occupation by the settlers. The closed arboreal-shruby type was the most common forest stratum, and corresponded to 75% of the sampled plots. The settlements with forest cover of the open arboreal-shruby type presented low density associated with a low floristic diversity as well as a marked tendency to homogenization, making this forest cover a priority for conservation and/or flora enrichment. Due to its low profitability, exploration of caatinga forest resources should be only an complement to the settlers' income, since other activities provide higher economic returns. However, the caatinga forest is very important within a social context, being fundamental for the sustainability of the settlements studied.
Keywords : Agrarian reform; preservation; caatinga.