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Folk taxonomy and use of mushrooms in communities around Ngorongoro and Serengeti National Park, Tanzania.

Tibuhwa DD - J Ethnobiol Ethnomed (2012)

Bottom Line: For both communities, the knowledge of mushroom utilization and folk taxonomy increased with age of the informants, while it decreases with formal education level of the informants which imply that the basis of knowledge is mainly traditional.In order to salvage a noted tremendous decrease of knowledge in mushroom utilization and folk taxonomy from vanishing, there is a need to document it throughout, and incorporate it in lower levels of our education system.The new recorded use of ascospores to anaesthaesia the bees during honey harvesting should be exploited and scaled up for sustainable integrated bee keeping and mushroom farming.

View Article: PubMed Central - HTML - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology, University of Dar es Salaam, P,O, Box 35179, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. dtibuhwa@yahoo.co.uk

ABSTRACT

Background: Maasai and Kurya form two main communities around the Serengeti National Park in Tanzania which are mainly pastoralists. Changing climate to excessive drought, have recently forced them to start practicing subsistence farming which is severely affected by wild animals. This study explored status of the folk taxonomy and uses of mushrooms in the two communities as a pave way for possibilities of introducing mushroom cultivation, an alternative crop which is hardly affected by wild animals.

Methods: Folk taxonomy and use mushrooms by the Kurya and Maasai communities were investigated. Information was collected by face to face interviews with 150 individuals in 6 selected villages. Using descriptive statistics by Statistic Package for the Social Science (SPSS) version 17.0, the demographic characteristics of informants were evaluated and cross relationships with the recorded data were analysed.

Results: Kurya are mycophilic with 94% of the informants recognizing utilization of the wild mushroom either as foodstuff or as tonics while the Maasai are mycophobic with 99% being unaware of the edibility of mushroom although 28% recognized mushrooms as tonic. For both communities, the knowledge of mushroom utilization and folk taxonomy increased with age of the informants, while it decreases with formal education level of the informants which imply that the basis of knowledge is mainly traditional. Comparing the two communities, the Maasai use mushrooms only for medicinal purposes and never sought them for food while the Kurya were well knowledgeable on the edibility and folk classification especially the Termitomyces species. Characters used in folkal taxonomy included color and size of the basidiomata, shape and size of the pseudorrhiza, habitats and edibility information. A new use of ascospores whereby they anaesthaesia bees during honey harvesting was discovered, and mushroom cultivation was widely welcomed (94.7%) as an alternative crop which is rarely affected by wild animals.

Conclusion: In order to salvage a noted tremendous decrease of knowledge in mushroom utilization and folk taxonomy from vanishing, there is a need to document it throughout, and incorporate it in lower levels of our education system. Mushroom cultivation may possibly be the best alternative crop for the two communities thus should be advocated for improving livelihood and reduce human wildlife conflicts. The new recorded use of ascospores to anaesthaesia the bees during honey harvesting should be exploited and scaled up for sustainable integrated bee keeping and mushroom farming.

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Serengeti National Park showing the study site.
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Figure 1: Serengeti National Park showing the study site.

Mentions: The “Maasai” and “Kurya” forms the two major communities dwelling around the Serengeti National Park, Tanzania. The Kurya community lives on the western side which is wetter receiving high rainfall of c. 1200 mm per year. The Maasai live on the eastern side of the park which is relatively dry characterised by the semi-arid rangeland receiving less rainfall of c.800 mm per year (Figure1). Maasai practice nomadic cattle herding system forming the largest group of pastoralists in East Africa, and their culture cipher precludes them eating wild animals so that their rangeland are always used by both livestock and wildlife. Because of the changing climate due to excessive drought, both communities which were previously mainly pastoralists have recently been forced to start practicing both pastoralist and subsistence farming. Since they live near the park, their subsistence farming which includes maize, cassava, millet and different legumes is severely affected by wild animals which destroy their crops. There is thus a need to explore alternative crops for the communities around the park which are hardly affected by the wild animals. Termitomyces mushrooms are widely distributed across the area and provide an additional source of incomes and food for the rural people especially in the western side of the park, dominated by the Kurya tribe[9]. Mushroom farming is a fast growing industry introduced in the country in early 1993[10]. Mushrooms farming differ from other types of farming by being done in constructed huts/houses thus benefiting from not being prone to wild animals.


