Documenting, Assessing, and Celebrating Bio-Cultural Diversities in the Ongoing Global Crisis: New Ways to Foster Citizens' Science?

A special issue of Biology (ISSN 2079-7737). This special issue belongs to the section "Conservation Biology and Biodiversity".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 June 2023) | Viewed by 7571

Special Issue Editor

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

In the current global situation, characterized by the last phases of the COVID-19 pandemic, a tragic ongoing war, unprecedented economic crisis, and a climate-change-centered disaster, biocultural diversities are threatened, possibly like never before during human history. However, if we want to promote and foster the truly sustainable use of natural resources, a collaboration between scientists and traditional/local environmental knowledge holders is quintessential. 

This Special Issue will focus on biocultural diversities to assess these intertwined dimensions of life and to see how these could improve scientific knowledge that is useful for humanity and generated together with responsible citizens.

The SI will particularly welcome contributions focusing on case studies documenting, assessing, and celebrating conglomerates of biological and cultural diversity, as well as their impacts within the public arena. Moreover, the invited contributions should project their relevance into both conservation biology and environmental studies/sciences.

The possible main topics that this SI could cover include ethnoecology and historical ecology, ethnobiology, environmental anthropology, environmental humanities and linguistics, population genetics, and bio-anthropology.

Considering the success of the earlier Special Issue "Linking Biodiversity and Cultural Diversity: New Approaches for Fostering the Sustainable Use of Natural Resources" (https://www.mdpi.com/journal/biology/special_issues/Link_Bio_Cul), we are pleased to launch a Special Issue on Documenting, Assessing, and Celebrating Biocultural Diversities in the Ongoing Global Crisis: New Ways to Foster Citizens’ Science? Both original submissions and reviews will be considered for publication.

Prof. Dr. Andrea Pieroni
Guest Editor

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Keywords

  • ecology
  • ethnobiology
  • environmental anthropology
  • environmental humanities
  • population genetics bio-anthropology
  • environmental studies

Published Papers (3 papers)

