Society for Economic Botany/BSA Economic Botany Section
Shrestha, Sushma .
Integrating ecological and ethnobotanical knowledge for biodiversity conservation at Manaslu Conservation Area, Nepal.
Most conservation approaches are extra-locally derived yet they influence local livelihoods and rely on local actions for effective outcomes. If the goal is to gain local participation in biodiversity conservation, then local knowledge becomes critical information. This preliminary study compiles and integrates local knowledge about landscapes and forest community types for the study of woody plant diversity at the Manaslu Conservation Area (MCA) of Nepal. Eighteen participatory maps were acquired from nine Gurung and Tibetan ethnic villages to examine how local people view their landscape spatially. These participatory "ethnecological" maps were then georegistered with remote sensed images to produce land cover/land use maps for the study villages. Participants mapped and named natural and human-created features across a heterogeneous landscape and included their recognition of dominant plant species. Participatory maps show a high number of land cover types that include culturally and ecologically important landscape features invisible on the classified images. Between the lowest mixed temperate forests at 1500m to the evergreen forests around 3800m, 115 ecological plots were established. Concurrent ethnobotanical interviews were conducted to document the number of uses and categories of uses. More than 80% of the recorded plants have local names and all have recorded uses (medicine, construction, food, fuel, fodder, ceremonies,etc.), indicating the importance of these plants to the local people. Plants that provided fuel, fodder, and construction materials dominated the list of the most important species. This data show patchy distribution of key forest resources in a heterogeneous landscape and the relationships between resource diversity and local ethnobotanical knowledge about woody plants. Integration of ecological and ethnobotanical knowledge can contribute towards learning about local places and potentially guide biodiversity conservation agendas that are sensitive to human livelihoods.
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1 - Miami University, Botany, 316 Pearson Hall, Oxford, OH, 45056, USA
Manaslu Conservation Area
Presentation Type: Oral Paper:Papers for Sections
Location: Maryland Room/Chase Park Plaza
Date: Wednesday, July 13th, 2011
Time: 2:15 PM