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Brazilian Journal of Biology

versión impresa ISSN 1519-6984


GUILHERME, FAG et al. Vegetative and reproductive phenology of Butia purpurascens Glassman (Arecaceae) under the effects of leaf harvesting. Braz. J. Biol. [online]. 2015, vol.75, n.1, pp.77-85. ISSN 1519-6984.

Butia purpurascens is an endemic and threatened palm tree species that occurs in open areas of the Brazilian Cerrado, predominantly in southwestern Goiás. The leaves of this palm tree are harvested by local people to fabricate brooms. This study evaluated changes in vegetative and reproductive phenology in two different natural populations of this palm tree: one population with leaf harvesting and another non-harvested population. Twenty plants were monitored in each area for 23 months. The phenophases were related to the temperature and precipitation averages for a 30-year period. Leaf sprouting occurred throughout the year, with a slight reduction in periods of low temperatures and low rainfall. The first spathes emerged in March and flowering began during the dry season (June), continuing until January of the following year, concurrent with the period of most intense fruiting. Flowering and fruiting appear to be triggered by periods of drought, which are commonly observed in the Cerrado. The harvested sites produced significantly fewer leaves, spathes, inflorescences and infructescences than the non-harvested sites. Thus, the supply of resources to the local fauna is possibly reduced in sites under leaf exploitation, which in the long term can represent damage to the palm tree population’s structure and dynamics. Other socioeconomic and ecological studies about the effects of leaf harvesting in B. purpurascens are necessary to enable strategies for sustainable use, devise management alternatives and conserve this threatened palm species.

Palabras clave : Brazilian cerrado; reproductive biology; threatened palms conservation; leaf extraction; non-timber forest products.

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