Traditional Knowledge and Useful Plant Richness in the Tehuacán–Cuicatlán Valley, Mexico
Abstract Traditional Knowledge and Useful Plant Richness in the Tehuacán–Cuicatlán Valley, Mexico. This study systematizes ethnobotanical information about the interactions between people and plants, ethnofloristic richness, the relative importance of useful species richness in relation to general species richness, and plant management in the Tehuacán–Cuicatlán Valley of central Mexico. The study recorded a total of 1,605 useful vascular plant species (61.2% of the total species richness of the regional vascular flora), this being the region with the highest absolute richness of useful plant species in Mexico. The null hypothesis that plant families with a higher number of useful species would be those having a higher general species richness was analyzed through residuals method. The plant families richest in useful species were Poaceae, Asteraceae, Cactaceae, Cyperaceae, Mimosaceae, and Solanaceae, most of which also have the highest general floristic richness. However, analyses of use categories did not generally corroborate our hypothesis. About 1,335 of the useful species are wild, more than 500 species are submitted to some type of management (62 species are tolerated, 34 protected, 50 enhanced, and 358 cultivated), but only a few have been studied to document their process of domestication. This information can be useful for developing regional strategies of sustainable management of plant resources.