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The purposes and teaching of Applied Ethnobotany. Ethnobotany. A.C. Hamilton, Pei Shengji, J. Kessy, Ashiq A. Khan, S. Lagos-Witte & Z.K.

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11 PEOPLE AND PLANTS WORKING PAPER - MARCH 2003 This series of working papers is intended to provide information and to generate fruitful discussion on key issues in the sustainable and equitable use of
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11 PEOPLE AND PLANTS WORKING PAPER - MARCH 2003 This series of working papers is intended to provide information and to generate fruitful discussion on key issues in the sustainable and equitable use of plant resources. Please send comments on this paper The purposes and teaching of Applied Ethnobotany A.C. Hamilton, Pei Shengji, J. Kessy, Ashiq A. Khan, S. Lagos-Witte & Z.K. Shinwari and suggestions for future issues to People and Plants Initiative Faculty of Social Sciences Faculty of Forest Ecology and Forestry Science Department of Ethnobotany International Plants Conservation Unit WWF-UK Centre for Anthropological Studies Panda House, Catteshall Lane Godalming Surrey GU7 1XR United Kingdom Faculty of Medicine Statistics and Biometrics Department The designations employed and the presentation of material throughout this publication do not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever on the part of WWF concerning the legal status of any country, territory, city, or area of its authorities, or concerning the delimitation of its frontiers or boundaries. The opinions expressed in this paper are entirely those of the authors and do not commit any Organization. Authors addresses: Hamilton, A.C. WWF Plants Conservation Officer Panda House, Weyside Park Catteshall Lane Godalming Surrey GU7 1XR UNITED KINGDOM Pei Shengji Department of Ethnobotany Kunming Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences Heilongtan, Kunming Yunnan CHINA Kessy, J.F. Sokoine University of Agriculture P.O. Box 3226 Morogoro UNITED REPUBLIC OF TANZANIA Khan, Ashiq A. WWF-Pakistan, UPO Box 1439 Peshawar PAKISTAN Lagos-Witte, S. Coordinadora General, Grupo Etnobotánico Latinoamericano (GELA) Apartado Postal 21-9 Santo Domingo REPÚBLICA DOMINICANA Shinwari, Z.K. WWF-Pakistan, UPO Box 1439 Peshawar PAKISTAN Photos: pp 5, 15, 16 down, 46, 50, 55: Alan Hamilton p 7: Sonia Lagos-Witte pp 8, 9: David Medina and Rodolfo Peña pp 16 up, 23, 25: Robert Höft p 20: Peter von Sengbusch Cover drawing: Annette Aiscan-Schmid Published in 2003 by WWF Edited by Martin Walters Design: Ivette Fabbri Layout: Martina Höft WWF 2003 Recommended citation: Hamilton, A.C., Pei Shengji, Kessy, J., Khan, Ashiq A., Lagos-Witte, S. and Shinwari, Z.K. The purposes and teaching of Applied Ethnobotany. People and Plants working paper 11. WWF, Godalming, UK. An electronic version of this document can be downloaded from THE PURPOSES AND TEACHING OF APPLIED ETHNOBOTANY Abstract The aim of this paper is to provide recommendations for the teaching of Applied Ethnobotany - which is Ethnobotany applied to conservation and sustainable development. There are several fundamental reasons for applying the approaches and methods of Applied Ethnobotany for these purposes. First, they allow the knowledge, wisdom and practices of local people to play fuller roles in identifying and finding solutions to problems of conservation and sustainable development. Second, local people are fully involved in investigations, so that there is a better chance of buy in. Third, realistic case-studies of ways of balancing conservation with use become available, which is valuable for informing the development of realistic national policies. Over 100 people - many practising ethnobotanists or educators - have been consulted, partly through special workshops or studies undertaken for this purpose. They have been in China, the Dominican Republic (covering eight Latin American countries), Ethiopia, Kenya, Malaysia, Pakistan, Tanzania and Uganda. Reviews of the history of Ethnobotany and its teaching are included. Ethnobotany is being increasingly recognised as an important subject for conservation and sustainable development, but has several weaknesses, including often a lack of rigour in its teaching. The histories of Botany, Forestry, Agriculture and Medicine are also reviewed, to show how they have evolved as taught subjects and professional disciplines. Some of the specific ways that Applied Ethnobotany can be useful to these professions are indicated. Several matters which developers of courses or programmes should consider are discussed. They include the challenges posed by interdisciplinarity, possible types of courses and programmes (including lengths and levels), institutional contexts, enrolment requirements, staffing, and material resources. The three types of courses and programmes which seem to be most generally useful are: (1) introductory courses within undergraduate programmes (which might be in Agriculture, Anthropology, Botany, Forestry, Medicine, or indeed other subjects); (2) two-year MSc programmes (half taught classes: half individual