Plant Use By Local Artisans Within The Los Tuxtlas Biosphere Reserve, Veracruz, Mexico

653 words - 3 pages

Throughout Latin America, the elaboration of local handicrafts for sale is an important economic source for many indigenous and non indigenous groups. The confection of many of these items involves the parts from a diverse number of species of plants and animals found in the remaining tropical rain forest areas. It is important to obtain information on the species used and to assess the impact of this activity involving the native flora and fauna of these areas. Studies in tropical areas such as Panama and India have documented the use and, the environmental effects of the harvesting of non-timber forest products (NTFP) such as seeds, plant fibers and tropical hardwoods for artisanal use as a means to provide economic resources for indigenous people, as well as to improve forest conservation and management (Runk, Mepaquito & Peña, 2004; Shaanker et al, 2004).
Mexico is well known for its high biological-cultural diversity. The country occupies fourth place in biological diversity contributing to about 10 % of the known species worldwide along with a very high proportion of endemic species. Just as important is its cultural diversity which is notable in the wide selection of natural resources used in the elaboration of handicrafts throughout the country. It is a complex task to inventory, classify and determine the raw materials used throughout the different regions of the country due to such a rich selection of natural resources. Such an attempt was undertaken in the past in a project called Inventory of Plant and Animal Species used by artisans in Mexico in which they divided the country into six regions and documented 541 species of plants and 125 animal species used in the elaboration of handicrafts (Bravo & Lopez Gomez, 1999).
Information on the species of plants used as raw materials for the elaboration of artisanal products is often dispersed or lacking in the literature. Another study on artisans and the environment in 2009, divided the...

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