Special Issue "The Ethnobiology of Wild Foods"

A special issue of Foods (ISSN 2304-8158). This special issue belongs to the section "Food Security and Sustainability".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 20 October 2020.

Special Issue Editor

Prof. Dr. Andrea Pieroni
Website
Guest Editor
University of Gastronomic Science, Piazza Vittorio Emanuele II 9, 12042 Pollenzo, Bra, Italy
Interests: ethnobotany; local foods; migrant food systems; diasporas; Greater Middle East
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The ethnobiology of wild foods has received increasing attention in recent years, since traditional foodways around the world are still based on several wild plant, animal, fungal, microorganism, and mineral ingredients, as well as their food products and culinary preparations.

In the last few decades, wild foods in different parts of the world have been the subject of revalorization and commodification processes, with complex outcomes at the social, cultural, and economic level. Within these processes, wild foods have also come under the attention of the tourism and gastronomic sectors, which are bridging innovation and the (re)invention of traditions. Their commodification has, however, sometimes led, in different contexts, to over-harvesting and has threatened the continuation of their use for subsistence.

Wild foods around the globe therefore urgently need to be documented and evaluated, not only in terms of their biological, chemical, technological, nutritional, and pharmacological aspects, but especially in their social, cultural, and religious significance.

Original research on traditional/local wild foods will be particularly welcome, as well as attempts to determine the impact of the survival of these food items for fostering community-centered strategies of local development and sustainable food systems, attuned to local ecologies and cultural heritage.

Prof. Dr. Andrea Pieroni
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

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Keywords

  • Ethnobotany
  • Ethnomycology
  • Ethnozoology
  • Ethnozymology
  • TEK
  • Local development
  • Gastronomy