research), leading to professional-level ability; and (3) short professional courses of five days to three months duration, often focusing on specific well-defined topics. The core competencies required of applied ethnobotanists are considered, along with how they may be acquired. So far as knowledge is concerned, suggestions are made for compulsory and optional topics to be covered in programmes, as well as some suggestions about their detailed content. Methods of acquiring practical skills are discussed, as well as the importance of adopting attitudes and behaviour appropriate to the profession. A list of People and Plants publications is included, with a guide to where descriptions of particular topics, including methods, can be found within them. We welcome your views on this paper, particularly whether you have found it useful in designing your courses (contacts given below). 1. Dr A.C. Hamilton, Head, International Plants Conservation Unit, WWF-UK, Panda House, Weyside Park, Catteshall Lane, Godalming, Surrey GU7 1XR, UK. 2. Prof Pei Shengji, Head, Department of Ethnobotany, Kunming Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Heilongtan, Kunming, Yunnan , China. 3. Dr John Kessy, Senior Lecturer, Department of Forest Economics, Faculty of Forestry and Nature Conservation, Sokoine University of Agriculture, PO Box 3226, Morogoro, Tanzania. 4. Ashiq Ahmad Khan and Dr Zabta Khan Shinwari, WWF-Pakistan, UPO Box 1439, Peshawar, Pakistan. 5. Dra Sonia Lagos-Witte, Coordinadora General, Grupo Etnobotánico Latinoamericano (GELA), Apartado Postal 21-9, Santo Domingo, República Dominicana. 1 Contents 1 Abstract 2 Contents 3 Rationale and methodology of this study 3 Why Applied Ethnobotany? 4 Methodology 6 Ethnobotany: scope and status 6 Ethnobotany: past and present 7 Geographical coverage and themes 8 Societies, networks and key events 11 Ethnobotany as a taught subject 13 How Ethnobotany can be strengthened 17 Relevance of Applied Ethnobotany to Botany, Forestry, Agriculture and Medicine 17 Professions to which Applied Ethnobotany can contribute 18 Botany: past and future 20 Forestry: past and future 22 Agriculture: past and future 26 Medicine: past and future 33 Courses and programmes in Applied Ethnobotany: matters to consider 33 The challenges of interdisciplinarity 35 Types of courses and programmes 37 The purposes of courses and programmes 37 Institutional contexts 39 Enrolment requirements 39 Student assessment and course evaluation 40 Staffing 41 Material resources 42 Core competences and their acquisition 42 Knowledge 43 Practical skills 45 Attitudes and behaviour 47 Possible topics to cover in courses and programmes in Applied Ethnobotany 49 Short professional courses 50 Acknowledgements 51 References 56 Appendix 1: Contributors to this project 60 Appendix 2: Publications, videos and website of the People and Plants Initiative 63 Appendix 3: Possible subjects to cover within suggested topics in Applied Ethnobotany 68 Appendix 4: Recommended topics of programmes in Ethnobotany or Applied Ethnobotany according to various authors 2 Rationale and methodology of this study Why Applied Ethnobotany? Ethnobotany has been defined as the discipline concerned with the interactions between people and plants (Jones, 1941). There are many aspects of Ethnobotany, including the ways that people name and classify plants, the values placed on them, their uses and their management. It reaches across the natural and social sciences. Plants have always been of central significance to human welfare and always will be. Plants provide people with food, fuel and medicine, as well as materials for construction and the manufacture of crafts and many other products. Their chemical and genetic constituents are being increasingly explored for human benefit. They are major parts of the physical worlds which people inhabit and in which they construct their realities. They lie at the base of food-webs, supporting most other forms of life. They are essential elements of ecological systems on all geographical scales, helping provide us with equitable climates, fertile soils and reliable supplies of water. The central role of plants in the everyday lives of rural people is obvious in developing countries, with the daily round of activities revolving around agriculture, the care of domestic animals, the gathering of fuelwood, the cooking and eating of largely plant-based food, the construction of buildings and fences, the use of herbal medicine, and so on. Ethnobotany can be applied for many practical purposes, among which McClatchey and his co-authors have listed land-use development, agriculture, forestry, cultural conservation, education and the development of the health food and herbal medicine industries (McClatchey et al., 1999). Our interest here is in Applied Ethnobotany, which we define as Ethnobotany applied to conservation and sustainable development. Applied Ethnobotany draws on both personal (including traditional) and scientific forms of knowledge, allowing comparisons and integration for the benefits of conservation and sustainable development. In the past, ethnobotanical studies have all