Journal of Ethnobiology and Ethnomedicine

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Online ISSN: 1746-4269
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Background Stingless bees have a great value as main pollinators of wild flowering and cultivated plants, thus playing a fundamental role in the maintenance of biodiversity and food security in Latin America. Despite their importance, stingless bees face numerous threats causing alarming population declines. Moreover, stingless bees have a great cultural and traditional value, since most products from the hive are used for a wide variety of purposes. A growing number of initiatives are encouraging the breeding of these bees, through training courses and modern management techniques. This study documents the knowledge on stingless bees and their products that meliponiculturists from the Chaco region of Bolivia have, as well as the influence that meliponiculture initiatives have on the management and general knowledge of the bees. Methods Local richness and diversity of stingless bees was calculated using Hill numbers. Structured interviews were conducted with 59 meliponiculturists in order to characterize traditional and formal knowledge on stingless bees and meliponiculture. Generalized linear models were applied to assess the influence of training courses on the management of the bees. Also, a relative cultural importance index was calculated for each species. Results Twelve Meliponini species were identified, and 15 local names were reported with morphological, defensiveness behavior, and nest description. There was no significant difference in the knowledge between different ethnical backgrounds or ages. A significant difference was observed in the use of supplementary feeding and assisted division, but none in the success in racking hives or in pest management, regarding the number or courses taken. The relative cultural importance index recorded 30 specific uses for bee products grouped in four categories, from which 29 were attributed (but not exclusively) to Tetragonisca angustula , making it the most versatile species. Conclusions The products of the hive, especially honey, are used for a wide variety of purposes, mostly in medicine. These uses are mostly attributed to just one species, T. angustula , in coincidence with what was taught in meliponiculture training courses by NGOs. The influence of formal knowledge is mostly positive, but it is recommended that other meliponini species are taken into account as well.
Background Fisheries have tremendous cultural and educational importance in human societies. The world is undergoing fast environmental and cultural changes, and local knowledge is being lost. Understanding how people interpret environmental change and develop practices in response to such change is essential to comprehend human resource use. This study was planned with the intent to document and conserve the knowledge about the uses of the freshwater fish fauna among the residents in South Punjab, Pakistan. Methods Semi-structured interviews and questionnaires were conducted to collect data from informers (N = 88). Principal component analysis, relative frequency citation, fidelity level, relative popularity level, rank-order priority, and similarity index were used to analyze the fish data. Results Overall, a total of 43 species of fishes were utilized in the study region, but only 26 species were utilized ethnomedicinally to treat a variety of illnesses such as asthma, body weakness, burn, chicken pox, cold, cough, eyesight, hepatitis, impotence, joint pain, night blindness, skin burn, spleen treatment, stomach infection, and weakness. The uses of fishes were analyzed employing various indices. The highest use value (UV) of 0.86 was calculated for spotted snakehead (Channa punctata), whereas the lowest UV of 0.05 was attained by karail fish (Securicula gora). Moreover, Channa punctata, Cyprinus carpio, Labeo rohita, Oreochromis niloticus, Wallago attu, Hypophthalmichthys molitrix, Rita rita, Sperata seenghala, Notopterus notopterus, Labeo dyocheilus, Systomus sarana, Puntius punjabensis, Securicula gora, Ompok bimaculatus, and Ompok pabda were the most popular species with RPL = 1.0. Out of the total, 20 species had a “zero” similarity index, while the ethnomedicinal use of 12 species (i.e., Labeo dyocheilus, Labeo boggut, Systomus sarana, Puntius punjabensis, Aspidoparia morar, Securicula gora, Crossocheilus diplochilus, Mastacembelus armatus, Ompok bimaculatus, Ompok pabda, Labeo gonius, and Sperata seenghala) was documented for the first time for a variety of diseases (i.e., body weakness, stomach infection, skin burn, joint pain, impotence, asthma, spleen treatment, and chicken pox). Conclusion Our findings showed that the local people of the study area hold noteworthy traditional knowledge about the medicinal and cultural uses of fish species. Furthermore, a comprehensive analysis of active chemicals and in vivo and/or in vitro activities of chemicals derived from ichthyofauna with the highest FC as well as UVs could be interesting for research on new drugs.
Background Located in the Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (South-Kivu), Kalehe and Idjwi are two relatively unexplored territories with little to no research on edible insects even though anthropo-entomophagy practice is widespread. This study therefore aimed at exploring the biodiversity, perception, consumption, availability, host plants, harvesting techniques, and processing techniques of edible insects. Methods Data were collected through a field survey using three techniques, namely structured interviews, direct observations, and insect collection and taxonomy. A total of 260 respondents, 130 in each territory, were interviewed. The field survey focused on inventorying commonly edible insects as well as recording consumer preferences, preference factors, seasonal availability, host plants, harvesting techniques, and processing and preservation methods. Samples for taxonomic characterization were preserved in 70% alcohol. Results Nine edible insects, namely Ruspolia differens Serville 1838, Gryllotalpa Africana Palisot de Beauvois 1805, Locusta migratoria Linnaeus 1758, Macrotermes subhyalinus Rambur 1842, Gnathocera trivittata Swederus 1787, Rhynchophorus phoenicis Fabricius 1801, Vespula spp. Linnaeus 1758, Apis mellifera Linnaeus 1758, and Imbrasia oyemensis Rougeot 1955, were recorded as being consumed either as larvae, pupae, and adults. Ruspolia differens and M. subhyalinus were reported as the most preferred by consumers in the studied territories. A scatter plot of matrices and Pearson's correlations showed a negative correlation between preference based on taste, size, and shape, as well as perceived nutritional value. Their seasonal availability differs from one species to another and correlated with host plants availability. Harvesting techniques and processing and preservation methods depend on species, local knowledge, and practices. Conclusion The huge edible insect diversity observed in Kalehe and Idjwi is evidence of anthropo-entomophagy practices in the area. In addition to being an important delicacy and traditional foods, edible insects can contribute to food, environmental, and financial security through local business opportunities. Households can rely on edible insects to meet their nutritional needs instead of conventional livestock. Indigenous practices and technologies used for harvesting, processing, and preserving edible insects must be improved to meet international standards to increase the market and capitalize on the economic potential of edible insects.
Location of the Southern Nations Nationalities and Peoples' Region (SNNPR) in the map of Ethiopia (left) and the four study zones in the SNNPR (right)
Examples of the main enset propagation stages and its end products: a mother corm; b multiple suckers from mother corm; c young enset ready to give mother corm and transplanted to permanent field; d matured enset; e mass of processed product; f and g example of dishes that prepared from the primary products
Background Enset is an important source of food and is consumed by about 25 million people as a staple or co-staple food crop mainly in southern parts of Ethiopia. Large numbers of enset landraces exist in different administrative zones of Ethiopia with a wide range of altitudes and agroclimatic zones. However, limited information is available on the diversity, distribution, and utilization pattern corresponding to the diverse ethnolinguistic as well as sociocultural communities of the country. Hence, this study was devised to explore and document the richness of farmers’ tradition and practice on the diversity and distribution of enset landraces on the farm level and selection pattern for different purposes regarding the production, utilization, and conservation of enset genetic resources. Methods The study was conducted in four major enset-growing administrative zones of Ethiopia, namely Hadiya, Kembata-Tembaro, Gurage, and Silte. A total of 240 farm households were surveyed using individual interviews, 18 key informant interviews, 36 focus group discussions with 5 participants, and direct on-farm field observations for data collection. Considering that enset has a rich cultural background and indigenous knowledge, ethnobotanical research approach was applied to data collection and analysis. The Shannon–Weaver, Simpson, Pielou, and Jaccard’s similarity indices were used to evaluate the diversity and similarity of the landraces as well as using descriptive statistics in SPSS Ver. 24. Preference in direct matrix ranking was also used to compute and rank the enset landraces most preferred by the people in the context of specific use value in the study area. Results A total of 282 farmer-named enset landraces have been identified, with a range from 2 to 32 on individual homegardens. The largest number of landraces was found in the Hadiya Zone (86), while the lowest was scored in the Silte Zone (57). The Shannon diversity index (H') ranged from 3.73 (Silte) to 3.96 (Hadiya). Similarly, landraces revealed a very narrow range of variances in Simpson’s 1-D diversity index, and it ranged from 0.963 (Silte) to 0.978 (Hadiya). Likewise, the similarity index ranged from 0.24 to 0.73 sharing 16–47 landraces in common. Of the 282 landraces, 210 (74.5%) were recorded in more than one zones, whereas 72 (25.5%) had narrow distribution being restricted to a single zone. Conclusions Farmers have established long-term practices and experiences in cultivation, utilization, and conservation of a diverse group of enset landraces to fill their domestic and market purposes in each zone. The variation is likely to be related to agroclimatic differences, ethnicity factors, food cultures, and historical backgrounds. Therefore, to facilitate on-farm conservation as well as sustainable utilization of the enset genetic resources, farmers need to be supported by different stakeholders for all their worth and also in crop improvement programs.
Location of study villages
Frequently used hunting techniques
Cumulative diagram of plant species listed by interviewees
Numbers of plants and their usages for hunting and fishing
Background Baka hunter-gatherers have a well-developed traditional knowledge of using plants for a variety of purposes including hunting and fishing. However, comprehensive documentation on the use of plants for hunting and fishing in eastern Cameroon is still lacking. Method This study aimed at recording plants used for hunting and fishing practices, using focus group discussion, interviews and field surveys with 165 Baka members (90 men and 75 women) of different age groups in 6 villages. Results The most frequent techniques used for hunting and fishing are the use of animal traps, fishing lines, dam fishing, hunting with dogs and spear hunting. We recorded a total of 176 plant species used in various hunting practices, the most frequently cited one being Zanthoxylum gilletii (De Wild.) P.G.Waterman, Greenwayodendron suaveolens (Engl. & Diels) Verdc., Microcos coriacea (Mast.) Burret, Calamus deërratus G.Mann & H.Wendl. and Drypetes sp. These plants are used for a variety of purposes, most frequently as hunting luck, psychoactive for improving the dog’s scent and capacity for hunting, materials for traps, and remedies for attracting animals and for making the hunter courageous. Conclusion Plants used for hunting purposes here are embedded in a complex ecological and cultural context based on morphological characteristics, plant properties and local beliefs. This study provides a preliminary report and leaves room for further investigations to improve the documentation of the traditional knowledge systems of the studied community.
Study sites and distribution of informants: Ain Dara (2), Bmohray (2), Ain Zhalta (15), Barouk- Fraidiss (15), Batloun (6), Botmeh (9), Maasser (10), Khraibeh (5), Baadaran (4), Mrusti (5), Jbaa (4), Niha (13), Bater (5), Aitanit (4), Bab Marea (4), Ain Zebdi (4), Saghbine (3), Kherbet Kanafar (3), Kefraya (3), Ana (3), Ammiq (2), and Qebelias (12)
FC values for the top 15 species
FCR values for the top 15 species
UV values for the top 15 species
FL values for the top 15 species
Background Medicinal plants and associated traditional knowledge play a vital role in supporting the livelihoods and resilience of indigenous communities. This ethnobotanical survey aims to identify medicinal plants used by the local communities of the Shouf Biosphere Reserve of Lebanon (SBR) and document the associated traditional knowledge. Methodology Focus groups and personal interviews with 133 informants of community members of 22 villages of SBR were performed during 2019–2022. Informants were selected using purposive sampling techniques based on their knowledge of medicinal plants and experience in traditional herbal medicine. Interviews were conducted using a semi-structured questionnaire through field visits. Results Informants were equally represented by females and males and had different demographic characteristics, and the main source of knowledge was ancestral. A total of 184 medicinal plant species belonging to 57 families were documented. The predominant families were Asteraceae (31 spp.), Lamiaceae (14 spp.), and Rosaceae (14 spp.). Leaves (23%) were the plant part most used. Decoction (45%) was the predominant preparation method, while internal (oral) use (47%) was the most frequent administration mean. Berberis libanotica, Dittrichia viscosa, and Daucus carota achieved the highest scores of frequency of citation (FC), relative frequency of citation (RFC), use value (UV), and fidelity level (FL). Furthermore, diseases and ailments of gastrointestinal tract were the category most treated. Conclusions Findings revealed a rich and diverse list of medicinal plants with associated traditional knowledge still actively used to treat a wide range of diseases. Future phytochemical and pharmacological studies are recommended to determine the efficacy and safety of plant species used. The management body of the SBR and all related authorities are invited to continue their conservation efforts to protect such rich biocultural heritage.
