Habitat change has been widely demonstrated to influence many aspects of plant reproduction, including reproductive success [1, 2], outcrossing rates  and interactions with animals, such as pollinators and dispersers [3–5]. However, little is known about the effects of habitat change on plant phenology , such as an example, reflections of environmental change on the overlap of flowering between areas, an important phenomenon to maintain genetic variability [7, 8]. According to Fuchs et al. , the density of flowering individuals in a specific region points to the effective number of pollen donors, which can affect the flow of pollen in the population. Recently, Almeida et al.  evaluated the influence of different soil management regimes on the reproductive success and pollinator guild populations of Spondias tuberosa Arruda, having as one of the main conclusions that human management may have affected some aspects related to the reproduction of Spondias tuberosa, especially the effects of habitat alteration on the pollinator guild of this species.
Most studies of phenological responses of plants to habitat change are related either to forest fragmentation in rainforests [10–12] or to climate change . According to some studies, rainfall is among the main factors associated with changes in phenology of species found in arid and semi-arid ecosystems [14, 15]. However, other authors argue that the phenology of some species found in dry forests do not simply depend on rainfall, but also, on the water status of the plant [16, 17], for example the capacity to store water and nutrients to be used during drought periods . In any case, rainfall is an environmental variable that cannot be neglected in phenological studies conducted in dry forests. Higher insolation and consequent photosynthetic rates of plants located at forest edges seem to promote higher rates of flowering, fruiting [19, 20] and leaf flush , and higher temperatures tend to increase leaf fall . Similarly, a study performed in fragments of the Atlantic forest in northeastern Brazil recorded both higher reproductive activity and greater intensity of phenophases at the forest edge as compared to the forest interior . However, this pattern may not occur for some species (as pointed out by Laurance et al.  for Amazonian species) and may also depend on the time since edge creation . Other aspects to be considered are the effects of different forms of land management on the phenology of some species . Flowering and fruiting of some species may suffer strong influence of human management. Otero-Arnaiz et al. , for example, found that Polaskia chichipe individuals cultivated had presented a higher intensity of fruiting compared to wild individuals of the same species. As for flowering, Stenocereus stellatus individuals had presented a higher number of flowers in anthesis than the ones presented by wild area individuals .
An important approach for studying plant phenology involves the use of local people’s knowledge of phenological events. For centuries, human populations have been selecting and managing plants to meet their basic needs and accumulating knowledge about the plants’ biology, ecology and phenology [25–28]. Thus, access to representation of people about the ecosystem enables the understanding of processes of environmental change, such transformation of the landscape. This information may be very useful for rapid diagnostics because the determination of phenological patterns requires long monitoring periods . Thus, ethnobotanical studies related to plant phenology may contribute to successful management strategies for plant resources, especially for prominent species such as Spondias tuberosa Arruda (Anacardiaceae).
Spondias tuberosa (locally known as umbuzeiro) is a native fruit tree that occurs in northeastern and part of southeastern Brazil  in areas of dry forests called Caatinga . Spondias tuberosa is an andromonoecious species that is pollinated by a wide range of insects [9, 32, 33] and dispersed by vertebrates . This species represents an important resource for pollinators and dispersers because it flowers and fruits during the dry season. Furthermore, its fruits are an important source of nutrition and represent an alternative income source for people during the dry season. As a result, S. tuberosa is widely known and managed in the semi-arid region of northeastern Brazil and is also considered a "sacred plant" [35–38]. The umbuzeiro is rarely cut down and may be found in both conserved and cultivated areas and even in Homegardens such as the backyards of houses . Some studies have investigated differences in the reproductive biology of S. tuberosa in areas with different management regimes in the Caatinga [32, 33], but there are no studies related to the influence of different management regimes on its phenology, or on the local people’s perceptions of this species’ phenophases.
In the city of Altinho, Pernambuco state, there is a rural community called Carão. Carão is located in a Caatinga area with relatively well-preserved native vegetation, along with areas used for pasture, crops and Homegardens. Individuals of S. tuberosa are found in all these habitats . The main questions of this study were: a) Are there differences in the vegetative and reproductive phenology of S. tuberosa in areas under different management regimes? b) Are local people’s perceptions of phenophases of S. tuberosa similar to the actual patterns observed for the species?
Our hypotheses are a) There are few phenological differences among individuals of S. tuberosa located in areas under different management regimes because they are very close to each other , especially the flowering and fruiting. Moreover, because the Caatinga is a much more open vegetation type than rainforests, there is likely no noticeable edge effect  and this further decreases the likelihood of finding differences in plant phenology. b) The local people‘s perceptions of S. tuberosa phenology tends to be in agreement with the phenological data obtained in the field, as this is a widely known and used species. This similarity tends to be higher for the fruiting phenology, since the fruits are the main product used in the region [28, 38, 41]. These assumptions are held on the following premises: Carão community people maintain a close relationship with the resource, evidenced in the highlighted role that this species has within the community [38, 42], the intensity of flowering and fruiting observed in a study on the reproductive success of the species, developed in the same area of the present study, had found similarities between the landscape units as for this aspect  and a study conducted with species in incipient state of domestication in the semi-arid region of Mexico revealed that the phenology of this species did not vary in relation to management regimes to which these populations are subjected . Almeida et al  found no significant differences in the reproductive success of individuals of S. tuberousa in the landscape units, justified here more general analysis of the activity and intensity of phenophases the species, thereby allowing emphasize local perception of phenological pattern of S. tuberosa.