Duarte, M.C., Gomes, I., Catarino, S., Brilhante, M., Gomes, S., Rendall, A., Moreno, Â., Fortes, A.R., Ferreira, V.S., Baptista, I., Dinis, H. & Romeiras, M.M. (2022) Diversity of useful plants in Cabo Verde Islands: A biogeographic and conservation perspective.Plants-Basel, 11(10), 1313. DOI:10.3390/plants11101313 (IF2021 4,658; Q2 Plant Sciences)
Cabo Verde’s biodiversity is threatened by activities that meet human needs. To counteract this, an integration of scientific and indigenous knowledge is required, but no comprehensive list of the useful local plants is available. Thus, in this work, we assess (1) their diversity and phytogeography; (2) the role of geophysical, historical, and socio-economic factors on species distribution and uses; and (3) potentially relevant species for sustainable development. Data were obtained from flora, scientific publications, historical documents, herbarium specimens and field work. Many species were introduced since the 15th century to support settlement and commercial interests. We identified 518 useful taxa, of which 145 are native, 38 endemic and 44 endangered. The number of useful taxa is correlated with altitude and agricultural area, as well as with rural population indicators, but not with total population or socio-economic indicators such as gross domestic product. Native taxa are mostly used for fuelwood, forage and utilitarian purposes. Agrobiodiversity and traditional practices seem crucial to cope with recurrent droughts and ensure food security. Most of the introduced species do not present conservation problems, contrasting with the overuse of some native taxa. The safeguarding of native populations will ensure the sustainable exploitation of these resources and benefit the local economy.