Putting plants in their place: Anthropological approaches to understanding the ethnobotanical knowledge of rainforest populations

Ellen, Roy F. (1996) Putting plants in their place: Anthropological approaches to understanding the ethnobotanical knowledge of rainforest populations. In: Edwards, D.S. and Booth, W.E. and Choy, S.C., eds. Monographiae biologicae. Kluwer Academic Publ pp. 457-465. ISBN 0-7923-4038-8. (The full text of this publication is not currently available from this repository. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided)

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Over the last decade or so ethnobotany has assumed a scientific prominence previously denied it. It is endorsed by institutions with a high international profile (Kew, the Royal Geographical Society, WWF, UNDP, UNESCO), has a market value placed upon it by foresters, agronomists, development advisers and pharmacologists, and has become pivotal in preserving the cultural identity and knowledge of indigenous peoples whose traditional way of life is under threat (Posey 1990). Ethnobotanical knowledge has, therefore, become both economic commodity and political slogan. This is particularly true with respect to the plant knowledge of rainforest peoples, as these peoples are often those with the highest media profile. However, in our eagerness to exploit a product and to demonstrate its usefulness, there has been a tendency to oversimplify what ethnobotany entails and just how it can be useful. I argue in this paper that we must not be narrow-minded or simplistic in our conception of ethnobotanical knowledge, and that to take anything less than a broad culturally-contextualised approach may miss the point of the relevance of indigenous knowledge altogether.

Item Type: Conference or workshop item (Paper)
Additional information: Conference on Tropical Rainforest Research - Current Issues BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN, BRUNEI, APR 09, 1993 Univ Brunei Darussalam; Royal Geog Soc, London
Subjects: Q Science > QH Natural history > QH301 Biology
Divisions: Faculties > Social Sciences > School of Anthropology and Conservation
Depositing User: R.F. Xu
Date Deposited: 09 Jul 2009 04:10
Last Modified: 04 Jul 2014 08:15
Resource URI: https://kar.kent.ac.uk/id/eprint/19160 (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
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