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Acta Botanica Brasilica
Print version ISSN 0102-3306On-line version ISSN 1677-941X
VIEIRA, Irlaine R. et al. A contingent valuation study of buriti ( Mauritia flexuosa L.f.) in the main region of production in Brazil: is environmental conservation a collective responsibility?. Acta Bot. Bras. [online]. 2016, vol.30, n.4, pp.532-539. Epub Oct 13, 2016. ISSN 0102-3306. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/0102-33062016abb0115.
The immature leaves of the buriti palm (Mauritia flexuosa) are widely harvested in the municipality of Barreirinhas, Maranhão, for the production of handicrafts, which are sold to locals and tourists. The increasing demand for these artisanal goods is stimulating the emergence of an informal market for immature buriti leaves, leading to an intensification of their extraction and resulting in negative effects on local buriti palm populations and the ecosystem. Thus, the objective of the present study was to assess the environmental value of the buriti palm tree based on the maximum willingness to pay (WTP) for its conservation, using the contingent valuation method. Among the respondents, 99.74% reported that the palm species should be protected and the majority of them (65.75%) agreed to pay for its conservation (annual WTP R$ 179.49 ± 222.05). Multivariate analysis revealed that the WTP was not influenced by the socio-economic profile of the respondents. The main reasons for non-WTP are related to dissatisfaction with the government and the belief that financial contributions would not solve problems of environmental damage. Overall, the evaluated population believes that environmental conservation is not an obligation of the government or that of the population, but is a collective responsibility.
Keywords : contingent valuation; handicrafts; harvesting; non-timber forest products (NTFP); palm tree.