Can socioeconomic factors explain the local importance of culturally salient plants in a social-ecological system?
ABSTRACT The aim of this work was to determine whether socioeconomic factors explain the importance of culturally salient plants to social-ecological systems. Extractive communities of the Araripe-Apodi Environmental Protection Area in Northeast Brazil were studied, and a random sample of the population was selected. Quantitative variables (education, age and income) were analyzed using Spearman correlations, while categorical variables (gender and occupation) were analyzed using Mann-Whitney tests. Relationships between socioeconomic factors and the importance of culturally salient plants were all weak. Nevertheless, age influenced the local importance of the largest number of species. Other factors not considered in this study (historical, cultural, ecological, and psychological) may be outstanding predictors of the importance of culturally salient plants and should be studied in future investigations.