2008 - Volume 6 : Ethnobotany Research and Applications

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    Wild Edible Fruit Species Cultural Domain, Informant Species Competence and Preference in Three Districts of Amhara Region, Ethiopia
    (University of Hawaii at Manoa, 2008) Mengistu, Fentahun ; Hager, Herbert
    The study was carried out in Adiarkay, Debark and Dejen districts in a context where wild fruit bearing species suffer notable disregard from research and development strategies, and consequently the basic information remains verbally with the local people without being adequately documented. Free-listing, individual interviews, focus group discussions, direct observation and pair-wise ranking were used to glean and evaluate data. Altogether, 46 species make up the wild fruits domain of the study area. Each site and district appeared to have its own cultural domain, and salient and favorite species. There is a high correspondence between highly preferred and salient species. Aggregating free-list data to solicit a cultural domain of the highest stratum (study area) was found to highly underestimate the domains of lower strata (districts and sites). There exists a wealth of knowledge about wild fruit species, especially on the part of the youth, shedding light on the perpetuation of indigenous knowledge. Future studies on wild fruits in the area needs to capitalize on species identified to have high consent and should make use of informants identified as having high species competency.
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    Relationship between Four Tribal Communities and their Natural Resources in the Koraput Region
    (University of Hawaii at Manoa, 2008) Franco, F Merlin ; Narasimhan, D. ; Stanley, William
    In this paper, we look into the relationship that exist between four tribal communities viz. the Kondh, Poraja, Gadaba and Bonda of the Koraput region with their natural resources. Eucalyptus globulus Labill., when introduced into the tribal ecosystem is rejected by the community and so is Acacia auriculiformis A.Cunn ex Benth., while another tree Pterospermum acerifolium Willd. when introduced is readily accepted by the community. A new water reservoir makes fish readily available to the community and the community incorporates the new resource into their culture. The Bonda spare a few tree species from the axe while clearing the forests for shifting cultivation. The possible philosophy behind these actions is discussed.
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    Healing Traditions of Southern India and the Conservation of Culture and Biodiversity: A preliminary study
    (University of Hawaii at Manoa, 2008) Pesek, Todd J. ; Helton, Lonnie R. ; Reminick, Ronald ; Kannan, D. ; Nair, Murali
    A comparative study on regional traditional healing and community wellness provision in collaboration with traditional healers was conducted in three distinct ecological regions in the southern Western Ghats, India. The study led to the collection of data, from fourteen healers, on their healing systems, local afflictions and modes of treatment, community roles of healers, and adaptations of the respective populations to their environments via traditional healing. Key points emerging from these qualitative data include a general consensus among healers which preliminarily illustrates intact healing traditions, a keen healer and community interest in programming focused on the conservation of biodiversity and culture for sustainable, traditional wellness promotion, and that in sustaining health there must be healthful environmental surroundings.
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    Keeping the Spirit Alive: Rice whiskey production in Northern Lao P.D.R.
    (University of Hawaii at Manoa, 2008) Delang, Claudio O.
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    Botanical Knowledge of a Group of College Students in South Carolina, U.S.A.
    (University of Hawaii at Manoa, 2008) Wagner, Gail E.
    Thirty-one 18-22-year-old college students in South Carolina, U.S.A., were asked to freelist garden flowers, local grasses, local crops, and native/local trees, vines, and wildflowers/weeds. Answers were scored as correct, wrong, or inappropriate. Whereas the students could list an average of 9.0 crops, 8.4 trees, and 5.4 garden flowers correctly, they could list only 1.9 vines, 1.7 wildflowers/weeds, and 1.4 grasses correctly. Incorrect answers (answers that were wrong or inappropriate) were listed by 22.5% to 58.0% of the students depending on the domain. The types of incorrect answers given indicate a fuzzy understanding or knowledge of local ecology, plant morphology or habit, and domesticated versus wild or weedy status. Results indicate the solicited life forms or domains of plants hold unequal cultural saliency for this selection of students. Knowledge appears highest for crops, trees (particularly planted trees), and showy garden flowers, reflecting highest familiarity with the surrounding managed landscape and least familiarity with wild and less noticeable vegetation. Some answers reflect vicarious knowledge of plants rather than knowledge gained through direct experience. This study points out the need to carefully consider which domains of plant knowledge should be compared cross-culturally, and the need to quantify and examine incorrect as well as correct answers.
