Perceptions and Use of Native Forests in the Arid Chaco of Córdoba, Argentina
Keywords:plant uses, arid forests, forage woody plants, Chaco, cattlemen
The human population in the arid Chaco forests of Argentina is composed mainly of stockmen carrying out ancestral practices. Plant uses in this biogeographic region are relatively well known, but the forest perception by local populations was not studied so far. A total of 77 stockmen and other local salaried people were interviewed with semi-structured interviews, and herbarium specimens were produced with the informants. A Likert scale was used to obtain perceptions of the forest value. We registered 124 plant species, particularly forage woody plants, which have a variety of uses. More than 100 species overlapped with a survey of the region more than one century ago. Stockmen carry out ancestral practices such as cutting, collecting, and storing dry fruit, creating elaborate cercos, and know substantially more forage plants. The results suggest that the local population as a whole has a positive perception of the forests, regardless of their main occupation, and needs the forest to reinforce stockmen’s traditions (criollos) through daily activities.
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