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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. Tropical Rainforest Research — Current Issues: Proceedings of the Conference held in Bandar Seri Begawan, April 1993. Monographiae Biologicae . Springer, Dordrecht, Netherlands, pp. 457-465. ISBN 978-94-010-7255-7. E-ISBN 978-94-009-1685-2. (doi:10.1007/978-94-009-1685-2_45) (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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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/978-94-009-1685-2_45

Abstract

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: Book section
DOI/Identification number: 10.1007/978-94-009-1685-2_45
Additional information: Conference on Tropical Rainforest Research - Current Issues BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN, BRUNEI, APR 09, 1993 Univ Brunei Darussalam; Royal Geog Soc, London
Uncontrolled keywords: Indigenous People, Indigenous Knowledge, Tropical Rainforest, Ethnobotanical Knowledge, Subsistence Practice
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 UTC
Last Modified: 31 May 2019 11:09 UTC
Resource URI: https://kar.kent.ac.uk/id/eprint/19160 (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
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