The use of different indicators for interpreting the local knowledge loss on medical plants

Abstract

The increasing loss of local ecological knowledge may have negative impacts on the resilience of socio-ecological systems and may also negatively impact bioprospecting efforts, since local ecological knowledge is an important source of information for searching new drugs. Recent studies try to evaluate whether communities are experiencing loss of local ecological knowledge. However, some of them make conclusions which are erroneously based on specific analyses of a single indicator. We propose an integrative analysis of three indicators, namely: number of plants cited by young people and elders, therapeutic choices and people’s connectance in terms of medicinal plant learning. The study was carried out in the community of Sucruiuzinho (Bahia, Brazil). We conducted semistructured interviews and a therapeutic recall with 24 local dwellers. We did not find evidence of local ecological knowledge loss in the studied community. Although younger people know fewer plants, they are well connected in terms of knowledge transmission. Moreover, in illness events, young people and adults have similar proportions of choice for plants when compared to allopathy. Concomitant use of the three indicators leads to a more realistic scenario of local ecological knowledge loss than the use of only one of them.

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Correspondence to Patrícia Muniz de Medeiros.

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Authors’ contributions

CCB contributed in fieldwork and wrote the first version of the MS, TCS made a critical reading and considerably changed the MS, UPA made a critical reading and considerably changed the MS, MAR made a critical reading and considerably changed the MS, WSFJ made a critical reading and considerably changed the MS, FNB contributed in fieldwork and helped writing the fist version of the MS, EMCN co-directed the Masters dissertation of the first author, PMM idealized the study and directed the Masters dissertation of the first author.

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de Brito, C., Silva, T.C.d., Albuquerque, U.P. et al. The use of different indicators for interpreting the local knowledge loss on medical plants. Rev. Bras. Farmacogn. 27, 245–250 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1016/j.bjp.2016.09.006

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Keywords

  • Local knowledge
  • Erosion
  • Traditional botanical knowledge
  • Ethnobotany