The use of firewood for home consumption and the fabrication of hand-crafted ceramics in a semi-arid region of Northeast Brazil

ABSTRACT This study aimed to identify, analyze and compare different uses of firewood for home consumption and for handicraft work in rural communities in Altinho, Pernambuco, Brazil. Semi-structured and free-listing interviews were performed to catalog the plants that were better known by locals and that were mostly used as firewood for home consumption and handicraft work. Two in situ inventories were performed at the homes of the study location in order document the plants that were actually used. A total of 39 species of woody plants belonging to 16 botanical families were registered. The most widely-known species for both uses were also the species that were most used and preferably-used-as-wood by the population. The plants most preferably-used-as-wood by the participants, which were selected as samples, were also those that the participants identified as having superior quality. Thus, there is a small group of plants that is used for both activities, and thus more vulnerable to extractivism, and which ought to be conserved. Alternative management strategies are needed that secure the availability of these species in the future to meet the needs of the local population and to conserve biodiversity.