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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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(a) Other uses of mushroom apart from food (b) Willingness to participate in mushroom cultivation as alternative crop rarely affected by wild animals.
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Figure 3: (a) Other uses of mushroom apart from food (b) Willingness to participate in mushroom cultivation as alternative crop rarely affected by wild animals.

Mentions: The respondents’ ages ranged from 15 to 87 years. The Kurya was the dominant tribe in Serengeti (86%, n = 61), among the respondents while the rest were Jita, Sukuma, Ikoma, Kisii or Haya, Kerewe, and Nata. In Ngorongoro the Maasai tribe was dominant (99%, n = 78) and only one person was found to be a Pare. In terms of educational level, most of the interviewed people had primary education (Serengeti: 86%, n = 61; Ngorongoro: 46%, n = 36). There were a number of people who had no formal education in Ngorongoro with about 39% (n = 31) of the interviewees, whereas in Serengeti the percentage was low i.e. 4%) (n = 3). The other 10% in Serengeti and 15% in Ngorongoro had secondary, adult, college or university education. In the Serengeti district wild mushrooms were found mainly used for food or to alleviate or to treat symptoms or diseases such as abdominal pains, wounds, poor health due to long illness and breast feeding mothers. The information on the dietary, therapeutic, and other ethnomycological uses of mushrooms are summarized in Table2 and Figure3.


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

Tibuhwa DD - J Ethnobiol Ethnomed (2012)

(a) Other uses of mushroom apart from food (b) Willingness to participate in mushroom cultivation as alternative crop rarely affected by wild animals.
© Copyright Policy - open-access
Related In: Results  -  Collection

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

Figure 3: (a) Other uses of mushroom apart from food (b) Willingness to participate in mushroom cultivation as alternative crop rarely affected by wild animals.
Mentions: The respondents’ ages ranged from 15 to 87 years. The Kurya was the dominant tribe in Serengeti (86%, n = 61), among the respondents while the rest were Jita, Sukuma, Ikoma, Kisii or Haya, Kerewe, and Nata. In Ngorongoro the Maasai tribe was dominant (99%, n = 78) and only one person was found to be a Pare. In terms of educational level, most of the interviewed people had primary education (Serengeti: 86%, n = 61; Ngorongoro: 46%, n = 36). There were a number of people who had no formal education in Ngorongoro with about 39% (n = 31) of the interviewees, whereas in Serengeti the percentage was low i.e. 4%) (n = 3). The other 10% in Serengeti and 15% in Ngorongoro had secondary, adult, college or university education. In the Serengeti district wild mushrooms were found mainly used for food or to alleviate or to treat symptoms or diseases such as abdominal pains, wounds, poor health due to long illness and breast feeding mothers. The information on the dietary, therapeutic, and other ethnomycological uses of mushrooms are summarized in Table2 and Figure3.

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