Local Knowledge of Plants and Their Uses Among Women in the Bale Mountains, Ethiopia

Luizza, Matthew Wayne
Young, Heather
Kuroiwa, Christina
Evangelista, Paul
Worede, Aserat
Bussmann, Rainer
Weimer, Amber
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Botany Department, University of Hawaii at Manoa
Women’s local ecological knowledge (LEK) is noted by many scholars to be unique and important for local conservation and development planning. Although LEK integration is inherent to ethnobotanical research, in Ethiopia, the knowledge-gender link has not been fully explored, and few studies focus on women’s distinct plant knowledge. We catalogued rural women’s knowledge of a wide range of plant uses in south-central Ethiopia, conducted through picture identification of 337 local plants. Fifty-seven plant species were identified, constituting 38 families, with the top five families being Lamiaceae, Solanaceae, Asteraceae, Rosaceae, and Pteridaceae. An array of uses were identified ranging from food, livestock and wildlife forage, to honey production and cosmetics. The most prevalent use noted (nearly 70%) was human medicine. This study reveals the important contribution of rural women’s plant knowledge in the Bale Mountains, and the potential benefits of including this gender-distinct understanding of local flora in community-based conservation planning.
Luizza, M., Young, H., Kuroiwa, C., Evangelista, P., Worede, A., Bussmann, R., Weimer, A. 2013. Local Knowledge of Plants and Their Uses Among Women in the Bale Mountains, Ethiopia. Ethnobotany Research & Applications 11: 315-340.
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