The “How” and “Why” of Including Gender and Age in Ethnobotanical Research and Community-Based Resource Management
- 335 Downloads
This paper examines the process and outcome of participatory methods for stakeholder identification. We used focus group style participatory methodology to engage local residents in identifying key sub-groups relevant to conservation in Boumba, Niger. We then conducted a quantitative pictorial recognition study to measure the diversity of local useful plant knowledge across groups. The community identified six gender and age-class groupings relevant to the study. The effect of a participant's gender, socially-defined age class or the interaction of the two factors on the number of plants recognized varied by plant use. Medicinal plant knowledge was highest among elders. Food plant knowledge of food plants increased with age for women only. Where as the interaction of age and gender was strongest on fodder plant knowledge, where mid-aged men scored highest. We reflect on the impact that heterogeneity of local botanical knowledge has on our understanding of local natural resource use and the strengths of using a participatory approach to identifying the stakeholder groups which underlie this heterogeneity.
KeywordsParticipatory research methods Stakeholder participation Local ethnobotanical knowledge West Africa Niger
This research would not have been possible without the generous support of the Boumba community, including the assistance of Lt. Abdoulaye Soumana, Hassan Kobia, and Isa Boumba. Additionally, we thank Mme. Haouaou Noma, Prof. Pearl Robinson, Prof. Mahamane Saadou, and Prof. Ali Mahamane for assistance in fieldwork implementation and design, and Dr. Astier Almedom, and Dr. Larwanou. We thank Xin Wang for help with statistics. This research was funded by Anne S. Chatham Fellowship (Garden Club of America), Tufts Institute of the Environment, the Robert and Patricia Switzer Foundation, the Graduate Women in Science, and a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship.
- Almedom, A.M., U. Blumenthal, and L. Manderson. 1997. Hygiene evaluation procedures: approaches and methods for assessing water and sanitation related hygiene practices. Boston: International Nutrition Foundation for Developing Countries.Google Scholar
- Dan Guimbo, I., M. Saadou and M. Larwanou. 2007. Patterns of botanical resource use in three rural villages in southwest Niger. 48th Meeting of the Society for Economic Botany. Society of Economic Botany.Google Scholar
- Dan Guimbo, I., J. Muller, and M. Larwanou. 2011. Ethnobotanical knowledge of men, women and children in rural Niger: A mixed methods approach. Ethnobotany Research and Applications 9: 235–242.Google Scholar
- Kalland, A. 2000. Indigenous knowledge: Prospects and limitations. In Indigenous environmental knowledge and its transformations: Critical anthropological perspectives, ed. R. Ellen, P. Parkes, and A. Bicker, 319–335. Amsterdam: Harwood Academic Publishers.Google Scholar
- Mueller, J.G. 2009. Including local voices in global discourse in biodiversity conservation. An ethnobotanical study in Boumba, Niger (Park W). PhD Thesis. Medford, MA: Tufts University.Google Scholar
- Muller, J., and I. Dan Guimbo. 2008. Eats shoots and leaves: Adding local understanding to the discussion of famine food resources in Niger. Practicing Anthropology 30: 29–32.Google Scholar
- Overseas Development Administration, ODA. 1995. Guidance note on indicators for measuring and assessing primary stakeholder participations, 10. London: Department for International Development (DFID).Google Scholar
- Ruddle, K. 1993. The transmission of traditional ecological knowledge. In Traditional ecological knowledge: Concepts and cases, ed. J. Inglis, 17–23. Ottawa: IDRC.Google Scholar
- Warren, D.M., L.J. Slikkerveer, D. Brokensha, and W. Dechering (eds.). 1995. The cultural dimension of development: Indigenous knowledge systems. London: Intermediate Technology Publications.Google Scholar