Introduction The Gelao people are a unique minority in Southwest China with a unique culture for the utilization of edible plants, including a large number of medicinal plants. They believe that at least 61 species are edible and have medicinal value. Ethnobotany research can reveal the local knowledge of the Gelao people regarding the traditional use of plants and the relationship between this minority and their living environment to help retain and pass on this traditional knowledge forever. Methods Edible wild plants and their applied ethnic knowledge were investigated in three counties in northern Guizhou. Gelao residents were the main informants, and literature search, village interviews, participatory observation and quantitative ethnobotany evaluation were used. Results A total of 151 species of wild plants in 67 families are collected and eaten by Gelao residents, among which 61 species were considered to have medicinal value, accounting for 40.4% of the total, and 43 were listed in the Chinese Pharmacopoeia. There were 57 plant species with fruits as their edible parts, which are consumed as snacks, followed by 54 species whose young seedlings and leaves are the edible parts, most of which are consumed cold or stir-fried. Other edible parts included roots or rhizomes (bulbs), flowers, whole plants, seeds, fruiting bodies and stems. There were two consumption modes: raw and cooked. Raw foods were mainly consumed as snacks, which mainly comprise fruits. Cooked foods were mainly vegetables consumed cold or stir-fried. Some plants were used as seasonings, infused wines, condiments and grains. The main medicinal functions were nourishing and reducing heatiness. Nourishing plants were mainly “shen” plants and Liliaceae, while plants able to reduce heatiness were mainly Asteraceae. Others functions included anti-hangover, anticancer and insecticidal. There were 38 species of important edible wild plants (CFSI > 500) in northern Guizhou, which had a high utilization rate. Houttuynia cordata Thunb. and Mentha suaveolens Ehrh. were the most representative edible wild plants in this area. The species, edible parts, edible categories, consumption modes and medicinal functions of edible wild plants in this area are diverse, and the traditional knowledge on their uses is rich. However, the number of wild plant species eaten by the informants and their related knowledge were positively correlated with age, which indicates that the rich traditional knowledge in this area is gradually disappearing with urbanization. Conclusions The Gelao have a rich history of consuming wild plants. With the development of the social economy, the traditional knowledge passed from older generations is gradually being lost and its inheritance is facing great risks. This study collects, sorts and spreads this precious traditional knowledge, which is of great value to its protection and inheritance and fully demonstrates the value and importance of our work.
Location of the Taperoá and Salgadinho study communities (C), in the state of Paraíba (B), Brazil (A)
Observed frequencies of hunters’ a age, b monthly income, c educational level, and d motivations for hunting with dogs. Dashed lines indicate the expected frequency values for each variable (all categories are equal: null hypothesis). NS: No school; IES: Incomplete elementary school; CHS: Complete high school; IHE: Incomplete higher education; CHE: Complete higher education
Hunting dogs from urban and rural areas of the Caatinga semiarid region of northeastern Brazil are usually kept outside (in the yard) tied up on a chain or rope
Target species when hunting with dogs according to hunters interviewed in Taperoá and Salgadinho, Paraíba, Brasil. aEuphractus sexcinctus, bConepatus semistriatus, cDasypus novemcinctus, dTamandua tetradactyla, eSalvator merianae, and fGalea spixii
Background Hunting has been an important cultural and subsistence activity for the survival of the human population. In the Brazilian semiarid region (Caatinga), the extreme seasonal changes and socioeconomic conditions have made local people dependent on the natural resources available, including wildlife. Although hunting with dogs can result in higher efficiency for hunters, it can also have implications for game species conservation. Methods Using an ethnozoological approach (semi-structured questionnaires, free interviews, informal conversations, and free listing technique), this study aimed to analyze the patterns of hunting with dogs activities in a semiarid region of northeastern Brazil by characterizing hunters’ and hunting dogs’ profiles, investigating target and nontarget prey species, hunters’ practices, motivations, and perceptions regarding the efficiency of hunting with dogs. Results We found that hunters that use dog assistance were mostly men, of different ages, with an occupation in agriculture, receiving less than a minimum wage, and with a low level of formal education. Hunters use two or more mixed-breed dogs with no clear preference regarding dogs’ sex. The motivations for hunting with dogs included mainly food, sport, and trade. Hunters cited twenty species captured by dogs without distinction between prey’s sex and age (14 mammals, 4 birds, and 2 reptiles). Only six of these were mentioned as being target prey when hunting with dogs. From nontarget species, eight carnivores are usually left at the site of kill, as they have no use to the hunters. Hunters perceived that hunting with dogs could be three times more efficient than hunting without dogs. Conclusion Overall, hunting with dogs represents a complex set of local variables, including characteristics of dogs and prey species, hunters’ motivations, and practices that should be considered according to each particular situation. Considering the human dependence on natural resources in the semiarid region, hunters should be included in wildlife management debates to mitigate the threat to game species while allowing sustainable hunting practices.
Background: Starting from the idea that unexplored areas may yield new and different ethnobotanical information, we performed a survey of traditional uses of plants in two neighboring districts situated in east Serbia (Bor and Aleksinac), both lacking in previous ethnobotanical reports, but characterized by an interesting history and culture, together with some specific features. In this study, we hypothesized that such small and specific areas could be of high ethnobotanical importance. Methods: Semi-structured interviews were used with 155 informants. Relative cultural importance (RCI) indices, such as the frequency of citation (FC), relative frequency of citation (RFC), relative importance index (RI), informant consensus factor (ICF-FIC), use value (UV), fidelity level (FL) and Jaccard index (JI), were calculated, and principal coordinate analysis (PCoA) was performed. Results: In this study, 2333 use-reports and 114 plants were recorded. Of the 101 medical herbs, 33 are included in the European Pharmacopoeia Edition 8.0. The most frequently used mode of preparation was as an infusion (50.0%), while leaf (44.7%) was the most used plant part. The highest FC and RFC values were recorded for Hypericum perforatum L. (13.1 and 0.2, respectively), while the highest RI was documented for Urtica dioica L. (1.0). ICF and FL indices showed important differences among selected groups of informants. The PCoA showed three homogeneous plant groups. Plants were mostly used for the treatment of digestive (49.1%), circulatory (41.2%) and respiratory system disorders (35.1%). Thirty-seven (32.5%) herbs were used for human nutrition, 14 (12.3%) in veterinary medicine, 17 (14.9%) in rituals and ethnoculture, while 24 (21.0%) for miscellaneous purposes. The highest degree of similarity was determined with studies conducted in close proximity. Four species are new to Balkan ethnobotany. New uses for some well-known plants are highlighted. Conclusion: The study indicated that small and specific areas in the Balkans may be an important reservoir of ethnobotanical knowledge.
Map of indigenous communities located in red circles; the size of the circle simulates bird richness species; the additional table within the map shows the total of bird species with some examples of Biocultural Prominent Bird Species (BPBS) across communities
Distribution of local species across communities
Distribution of species according to seasonal status
Correspondence analysis of biocultural data by community. The graph shows the correlation of variables: bird species by community, cultural value, and their conservation status. Axis I and II always have the largest eigenvalues explaining the overall analysis
Background: We summarize comparative ethnoornithological data for ten Mexican Indigenous communities, an initial step towards a comprehensive archive of the avian diversity conserved within Mexico's Indigenous territories. We do so by counting highlighted species listed for bird conservation status on widely recognized "red lists" and their cultural value to build biocultural policies in Mexico for their conservation. Methods: Indigenous bird names for each study site were determined to allow calculation of the "Scientific Species Recognition Ratio" (SSRR) for high cultural value birds obtained across communities. This demonstrated patterns of cultural prominence. A matrix of 1275 bird versus seven biocultural values was analysed using a correspondence analysis (InfoStat/L-v2020) to illustrate patterns of concordance between bird conservation status and cultural values. Results: This paper contributes to quantitative and qualitative data on the role of ethnoornithology and ethnobiol-ogy in biocultural conservation. The areas studied provide refugia for almost 70% of the Mexican avifauna within a fraction of 1% of the national territory, that is 769 bird species recorded for all communities. The global correspondence of regions of biological and linguistic megadiversity is well established, while linguistic diversity is widely accepted as a good proxy for general cultural diversity. Our correspondence analysis explained 81.55% of the variation , indicating a strong relation between cultural importance and bird conservation status. We propose three main categories to establish a bioculturally informed public policy in Mexico for the conservation of what we described as high, medium, and bioculturally prominent bird species all include cultural value in any material or symbolic aspect. High are those species appearing on any threatened list, but also considered in any endemic status, while medium include threatened listed species. The last category included species not necessarily listed on any threat list, but with a wide range of social and cultural uses. We suggest that the concept might be extended to other species of biocultural importance.
Background We summarize comparative ethnoornithological data for ten Mexican Indigenous communities, an initial step towards a comprehensive archive of the avian diversity conserved within Mexico’s Indigenous territories. We do so by counting highlighted species listed for bird conservation status on widely recognized “red lists” and their cultural value to build biocultural policies in Mexico for their conservation. Methods Indigenous bird names for each study site were determined to allow calculation of the “Scientific Species Recognition Ratio” (SSRR) for high cultural value birds obtained across communities. This demonstrated patterns of cultural prominence. A matrix of 1275 bird versus seven biocultural values was analysed using a correspondence analysis (InfoStat/L-v2020) to illustrate patterns of concordance between bird conservation status and cultural values. Results This paper contributes to quantitative and qualitative data on the role of ethnoornithology and ethnobiology in biocultural conservation. The areas studied provide refugia for almost 70% of the Mexican avifauna within a fraction of 1% of the national territory, that is 769 bird species recorded for all communities. The global correspondence of regions of biological and linguistic megadiversity is well established, while linguistic diversity is widely accepted as a good proxy for general cultural diversity. Our correspondence analysis explained 81.55% of the variation, indicating a strong relation between cultural importance and bird conservation status. We propose three main categories to establish a bioculturally informed public policy in Mexico for the conservation of what we described as high, medium, and bioculturally prominent bird species all include cultural value in any material or symbolic aspect. High are those species appearing on any threatened list, but also considered in any endemic status, while medium include threatened listed species. The last category included species not necessarily listed on any threat list, but with a wide range of social and cultural uses. We suggest that the concept might be extended to other species of biocultural importance. Conclusions We argue that bird conservation policies should be biocultural, that is they should recognize birds of cultural value on a par with bird species “of special interest” because they are most critical for biodiversity conservation. The desire of local people to protect their traditional community lands and livelihoods can be an effective biodiversity conservation strategy, which should be recognized in national biocultural policies.
Map of South Africa illustrating the geographical position of the study areas
Some plant species recorded in the Eastern Cape. A Live fence of Agave americana and Aloe ferox, B Harvested Aloe ferox, C Harvested leaves of Aloe ferox, D Intercropping of Amaranthus hybridus, Brassica spp. and Cucurbita moschata and E Vachellia karroo (photos: Alfred Maroyi)
Relative contribution of plant parts towards ecosystem services. Different colours indicate specific plant parts
Plant families of utilized plant species with the largest number of species (with at least 3 species)
Background Many communities in developing countries rely on ecosystem services (ESs) associated with wild and cultivated plant species. Plant resources provide numerous ESs and goods that support human well-being and survival. The aim of this study was to identify and characterize wild and tended plant species, and also investigate how local communities in the Eastern Cape Province in South Africa perceive ESs associated with plant resources. Methods The study was conducted in six local municipalities in the Eastern Cape Province, between March 2016 and September 2021. Data on socio-economic characteristics of the participants, useful plants harvested from the wild and managed in home gardens were documented by means of questionnaires, observation and guided field walks with 196 participants. The ESs were identified using a free listing technique. Results A total of 163 plant species were recorded which provided 26 cultural, regulating and provisioning ESs. Provisioning ESs were the most cited with at least 25 plant species contributing towards generation of cash income, food, traditional and ethnoveterinary medicines. Important species recorded in this study with relative frequency of citation (RFC) values > 0.3 included Alepidea amatymbica , Allium cepa , Aloe ferox , Artemisia afra , Brassica oleracea , Capsicum annuum , Cucurbita moschata , Hypoxis hemerocallidea , Opuntia ficus-indica , Spinacia oleracea , Vachellia karroo and Zea mays . Conclusion Results of this study highlight the importance of plant resources to the well-being of local communities in the Eastern Cape within the context of provision of essential direct and indirect ESs such as food, medicinal products, construction materials, fodder, regulating, supporting and cultural services. The ESs are the basis for subsistence livelihoods in rural areas, particularly in developing countries such as South Africa. Therefore, such body of knowledge can be used as baseline data for provision of local support for natural resource management initiatives in the province and other areas of the country.
