The ethnoecology of Caiçara metapopulations (Atlantic Forest, Brazil): ecological concepts and questions
Alpina Begossi 1
1Fisheries and Food Institute, Rua Coronel Quirino 1636 apt.1, Campinas, 13025-002, S.P., Brazil & Museu de História Natural IB UNICAMP, Brazil
The Atlantic Forest is represented on the coast of Brazil by approximately 7,5% of remnants, much of these concentrated on the country's SE coast. Within these southeastern remnants, we still find the coastal Caiçaras who descend from Native Indians and Portuguese Colonizers. The maintenance of such populations, and their existence in spite of the deforestation that occurred on the Atlantic Forest coast, deserves especial attention and analysis. In this study, I address, in particular, the Caiçaras who live on the coast of São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro States, illustrating with examples of coastal inhabitants from other areas, such as Bahia State (NE coast) and of other forested areas (riverine caboclos of the Amazon). The major focus of this study, based on previous research, performed since 1986 in several populations or villages of the Atlantic Forest coast, is to understand the resilience of the Caiçaras, which is analyzed using ecological concepts, such as metapopulation, resilience and adaptive cycles. The Caiçara populations are located on islands (Búzios, Comprida, Grande, Ilhabela, Jaguanum, Gipóia) and on the coast (Bertioga, Puruba, Picinguaba, among others). Information gathered about the Caiçaras regarding the economic cycles of the local regions, along with ecological, historical and economic data available, are used to understand such resilience, and are complemented with comparative examples from the Brazilian Amazon and with variables such as the local restrictions imposed by environmental governmental agencies.
J Ethnobiol Ethnomedicine. 2006; 2: 40. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License.