What Works in the Field? A Comparison of Different Interviewing Methods in Ethnobotany with Special Reference to the Use of Photographs

Economic Botany (Impact Factor: 0.77). 04/2007; 61(4):376-384. DOI: 10.1663/0013-0001(2007)61[376:WWITFA]2.0.CO;2

ABSTRACT Ethnobotanists use a variety of interview techniques to collect ethnobotanical data. Drawing upon the results from a quantitative
ethnobotanical study in five Yuracaré and Trinitario communities in the Bolivian Amazon, the pros and cons of the following
methods are evaluated: (1) interviews in situ during transects, walk-in-the-woods, and homegarden sampling; and (2) interviews ex situ with fresh plant material, voucher specimens, or plant photographs as reference tools. Although the systematic use of plant
photographs for ethnobotanical interviews is poorly documented in literature, the results show that indigenoùs participants
in our study recognize significantly more plant species from photographs than from voucher specimens. It is argued that, especially
in remote and isolated study sites, photographs might be advantageous over voucher specimens.

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Available from: Evert Thomas, Aug 24, 2015
    • "otograph . Photographs , rather than a walking route with actual sightings of trees and plants ( e . g . Krog et al . 2005 ) , were used primarily to save time as local people are often busy and unable to leave their homes without prior arrangement ; visiting people at their homes or in schools was thus logistically less complicated . According to Thomas et al . ( 2007 ) this method of plant identification is effective and accurate and often simpler and clearer than using live or pressed material . Plant specimens were also collected and taken to the Selmar Schonland Herbarium in Grahamstown for identification ."
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    ABSTRACT: The Albany Thicket Biome is an important biodiversity hotspot and also plays a key role in supporting local livelihoods. Local people's significant dependence on thicket ecosystems may contribute to their degradation, prompting the need for restoration. This paper reports on a study to determine how local knowledge can contribute to thicket restoration approaches undertaken in Pikoli village. Data relating to the use and importance of 37 plant species found within village communal lands were collected using a modified informant consensus method; a quantitative ethnobotanical approach. A total of 50 community members across different gender and age user groups were interviewed. There was a significant difference between user groups in terms of what were regarded as priority plant species. Species found to be particularly important included Aloe ferox, Ptaeroxylon obliquum and Acacia karroo. A. ferox was rated as the most important species overall. Eight use categories for species were identified, the most prominent being ‘livestock feed’, ‘medicine’ and ‘cultural’. Species that were perceived as most important were almost unanimously also those of significance to livestock. The implications of the findings for thicket restoration in degraded communal areas with high use pressures are discussed.
    Forests Trees and Livelihoods 09/2014; 24(1). DOI:10.1080/14728028.2014.943305
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    • "Considering the size of palm samples, photographs were the best visual stimuli for this study. The systematic use of photographs of plants in ethnobotanical interviews is still poorly represented in the literature [30, 33–35], but this approach has been shown to be more effective than the use of voucher specimens [36]. Sixteen A4-sized photographs of each palm species present in the region were prepared (Figure 2). "
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    ABSTRACT: Arecaceae Schultz-Sch. (Palmae Juss.), a member of the monocotyledon group, is considered one of the oldest extant angiosperm families on Earth. This family is highly valuable because of its species diversity, its occurrence in a wide range of habitats, and its status as an integral part of the culture and the family-based economy of many traditional and nontraditional communities. The main objectives of this study were to perform an ethnobotanical study involving these palms and a "Quilombola" (Maroon) community in the municipality of Cavalcante, GO, Brazil. The variables gender, age, and formal schooling had no influence on the number of species recognized and used by the Kalungas. Ethnobotanical studies based on traditional knowledge in addition to use and management of palms are fundamental aspects for planning and appliance of public policies directed to the use of natural resources and improvement of life quality.
    The Scientific World Journal 01/2014; 2014(3):942043. DOI:10.1155/2014/942043 · 1.73 Impact Factor
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    • "The informants were selected to cover the age range 15–84 years, and we only interviewed villagers who were born and had always lived in the community (Table 1). Photographs of plants and freshly collected material were shown to the informants following established methodologies (Martin, 1995; Thomas et al., 2007) and use categories (Cook, 1995). To protect the intellectual property rights of the informants communal meetings were held with all inhabitants, prior to the start of interviews concerning the medicinal use of plants, Apart from the general population of the villages, these meeting included the village leaders. "
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    ABSTRACT: We here tease apart the ethnopharmacological knowledge of plants in two Thai villages to determine to which degree the uses are particular to individual ethnic groups and to which degree they are part of a generalized and uniform set of widespread medicinal plants used over a large geographic range. We compared Karen and Lawa knowledge of medicinal plants in the Mae Cheam watershed of northern Thailand, where both ethnic groups have settled and share ecological conditions for resource extraction. We were interested in documenting the degree to which these two ethnic groups use the same or different medicinal plant species. The use of the same plant species by the two groups was considered a sign of uniform and cross-cultural local knowledge, whereas the use of different medicinal plants by each group was considered a sign of culturally specific local knowledge that developed within each ethnic group.
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