Folk taxonomy and use of mushrooms in communities around Ngorongoro and Serengeti National Park, Tanzania.

Tibuhwa DD - J Ethnobiol Ethnomed (2012)

Serengeti National Park showing the study site.
© Copyright Policy - open-access
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC3539888&req=5

Figure 1: Serengeti National Park showing the study site.
Mentions: The “Maasai” and “Kurya” forms the two major communities dwelling around the Serengeti National Park, Tanzania. The Kurya community lives on the western side which is wetter receiving high rainfall of c. 1200 mm per year. The Maasai live on the eastern side of the park which is relatively dry characterised by the semi-arid rangeland receiving less rainfall of c.800 mm per year (Figure1). Maasai practice nomadic cattle herding system forming the largest group of pastoralists in East Africa, and their culture cipher precludes them eating wild animals so that their rangeland are always used by both livestock and wildlife. Because of the changing climate due to excessive drought, both communities which were previously mainly pastoralists have recently been forced to start practicing both pastoralist and subsistence farming. Since they live near the park, their subsistence farming which includes maize, cassava, millet and different legumes is severely affected by wild animals which destroy their crops. There is thus a need to explore alternative crops for the communities around the park which are hardly affected by the wild animals. Termitomyces mushrooms are widely distributed across the area and provide an additional source of incomes and food for the rural people especially in the western side of the park, dominated by the Kurya tribe[9]. Mushroom farming is a fast growing industry introduced in the country in early 1993[10]. Mushrooms farming differ from other types of farming by being done in constructed huts/houses thus benefiting from not being prone to wild animals.

Bottom Line: For both communities, the knowledge of mushroom utilization and folk taxonomy increased with age of the informants, while it decreases with formal education level of the informants which imply that the basis of knowledge is mainly traditional.In order to salvage a noted tremendous decrease of knowledge in mushroom utilization and folk taxonomy from vanishing, there is a need to document it throughout, and incorporate it in lower levels of our education system.The new recorded use of ascospores to anaesthaesia the bees during honey harvesting should be exploited and scaled up for sustainable integrated bee keeping and mushroom farming.

View Article: PubMed Central - HTML - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology, University of Dar es Salaam, P,O, Box 35179, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. dtibuhwa@yahoo.co.uk

ABSTRACT

Background: Maasai and Kurya form two main communities around the Serengeti National Park in Tanzania which are mainly pastoralists. Changing climate to excessive drought, have recently forced them to start practicing subsistence farming which is severely affected by wild animals. This study explored status of the folk taxonomy and uses of mushrooms in the two communities as a pave way for possibilities of introducing mushroom cultivation, an alternative crop which is hardly affected by wild animals.

Methods: Folk taxonomy and use mushrooms by the Kurya and Maasai communities were investigated. Information was collected by face to face interviews with 150 individuals in 6 selected villages. Using descriptive statistics by Statistic Package for the Social Science (SPSS) version 17.0, the demographic characteristics of informants were evaluated and cross relationships with the recorded data were analysed.

Results: Kurya are mycophilic with 94% of the informants recognizing utilization of the wild mushroom either as foodstuff or as tonics while the Maasai are mycophobic with 99% being unaware of the edibility of mushroom although 28% recognized mushrooms as tonic. For both communities, the knowledge of mushroom utilization and folk taxonomy increased with age of the informants, while it decreases with formal education level of the informants which imply that the basis of knowledge is mainly traditional. Comparing the two communities, the Maasai use mushrooms only for medicinal purposes and never sought them for food while the Kurya were well knowledgeable on the edibility and folk classification especially the Termitomyces species. Characters used in folkal taxonomy included color and size of the basidiomata, shape and size of the pseudorrhiza, habitats and edibility information. A new use of ascospores whereby they anaesthaesia bees during honey harvesting was discovered, and mushroom cultivation was widely welcomed (94.7%) as an alternative crop which is rarely affected by wild animals.

Conclusion: In order to salvage a noted tremendous decrease of knowledge in mushroom utilization and folk taxonomy from vanishing, there is a need to document it throughout, and incorporate it in lower levels of our education system. Mushroom cultivation may possibly be the best alternative crop for the two communities thus should be advocated for improving livelihood and reduce human wildlife conflicts. The new recorded use of ascospores to anaesthaesia the bees during honey harvesting should be exploited and scaled up for sustainable integrated bee keeping and mushroom farming.

Show MeSH
Related in: MedlinePlus