Urban agriculture and agrobiodiversity conservation: a case study in Mato Grosso State, Brazil

Mirella Cultrera, Maria Christina de Mello Amorozo, Fábio Cop Ferreira


It is common for residents of small cities, who are often of rural origin, to grow food plants in urban and peri-urban areas, an activity that can contribute to plant species conservation. An ethnobotanical study was conducted of this phenomenon in five peripheral neighborhoods of the town of Santo Antônio do Leverger, Mato Grosso State, Brazil. A survey of 135 randomly-selected households was carried out to characterize the frequency of food plants, and a more detailed ethnobotanical study was done in 30 households. Descriptive analyses and analyses of similarity and ordination were conducted. Ninety-seven species from 38 botanical families were identified, cultivated in three types of areas: homegardens and fields, which have different and complementary floristic structure and composition; and empty lots, which are intermediary between the other two. While some species are common to the majority of households studied, the similarity between the sets of species/varieties is, in general, below 50%; besides, many of them have low frequency. On the one hand, this illustrates the different contributions of each household to the total; on the other hand, it also reveals the vulnerability to loss of species/varieties, which is partially avoided through their circulation in the social network. Since many cities in Brazil have characteristics similar to the one studied, their potential for maintaining agro-biodiversity should be taken into consideration.

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.13102/scb97


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