Background Gyirong Valley known as the “Back Garden of the Himalayas” is located in the core area of the Everest National Nature Reserve. It is also one of the important ports from ancient Tibet to Kathmandu, Nepal, since ancient times. Over the years, the Tibetans of Gyirong had accumulated sufficient traditional knowledge about local plant resources. However, there is almost no comprehensive report available on ethnobotanical knowledge about the local people. The purposes of this study were to (1) conduct a comprehensive study of wild plants used by Tibetan people in Gyirong Valley and record the traditional knowledge associated with wild useful plants, (2) explore the influence of Tibetan traditional culture and economic development on the use of wild plants by local people, and (3) explore the characteristics of traditional knowledge about wild plants of Tibetans in Gyirong. Methods Ethnobotanical data were documented through free listings, key informant interviews and semi-structured interviews during fieldwork. The culture importance index and the informant consensus factor index were used as quantitative indices. Results In total, 120 informants (61 women and 59 men) and 3333 use reports and 111 wild plant species belonging to 39 families and 81 genera were included. These use reports were then classified into 27 categories belonging to three major categories. The use category that contained the most plant species was edible plants (62), followed by medicinal plants (32) and economic plants (22), and other uses (71). Plants with high CI included Allium prattii, Neopicrorhiza scrophulariiflora, Gymnadenia orchidis, Rhododendron anthopogon and Fritillaria cirrhosa. Thirty-six species of plants in the catalog of Gyirong and Yadong were the same, but only 17 species were the same in Gyirong and Burang. There were only 11 overlapping species between all the three regions. Conclusion Tibetans of Gyirong have rich and unique knowledge about plant use, and wild edible and medicinal plants play an important role in the nutrition and health protection of local people. However, traditional knowledge is slowly being lost and is being hit by modern tourism. In the future, more attention needs to be paid to the important role of traditional knowledge in biodiversity conservation.
Background Traditional mycological knowledge (TMK) is complex, not distributed equally among the entire population, and constantly adapting to current social situations. There are sociocultural factors that could influence the fact that some people retain a greater wealth of knowledge, for instance, cultural affiliation, migration, occupation, level of schooling, and person's age. Methods We analyze the distribution of the TMK based on sociocultural variables and 12 indicators to quantify the TMK based on a literature review. We chose two sites where there was a Wixarika and Mestizo population with records of use and consumption of wild mushrooms. In each site, 150 semi-structured interviews were conducted. The format of the semi-structured interviews was made up of sociocultural questions plus 12 questions corresponding to each of the indicators. With the data obtained, we performed linear regression tests and principal components analysis (PCA); furthermore, the significance of the groupings obtained by PCA was tested with a discriminant function analysis. Results We find that TMK was determined by the cultural group to which a person belongs. Contrary to what was expected, age and formal schooling did not influence people's level of knowledge. Likewise, migration and occupation were not determining factors either, although in some specific cases they did influence the differences in knowledge about mushrooms between people. The indicators that most helped to differentiate between the Wixarika people, and the Mestizos were knowledge of the nutritional contribution, propagation methods, and knowledge about toxic mushrooms. Conclusions In general, sociocultural differences did not affect the transmission of the TMK due to the valorization of this knowledge among the young generations and the maintenance of the use of wild resources. Specifically, the Wixaritari had and preserved a greater TMK thanks to their pride in their cultural identity, which had allowed them to adapt to modernity while preserving their traditions and knowledge. On the other hand, the Mestizos increasingly disused wild resources due to urbanization. The indicators proposed here provided a good tool to quantify TMK; however, to replicate the study in other sites it is necessary to adapt the indicators to the context of the place.
Vegetation types in the Tenancingo-Malinalco-Zumpahuacán PNA. a Tropical deciduous forest, b tropical sub-deciduous forest, c oak forest, d gallery forest, e pine-oak forest, f cloud forest
The Protected Natural Area, Tenancingo-Malinalco-Zumpahuacán (TMZ-PNA)
Relationship for abundance and use value for (a) all life forms, (b) herbs, (c) trees and (d) shrubs/lianas. ·Observations σprediction line. * y-axis: use value is the value obtained for this calculation by species. x-axis: abundance is the number of individuals per species in the vegetation surveys
Relationship for abundance and use value for: trees, herbs and shrubs/lianas
Perception of abundance by local healers and abundance data from the vegetation survey. ·Observations σprediction line. y-axis, perception of abundance: perception by informants obtained through interviews: (1) rare, (2) moderate, (3) abundant, (4) very abundant and (5) dominant. x-axis, abundance in natural vegetation: number of individuals per species in all plots of the vegetation survey
Background The apparency hypothesis in ethnobotany (common plants are used more than less frequent ones) has been studied mostly by comparing usefulness with woody plant density, or large plants (trees) with herbs, with uneven results. Here, we explore the hypothesis for wild-growing medicinal plants, separately for different life forms. Two methodological subjects relevant for testing the hypothesis are also treated: We compare various importance indicators, including recent use, and evaluate active healers’ knowledge of plant population size. The study area was the Tenancingo-Malinalco-Zumpahuacán Protected Natural Area in central Mexico in the upper part of the Balsas River Basin, a biogeographic region with a long tradition of using wild medicinal species. Methods Previous work on the vegetation of the protected area contributed information from 100 survey plots and a species list, which included preliminary data on the medicinal plants. Then, in 2019–2020, we held in-depth and repeated interviews with 13 traditional healers in three rural communities. They were interviewed on uses and population size of a selection of 52 medicinal species of different life forms and abundance (number of individuals in survey plots). The data were analyzed with descriptive statistics, use values and linear regression models. Results For all species, use value correlated significantly with abundance. When separated by life forms, only herbs and shrubs/lianas showed this association, though with statistical limitations. Trees did not, perhaps because some of the most useful trees have been overcollected. We found a good correlation of recent use with frequency of mention and most other importance indicators; the correlation was weakest for number of uses. Also, active healers had a good estimation of population of their collected species. Conclusions The apparency hypothesis should be studied separating life forms to reduce the influence of this variable. To measure importance for the study of this hypothesis, the data show that frequency of mention is a good indicator and correlated with actual use. Also, local plant users’ appreciations of population size are quite accurate in the aggregate and may be more efficient than costly vegetation surveys.
Background Since its introduction to the Anglophone Caribbean in 1793, breadfruit has had a diverse history in the region, and there is a considerable repository of traditional knowledge about the crop, that is undocumented. Consequently, it remains underutilized as a food source, despite recognition of its potential to contribute to food and nutrition security. Understanding the folk taxonomy and traditional knowledge associated with its diversity and uses is a prerequisite to develop programs for its commercial production and utilization. Method This study was conducted among 170 respondents who were selected across four Anglophone Caribbean countries and provided information on the ethnobotany and traditional knowledge associated with breadfruit biodiversity, including systems of naming, identification and classification of breadfruit cultivars or types. Results Breadfruit has socio-cultural and economic value and is produced for both home use and sale by most respondents (68%). The genetic diversity of breadfruit managed by the respondents is also important, as a total of 51 vernacular names were identified, with nine of those names recorded for the first time in this study. Breadfruit types were identified by morphological and agronomical characteristics, with other important traits relating to use and cooking quality. Classification of breadfruit cultivars or types was based on eating-quality, most suitable methods of preparation and ease of cooking. Conclusion The ethnobotanical and traditional knowledge obtained from this study may be useful in assessing the genetic diversity of breadfruit and guiding future community-based conservation and classification studies of this important crop resource in the Caribbean. This is crucial to support the commercialization of breadfruit to improve its contribution to food and nutrition security.
Study area
Some medicinal plants in the study area (Schnabelia terniflora (Maxim.) P. D. Cantino, Periploca sepium Bunge, Polygala sibirica L., Menispermum dauricum DC., Phedimus aizoon (L.)’t Hart, Rehmannia glutinosa (Gaert.) Libosch. ex Fisch. et Mey, Salvia miltiorrhiza Bunge and Forsythia suspensa (Thunb.) Vahl are from A to H, respectively.)
Classifications of diseases based on ICD-11
Bupleurum seedlings were cultivated in SDSTS in spring, forming an agroforestry system with Zanthoxylum bungeanum and Diospyros kaki
Background Shexian Dryland Stone Terraced System (SDSTS) in the Taihang Mountains was formally recognized as Globally Important Agricultural Heritage Systems (GIAHS) by Food and Agriculture Organization on May 20, 2022. People there have been relying on the terraced fields for centuries, using various plants, including medicinal plants. However, little information was reported about the flora in SDSTS, nor medicinal plants. Thus, the present study aims to identify and document medicinal plants traditionally used by the local people living around the SDSTS and associated ethnobotanical knowledge. Methods We conducted investigations in Shexian County, Hebei Province, North China, where SDSTS is distributed. Then, Wangjinzhuang, a community located in the core zone of SDSTS, was chosen as the case site. We selected the informants through purposive and snowball sampling. The data were collected through semi-structured interviews, participant observation, and key informant interviews. The medicinal plants traditionally used by the local people were documented and analyzed. We examined and confirmed the botanical identification based on voucher specimens and by cross-checking the descriptions with the series of books, scientific papers on medicinal plants, and the plant databases. Results The local people have rich traditional knowledge to collect and use medicinal plants in SDSTS. Records of 123 medicinal plant species belonging to 51 families were obtained from SDSTS. Asteraceae was represented by 16 species, followed by Fabaceae, Lamiaceae and Ranunculaceae. (They all have 8 species.) The majority of the reported plant species were commonly processed into decoctions. And 180 diseases affecting humans were reported to be treated with traditional medicinal plants from SDSTS. Conclusion It is the first ethnobotanical study on medicinal plants in China-Nationally Important Agricultural Heritage Systems, and in globally important agricultural heritage systems as well. Medicinal plants are crucial for people living in Shexian County. It is necessary to recognize and respect traditional knowledge peculiar to the mountainous region of northern China, especially for those involved in the human–nature interaction and the role of knowledge in agrobiodiversity conservation and rural development that local residents have persisted for centuries.
Map showing the location of the study area. The rural villages surveyed were within the district of Fangzhao town
The still common practice of keeping the Chinese Hwamei and associated practices in the surveyed region: A A caged bird hanging in a tree in an urban street. B Four individuals kept in a residential house. C Gathering ground for bird fighting. D The keepers talking with each other at the morning gathering. E The bird-keepers playing poker at the gathering ground. F Many people at the open market held on Saturdays
Suggestions provided by the local keepers to balance the need for the conservation of the Chinese Hwamei and bird-keeping practice
Background The Chinese Hwamei (Garrulax canorus Linnaeus, 1758) is a widely distributed species and has long been kept as a pet, especially by the ethnic communities in Southwest China. According to conservation experts’ suggestions, it has been designated as a second-level national key protected species in February, 2021 to protect this bird, indicating that keeping it at home is no longer permitted in China. However, a key factor to ensure effectiveness and success of conservation initiatives is local stakeholders’ acceptance and support. Methods Interviews and focus group discussions were used to document the policy outcomes and the views of 108 local bird-keepers in a county in Guizhou province. Results Despite awareness about the illegality of the practice, the bird was still commonly caged both in rural and urban regions. To justify their unwillingness to stop keeping these birds, the interviewees presented many arguments, such as benefits for the community members’ health, cultural heritage and contributions to local livelihoods. Fewer than 30% of the bird-keepers believed that the practice of self-keeping has reduced the wild population. Most argued the decline was mainly generated by the harvesting and keepers with monetary interests. They suggested enforcement should target those people and bird markets, as well as the harvesting methods. They also recommended restricting the number of birds allowed to be kept by one keeper, establishing protected areas and a harvesting ban period. The study participants demonstrated considerable local ecological knowledge about approaches for managing the species’ use. Conclusions Due to the benefits for the people and the bird’s large distribution, I argued that a conservation goal to lower the harvesting and keeping rates would be more appropriate than a strict ban on keeping them. Such a policy would be more feasible and culturally acceptable because it is built on keepers’ support and suggestions. It is necessary to monitor the effects of bird keeping on the wild population. Overall, this qualitative study demonstrated the advantage of factoring in local voices in conservation decisions.
