Ethnobotanical and Floristic Research in Belize: Accomplishments, Challenges and Lessons Learned

Date
2004
Authors
Balick, Michael J.
O’Brien, Hugh
Contributor
Advisor
Department
Instructor
Depositor
Speaker
Researcher
Consultant
Interviewer
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
Publisher
University of Hawaii at Manoa
Volume
Number/Issue
Starting Page
Ending Page
Alternative Title
Abstract
Ethnobotanical and floristic research in Belize was conducted through the Belize Ethnobotany Project which was launched in 1988 as a multi-disciplinary effort of a number of individuals and institutions in Belize and internationally. The objectives of the project were the preservation of cultural and traditional knowledge, natural products research (through the National Cancer Institute), technology transfer, institutional strengthening and student training. This paper discusses the implementation of the project components, highlighting its accomplishments, challenges and lessons learned. A checklist of the flora has been produced, and includes 3,408 native and cultivated species found in Belize. The multiple use curve is introduced as a way of determining the most appropriate sample size for ethnobotanical interviews/collections. Valuation studies of medicinal plants found in two areas of local forest are described, and compared with values of traditional uses for farming, using a net present value analysis. Studies on the ecology, propagation and sustainable levels of harvest of medicinal plants were also initiated in Belize. Our experience with the production of a traditional healer’s manual is detailed, and we describe details on the benefit-sharing approach utilized to recognize intellectual property that it contains. Various local efforts at developing forest-based traditional medicine products are described, as is the natural products research and teaching program based on Belizean plants. The authors will relate an example of how negative events can be transformed to have positive results. Specifically, in the case of conflict over the management of the region’s first ethnobiomedical reserve, two competing groups claimed responsibility for its management. However, the conflict was eventually resolved and resulted in two such reserves being established, together representing over 50,000 acres of land set aside for conservation and use by traditional healers. The perspective of local participants and communities will also be presented, including a short video presentation.
Description
Keywords
Citation
Balick MJ, O’Brien H. 2004. Ethnobotanical and floristic research in Belize: accomplishments, challenges and lessons learned. Ethnobotany Res Appl 2:77-88.
Extent
Format
Geographic Location
Time Period
Related To
Rights
Rights Holder
Email libraryada-l@lists.hawaii.edu if you need this content in ADA-compliant format.