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Research

26 pages, 3550 KiB  
Article
Traditional Wild Food Plants Gathered by Ethnic Groups Living in Semi-Arid Region of Punjab, Pakistan
by Muhammad Waheed, Shiekh Marifatul Haq, Fahim Arshad, Rainer W. Bussmann, Andrea Pieroni, Eman A. Mahmoud, Ryan Casini, Kowiyou Yessoufou and Hosam O. Elansary
Biology 2023, 12(2), 269; https://doi.org/10.3390/biology12020269 - 08 Feb 2023
Cited by 13 | Viewed by 2682
Abstract
Wild edible food plants (WFPs) are valuable resources in the traditional food systems of many local cultures worldwide, particularly in underdeveloped regions. Understanding patterns of food preferences requires conducting cross-cultural food studies among various ethnic groups in a specific area. In this context, [...] Read more.
Wild edible food plants (WFPs) are valuable resources in the traditional food systems of many local cultures worldwide, particularly in underdeveloped regions. Understanding patterns of food preferences requires conducting cross-cultural food studies among various ethnic groups in a specific area. In this context, the current study aimed to record WFP use among five ethnic groups in Punjab, Pakistan, by interviewing 175 informants selected through snowball sampling. The indicator food species for different ethnic groups were calculated using indicator analysis based on the percentage of citations. A total of 71 wild food plants (WFPs) belonging to 57 genera and 27 families were observed in the study area. A high proportion of these wild food plants (WFPs) belonged to Fabaceae with eleven species (15%), followed by Moraceae with seven species (9%). Fruits were most widely used (43%), followed by leaves (19%), and shoots (16%). The majority (35 species, 49%) of plants of WFPs were eaten as cooked vegetables. A cross-cultural comparison revealed that four species overlapped among five ethnic groups (Arain, Jutt, Rajpot, Mewati, and Dogar). The Arain ethnic group gathered and consumed a remarkable number of wild plants (35 species), possibly due to a special connection with the general abundance of the local flora, and being close to nature by adopting professions more allied to WFPs in the study area. The analysis of indicator species revealed distinct significant indicator values (p ≤ 0.05) between the main food species among the various ethnic groups. Amaranthus viridis was a common indicator of food in all five ethnic groups, while Ziziphus nammularia was a common indicator food plant of the Mewati, Rajpot, and Jutt ethnic groups; these plants are important in local diets, especially during times of food scarcity brought on by disease or drought. In addition, the current study reports 20 WFPs that have been rarely documented as human food in Pakistan’s ethnobotanical literature. Future development plans should consider biocultural heritage and pay appropriate attention to local ecological knowledge, dynamics, and historical exchanges of traditional food systems. Full article
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24 pages, 1604 KiB  
Article
A Cross-Cultural Analysis of Medicinal Plant Utilization among the Four Ethnic Communities in Northern Regions of Jammu and Kashmir, India
by Tawseef Ahmad Mir, Muatasim Jan, Hammad Ahmad Jan, Rainer W Bussmann, Francesca Sisto and Imad Mohamed Tahir Fadlalla
Biology 2022, 11(11), 1578; https://doi.org/10.3390/biology11111578 - 27 Oct 2022
Cited by 13 | Viewed by 2271
Abstract
Medicinal plants are utilized around the globe for the treatment of a wide range of ailments. This study is an attempt to document the utilization of medicinal plants across the four different cultural groups residing in the rural and remote villages of the [...] Read more.
Medicinal plants are utilized around the globe for the treatment of a wide range of ailments. This study is an attempt to document the utilization of medicinal plants across the four different cultural groups residing in the rural and remote villages of the northern districts of the Union territory of Jammu and Kashmir, India. To gather information related to medicinal plants and health care practices among the local folk, field surveys were conducted from February 2018 to May 2021. The ethnomedicinal information was gathered through semi-structured interviews and group discussions. During the study, a total of 109 plant species belonging to 35 families were recorded as commonly utilized by the local population, with Asteraceae reported as the dominant family. The most common growth form was herbs, with a percentage contribution of 86%. Leaves (38%) were the most commonly used plant part for the preparation of traditional remedies, and most of the remedies were prepared as paste and applied topically. The highest use value of 0.30 was reported for Capsella bursa-pastoris. Greater similarity (14% species) in the usage of plants was shown by Bakerwal, Gujjar, and Pahadi ethnic groups, whereas the least similarity (1%) was observed between Bakerwal and Kashmiri ethnic groups. Based on the results obtained in the present study, further phytochemical and pharmacological analysis of plants is recommended to confirm the efficacy and safety of the remedies used and to possibly elucidate candidates for the development of new drugs. Full article
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13 pages, 1176 KiB  
Article
Plant Use Adaptation in Pamir: Sarikoli Foraging in the Wakhan Area, Northern Pakistan
by Muhammad Abdul Aziz, Zahid Ullah, Muhammad Adnan, Renata Sõukand and Andrea Pieroni
Biology 2022, 11(10), 1543; https://doi.org/10.3390/biology11101543 - 21 Oct 2022
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 1716
Abstract
The study recorded the food uses of wild food plants (WFPs) among the Sarikoli diaspora and the dominant Wakhi in Broghil Valley, North Pakistan, to understand their food adaptation, mainly by looking through the lens of food ethnobotanies. A total of 30 participants [...] Read more.
The study recorded the food uses of wild food plants (WFPs) among the Sarikoli diaspora and the dominant Wakhi in Broghil Valley, North Pakistan, to understand their food adaptation, mainly by looking through the lens of food ethnobotanies. A total of 30 participants took part in the study, which included 15 elderly individuals from each ethnic group. Data were gathered through semi-structured interviews. We recorded 29 WFPs, mostly used as cooked vegetables and snacks. The food uses, as well as the local plant nomenclatures, linked to WFPs of the two studied groups were completely homogenized, which could be attributed to the cultural assimilation of the Sarikoli people to Wakhi culture. We found that although traditional knowledge on WFPs has been homogenized, social change in nearby regions is also threatening the traditional knowledge of the two communities, as evidenced by the smaller number of plants reported compared to that of all other field ethnobotanical studies conducted in nearby regions. Moreover, the growth of legal restrictions and sanctions on accessing natural resources are posing serious challenges to cultural resilience in the valley, and the restrictions on cross-border movement in particular are creating challenges for those who have cross-border kinship relationships between the two groups. We suggest specific measures, such as the promotion of food tourism and educational activities, to protect traditional knowledge and bicultural heritage from further erosion in the region. Full article
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