Map of Cambodia showing the location of the study areas (grey) and interview locations (red dots) in relation to Protected Areas (green)
Wildlife parts were used for Traditional Khmer Medicine (TKM) during survey a dry loris before using as medicine, b dry wild boar gall bladder, c various animal parts include wildlife parts and plants use as “Rubbing medicine”, d porcupine blood wine and others wildlife products sold by practitioners at tourist site. Credit: Lim Thona
Individuals across Cambodia depend on the use of natural products in Traditional Khmer Medicine (TKM), a traditional medicine system in Cambodia that has been practiced for hundreds of years. Cambodia is rich in fauna and flora species, many of which have been, and continue to be, traded domestically for traditional medicine use. Combined with other known exploitative practices, such as snaring for wild meat consumption and international trade in wildlife, domestic trade in wildlife medicine threatens populations of regional conservation importance. Here, we provide an updated understanding about how TKM is practiced in modern times; how TKM practices are transmitted and adapted; and roles of wildlife part remedies in TKM historically and presently. We conducted semi-structured interviews with TKM practitioners in Stung Treng, Mondulkiri Province, and at the National Center for Traditional Medicine in Phnom Penh, the capital of Cambodia. TKM is generally practiced in the private sector and is mostly informal, without enrollment in any academic training. TKM practitioner roles commonly involve collecting, preparing, selling, and advising on medicine, rather than providing direct treatment. Over half of the interviewed TKM practitioners (57.6%) were still prescribing wildlife parts as medicine over the past 5 years, with 28 species of wild animals reported. Lorises and porcupine were the wildlife products cited as being in highest demand in TKM, primarily prescribed for women’s illnesses such as post-partum fatigue (Toas and Sawsaye kchey). However, the supply of wildlife products sourced from the wild was reported to have dropped in the 5 years prior to the survey, which represents an opportunity to reduce prescription of threatened wildlife. We suggest that our results be used to inform tailored demand reduction interventions designed to encourage greater reliance on biomedicine and non-threatened plants, particularly in rural areas where use of biomedicine may still be limited.
Background Despite the fact that ethnobotanical studies have been conducted in various parts of Ethiopia, compared with the existence of the multitude and diverse ethnic groups and their associated traditional knowledge, the studies are not comprehensive enough for all the localities and communities in the country. This is also true for the Hamar community of Southwestern Ethiopia, who are totally dependent on plants and plant products for their livelihood. Hence, this investigation was done to identify and record medicine plants and the native wisdom of the community in the area. Methods Three hundred twenty six (326) informants were selected from the 12 lowest governmental units (Kebeles) applying Cochran’s formula through stratified random sampling technique. From the total informants, 74 (48 males and 26 females) were purposively selected for in-depth discussion. Semi-structured interviews, focus group discussions, guided field walks as well as market surveys were used for data collection. Standard ethnobotanical analytical tools comprising ranking and comparison were used for the analysis. Preference ranking, pair-wise comparison, informant consensus factor, direct matrix ranking, Cultural Significance Index (CSI) and Jaccard’s similarity coefficient (JCS) as well as Analysis of Variances (ANOVA), applying SPSS (version 20) were computed. Results A total of 145 species practical to cure about 72 ailments of livestock and humans were recorded. Families Fabaceae (with 22% of species), Asteraceae (11%), and Lamiaceae (9%) were discovered as the most dominant families in the area. Shrubs contributed the most (40%) to the growth forms followed by herbs (26.5%). Fresh leaves of the plants were parts that are used most frequently in the area. The highest ICF value (0.94) was recorded for reproductive problem categories. There was a relatively very high dependence of the community on plants and plant products together with a hoarded indigenous knowledge in the area that positively correlated with age (r = 0.82). Conclusion The study's findings revealed that Buska Mountain range is a home for highly diverse and most dependable plant species and associated indigenous knowledge. However, because of the realized environmental threats in the area, the conservation efforts of the community should be invigorated and supported in order to sustain the biodiversity in general and the medicinal plant species in particular.
Background Native potatoes are Andean tubers of great historical, social, food, genetic and nutritional importance, and they contribute significantly to food security by supplementing the household diet and also providing alternative income. Even when their cultivation and consumption imply great benefits, their use and local preservation depend to a large extent on the recognition of their ethnobotanical and cultural importance. In this context, this study consolidates an important ethnobotanical research bases for native potatoes in Colombia. Methods The study collected data through semi-structured interviews and dialogues (130) in the municipality of Chiscas, department of Boyacá, central-eastern Colombia. The questionnaire was focused on native potatoes and sought to investigate the knowledge related to cultivation, diversity, patterns and forms of preparation for use and consumption. Likewise, knowledge heritability mechanisms were investigated and ethnobotanical indices of relative importance, use and culture were estimated. Results Documentation of ethnobotanical knowledge included aspects such as seed care and availability, cultural management of the crop, patterns of use and consumption, as well as ways of preparing the tubers. In total, 23 vernacular names of native potato and 360 reports of use (commercial, domestic or ritual-magical) were recorded for the 15 main genotypes. Quantitative estimates included the importance index: (a) cultural, for which values ranged between 0.059 and 0.812; (b) relative, with records between 0.04 and 0.43; and (c) use, which ranged between 0.06 and 0.63. The ethnobotanical importance index (d) for native potatoes was 57.26, which corresponds to a “very high” ethnobotanical value. This allowed us to identify that Criollas were the most recognized and used potatoes within the community. In addition, it was shown that vertical transmission is the main way in which traditional knowledge about native potatoes is inherited. Finally, an artificial intelligence tool was preliminarily implemented to identify the polarity generated in the interviewees by the questions. Conclusion The results of this research provide valuable information on the ethnobotany of native potatoes in Colombia. The genotypes used by the community of the municipality of Chiscas were recognized for their high gastronomic and nutritional potential, as well as for their great ethnobotanical and cultural importance. These data can be considered as a valuable tool to support any action aimed at the conservation and revaluation of these tubers.
Background Farmers’ knowledge has a role in maintaining barley ( Hordeum vulgare L.) genetic resource, which plays an important role in food security, and provides socio-cultural value to the Ethiopian farmers. However, farmers’ knowledge has been ignored in the decision-making process in Misha, Gumer, and Hetosa districts, Ethiopia. Methods In this study, a semi-structured interview guide was used to carry out comprehensive house-to-house interviews with 357 purposively selected farmers to document their knowledge of barley cultivation, utilization and conservation practices. Results The majority of farmers (57.1%) grow barley on 0.5–0.75 hectares. Farmers identified and described 68 barley varieties with various local names, which were given to barley based on different characteristics such as plant height, spikelet length, row type, seed size and color, yield, place of origin, and use-values. Farmers are familiar with the nature, characteristics, end-uses, and preparation of different well-appreciated local meals and drinks. Farmers noticed that the number of barley local varieties has been decreasing in recent years. Introduction of improved varieties was perceived by all farmers as the main cause for the decrease in the number of barley local varieties in their localities. Another factor for the reduction in local barley varieties, according to 24.2% of farmers, was soil fertility degradation. Most of the farmers (65.7%) use their own barley seeds, which they select and save for the next growing season for specific attributes. They have their own indigenous knowledge that they have acquired through experience by growing, selecting, and conserving barley for the last 20–30 years or more. Conclusion The majority of farmers gave attention to commercial cultivars due to their better market value. Thus, the introduction of improved cultivars has imposed on local varieties. The indigenous knowledge that the famers acquired through experience could be considered an advantage for the conservation of barley genetic resources by using farmers’ participatory approach to widen cultivation and to improve barley local varieties for future use.
Background: Eastern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa is home to a vast range of medicinal and edible waterbird species due to its diverse geographical environment. Waterbird species have been used for various ailments and cultural practices since ancient times, while ethno-pharmacological applications and cultural uses of waterbird species in this area have seldom been documented. This study is the first ethnomedicinal and cultural assessment of waterbird species, and the first compilation and listing of all known data on these species in Eastern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan. Methods: Interviews and questionnaires were used to collect data from native respondents (N = 100). To analyze the data, principal component analysis (PCA), relative frequency of citation (RFC), fidelity level (FL%), relative popularity level (RPL), rank order priority, and similarity index were used. Results: In total, 64 waterbird species were utilized in cultural practices, of which 40 species are used to cure different infectious and chronic diseases such as cold, cough, flu, fever, respiratory disorders, asthma, TB, gastric ulcers, kidney stones, male impotency, obesity, paralysis, piles, cancer, arthritis, body pain, and weakness. PCA showed significant differences in the use of waterbird species among the local inhabitants of the study area, separated along the axis-2 (p < 0.05). The FL% of waterbird species varied from 12 to 100%. 100% FL was analyzed for four waterbird species, i.e., Charadrius mongolus (cold), Gallicrex cinerea (asthma), Anas platyrhynchos (cancer), and Esacus recurvirostris (body weakness). In this study, Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos) was the most popular species used in the healthcare system of Eastern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, with high RFC (4.06), FL% (100), and RPL (1.0) values. Conclusion: We concluded that waterbird species are more used for medicine and food purposes in the study area. However, in vitro/in vivo assessment of biochemical activities of waterbird species with a maximum FL% might be significant to produce novel drugs. Recent research shows important ethno-ornithological information about native people and their links with waterbird species, which might be helpful for the sustainable use of waterbird diversity in the research area.
Background Cochlospermum tinctorium and C. planchonii are two wide edible plants of sub-Saharan countries, e.g., Benin, widely used as food, medicine, dye, handicraft, etc. Unfortunately, the uncontrolled harvest of their rootstocks exposes them to local extension risk. To enhance knowledge on the determinants of their uses in Benin, this study aimed to (i) assess the use forms, use values, abundance and perceived spatiotemporal dynamics, (ii) determine how does local abundance or cultural patterns affect the use of Cochlospermum species, and (iii) assess local harvesting modes and conservation management practices. Methods In total, 756 Dialog Partners through 27 ethnic groups were questioned countrywide using semi-structured interviews. Questions refer to local taxonomy, specific uses, organs sought, harvesting modes and local conservation strategies; afterward, local abundance of each species was assessed. Ethnobotanical indicators were analyzed through citation frequencies to obtain quantitative data. Comparison tests and statistical analyses were performed using R program. Results C. tinctorium and C. planchonii are locally well known and involved into 83 specific uses, grouped into ten categories of which medicinal use was the main. The use values of C. planchonii (0.10 ± 0.19) and C. tinctorium (0.23 ± 0.20) varied significantly between the ethnic groups, and only C. tinctorium showed index of commercially value above 75% for some ethnic groups. The current abundance, about 84 and 97 tufts.ha ⁻¹ , respectively, for C. planchonii and C. tinctorium was perceived with a decline of 81.09% ( C. tinctorium ) and 73.7% ( C. planchonii ) of informants. Moreover, the Spearman’s correlation and Kruskal–Wallis tests performed revealed that the use values of C. tinctorium and C. planchonii were significantly correlated on the one hand with their local abundance and on the other hand with the investigated ethnic groups. About 42.3% of women produced the powder as principal activity, while more than 57% produced it mainly at the end of farm work. However, the conservation management was practiced by very few informants and consisted of partial harvesting of rootstocks (41.8%, only in southern Benin), and fallowing of harvesting areas (3.97%, only in northern Benin). Conclusion Facing the declining abundance and increasing market demand for rootstock powder of Cochlospermum species, existing local conservation strategies should be promoted and the domestication process should be initiated for sustainable management of these important wild edible plants before these important resources disappear completely in the wild.
