Research article Topical Sections

Local knowledge of the flora of a region: implications in biodiversity conservation

  • Received: 28 July 2016 Accepted: 27 October 2016 Published: 17 November 2016
  • The flora of a region is important in aesthetic, environmental and economic terms. Academic degree holders are fundamental for the sustainable development of a geographically isolated region such as the Azores, the University of Azores (UAc) contributing to that goal. We assessed the perception of the UAc students about the origin and the importance of the Azorean flora for conservation, culture and economy, by applying a questionnaire to 309 students in different scientific areas, addressing origin, symbolic importance, economic importance, and environmental functions. Students showed some knowledge about the concepts of endemic, native, introduced and invasive species, but often failed to connect those to specific plant taxa. Most species cited as symbolic were animals, and the plants mentioned were mainly exotic/invasive. Respondents had a sense of the most important crops and forest species, and attributed several functions related to biodiversity and environmental conservation to the flora. Despite the many actions already implemented, more initiatives are required to increase the connection between Azoreans and Azorean flora.

    Citation: Maria da Conceição Pereira, Mónica Moura, Isabel Estrela Rego, Luís Silva. Local knowledge of the flora of a region: implications in biodiversity conservation[J]. AIMS Environmental Science, 2016, 3(4): 778-803. doi: 10.3934/environsci.2016.4.778

    Related Papers:

  • The flora of a region is important in aesthetic, environmental and economic terms. Academic degree holders are fundamental for the sustainable development of a geographically isolated region such as the Azores, the University of Azores (UAc) contributing to that goal. We assessed the perception of the UAc students about the origin and the importance of the Azorean flora for conservation, culture and economy, by applying a questionnaire to 309 students in different scientific areas, addressing origin, symbolic importance, economic importance, and environmental functions. Students showed some knowledge about the concepts of endemic, native, introduced and invasive species, but often failed to connect those to specific plant taxa. Most species cited as symbolic were animals, and the plants mentioned were mainly exotic/invasive. Respondents had a sense of the most important crops and forest species, and attributed several functions related to biodiversity and environmental conservation to the flora. Despite the many actions already implemented, more initiatives are required to increase the connection between Azoreans and Azorean flora.


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