too often been just academic exercises or have served only external interests, with the results benefiting neither local people nor conservation. Our approach is cross-disciplinary, participatory, and geared towards local problem-solving. The fundamental strengths of applying the approaches and methods of Applied Ethnobotany are that: They allow the knowledge, wisdom and practices of local people to play fuller roles in identifying and finding solutions to problems of conservation and sustainable development. Local people are involved fundamentally in investigations so that there is a better chance of buy-in. Realistic case-studies of ways of balancing conservation with use become available to inform the evolution of national and other higher level policies. Among the particular challenges to which Applied Ethnobotany can contribute are (Campbell & Luckert, 2002; Cruells, 1994; Cunningham, 2001; Laird, 2002; Martin, 1995; Schultes & von Reis, 1995): Conservation of plants (including varieties of crops) and other forms of biological diversity. Botanical inventories and assessments of the conservation status of species. Sustainability in supplies of wild plant resources, including of non-timber products. Enhanced food security, nutrition and healthcare. Preservation, recovery and diffusion of local botanical knowledge and wisdom. Reinforcement of ethnic and national identity. Greater security of land tenure and resource ownership. Assertion of the rights of local and indigenous people. Agreements on the rights of communities in protected areas. Identification and development of new economic products from plants, for instance crafts, foods, herbal medicines and horticultural plants. Contributions to new drug development. The betterment of rural livelihoods is a complex task and it is not suggested that Applied Ethnobotany is a universal panacea. Natural resource issues are only part of wider livelihood issues, and botanical issues only part of natural resource issues. There will always be uncertainties about how people will perceive their future options and the livelihood strategies that they will adopt. However, what is certain is that most rural people in developing countries will contin- 3 ue to be heavily reliant on local wild plants. Further, it is the poorest people, in particular, who will remain most dependent on resources of wild plants and who stand most to gain if these resources are managed in sustainable ways. Applied Ethnobotany can therefore play a significant part in the battle to relieve poverty. The intention of the present paper is to provide information useful to those wishing to develop courses or programmes in Applied Ethnobotany. Many people have been consulted to produce the present synthesis, which certainly will require revision with time and as other experiences are incorporated. Each course or programme is expected to differ in detail, moulded as appropriate to the contexts of particular departments, universities and countries or regions. On the other hand, it is noteworthy that findings of the consultations undertaken for the present project show an unexpected degree of agreement about the contents of courses and programmes in Applied Ethnobotany and on how they should be taught. There appears to be an emerging consensus. Ethnobotany is sometimes seen as a soft subject, but, actually, it can and should be intellectually demanding for both staff and students. As Janice Alcorn has commented (Alcorn, 1995): The ethnobotanical field worker observes the living system of which plant use is a part. Careful observation is not, however, an easy job. It requires looking at human activities and organisations from a plant s viewpoint and looking at plants and plant communities from a culturally informed as well as a scientific perspective. Only by looking at the material in this way can the ethnobotanical field worker recognise links between the subunits investigated by researchers in different disciplines. Methods of different disciplines reveal different aspects of the system under study. It is up to the fieldexperienced worker to integrate the data and spot new areas requiring investigation. Ethnobotanists are faced with a continuing learning process throughout their careers. There is much to gain from the sharing of experiences and ideas within countries and internationally, though barriers of language remain a challenge, as between anglophone and francophone Africa (Höft & Höft, 1997). Networking is an invaluable tool. No-one has all the answers. We believe that progress in developing courses or programmes in Applied Ethnobotany will depend greatly on the sharing of experiences and the learning of lessons by those who are practically involved. It is anticipated that Ethnobotany will become a powerful field of scientific activity in the 21st Century (Botanical Society of America, 1995). Unusually for a modern academic subject, there are particular opportunities for innovative contributions from ethnobotanists from developing countries. The advantages of such ethnobotanists can include personal experience of the problems that rural people face, intuitive