Background Yunnan is rich in fungal diversity and cultural diversity, but there are few researches on ethnomycology. In addition, extensive utilization of wild edible fungi (WEF), especially the ectomycorrhizal fungi, threatens the fungal diversity. Hence, this study aims to contribute to the ethnomycological knowledge in Pu’er Prefecture, Yunnan, China, including information on the fungal taxa presented in markets and natural habitats, with emphasis in ectomycorrhizal fungi (EMF). Methods Semi-structured interviews with mushroom vendors in markets and with mushroom collectors in natural habitats were conducted. Information related to local names, habitat, fruiting time, species identification, price, cooking methods and preservation methods of wild edible mushrooms were recorded. Wild edible fungi were collected from forests, and morphological and molecular techniques were used to identify fungal species. Results A total of 11 markets were visited during this study. The 101 species collected in the markets belonged to 22 families and 39 genera, and about 76% of them were EMF. A wealth of ethnomycological knowledge was recorded, and we found that participants in the 45–65 age group were able to judge mushroom species more accurately. Additionally, men usually had a deepest mushroom knowledge than women. A total of 283 species, varieties and undescribed species were collected from natural habitats, and about 70% of them were EMF. Mushroom species and recorded amounts showed correspondence between markets and the natural habitats on different months. Conclusion The present study shows that Pu’er Prefecture is rich in local mycological knowledge and fungal diversity. However, it is necessary to continue the research of ethnomycological studies and to design and conduct dissemination of local knowledge in order to preserve it, since it currently remains mainly among the elderly population.
Background Aboriginal peoples have occupied the island continent of Australia for millennia. Over 500 different clan groups or nations with distinctive cultures, beliefs, and languages have learnt to live sustainably and harmoniously with nature. They have developed an intimate and profound relationship with the environment, and their use of native plants in food and medicine is largely determined by the environment they lived in. Over 1511 plant species have been recorded as having been used medicinally in Australia. Most of these medicinal plants were recorded from the Aboriginal communities in Northern Territory, New South Wales, South Australia, and Western Australia. Not much has yet been reported on Aboriginal medicinal plants of Queensland. Therefore, the main aim of this review is to collect the literature on the medicinal plants used by Aboriginal peoples of Queensland and critically assess their ethnopharmacological uses. Methods The information used in this review was collected from archival material and uploaded into the Tropical Indigenous Ethnobotany Centre (TIEC) database. Archival material included botanist’s journals/books and old hard copy books. Scientific names of the medicinal plant species were matched against the ‘World Flora Online Plant List’, and ‘Australian Plant Census’ for currently accepted species names to avoid repetition. An oral traditional medical knowledge obtained through interviewing traditional knowledge holders (entered in the TIEC database) has not been captured in this review to protect their knowledge. Results This review identified 135 species of Queensland Aboriginal medicinal plants, which belong to 103 genera from 53 families, with Myrtaceae being the highest represented plant family. While trees represented the biggest habit, leaves were the most commonly used plant parts. Of 62 different diseases treated by the medicinal plants, highest number of plants are used for treating skin sores and infections. Few plants identified through this review can be found in other tropical countries but many of these medicinal plants are native to Australia. Many of these medicinal plants are also used as bush food by Aboriginal peoples. Conclusion Through extensive literature review, we found that 135 medicinal plants native to Queensland are used for treating 62 different diseases, especially skin infections. Since these medicinal plants are also used as bush food and are rarely studied using the Western scientific protocols, there is a huge potential for bioprospecting and bush food industry.
Survey area
Basic information about the interviewees
Steamed stuffed bun with ground ear and shallot salad
Heatmap of edible wild plants in the Hassan area
Introduction In recent years, research on wild edible plant resources has become increasingly popular. The Hassan Nature Reserve is a multiethnic area mainly composed of people belonging to the Han, Hui, and Mongolian groups. The utilization of edible wild plant resources in this area is extremely high. However, with the advancement of urbanization and the development of modern agricultural technology, these resources have been seriously damaged, and related traditional knowledge, such as that related to national medicine, has been lost. Methods Based on a literature study, interviews with village and community organizations, participatory observation, and quantitative evaluation of ethnobotanical resources, wild edible plants in the Gansu–Ningxia–Inner Mongolia junction zone, were investigated. Results The survey results showed that there were 53 species (varieties) of wild edible plants belonging to 24 families in this area. The Compositae and Liliaceae families were the most abundant, with 8 and 7 species, respectively. The young stems and leaves were the most edible parts of the plants, as observed for 17 species, followed by fruits (including young fruits), which were considered the edible part of 16 species. Other edible parts included the roots or rhizomes (bulbs), seeds, whole plants, skins, etc. The edible plants were consumed in two forms: raw and cooked; raw plants, mainly fruit, were typically consumed as snacks. The cooked foods mainly consisted of vegetables, with tender stems and leaves as the main food source. These components were also used as seasoning, in medicinal diets, and as an emergency food source in times of famine. Important (CFSI > 500) wild edible plants used in health care in the region include Mulgedium tataricum (L.) DC., Nostoc commune Vaucher ex Bornet & Flahault, Sonchus arvensis L., Taraxacum mongolicum Hand.-Mazz., Allium schoenoprasum L., Robinia pseudoacacia L., Hemerocallis citrina Baroni, Elaeagnus angustifolia L., Medicago sativa L., Ulmus pumila L., Stachys sieboldii Miq., and Toona sinensis (Juss.) M. Roem., and these plants had high utilization values and rates locally. Conclusion In summary, the species of wild edible plants and their edible parts, categories, consumption forms and roles in health care in this area are diverse. The utilization of traditional knowledge is rich, and some wild plants have high development value.
Study sites
AHongo bule (Podaxis pistillaris) in sandy soils in the vicinity of Cucapah el Mayor. B Smooth spores under SEM, image by D. Delgado. CBules used as sound instruments (maracas) in Kumiai ceremonies, image by Anselmo Domínguez. Scales: A = 5 cm, B = 10 5 µm, C = 10 cm
Some medicinal mushrooms of San Antonio Necua and their spores. A, BDisciseda candida, C, DGeastrum kotlabae, E, FTulostoma fimbriatum, SEM image by D. Delgado. G, HT. pygmaeum. Scales: A, C, E and G = 1 cm; B, D, F and H = 5 µm
Medicinal polyporoid Coriolopsis gallica growing on a dead trunk. Scale = 5 cm
Medicinal lichens collected in Ejido Kiliwas. AXanthoparmelia lineola. BX. isidiigera. CX. joranadae. Scales: A, B and C = 2 cm
Background Mushrooms and lichens are natural therapeutic resources whose millenary importance persists in indigenous and mestizo communities of Mexico. However, in this regard, in the northern part of the country there are few ethnobiological explorations. This study investigates the local knowledge of medicinal mushrooms and lichens used by Yuman peoples, whose native speakers are in imminent danger of extinction along with their biocultural heritage due to changes in their traditional primary activities and the usurpation of their ancestral lands. Methods Ethnographic techniques in the field and standard lichenological and mycological methods in the laboratory were used. Results Information was obtained on the medicinal use of 20 species, of which six are lichens of the genus Xanthoparmelia and 14 are non-lichenized fungi, mainly gasteroids. The latter are primarily used to treat skin lesions, while lichens are used in heart, urinary, and gastrointestinal diseases. The transmission of this local knowledge to future generations is discussed, as well as the intercultural cognitive convergence about the uses of medicinal mushrooms and lichens. Conclusions The Yuman peoples preserve knowledge, practices and beliefs around mushrooms and lichens. Although increasingly less used, they still form part of their culinary and traditional medicine; even some are also used as ludic and ornamental purposes, and as trail markers. Beyond the pragmatic importance of these organisms, traditional knowledge about them is an essential part of the cultural identity that the Yuman peoples strive to preserve.
Location map of the territorial limits of PARNA do Catimbau, Vila do Catimbau, and the communities studied from 2017 to 2019
Visual analysis of the dissimilarity of the data from Hypothesis 1, resulting from plots of the main coordinates from Period 1 (t1) in 2017 and from Period 2 (t2) in 2019
Visual analysis of the dissimilarity of the data from Hypothesis 2, resulting from plots of the main coordinates from adults and children in Period 2 in 2019
Background Measures of the importance of medicinal plants have long been used in ethnobotany and ethnobiology to understand the influence of social-ecological system factors in the formation of individuals’ differential knowledge and use. However, there is still a gap in empirical studies that seek to understand the temporal aspects of this process. Methods To overcome this issue, we used the concept of the structural core of medicinal plants, a theoretical-evolutionary model, which argues that the importance of medicinal plant resources is related to the increase in individual and population fitness. It represents the set of the most effective and available resources that would treat the most common diseases in an environment. This composition of knowledge would be conservative over space and time. To test these questions, we hypothesized that the composition of the structural core remains constant during temporal changes in a social-ecological context, and that the composition of the infantile structural core (new generation) is similar to that of the adults (older generation). For 2 years, we tracked the structure of important medicinal plants among the same 49 residents of a community located in Vale do Catimbau in Pernambuco, Brazil. We also compared the importance of the medicinal plants among two different generations, children/adolescents and adults, in the same space/time context. Results and Conclusion Our results refuted both hypotheses. Regarding the composition of important medicinal plants through temporal variations and for children's learning, our results were not predicted by the model. This suggests that the structural core should not be regarded as a conservative phenomenon, but rather a congenital, dynamic, and plastic occurrence that has adapted to configure itself as a short-term population response to the treatment of local diseases.
Background Some insects are harmful to humans, plants and animals, but some of them can also be a source of proteins, fats, vitamins and minerals and be of therapeutic value. The therapeutic potential requires that medicinal insects and their derived products need to be scrutinized. This study highlights the indigenous knowledge related to their use of medicinal insects in peri-urban and urban areas of Burkina Faso. Methods The survey was carried out among 60 traditional healers spread across two phytogeographical zones of Burkina Faso. The questionnaire focused on medicinal insects used by experienced traditional healers. Chi-square tests and principal component analysis were performed to test for significant differences regarding knowledge of how insects in phytogeographically different areas were used therapeutically in connection with different disease categories. Results A total of 19 species of medicinal insects belonging to 6 orders were cited in connection with treatments of at least 78 pathologies and symptoms. Most frequently mentioned was gastroenteritis. Our study showed that 48.78% of the insects and their products were associated with 46 plant species for the treatment of pathologies. In addition, honey, beeswax and nests were the most widely insect products used. Conclusion The current study allows us to identify medicinal insects as well as their products used in the treatment of pathologies and symptoms, suggesting the presence of a considerable diversity of therapeutically important insect species. These insects are used alone and/or with their products but often in association with medicinal plants. The results constitute a useful database for future studies of medicinal insects in central and western parts of Burkina Faso.
Background Gongcheng Yao Autonomous County (Gongcheng) is typical for the Yao people in northeastern Guangxi, southern China. The Yao people have a long history of using medicinal plants. In this study, we used ethnobotanical methods to collect traditional knowledge regarding herbal medicines in Gongcheng. Our study provides fundamental data for developing and applying local ethnic medicines and their protection. Methods Ethnobotanical data were collected from 103 villages in nine townships from 2014 to 2018 in Gongcheng. A total of 352 informants (279 male and 73 female) were interviewed through semi-structured interviews, key informant interviews, and guided field walks. All the informants were local inhabitants aged between 28 and 101 years of age, of which 40 key informants were selected based on the recommendations of knowledgeable elders and local medical institutions. The informant consensus factor (ICF) was used to evaluate the degree and importance of differences in medicinal plant species and calculated the relative frequencies of citation (RFC) for the recorded medicinal plants. Results Data from 352 local healers were collected for the study. The Guanyin and Sanjiang townships had the highest distribution of per capita healers (Pch), while the Gongcheng, Lianhua, and Ping'an townships were relatively lower. Of the 352 local healers, more than half were older than 60 years of age and therefore faced the problem of suitable successors and potential loss of traditional medicinal knowledge. There are 12 types of diseases treated by local healers in the study area, and most of the types had a high ICF value. The highest ICF (0.80) was reported for digestive system disease, followed by urinary system disease (0.78) and nervous system disease (0.77). Traumatic injury and orthopedics, digestive system, and rheumatic disease are the most common ailments. The RFC value calculated in 33 medicinal plant species (with an FC of more than 5) ranged from 0.024 to 0.056. The higher RFC values included Kadsura longipedunculata, Schefflera heptaphylla, Plantago asiatica, etc. The most commonly used medicinal method was decoction; plasters, creams, and some form of moxibustion and cupping skills were locally practiced, but only rarely. The local healers used 306 medicinal plant species (116 families and 255 genera). Herbal plants were most commonly used among these, with whole plants and roots being favored. Conclusion The Yao people are highly skilled at using medicinal plants to treat various diseases in Gongcheng. Their treatment methods are varied, convenient, and efficient. Due to the impact of urbanization and economic development, knowledge of traditional medicine is under threat, with declining numbers of local healers and a lack of suitable successors. In order to protect and inherit Yao's traditional medicinal knowledge, it is necessary to educate young healers and to protect biodiversity.
