Conservation Letters 01/2012; · 4.08 Impact Factor
ABSTRACT: China's rapid economic development is influencing cultural practices and natural resource management in indigenous mountain communities throughout the country. Numerous studies have documented loss and change of cultural practices and environmental degradation in indigenous communities with the expansion of roads, markets, tourism, and other infrastructure development. The present study focuses on papermaking, a socioecological practice that began in China, as a case study to examine the influence of development on cultural practices and natural resource management. The Naxi are an indigenous people who primarily inhabit the mountains of the eastern Himalaya in China's northwest Yunnan province. The Naxi people are unique in that they have the last remaining pictographic writing system in the world. The Naxi pictographic script is customarily learned and mastered by shaman priests known as Dongba (Dto'mba) who transmit their knowledge to their sons. Approximately 300,000 Naxi live in this area. The pictographic system is transmitted on paper sourced from montane forest resources, primarily Wisktroemia delavayi. This cultural tradition almost disappeared during the Cultural Revolution in China during the 1960s and 1970s but has recently seen a revival. Research involved both ethnographic interviews and ecological sampling. Semistructured interviews were conducted with 100 informants between 2002–2011 to understand the management and use of W. delavayi for Dongba papermaking and the impact of market integration on papermaking. Sample plots were surveyed for floristic composition and structure in the 3 vegetation types where W. delavayi grows. Density, height, diameter, and number of branches of W. delavayi plants were recorded within each plot. Ecological importance values were calculated based on relative density, relative dominance, and relative frequency to determine the habitat where W. delavayi demonstrates the greatest growth. Additional plots were surveyed to understand the regeneration of W. delavayi after the local harvest cycle.
Mountain Research and Development 12/2011; · 0.68 Impact Factor
ABSTRACT: Pu-erh (or pu'er) tea tasting is a social practice that emphasizes shared sensory experience, wellbeing, and alertness. The present study examines how variable production and preparation practices of pu-erh tea affect drinkers' perceptions, phytochemical profiles, and anti-oxidant activity.
One hundred semi-structured interviews were conducted in Yunnan Province to understand the cultural and environmental context of pu-erh tea tasting. The gong fu cha dao ('way of tea' with 'effort,' 'work,' or 'skill') method of brewing tea through multiple infusions was employed to evaluate green and black pu-erh samples from smallholder agro-forests and terrace plantations. Ranking interviews, High Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC), and the 1-1-diphenyl-2-picrylhydrazyl (DPPH) assay were conducted to characterize color and taste profiles, Total Catechin Content (TCC), Total Methylxanthine Content (TMC), and free radical scavenging capacity (IC(50)).
Significant variation was found among pu-erh samples based on: (1) agro-ecosystem mode of production by TCC (P<0.0001) and TMC (P<0.0265), (2) processing method for TCC (P<0.0001), TMC (P<0.0027), and free radical scavenging capacity (P<0.0001), (3) infusion sequence for TMC (P<0.0013), (4) taste rankings for TCC (P<0.0001), TMC (P<0.0001), and IC(50) (P<0.0059) and, (5) color rankings for TMC (P<0.0009) and IC(50) (P<0.0001). Samples rated as bitter and bitter-sweet contained the greatest TCC and free radical scavenging capacity.
This research demonstrated that production environment, processing methods, and infusion sequence in preparing tea are related to the phytochemical profile, free radical scavenging activity, and flavor of tea. Findings contribute to the ethnomedical literature by supporting previous studies that have hypothesized that the taste of plants, particularly bitterness, may guide societies in the search for medicinal plants and beneficial phytochemicals.
Journal of ethnopharmacology 10/2010; 132(1):176-85. · 2.32 Impact Factor