Published Papers (5 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle
Wild Food Plants and Trends in Their Use: From Knowledge and Perceptions to Drivers of Change in West Sumatra, Indonesia
Foods 2020, 9(9), 1240; https://doi.org/10.3390/foods9091240 - 04 Sep 2020
Abstract
Wild food plants (WFPs) are often highly nutritious but under-consumed at the same time. This study aimed to document the diversity of WFPs, and assess perceptions, attitudes, and drivers of change in their consumption among Minangkabau and Mandailing women farmers in West Sumatra. [...] Read more.
Wild food plants (WFPs) are often highly nutritious but under-consumed at the same time. This study aimed to document the diversity of WFPs, and assess perceptions, attitudes, and drivers of change in their consumption among Minangkabau and Mandailing women farmers in West Sumatra. We applied a mixed-method approach consisting of interviews with 200 women and focus group discussions with 68 participants. The study documented 106 WFPs (85 species), and Minangkabau were found to steward richer traditional knowledge than Mandailing. Although both communities perceived WFPs positively, consumption has declined over the last generation. The main reasons perceived by respondents were due to the decreased availability of WFPs and changes in lifestyle. The contemporary barriers to consuming WFPs were low availability, time constraints, and a limited knowledge of their nutritional value. The key motivations for their use were that they are free and “unpolluted” natural foods. The main drivers of change were socio-economic factors and changes in agriculture and markets. However, the persistence of a strong culture appears to slow dietary changes. The communities, government and NGOs should work together to optimize the use of this food biodiversity in a sustainable way. This integrated approach could improve nutrition while conserving biological and cultural diversity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Ethnobiology of Wild Foods)
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Open AccessArticle
Foraging in Boreal Forest: Wild Food Plants of the Republic of Karelia, NW Russia
Foods 2020, 9(8), 1015; https://doi.org/10.3390/foods9081015 - 29 Jul 2020
Abstract
While the current consumption of wild food plants in the taiga of the American continent is a relatively well-researched phenomenon, the European taiga area is heavily underrepresented in the scientific literature. The region is important due to its distinctive ecological conditions with restricted [...] Read more.
While the current consumption of wild food plants in the taiga of the American continent is a relatively well-researched phenomenon, the European taiga area is heavily underrepresented in the scientific literature. The region is important due to its distinctive ecological conditions with restricted seasonal availability of wild plants. During an ethnobotanical field study conducted in 2018–2019, 73 people from ten settlements in the Republic of Karelia were interviewed. In addition, we conducted historical data analysis and ethnographical source analysis. The most widely consumed wild food plants are forest berries (three Vaccinium species, and Rubus chamaemorus), sap-yielding Betula and acidic Rumex. While throughout the lifetime of the interviewees the list of used plants did not change considerably, the ways in which they are processed and stored underwent several stages in function of centrally available goods, people’s welfare, technical progress, and ideas about the harm and benefit of various products and technological processes. Differences in the food use of wild plants among different ethnic groups living in the region were on the individual level, while all groups exhibited high variability in the methods of preparation of most used berries. The sustainability of berry use over time has both ecological and economical factors. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Ethnobiology of Wild Foods)
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Open AccessArticle
Shared but Threatened: The Heritage of Wild Food Plant Gathering among Different Linguistic and Religious Groups in the Ishkoman and Yasin Valleys, North Pakistan
Foods 2020, 9(5), 601; https://doi.org/10.3390/foods9050601 - 08 May 2020
Cited by 1
Abstract
A wild food ethnobotanical field study was conducted in the Ishkoman and Yasin valleys, located in the Hindukush Mountain Range of Gilgit-Baltistan, northern Pakistan. These valleys are inhabited by diverse, often marginalized, linguistic and religious groups. The field survey was conducted via one [...] Read more.
A wild food ethnobotanical field study was conducted in the Ishkoman and Yasin valleys, located in the Hindukush Mountain Range of Gilgit-Baltistan, northern Pakistan. These valleys are inhabited by diverse, often marginalized, linguistic and religious groups. The field survey was conducted via one hundred and eighty semistructured interviews to record data in nine villages. Forty gathered wild food botanical and mycological taxa were recorded and identified. Comparative analysis among the different linguistic and religious groups revealed that the gathered wild food plants were homogenously used. This may be attributed to the sociocultural context of the study area, where most of the population professes the Ismaili Shia Islamic faith, and to the historical stratifications of different populations along the centuries, which may have determined complex adaptation processes and exchange of possibly distinct pre-existing food customs. A few wild plants had very rarely or never been previously reported as food resources in Pakistan, including Artemisia annua, Hedysarum falconeri, Iris hookeriana, Lepidium didymium and Saussurea lappa. Additionally, the recorded local knowledge is under threat and we analyzed possible factors that have caused this change. The recorded biocultural heritage could, however, represent a crucial driver, if properly revitalized, for assuring the food security of the local communities and also for further developing ecotourism and associated sustainable gastronomic initiatives in the area. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Ethnobiology of Wild Foods)
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Open AccessArticle
Devil Is in the Details: Use of Wild Food Plants in Historical Võromaa and Setomaa, Present-Day Estonia
Foods 2020, 9(5), 570; https://doi.org/10.3390/foods9050570 - 04 May 2020
Cited by 1
Abstract
Biodiversity needs to be preserved to ensure food security. Border zones create high but vulnerable biocultural diversity. Through reviewing scattered historical data and documenting the current use of wild food plants among people currently living in historical Setomaa and Võromaa parishes, we aimed [...] Read more.
Biodiversity needs to be preserved to ensure food security. Border zones create high but vulnerable biocultural diversity. Through reviewing scattered historical data and documenting the current use of wild food plants among people currently living in historical Setomaa and Võromaa parishes, we aimed to identify cross-cultural differences and diachronic changes as well as the role borders have played on the local use of wild plants. The Seto have still preserved their distinctive features either by consciously opposing others or by maintaining more historical plant uses. People historically living in Setomaa and Võromaa parishes have already associated the eating of wild plants with famine food in the early 20th century, yet it was stressed more now by the Seto than by Estonians. Loss of Pechory as the center of attraction in the region when the border was closed in the early 1990s brought about a decline in the exchange of knowledge as well as commercial activities around wild food plants. National support for businesses in the area today and the popularity of a healthy lifestyle have introduced new wild food plant applications and are helping to preserve local plant-specific uses in the area. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Ethnobiology of Wild Foods)
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Open AccessArticle
Tangsa and Wancho of North-East India Use Animals not only as Food and Medicine but also as Additional Cultural Attributes
Foods 2020, 9(4), 528; https://doi.org/10.3390/foods9040528 - 22 Apr 2020
Cited by 1
Abstract
Cultural and ritual uses of animals beyond those for food and medicine should not be dismissed if we wish to understand the pressure that wildlife is under. We documented such uses for the Tangsa and Wancho tribals of Eastern Arunachal Pradesh (India). Group [...] Read more.
Cultural and ritual uses of animals beyond those for food and medicine should not be dismissed if we wish to understand the pressure that wildlife is under. We documented such uses for the Tangsa and Wancho tribals of Eastern Arunachal Pradesh (India). Group discussions with assembled members of 10 accessible villages in each of the tribal areas were carried out in 2015 and 2016. Vernacular names of culturally important species were noted and details of hunting practices were recorded. The different uses of animals and their parts during rituals and festivals and their significance in decorations and adornments, in supernatural beliefs and in connection with tribal folklore (stories) are documented. Folklore helps us understand why some species are hunted and consumed while others for no apparent reason are killed or simply ignored. Similarities as well as differences between the two tribes were recorded and possible reasons for the differences are given. The roles that the government as well as the tribal leaders play to halt or slow down the erosion and gradual disappearance of traditions that define the two cultures without losing already rare and endangered species are highlighted. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Ethnobiology of Wild Foods)
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