Map of Ethiopia showing the location of the study area with the total and the sampled districts
Distribution of age of traditional healers and source of traditional medicinal plants
Distribution of age of traditional healers and number of traditional medicinal plants used (NMP)
Effect of distance of traditional healers from health centers (DHC) on service charge
Background The study aimed at documenting the indigenous and local knowledge and use of traditional medicinal plants for treating human and livestock ailments in Dawuro Zone of Ethiopia. Methods A survey was conducted among traditional healers and native administrators through discussion, interviews, and field observations. The snowball sampling technique was used to select 384 traditional healers in purposefully selected 50 villages spanning seven districts for face-to-face individual interviews. The chi-square test was applied to establish associations between traditional healers’ demographics, the distance between the village site and the nearest natural forest and a health center, and SPSS V.20 software was used for the analysis. Results The traditional healers of the study area reported the use of 274 traditional medicinal plant species belonging to 217 genera and 82 families. Asteraceae (11.68%), Fabaceae (9.49%), and Lamiaceae (9.12%) were the foremost frequently used families. Herb species (54.8%) and leaves (65%) were predominantly sourced from the wild environment. The quantity of medicinal plants used (x² = 278.368, df = 20, P = 0.000) and years of (experience in) traditional healing using herbs (x² = 76.358, df = 10, P = 0.000) varied with distance from the natural forests. The service charge for healing had strong positive association (x² = 24.349, df = 5, P = 0.000) with healer’s age (x² = 309.119, df = 184, P = 0.000) and educational level (x² = 851.230, df = 598, P = 0.000) with distance of traditional healer's residence from the medical institution. The agricultural activities, urbanization, low or no charge for the healing service, the secrecy and oral transfer of the knowledge, and the demand for medicinal and other multiple purposes species were some of the factors threatening the resource and the associated knowledge as well as the service in the study area. Conclusion There are diversified traditional medicinal plants applied for healthcare of the community and domestic animals of the study area. The source of remedies mostly depends on herbs of natural forests, and the leaf was the most frequently used plant part. Developing conservation intervention and sustainable systems of utilization is needed for multipurpose medicinal plants. Finally, integrating with modern system and formalizing, legalizing, and capacitating the traditional medicine practitioners are needed for access of primary healthcare systems to rural communities.
Background: Homegardens in Northern Ethiopia received little investigation into the diversity of plants and no study and recording in the Gozamin District. This study was used to fill the gap in how cultural use and cultural importance conserve species diversity in homegardens in the different agroclimatic zones in northwestern Ethiopia. Methods: The study district and 12 kebeles were chosen using multistage and stratified random selection procedures based on traditional agroclimatic zones in the Gozamin District, Northwest Ethiopia, respectively. The number of plots chosen in each homegarden was determined by the homegarden's size, which ranges from 0.015 to 0.5 ha. These data were gathered by putting plots with a distance gradient from home (size: 10 × 10 m each). A semi-structured interview and complete plant inventory were conducted to document the informant's knowledge of plant species. Sørensen's similarity indices and Shannon-Wiener diversity indices were used to compare the similarity of sites and three agroclimatic zones, respectively. Direct matrix ranking, cultural importance (CI), the relative frequency of citation, and cultural value were used in quantitative analysis to compare the most common multipurpose plants. Results: A total of 238 culturally important plant species from 81 families were identified. The Kruskal-Wallis test showed that there was a significant difference among the three agroclimatic zones species diversity (H = 103.4, Hc = 111.2, p < 0.05). Of the total plant species recorded, 59% were reported to be utilized for environmental uses, 35% were food crops, and 35% were medicinal plant species. The same was true for the three agroclimatic zones; food and medicinal uses were the first and second most important use categories, respectively. The similarity index for 64% of the sites investigated was less than 0.5. Cordia africana (FC = 125) was the most culturally significant species with a value of 2.23 on the CI index. Conclusion: Homegardens are multifunctional systems. The presence of different agroclimatic zones, cultural uses, cultural importance, and cultural value of the species are central to conserving plant species in the area. As the size of the garden increases, so does the diversity of species and uses. Our findings suggest that conservation strategies should take into account the links between plant composition and cultural importance.
Background While the hybridization of ecological knowledge has attracted substantial attention from researchers, the coexistence of local and allopathic medicinal traditions in literate societies widely exposed to centralized schooling and medical services has not yet been investigated. To this end, we studied the current and remembered local ethnomedical practices of Setos and neighboring Russians at the border with Estonia. Methods During 2018–2019, we carried out 62 semi-structured interviews in the Pechorsky District of Pskov Oblast, NW Russia. For cross-border comparison, we utilized the data from 71 interviews carried out at the same time among Setos in Estonia. The Jaccard Similarity Index and qualitative comparison were used to analyze the data. Results The study participants mentioned 819 uses of 112 taxa belonging to 54 families. More than two-thirds of the uses (565) were quoted by 36 Russian interviewees, while the remaining third (254) were quoted by 26 Seto interviewees, with the top 3 in both groups being Viburnum opulus, Rubus idaeus, and Plantago major. The Seto intraethnic similarity index was lower (0.43) than the interethnic similarity in Estonia (0.52) and comparable to the interethnic similarity in Russia (0.43). Setos in Russia and local Russians rely more on wild plants (86% and 80% of medicinal plants, respectively), while Setos in Estonia and Estonians show less preference to them (63% and 61%, respectively). Nevertheless, Setos tend to source wild plants available in their gardens (33% of plants for Setos in Estonia and 38% in Russia), while Russians prefer to source them in the wild (38%). Conclusions The preference of both groups in Russia for wild plants over cultivated and purchased plants was inspired by the overall plant literacy, access to nature, and one-to-many knowledge transfer favoring wild plants. Setos in Russia reported a narrower and more homogenous set of plants transferred vertically. However, due to atomization and the erosion of horizontal connections, there are singular plant uses among Setos that overlap with the local Russian set of medicinal plants and differ qualitatively from that of Setos in Estonia.
Maps of Japan and the Kanto region. The names of the locations were roughly positioned in the center of the area and municipalities
Overlay analysis of the association between demarcation tree location in 2011 and past land use in the 1880s in the Rapid Survey Map. Circles indicate the location of individual demarcation trees: aDeutzia crenata Siebold et Zucc., bPourthiaea villosa (Thunb.) DC., cCeltis sinensis Pers., dCamellia sinensis (L.) Kuntze, eEuonymus japonicus Thunb., and fMorus spp. Areas in white were not mapped in the study (including the small square). g An example of a work screen for interpreting the land-use legend in the Rapid Survey Map of the planting position of each demarcation tree in Shimana village
Demarcation plant distribution in Ibaraki Prefecture. a Species mentioned in documents written between 1648 and 1867 (n = 42), and b species mentioned by local farmers between 2017 and 2021 (n = 29). To avoid point overlap, the point displacement function was used to illustrate records having the same or similar longitude and latitude information. In such case, points were placed around a centroid (“ + ”)
Examples of Deutzia crenata Siebold et Zucc. planted for forest demarcation in Aomori Prefecture, northern Japan. Individual D. crenata trees (marked with white arrows) were planted between trunks of Cyptomeria japonica (L.f.) D.Don at the edge of a forest parcel adjacent to farmland
Background Isolated trees are often planted in agricultural landscapes around the world, but their planting background often remains unclear. In this study, we examined the history of demarcation trees in Ibaraki Prefecture in eastern Japan by using land dispute records mainly from the early modern period (from 1600 to 1868), the Rapid Survey Map (RSM) drawn in the late nineteenth century, demarcation tree records from 2011, and interviews of the local residents. Methods We reviewed 39 documents on land disputes to examine the temporal and spatial usage of demarcation tree species in the early modern period. The association between the present distribution of 1486 individuals of six demarcation tree species and past land use in the RSM were analyzed with Fisher’s exact test and residual analysis. In addition, we conducted interviews with 48 farmers, most of whom were over 60 years old. Results The demarcation plants in vast communal lands and village boundaries in the early modern period were mostly visually prominent tall trees, usually pines. In contrast, smaller trees were planted for demarcation in small-scale areas of forests and farmlands. Although Pourthiaea villosa (Thunb.) DC. Has been planted since the mid-eighteenth century, its planting seems to have accelerated as communal forests were divided mainly in the Meiji period (from 1868 to 1912). The present dominant state of Deutzia crenata Siebold et Zucc. in older farmlands and its ritual use, history of upland field development in the Kanto region, and ancient demarcation use in central Japan indicate its original use may date back to the medieval (from 1185 to 1600) or ancient ritsuryo period (from the seventh century to 1185). Tea (Camellia sinensis (L.) Kuntze) and mulberry (Morus spp.) individuals were considered as early modern or modern crop remnants. Results from the map-based analysis and interviews clarified the recent increase in the use of Euonymus japonicus Thunb. and Celtis sinensis Pers. for demarcation. Conclusions Chronologically dynamic anthropogenic legacies have shaped the present agricultural landscape with different demarcation tree species. A better understanding of the dynamic transformation of vegetation under human influence adds to the historical heritage value of the landscape and should motivate its conservation.
Map of community Serra dos Morgados, Jaguarari-Bahia 2020. Authors
Chord diagram (A) represented the distribution of use form of the edible plants per people in Serra dos Morgados. Examples of some of the plants mentioned: “Cheirosa”—Psidium ganevii. (B), “Jaca”—Artocarpus heterophyllus Lam. (C), “Bruto da Grota”—Annona coriacea Mart. (D) and coffee—Coffea arabica L. (E). Authors
Background The relationship of people with natural resources is guided by different sociocultural, ecological and evolutionary factors. Regarding food plants, it is not different. Studies around the world have evaluated the effects of socioeconomic factors, such as age, gender, income, profession, education level, time of residence, ethnic diversity, religion, festive rituals, access to urban areas and migrations. In this sense, the objective of the present study was to characterize the diversity of knowledge and use of food plants by people from Serra dos Morgados and evaluate if the socioeconomic factors influence knowledge and consumption of food plants in the community. Methodology This research was conducted in the village of Serra dos Morgados, municipality of Jaguarari, Bahia, with the purpose of evaluating the factors that influence in the knowledge and use of food plants. Socioeconomic data such as age, gender, time of residence, and monthly income were collected. The free list technique was applied during the collection of ethnobotanical data in order to analyze the preference of the plants based on the salience index (SI). To analyze the factors that influence knowledge and use forms, we used GLM Lasso. Results A total of 33 people were interviewed, 8 men and 25 women; their age ranged from 30 to 82 years. People cited 98 species of plants, 41 species being identified of spontaneous occurrence. The plant with the highest salience index (SI) was “cheirosa” (Psidium ganevii) (SI = 0.5679), followed by “massaranduba” (Micropholis sp.) (SI = 0.4323); “araça” (Campomanesia guazumifolia) (SI = 0.3320); and “cambuí” (Siphoneugena sp.) (SI = 0.3144). Conclusions The main factors that influence knowledge and use forms in the locality were family income and the collection site, with homegardens cited as the preferred area for collection of food plants. This study provided an overview related to potentially important species for a community located in a region where there are few ethnobiological studies. The results presented here can be used in future studies, providing clues for investigations. Also, there is a contribution to the conservation of biocultural aspects related to the use of food plants in a community living in mountainous regions.
