Aquatic vascular plants as handicraft: a case study in southern Brazil

ABSTRACT This study aimed to evaluate knowledge about and the usage and importance of aquatic vascular plants (AVPs) in the production of handicrafts by communities on the north coast of the state of Rio Grande do Sul in southern Brazil. The snowball technique was employed to locate people who use and have knowledge regarding the use of AVPs for handicrafts. Data were collected through semi-structured interviews and guided tours with 35 interviewees who were involved in artisanal activity at the time of the study. The data were analyzed using the importance value (IV) index and the consensus value for the forms of use (CMU). The Spearman correlation test (rs) was employed to determine the correlations of each social variable with the knowledge variables, and Mann-Whitney U tests to verify whether men and women exhibited differences in knowledge. The interviewees cited 16 AVPs that were employed in 17 types of handicrafts, among which the four main species were Schoenoplectus californicus, Typha domingensis, T. latifolia and Androtrichum giganteum. Interviewee age, residence time on site and time working with handicrafts were the main social parameters that described the level of knowledge and use of AVPs. These AVPs reflect cultural knowledge and complement family incomes.