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The Role of Botanical Gardens in the Conservation of Orchid Biocultural Diversity in Sichuan Province, China.

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Title:The Role of Botanical Gardens in the Conservation of Orchid Biocultural Diversity in Sichuan Province, China.
Authors:Seyler, Barnabas C.
Contributors:Botany (department)
Date Issued:Aug 2017
Publisher:University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa
Abstract:The orchid species richness of Sichuan Province is second highest in China, but price speculation and overharvest have led to significant population collapses in recent years. Though the integral link between biological and cultural diversity is well documented, understanding of the cultural impact of biological extinction events is limited. This dissertation tested the hypothesis that the loss of biodiversity results in an associated loss of cultural knowledge in relation to the orchid biocultural diversity in Sichuan. It was divided into four parts. 1) A knowledge survey to test the relationship between orchid biodiversity decline and cultural knowledge loss on four different orchid knowledge types in eight villages in rural Sichuan. 2) A complementary knowledge survey to test how the impacts of urbanization on people’s orchid knowledge differed based on knowledge type, with interviews conducted in three jurisdictions in Sichuan with differing levels of urbanization. 3) A social network analysis of the same 8 villages from part 1, tested how an individual’s social position within a community and a network’s overall structure might mitigate the loss of knowledge resulting from local species extinction. 4) An in-depth literature review and case study analysis of six key Chinese botanical gardens to identify which model(s) are most effective at orchid biocultural diversity conservation. Results revealed species extinction drives significant cultural knowledge loss, across all types of knowledge. Social network structure and rural proximity to natural areas are not sufficient by themselves to preserve a community’s knowledge following species extinction. Comprehensive botanical gardens are uniquely positioned to effectively maintain ex situ collections of threatened plant species and cultural knowledge, manage in situ populations, work to restore natural ecosystems, and reintroduce species back into the wild and traditional knowledge back into local
communities. However, the current botanical garden institutional capacity within Sichuan is inadequate to address these conservation goals, with the need for three to five new BG in the province. These findings help advance our understanding of how biodiversity loss affects cultural knowledge loss, with implications for biocultural diversity conservation more generally.
Description:Ph.D. Thesis. University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa 2017.
Rights:All UHM dissertations and theses are protected by copyright. They may be viewed from this source for any purpose, but reproduction or distribution in any format is prohibited without written permission from the copyright owner.
Appears in Collections: Ph.D. - Botany

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