Socio-demographic variables and frequency of different characteristics of the respondents (n = 200)
Respondents count (n) and frequency (%) of the responses for questions regarding the non-lethal methods usage to control bats
Respondents count (n) and frequency (%) of the responses of the questions regarding the myths about bats
Background Fruit bats play an important role in pollination and seed dispersal, and their conservation is important to maintain the productivity of some crops and natural ecosystems. The objective of this study was to investigate the knowledge, attitudes, and perception of fruit bats by orchard farmers and agricultural communities in Pakistan. Methods The present survey was conducted in two districts (i.e. Sheikhupura and Malakand districts) within Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa provinces based on the higher number of fruit growing areas and bat roosting sites. A total of 200 (100 per district) close-ended questionnaires with 53 questions were administered to randomly selected respondents within the selected communities associated with fruit orchards, including orchard owners, laborers, and members of the surrounding community. Each questionnaire was divided into seven sections (i.e., demographic information, environmental and public health effects of bats, knowledge about bats, perception and control of bats, non-lethal methods adopted to control bats, and different myths about bats). Results A majority of respondents (59%, n = 118) mis-classified bats as birds instead of mammals despite more than 84% reporting that they have observed bats. Nearly 71.5% of orchard farmers perceived that their fruits are contaminated by bats during consumption, and a majority believe that bats destroy orchards (62.5%) and are responsible for spreading disease. Mythology about bats was ambiguous, as 49% of those surveyed did not perceived bats to bring good luck (49%), and 50% did not perceived them to be bad omens either. Most respondents have never killed a bat (68%) nor would they kill a bat if given the opportunity (95%). Regarding the control of bats, the greatest percentage of respondents strongly disagree with shooting bats (36%) and strongly agree with leaving bats alone (42.5%). Conclusions This study provides a better understanding of the sociodemographic factors associated with knowledge, attitude and perception of bats from fruit orchard owners, labourers and local people. We recommend educational interventions for targeted groups in the community, highlighting the ecosystem services and importance of bat conservation to improve people’s current knowledge regarding the role of bats and reduce direct persecution against bats.
Background The abandonment of mountain areas in Europe is a process that started during industrialisation and whose traces are still present nowadays. Initiatives aimed at stopping this decline and preserving the local biological and cultural diversities reflect the crucial issue of fostering sustainable rural development. This article contributes to the ongoing debate in assessing and preserving local ecological knowledge (LEK) in a highly marginalised mountain community in the Piedmontese Apennines to support local development. In so doing, it continues a larger project assessing how local botanical knowledge and landscapes evolve over time, in order to understand in more depth which factors affect how LEK is shaped, eroded, and re-created, and how this could be revitalised. Methods We compared information about the current gathering and use of local wild plants in the upper Borbera Valley (Carrega Ligure municipality, NW Italy), elicited via 34 in-depth open and semi-structured interviews, with the findings of a field study conducted in the same location, most likely carried out at the end of the 1970s and published in 1981. Results There were remarkable quantitative and qualitative differences between the two ethnobotanies. The gathering and use of some wild medicinal plants growing in meadows, woodlands, and higher mountain environments (Achillea, Centaurea, Dianthus, Ostrya, Picea, Polygonum, Potentilla, and Thymus) seems to have disappeared, whereas the collection of plants growing in more anthropogenic environments, or possibly promoted via contacts with the “reference” city of Genoa (the largest city close to Carrega and historically the economic and cultural centre to which the valley was mostly connected), has been introduced (i.e. ramsons, safflower, bitter oranges, black trumpets) or reinvigorated (rose petals). This trend corresponds to the remarkable changes in the local landscape ecology and agro-silvo-pastoral system that took place from the first half of the twentieth century, dramatically increasing woodland and secondary vegetation, and decreasing coppices, plantations, grasslands and segregating cultivated land. Conclusion The findings show a very difficult rearrangement of the LEK, as most of the areas the local actors still know are within their villages, and they no longer have daily experience in the rest of the abandoned woodland landscape (except for mushrooming and gathering chestnuts). This situation can be interpreted in two ways: as the start of the complete abandonment of the valley, or as a starting residual resilience lynchpin, which could possibly inspire new residents if the larger political-economic framework would promote measures for making the survival of the mountain settlements of this municipality possible, and not just a chimera.
A conceptual framework on the components that can influence a researcher’s perspective of plant intelligence
The last two behavioral examples on the right were behaviors not intended as indicators of plant intelligence but, instead, of mere adaptation
Background Evidence suggests that plants can behave intelligently by exhibiting the ability to learn, make associations between environmental cues, engage in complex decisions about resource acquisition, memorize, and adapt in flexible ways. However, plant intelligence is a disputed concept in the scientific community. Reasons for lack of consensus can be traced back to the history of Western philosophy, interpretation of terminology, and due to plants lacking neurons and a central nervous system. Plant intelligence thus constitutes a novel paradigm in the plant sciences. Therefore, the perspectives of scientists in plant-related disciplines need to be investigated in order to gain insight into the current state and future development of this concept. Methods This study analyzed opinions of plant intelligence held by scientists from different plant-related disciplines, including ethnobiology and other biological sciences, through an online questionnaire. Results Our findings show that respondents’ personal belief systems and the frequency of taking into account other types of knowledge, such as traditional knowledge, in their own field(s) of study, were associated with their opinions of plant intelligence. Meanwhile, respondents’ professional expertise, background (discipline), or familiarity with evidence provided on plant intelligence did not affect their opinions. Conclusions This study emphasizes the influential role of scientists’ own subjective beliefs. In response, two approaches could facilitate transdisciplinary understanding among scientists: (1) effective communication designed to foster change in agreement based on presented information; and (2) holding space for an interdisciplinary dialogue where scientists can express their own subjectivities and open new opportunities for collaboration.
Background Traditional markets are important trading places for medicinal plants, and researchers performing market surveys often engage in ethnobotanical research to record the herbal plants used locally and any related traditional knowledge. However, information on market-traded medicinal plants from traditional markets in the Lijiang area of Yunnan is not well documented. This research is an ethnobotanical survey focusing on medicinal plants traded in the traditional markets of the Lijiang area and contributes to the understanding of medicinal plants and related information used by the Naxi people. Methods Ethnobotanical surveys were performed for two years (2019–2020). Three traditional markets in the Lijiang area were investigated. The methods we used included literature research, participatory surveys and group discussions. The collected voucher specimens were identified using the botanical taxonomy method and were deposited in the herbarium. The data were analysed through the informant consensus factor and use frequency (UF). These medicinal plants were compared with the Information System of Chinese Rare and Endangered Plants from the Chinese Academy of Sciences. Those results were in turn compared with the Dongba Sutras and Yulong Ben Cao . Results A total of 277 species from 97 families were recorded, with Asteraceae providing the maximum numbers of medicinal plants. Among them, 248 species (89%) were wild plants and 266 species (92.39%) were from the local area. Root (40.43%) was the most common medicinal part. A total of 267 species (96.04%) had a UF value above 0.5. Eighty-three investigated human ailments were grouped into 16 categories. Diseases of the digestive system (166 mentions) were most frequently mentioned in this study. There were 19 species of nationally protected plants in China, including 2 species of first-level nationally protected plants and 17 species of second-level nationally protected plants. A total of 31 species of these medicinal plants can be found in the Dongba Sutra or Yulong Ben Cao . Conclusion We surveyed the herbal medicine in the markets covering the Lijiang area, analysing and revealing the resource composition and current market situations. The medicinal plants used by the Naxi people are diverse and are used to treat a wide spectrum of body disorders. There are many wild medicinal plants, and to ensure sustainable development, their natural protection should be strengthened. Knowledge of the medicinal plants recorded in Naxi medical classics has ethnobotanical value and should be further developed.
Background Black-boned sheep is a precious genetic resource with black quality traits cultivated by the Pumi people in Tongdian Town, Lanping County, Nujiang Lisu Autonomous Prefecture, Northwest Yunnan, China. It has been included in the “National Breed List of Livestock and Poultry Genetic Resources.” The local communities have a deep understanding of black-boned sheep. The traditional knowledge of black-boned sheep is essential to their conservation and sustainable development. In spite of this, there was no information on traditional knowledge associated with black-boned sheep so far. The aim of this study wasaimed to document traditional knowledge and culture, to elucidate information about forage plants, and to investigate the conservation strategy of black-boned sheep. Method Four field surveys were conducted from July 2019 to May 2021. A total of seven villages and the Pumi Culture Museum in Lanping County are being investigated. A semi-structured interview method was used to interview 67 key informants. During the investigation, we also participated in the grazing activities of black-boned sheep, observed the appearance characteristics and the herd structure of the black-boned sheep, and demonstrated traditional knowledge regarding black-boned sheep, including grazing methods, forage plants, and related customs and habits. Results We assumed that a majority of people in the current study sites were able to could distinguish black-boned sheep from their relatives by their black bones, blue-green gums, and blue-purple anus. The local people manage their black-boned sheep based on the number of sheep by sex, age, and role in a flock in the different breeding environments. Different grazing strategies have been adopted in different seasons. Through ethnobotanical investigations, 91 species of forage plants in 30 families were identified, including herbaceous, shrubs, lianas, and trees. Among all the plant species consumed by the black-boned sheep, Rosaceae species make up the greatest number, with 16, followed by Asteraceae, with 9, and 8 species of Fabaceae and Poaceae. Considering the abundance of forage plants and the preference for black-boned sheep, Prinsepia utilis and the plants of Rubus , Berberis , and Yushania occupy dominant positions. Plants used for foraging are divided into two categories: wild and cultivated. Due to the lack of forage plants in fall and winter, the local people mainly cultivate crops to feed their black-boned sheep. In addition, the black-boned sheep is an influential cultural species in the local community and plays a prominent role in the cultural identity of the Pumi people. Conclusion Sheep play an essential role in the inheritance of the spiritual culture and material culture of the Pumi ethnic group. The formation of the black-boned sheep is inseparable from the worship of sheep by the Pumi people. With a long-term grazing process, the locals have developed a variety of traditional knowledge related to black-boned sheep. This is the experience that locals have accumulated when managing forests and grasslands. Therefore, both the government and individuals should learn from the local people when it comes to protecting black-boned sheep. No one knows black-boned sheep better than them. The foremost evidence of this is the rich traditional knowledge of breeding black-boned sheep presented by key informants.
Map of the territory of the city of Crisópolis
Species rarefaction curve, comparing the number of observed species (Sobs) and the estimated species richness (Jack1), generated from 1000 randomizations. 95% confidence interval
Percentage of citation for each use/interaction category
Comparison of the number of species cited by age group and hunting frequency. A Age groups; B Hunting frequency
Background Hunting wild animals is essential for nutrition, clothing, predator control and disease treatment. As part of a system based on food choices and uses, it is influenced by ecological, economic and sociocultural patterns. In this context, the aim is to identify the game fauna of interest in the Brazilian semiarid region; indicate the methods, uses, patterns of choices and cultural importance of the fauna and identify which sociodemographic variables influence the knowledge and use of faunal resources. Methods Information on hunting and fauna use was obtained through semi-structured interviews, complemented with free interviews and informal conversations. The cultural importance of the species was calculated through the current use value. The generalized linear model was created to verify whether the sociodemographic profile of hunters influences the knowledge and use of game species. Results The results showed a representativeness of 56 species. The group of birds was the most representative in terms of taxonomic richness (48.2%), followed by the group of mammals (26.8%), reptiles (21.4%) and amphibians (3.6%). The animals mentioned are used for food, trade, control hunting (slaughter of animals considered invaders of property or harmful to humans), pets, zootherapy and ornamentation. Sociodemographic variables shaped the knowledge of faunal resources, in which the age of hunters showed a negative correlation with the number of known species. Conclusions The meaning and forms of use attributed to each species depend on ecological, economic and sociocultural factors, which dictate the relationship between human communities and natural resources. Socioeconomic variables shape hunting patterns in all its aspects, whether in perception that hunters have of the resources, forms of use and utilization of hunting strategies.
Map showing the study area and the interviewed schools
Ecosystem services mentioned by the students. Pie chart shows the percentages for the number of ecosystem services mentioned by each student. Bar chart indicates the percentages for each ecosystem service mentioned by the students
Background The persistence of threatened and protected wildlife depends not only on habitat suitability but also remarkably on local communities’ acceptance. The black-necked crane ( Grus nigricollis ) is a flagship species for conservation on the plateau in western China. However, the human dimension has been completely ignored in the decision-making process for conservation. Methods In this study, a questionnaire survey aiming to assess knowledge of and conservation attitude toward this bird was carried out among 1042 students of 7th and 9th grade from 12 schools in Weining county, Guizhou province, which has a large wintering population in an urban wetland. Logistic regression was used in the generalized linear model to identify the determinants that significantly affect students’ knowledge of and conservation attitude toward this species. Results Most students have positive attitudes toward conservation, which is significantly affected by awareness, knowledge of this bird and grade. However, they have somewhat limited knowledge of this bird’s biology and ecosystem services (nature’s contributions to people). Knowledge was found to link with observation of the bird and grade, while observation related to the experience of visiting the wetland. Social media is the most cited resource to obtain knowledge on this bird. Conclusion It is suggested that local conservation experts could help introduce more information on the black-necked crane in the schools and help conduct outdoor education activities in and around the wetland. Traditional knowledge and culture could also be incorporated into the conservation awareness enhancing program. This study focuses on the human dimension for conserving the black-necked crane in China, showing significant implications in the design and application of effective measurements to improve students’ perception and attitude toward its conservation. Future assessments should include other local populations, such as farmers, fishers, and urban citizens.