appreciation of local cultures, and knowledge of local languages. Ethnobotanical research requires relatively little equipment and is cheap compared with many other fields of science. Ethnobotany is a key subject for conservation and sustainable development. Capacitybuilding in Applied Ethnobotany is urgently needed in developing countries because of the intimate links between rural people and local plants. This is not to say that Applied Ethnobotany is not also useful as a taught subject in industrial countries, including to train people able to explore the many, largely hidden, economic dependencies of people in such countries on plants and the implications of consumer cultures for conservation. Furthermore, some ethnobotanists from industrialised countries will become involved in collaborative research with colleagues in the developing world. Sonia Lagos-Witte has written of the urgency of developing Applied Ethnobotany, noting (Lagos-Witte, 1994): The rapidity with which environmental damage occurs today. The rapid loss of floristic and cultural diversity. The state of absolute material poverty of most of the indigenous and peasant people of tropical regions. The demands of these people for solutions to their problems and to take active roles in making decisions about the management of natural resources and about the legal status of their traditions and knowledge. Methodology The present document is a product of the People and Plants Initiative of WWF and UNESCO, with the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, as an Associate. Many people have contributed to its formulation (Appendix 1). Several meetings and other activities were organised to provide opportunities for ethnobotanists and other interested people to present their experiences and ideas about how Applied Ethnobotany should be taught: A meeting was held on August 2001 organised by Professor Pei Shengji at Kunming Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences, to discuss curricula in Ethnobotany for China (Pei Shengji, 2002a). Sonia Lagos-Witte and Alan Hamilton organised a workshop on curriculum development in Applied Ethnobotany on February 2000 at the Jardín Botánico 4 Nacional Rafael Ma. Moscoso, Dominican Republic (Lagos-Witte, 2002). This workshop was for representatives of Grupo Etnobotánico Latinoamericano (GELA), members of which attended from a number of countries in Latin America. A workshop was organised on 3-4 May 2002 by WWF-Pakistan and WWF-UK at Nathiagali, Pakistan, mainly to bring together experiences and ideas from people in Pakistan, but with attendance also by ethnobotanists from Uganda. Written contributions were received from several people from other countries (Shinwari, Hamilton & Khan, 2002). A session on curriculum development in Applied Ethnobotany was organised on 20 September 2002 by Professor Pei Shengji and Alan Hamilton at the 8th International Congress of the International Society of Ethnobiology, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. John Kessy of Sokoine University of Agriculture, Tanzania, undertook a survey of experiences and views about the teaching of Ethnobotany in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania, concentrating on Departments of Botany and Forestry (Kessy, 2002). A presentation on curriculum development in Applied Ethnobotany was made by Alan Hamilton on 15 October 2002 during the National Symposium on Ethnobotany and Economic Development in China, this being the first national-level meeting on Ethnobotany to be held in the country. The project has benefited from some earlier experiences associated with the People and Plants Initiative. Sonia Lagos-Witte and collaborators carried out a survey in 1995 to determine the status and opportunities for teaching of Applied Ethnobotany in Central America (Lagos-Witte et al., 1995). A similar study was undertaken later in Malaysia (Saleh, 2000). The People and Plants Initiative has, itself, run many courses in Applied Ethnobotany, principally short courses for professionals, but also a more extensive three-part regional course in Southeast Asia in Contributors to a session on curriculum development in Applied Ethnobotany on 20 September 2002 at the 8th Congress of the International Society of Ethnobiology, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. From left to right: 1. Dr Khasbagan (China), 2. Dr Fasil Kebebeh (Ethiopia, Congress Organiser), 3. Prof Pei Shengji (China), 4. Dr Chusie Trisonthi (Thailand), 5. Dr Esezah Kakudidi (Uganda), 6. Prof Hu Huabin (China), 7. Prof Sanyu Devi Joshi (Nepal), 8. Dr Alan Hamilton (UK), 9. Prof Abhoy Kumar Das (Nepal). 5 Ethnobotany: scope and status Ethnobotany: past and present The first published use of the term Ethnobotany was by John Harshberger in 1896, referring to a botanical culture revealed through archaeological research in the Mancos Canyon, Colorado, USA (Harshberger, 1896). From this start, the scope of the subject has expanded to include studies of modern cultures, greater interdisciplinarity and, more recently, greater attention to its applications to con
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