Characterization and yield evaluation of a native population of long pepper (Piper hispidinervum C.DC) in an extractive reserve in the state of Acre, Brazil

The search for economic alternatives to traditional extractivism in Amazonia is important and the exploration of natural populations of plants of the Piperaceae family, which is abundant in Acre, can be a profitable activity. The objective of this study was to determine some demographic, ecological and yield characteristics of the species long pepper (Piper hispidinervum C.DC) and to evaluate the possibility of its management for the production of essential oil, with high safrole content. The study was done in the Chico Mendes Extractive Project, Xapuri, Acre, in a ten year old fallow, where long pepper was dominant. The population was evaluated through a 12% intensity random sample, with sampling plots of 10 χ 10 m. A mean density of 15 individuals/100 m2 was verified, varying from zero to 71 individuals. This population presented an average safrole content of 92% in the essential oil, with CV=2.38%. The mean yield of oil in the dry biomass was 3.5%, with CV=28.57%. Oil yield was estimated at 12,11 kg.ha-1, with a single harvest/year, which represents 15,1% of the yield obtained in cultivation. The viability of the exploitation of these populations depends on the development of techniques to increase plant density. Furthermore, in the choice of populations for management, size, density and age of the population should be considered.

Amazonia; biomass; essential oil; safrole; sustained yield management

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