2011 - Volume 9 : Ethnobotany Research and Applications

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    Staple food choices in Samoa : Do changing dietary trends reflect local food preferences?
    (Botany Department, University of Hawaii at Manoa, 2011) Jones, Andrew Maxwell Phineas ; Dempewolf, Hannes ; Armstrong, Rebecca ; Gallucci, Kathy ; Tavana, Namulau’ulu Gaugau
    The prevalence of non-communicable diseases such as diabetes, obesity and cardiovascular disease has become a considerable health problem throughout the South Pacific, including Samoa. The increase in these diseases is most often associated with changes in dietary intake; including increased consumption of fats and sugars concurrent with reduced consumption of fibre and complex carbohydrates. We conducted this study in order to better understand food preferences in the Samoan population. The study focuses on the following common staple foods available in Samoa: taro, banana, elephant ear, yam, breadfruit, tapioca, rice, bread, noodles and potatoes. Interviews were conducted with 51 volunteers to better understand what foods they prefer to eat, which items they viewed as healthy choices, and how they categorize and view these foods. Over all, the participants preferred the traditional foods over imported staples. The local foods were preferred because they are considered to be healthier choices and provide a longer lasting source of energy. The preference ranking assigned to the food items correlated with their documented glycemic indexes (GI). Although it appears that Samoans prefer low GI, fiber-rich staple foods, imported refined cereal products provide more calories for the same price which makes them more economical. We recommend that future public health policy in Samoa should focus on the preference for healthier, more sustainable local foods, and aim at making these foods more economically competitive.
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    Bamboo trade and future prospects in the Central Himalaya : A case study of the traditional artisans of Uttarakhand, India
    (Botany Department, University of Hawaii at Manoa, 2011) Sundriyal, Manju ; Sundriyal R.C.
    In India bamboo is valuable in the rural livelihoods. However, despite improvement efforts the conditions of bamboo resources and traditional artisans have been deteriorating over the years. To improvise the socio-economic status of the artisans, different state governments are looking for information on the resource as well as artisans’ skills so that necessary amendments could be accomplished in government policies and programs to develop this sector as an important vehicle for rural development. This article is based on an investigation that was conducted in Uttarakhand state, India using questionnaires. We report on bamboo species being used, indigenous knowledge of articles made from bamboo, resource utilization patterns, and management status of bamboo in Uttarakhand state. The paper also discusses major bottlenecks of the trade along with the potential interventions that could be used to enhance bamboo-based livelihoods in the region.
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    Ethnobotanical studies in the genus Sansevieria Thunb. (Asparagaceae) in Zimbabwe
    (Botany Department, University of Hawaii at Manoa, 2011) Takawira-Nyenya, Ratidzayi ; Stedje, Brita
    A study investigating ethnobotanical uses and ethnotaxonomy of the genus Sansevieria Thunb. (Asparagaceae) in Zimbabwe is presented. Direct observation of plant use by informants, open-ended and informal interviews covering questions on local names of species, uses, mode of administration and the specific plant part used were employed during the study. Ethnobotanical uses for four species; Sansevieria aethiopica Thunb., Sansevieria hyacinthoides (L.) Druce, Sansevieria kirkii Baker and Sansevieria pearsonii N.E.Br. were recorded from 60 informants. A total of 11 use categories were defined; ornamentals, medicinal use in humans, medicinal use in animals, food, play, processed fiber, unprocessed fiber, crafts, making whip ends, spiritual uses and other uses. Medicinal use in humans was the most prevalent category, contributing 33% of the total responses. Several uses of Sansevieria in Zimbabwe not previously documented in the literature are described for the first time in this study.
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    Ethnomedicinal plants of India with special reference to an Indo-Burma hotspot region : An overview
    (Botany Department, University of Hawaii at Manoa, 2011) Rai, Prabhat Kumar ; Lalramnghinglova, H.
    Ethnomedicines are widely used across India. Scientific knowledge of these uses varies with some regions, such as the North Eastern India region, being less well known. Plants being used are increasingly threatened by a variety of pressures and are being categories for conservation management purposes. Mizoram state in North East India has served as the location of our studies of ethnomedicines and their conservation status. 304 plants from 96 families were recorded as being used by the indigenous Mizo (and other tribal communities) over the last ten years. Analysis of distributions of species across plant families revealed both positive and negative correlations that are interpreted as evidence of consistent bases for selection.
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    Ancient Kaua`i Mapping Project : Using GIS to locate and map ancient Hawaiian agricultural landscapes on Kaua`i
    (Botany Department, University of Hawaii at Manoa, 2011) Burton, Erik
    GIS tools are used to develop a predictive model for identify the primary agricultural complexes on Kaua`i and conduct a systematic aerial survey for plants from transported landscapes. Comparisons were made to historical records and place names were matched to elements of the ancient agricultural landscape.  Results are recorded in a series of layers enabling spatial analysis and 3D visualization of the data in its environment. The resulting GIS layers and master model allows custom data views to be created by enabling selected layers so that desired aspects of the agricultural landscape can be visualized. The resulting layers are discussed as individuals and also how they interact to provide a view of the ancient integrated agricultural landscape. Conclusions about the predictive model for agricultural complex, the ethnobotanical surveys and the historical records are discussed.