Perspectives in Ecology and Conservation Perspectives in Ecology and Conservation
Perspectives in Ecology and Conservation 2017;15:161-71 DOI: 10.1016/j.pecon.2017.08.002
Essays and Perspectives
Sustainability of Jaborandi in the eastern Brazilian Amazon
Cecilio Frois Caldeiraa,, , Tereza Cristina Gianninia, Silvio Junio Ramosa, Santelmo Vasconcelosa, Simone Kuster Mitrea, Jakeline Prata de Assis Piresb, Gracialda Costa Ferreirac, Selma Ohashic, José Aroudo Motaa, Alexandre Castilhod, Jose Oswaldo Siqueiraa, Antonio Eduardo Furtini Netoa
a Instituto Tecnológico Vale, Boaventura da Silva, 955, Belém, PA, Brazil
b Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro, Marques de São Vicente, 225, Rio de Janeiro, RJ, Brazil
c Federal Rural University of Amazonia, Presidente Tancredo Neves, 2501, Belém, PA, Brazil
d Vale S.A., AP Supervisão PCM, Carajas, Brazil
Received 18 April 2017, Accepted 18 August 2017

The genus Pilocarpus (Rutaceae) includes the only known species able to synthesize pilocarpine, an imidazole alkaloid largely employed in glaucoma and xerostomia treatments. Pilocarpus microphyllus Stapf ex Wardleworth has a broad geographical distribution in the Northeast Brazilian territory, produces a substantial amount of pilocarpine and constitutes the only known natural source of this metabolite. Intensive extractivism and deforestation over recent decades have led to substantial declines in yields, plant populations and genetic diversity of P. microphyllus. Currently, it is recognized as a threatened species, and the few remaining areas harboring large populations (and potentially high genetic diversity) experience substantial farming and mining pressures. In addition, extractivism in these areas is still occurring by local communities because of the high market demand for pilocarpine. Conservation programs and sustainable management are urgently needed to maintain the long-term viability of this species in natural areas. Here, we highlighted the socioeconomic importance of this species, showing the massive reduction in the harvesting of raw materials and the consequences for the local people. We identified new potential areas of natural occurrence, including locations beyond the Brazilian borders, using species distribution modeling. We showed well-synchronized patterns of vegetative and reproductive phenophases, which may facilitate the management of this species. Finally, we emphasized the importance of cultivating P. microphyllus in a sustainable and productive way, involving the local communities and companies as a conservation strategies.

Pilocarpus microphyllus, Endangered species, Conservation, Alkaloid, Pilocarpine