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    A Quantitative Assessment of Indigenous Plant Uses Among Two Chepang Communities in the Central Mid-hills of Nepal
    (University of Hawaii at Manoa, 2008) Rijal, Arun
    This study analyzes the indigenous knowledge of plant use among the Chepang communities of two wards of the Shaktikhor Village Development Committee in the central mid-hills of Nepal. A total of 12 key informants and 240 men and women of different ages, were interviewed and the results were analyzed using mixed linear regressions. Though there was a significant difference in knowledge between men and women due to gender specific activities, it is difficult to draw a general conclusion about knowledge and sex, as men were in general more knowledgeable than women in the homogeneous ward while women were more knowledgeable than men in the heterogeneous ward. We also found that older people were more knowledgeable than young ones. Furthermore, the knowledge was higher in a homogeneous Chepang community than in a heterogeneous one. The knowledge transmission to the young generation was investigated and it is concluded that there is an issue with knowledge transmission to the younger generation.
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    Ethnobotany of Dioscorea L. (Dioscoreaceae), a Major Food Plant of the Sakai Tribe at Banthad Range, Peninsular Thailand
    (University of Hawaii at Manoa, 2008) Maneenoon, Katesarin ; Sirirugsa, Puangpen ; Sridith, Kitichate
    Dioscorea is the main source of carbohydrate for the Sakai tribe at Banthad Range, Peninsular Thailand. Nine subgroups of Sakai wander in this area where fifteen species of the genus have been found. Thirteen of the species are consumed by the Sakai. The remaining two species are inedible. This study investigates the Sakai population pyramid, the Sakai living areas, the species diversity and ethnobotany of Dioscorea as well as the nutritional compositions of selected Dioscorea species.
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    Effects of Simulated Preparations of Plants used in Nigerian Traditional Medicine on Candida spp. Associated with Vaginal Candidiasis
    (University of Hawaii at Manoa, 2008) Ogunshe, Adenike A.O. ; Lawal, Oladipupo A. ; Iheakanwa, Chinedum I.
    Some Nigerian medicinal plants are popular among traditional producers of phytotherapies in the treatment of sexually related infections. For this study we used modified agar disk, agar spot and agar well-diffusion methods, preparations of simulated crude aqueous and ethanolic extracts of 11 traditionally used medicinal plants for in vitro antimicrobial activities against seventy five strains of Candida species associated with Candida vaginitis and 37 vaginal Lactobacillus species. Candida pseudotropicalis (Castell.) Basgal were minimally inhibited by the plant extracts, while the rate of inhibition of other Candida strains by the ethanolic extracts of the plants were, Ageratum conyzoides L. (44.4 - 66.7%), Anthocleista djalonensis A. Chev. (57.1 - 66.7%), Senna alata (L.) Roxb. (44.4 - 75.0%) Ficus exasperata Vahl. (44.4 - 62.5%), Gliricidia sepium Kunth ex Steud. (64.3%-75.0%) Chromolaena odorata (L.) R.M. King & H. Rob.(57.1%-62.5%) and Rauwolfia vomitoria Afzel. (62.5%). Apart from Aspilia africana (Pers.) C.D. Adams (24.3%) and Ageratum conyzoides L. (35.1%), very low in vitro inhibitory activities of between 5.4% and 16.2% were produced by the medicinal plants against the vaginal Lactobacillus species indicating their ethnophytotherapeutic safety.
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    Household Energy Demand and its Challenges for Forest Management in the Kakamega Area, Western Kenya
    (University of Hawaii at Manoa, 2008) Kiefer, S. ; Bussmann, R.W.
    The presented study investigated the energy demand of a sample of 201 households adjacent to Kakamega Forest. The aim of the study focused on the evaluation of possible threats to the forest under the scenario that the local population continues to heavily use Kakamega Forest, disregarding the restrictions posed by national law. The data collected serves as a base for an estimate of the potential demand on forest resources and as a resource for developing management strategies. Sooner or later the demand for energy and plant material by an ever increasing population needs to be satisfied, and the only easily available resource is Kakamega Forest, in particular in an environment without industrial and commercial benefits. This study showed that the demand for energy is still very high, and that legal restrictions do not protect forests from over-use and destruction. The current restrictions prevent the population from understanding the need to protect the forest. This results in disinterest in protection efforts, even though there is high interest and efforts in protection of common goods. The early awareness of these conditions could protect natural forests from being destroyed, and help to sustainably manage them.