Study area in the Curarrehue and Pucón municipal districts, Araucanía Region, southern Chilean Andes
People in charge of different livestock species in the southern Chilean Andes
Images showing a summer grazing area (“veranada”); b sheep flock next to rams
Background Traditional veterinary medicine (TVM) or ethnoveterinary medicine comprises knowledge, practices, and beliefs about farm animals. Its study serves to offer ecologically and culturally appropriate strategies for the management of animals and their health in a context marked by the increased use of synthetic pharmaceuticals, social–environmental degradation, pollution, and climate change. In this study, we examine the TVM that Mapuche and non-Mapuche campesinos in the southern Andes have about the management of animals and their health. In addition, we investigate the main factors influencing the current use of TVM. Methods Between December 2020 and March 2021, we undertook participant observation and conducted 60 semi-structured and informal interviews with Mapuche and non-Mapuche campesinos from the Pucón and Curarrehue municipal districts in the southern Andes of Chile. Results We identified a set of knowledge about cycles and manifestations of nature used in planning 14 animal management practices related to a Mapuche kosmos expressed in living with respect for and in dialogue with non-human elements. On health management, we recorded knowledge about 30 plant species, whose use for different categories of wounds and parasites has the highest informant consensus factors. The use of these plant species is governed by a kosmos associated with respect and reciprocity in their gathering. Nonetheless, 70% of the campesinos interviewed prefer to use synthetic pharmaceuticals. We found that the growing use of synthetic pharmaceuticals, the processes of reduction and change in the structure of land ownership, and climate change are perceived as the main factors behind processes of assimilation of new praxis and hybridization as well as the reduction and/or loss of the use of TVM. Conclusion Our results reveal the presence of ethnoveterinary knowledge, practices, and beliefs that are safeguarded by Mapuche and non-Mapuche campesinos in the southern Andes. However, in the context of different social–environmental changes, it is imperative to document, visibilize, and revitalize TVM since it provides new perspectives for bioculturally diverse and sustainable animal production.
Study area map showing protected areas and physiography of the country and field verification points
Heatmap depicting the distribution of ethnomedicinal plants. The abundance of medicinal plants used as hotspots is represented in blue color, whereas the lowest abundance is represented by orange
Heatmap depicting the distribution of traded medicinal plants in use
Heatmap depicting distribution of aromatic medicinal plants in use
Background The risk of losing traditional knowledge of medicinal plants and their use and conservation is very high. Documenting knowledge on distribution and use of medicinal plants by different ethnic groups and at spatial scale on a single platform is important from a conservation planning and management perspective. The sustainable use, continuous practice, and safeguarding of traditional knowledge are essential. Communication of such knowledge among scientists and policy makers at local and global level is equally important, as the available information at present is limited and scattered in Nepal. Methods In this paper, we aimed to address these shortcomings by cataloguing medicinal plants used by indigenous ethnic groups in Nepal through a systematic review of over 275 pertinent publications published between 1975 and July 2021. The review was complemented by field visits made in 21 districts. We determined the ethnomedicinal plants hotspots across the country and depicted them in heatmaps. Results The heatmaps show spatial hotspots and sites of poor ethnomedicinal plant use documentation, which is useful for evaluating the interaction of geographical and ethnobotanical variables. Mid-hills and mountainous areas of Nepal hold the highest number of medicinal plant species in use, which could be possibly associated with the presence of higher human population and diverse ethnic groups in these areas. Conclusion Given the increasing concern about losing medicinal plants due to changing ecological, social, and climatic conditions, the results of this paper may be important for better understanding of how medicinal plants in use are distributed across the country and often linked to specific ethnic groups.
Map showing localities where interviews with knowledge keepers were conducted
Map of Mukim Sengkurong showing localities where respondents were interviewed using structured questionnaire
Pictogram of Kedayan dynamic local ecological calendar. Photograph sources: Joremy Tony (Emerald Dove), CC-BY-SA-4.0 Rejaul Karim (Indian Cuckoo), Nurzahidah Bakar (All others). Note: Names of months are in Kedayan/Bahasa Melayu
Community members from whom calendric information was received. Note: The chart shows that no members had received knowledge from a knowledge keeper outside their family
Schematic representation of activities facilitated by the Kedayan ecological calendar
Background Local ecological calendars are ecocultural frameworks that link temporal and spatial scales, contributing to resilience and adaptive management of natural resources and landscapes. They also facilitate management, access and withdrawal of provisioning ecosystem services. In this article, we describe how the ecological calendar of the Kedayan people of Brunei Darussalam links skyscape and biodiversity with sociocultural aspirations to foster adaptive management of landscape, and provide an understanding of the transmission of calendric knowledge in the community. Methods In 2018, we collaborated with sixteen purposively sampled knowledge keepers from the Kedayan community of Brunei Darussalam to document the Kedayan local ecological calendar, and develop a calendrical pictogram. Using a structured questionnaire, we then interviewed 107 randomly selected community members, to understand the contemporary relevance and popularity of the Kedayan calendar, and the transmission of calendric knowledge in the community. Results Our findings reveal that very few respondents (n = 27, 25.3%) are aware of the existence of Kedayan ecological calendar; majority (n = 80, 74.7%) were not aware of its existence. There is no statistically significant correlation between consulting healers, knowledge on appropriate time requisite to consult healers, and awareness and self-professed knowledge of Kedayan calendar. Only 14 (13.1%) of the respondents reported to have received some form of calendric knowledge, while the majority (86.9%; n = 93) never received any calendric knowledge. Only a negligible 1.9% reported to have transmitted calendric knowledge to others indicating a breakdown in transmission of calendric knowledge. Conclusion The calendric pictogram would help the community in revitalizing their calendar. However, the community will have to invest on enhancing transmission of calendric knowledge.
Background Wild edible mushrooms (WEM) are economically significant and used in traditional medicines worldwide. The region of Jammu and Kashmir (Western Himalayas) is enriched with the diversity of edible mushrooms, collected by the rural people for food and income generation. This is the first detailed study on diversity and ethno-medicinal uses of mushrooms from the State of Jammu and Kashmir. Methods Consecutive surveys were conducted to record ethnomycological diversity and socio-economic importance of wild edible mushrooms value chain in rural areas of Azad Jammu and Kashmir during 2015–2019. Ethnomycological data were collected with a semi-structured questionnaire having a set of questions on indigenous mycological knowledge and collection and retailing of wild edible mushrooms. A total of 923 informants from the study area provided the results identifying the gender, type of mushroom species, medicinal uses, and marketing of mushrooms. Diversity of mushrooms was studied by using quadrat and transect methods. Principal component analysis (PCA) and detrended correspondence analysis (DCA) were also applied to the dataset to analyse the relationship between species distribution, the underlying environmental factors, and habitat types. PCA identified the major species-specific to the sites and put them close to the sites of distribution. Results A total of 131 mushroom species were collected and identified during 2015–2019 from the study area. Ninety-seven species of mushrooms were reported new to the State of Azad Jammu and Kashmir. The dominant mushroom family was Russulaceae with 23 species followed by Agaricaceae, 16 species. Major mushroom species identified and grouped by the PCA were Coprinus comatus, Lactarius sanguifluus, Amanita fulva, Armillaria gallica, Lycoperdon perlatum, Lycoperdon pyriforme, and Russula creminicolor. Sparassis crispa, Pleurotus sp, and Laetiporus sulphureus were recorded most edible and medicinally significant fungi. Morels were also expensive and medicinally important among all harvested macro-fungal species. These were reported to use against common ailments and various health problems. Conclusions Collection and retailing of WEM contribute to improving the socio-economic status, providing alternative employment and food security to rural people of the area. These mushrooms are used as a source of food and traditional medicines among the rural informants and could be used as a potential source of antibacterial and anticancer drugs in the future.
Background Social–ecological systems are based on particular species and on their direct and human-mediated interactions. The ‘golden humped tench’ or tinca gobba dorata , a variety of tench— Tinca tinca (L., 1758)—traditionally bred in artificial ponds called peschiere in Poirino highlands, northwest Italy, is one of such species. The aim of the study is to investigate the traditional farming of the golden humped tench, the associated knowledge, practices, and gastronomy, and to discuss the changes that the tench, the ponds, and their role in the local social–ecological system are going through. Methods The data analyzed were collected in different locations of Poirino highlands during May–September 2021. Fieldwork included semi-structured interviews ( n = 23) with current and former tench farmers about the breeding and gastronomy of the tench and the management of the peschiere . The interviewees’ selection occurred through an exponential non-discriminative snowball sampling, and interview transcripts were qualitatively analyzed through inductive thematic content analysis. Results The golden humped tench has been farmed for centuries in ponds used also to water livestock and to irrigate cultivated fields, and managed by every peasant household in the area. This integrated aquaculture system is underpinned by detailed knowledge on the peschiera ecosystem and on the tench life cycle and supports a gastronomic knowledge that is part of the local heritage. The ongoing process of gastronomic valorization of the tench is sustaining the role of the fish in locals’ livelihoods and as a marker of regional identity, but it is also transforming tench farming, already threatened by livelihood change, pesticides, and invasive species, in controversial ways. Conclusions We argue that ponds and tenches are core elements of the local social–ecological system, defining the cultural landscape and engendering a form of regional identity around them. Studying integrated aquaculture systems and associated knowledge and practices is relevant to design sustainable systems of food production and to address possibilities of conservation of biodiversity and livelihoods in aquatic environments.
Background As a hard-hit area during the COVID-19 pandemic, Belgium knew the highest mortality among people from sub-Saharan African descent, compared to any other group living in the country. After migration, people often maintain traditional perceptions and habits regarding health and healthcare, resulting in a high prevalence of traditional, complementary and alternative medicine use among different migrant communities in northern urban settings. Despite being the largest community of sub-Saharan African descent in Belgium, little is known on ethnobotanical practices of the Belgian Congolese community. We therefore conducted an exploratory study on the use of medicinal plants in the context of COVID-19 and perceptions on this new disease among members of the Congolese community in Belgium. Methods We conducted 16 in-depth semi-structured interviews with people of Congolese descent currently living in Belgium. Participants were selected using purposive sampling. Medicinal plant use in the context of COVID-19 was recorded through free-listing. Data on narratives, ideas and perceptions on the origin, cause/aetiology and overall measures against COVID-19 (including vaccination) were collected. Interview transcripts were analysed using thematic analysis. Results Four overarching themes emerged from our data. Firstly, participants perceived the representation of the severity of COVID-19 by the Belgian media and government—and by extend by all governmental agencies in the global north—as exaggerated. As a result, traditional and complementary treatments were seen as feasible options to treat symptoms of the disease. Fifteen forms of traditional, complementary and alternative medicine were documented, of which thirteen were plants. Participants seem to fold back on their Congolese identity and traditional knowledge in seeking coping strategies to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic. Finally, institutional postcolonial distrust did not only seem to lead to distrust in official messages on the COVID-19 pandemic but also to feelings of vaccination hesitancy. Conclusion In the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, participants in our study retreated to, reshaped and adapted traditional and culture-bound knowledge. This study suggests that the fragile and sensitive relationship between sub-Saharan African migrant groups and other social/ethnic groups in Belgium might play a role in their sensitivity to health-threatening situations, such as the COVID-19 pandemic.
Top-cited authors
Rainer W Bussmann
  • Staatliches Museum für Naturkunde Karlsruhe
Rômulo Alves
  • Universidade Estadual da Paraíba
Andrea Pieroni
  • Università degli Studi di Scienze Gastronomiche
  • Addis Ababa University
Ulysses Paulino de Albuquerque
  • Federal University of Pernambuco