Human Ecology

, Volume 37, Issue 2, pp 147–159 | Cite as

Changing Ethnobotanical Knowledge of the Roviana People, Solomon Islands: Quantitative Approaches to its Correlation with Modernization

  • Takuro Furusawa


This study examines the acculturation of ethnobotanical knowledge in association with modernization by analyzing similarities and differences within a language group, the Roviana people of the Solomon Islands. Cultural consensus analysis and evaluation of either village-level or individual-level modernity were performed for seven villages. In one modernized and one less modernized village, detailed socioeconomic data at the individual level were collected. Intervillage variation of knowledge correlated with modernity only when the villages were referenced to the less modernized villages, while there was no correlation when the most modernized village was used as the base knowledge. An informant’s knowledge in the less modernized village was affected by socioeconomic factors, but this was not observed in the modernized village. From these results, I suggest that modern knowledge is easily integrated into the ethnobotanical knowledge system but is not directly related to the loss of indigenous botanical knowledge.


Ethnobotany Modernity score Acculturation New Georgia Melanesia 



My sincere thanks to all the people of Dunde, Olive, Rarumana, Ha’apai, Mandou, Nusa Banga, Tombo, and other villages, especially Sir Ikan Rove, the Reverend Nathan Kera, Mr. Eki Lee Dagha, and Mr. Edwin Huti, for their kind assent to, and support of, my research. I am grateful to the staffs of Ministry of Forest, Environment, and Conservation of the Solomon Islands, especially Hon. Job Dudly Tausinga, Mr. Myknee Qusa, and Mr. Basile Gua. I am also grateful to Prof. Ryutaro Ohtsuka (National Institute for Environmental Studies, Japan), Prof. Hiroyuki Kurita (Tokyo University of Foreign Studies), Dr. Hiroaki Setogushi (Kyoto University), Dr. Akitoshi Iwamoto (Tokyo Gakugei University), Prof. Takeshi Matsui, Prof. Yutaka Suga, Dr. Masahiro Umezaki, and Dr. Hana Furusawa (The University of Tokyo) and anonymous referees for their kind advice and support during this research. The Japan Society for Promotion of Sciences (“Harmonization of Rural Development and the Community Welfare (leader: R. Ohtsuka)” and KAKENHI Grant-in-Aid for Young Scientists: T. Furusawa) financially supported this study.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Asian Studies Network (ASNET), Division for International RelationsThe University of TokyoTokyoJapan

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