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  • Author or Editor: Marcelo Mendes Braga Júnior x
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Abstract

The production of illegal charcoal, associated with other local human practices, is responsible for the degradation of native forests, especially in the Brazilian Amazon. The need for market control and charcoal production is accompanied by the lack of comparative charcoal materials from the Amazon. Here, we describe charcoal samples of 21 Brazilian species and provide SEM images that can facilitate the charcoal identification. It is possible to distinguish the species on the basis of anatomy. Features such as vessel groupings, vessel–ray pitting, perforation plates, axial parenchyma, ray cellular composition, storied structure and secretory elements were chosen as primary diagnostic features for the identification of species. We highlight vessel groupings, axial parenchyma type and in some cases even perforation plates, which were easily observed in low magnification SEM images and can assist in the supervision by government agents. From our descriptions, evaluations and photomicrographs, it will be possible to compare charcoal from commercial species from the Amazon.

In: IAWA Journal

Summary

The Brazilian Amazon has the world’s largest concentration of indigenous American peoples, but many environmental threats have affected the preservation of this enormous human ethnocultural heritage. This study identified the species and studied the different uses of wood by two indigenous ethnic groups in Southeastern Pará, Brazil, namely the “Gavião” and “Suruí”. Ten taxa were identified, distributed in eight botanical families, with five being identified to genus and five to species levels. The wood of Bertholletia excelsa, an endangered forest species in Brazil, is important in the material culture of the Suruí indigenous people. The indigenous ethnic groups studied preferentially use medium density wood for building and high-density wood for hunting and warfare artefacts. The technological properties of wood justify its use by the indigenous peoples studied. We caution that the increasing environmental threats in Indigenous Lands within the Brazilian Amazon harm the preservation of the ethnocultural heritage of indigenous peoples.

In: IAWA Journal

Abstract

The Brazilian Amazon is vastly deforested by unsustainable practices. Several species of trees are threatened by extinction and their exact number is hard to quantify. Federal laws prohibit the harvest of endangered forest species. It is a vast challenge to control the illegal trade of wood and especially charcoal in Brazil. The goal of this work is to contribute to an identification database. It presents the anatomy of wood and charcoal of Bertholletia excelsa, Hevea brasiliensis and Swietenia macrophylla. Structural modifications due to carbonization were also studied. One Eucalyptus sp. hybrid was analysed as a comparison with native species. Anatomical features were well preserved in charcoals. Quantitative modifications, such as mass loss, increase of vessel and ray density, and reduction of vessel diameter and ray height, were seen in all species. The native species were easily distinguished from eucalypt in both wood and charcoal, and this study will allow easily sorting these species in cases of illegal trading. Since Amazon conservancy is highly dependent on the knowledge of native species, our results contribute to avoid illegal charcoal trade.

In: IAWA Journal