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Gendered medicinal plant knowledge contributions to adaptive capacity and health sovereignty in Amazonia

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ABSTRACT

Local medical systems are key elements of social-ecological systems as they provide culturally appropriate and locally accessible health care options, especially for populations with scarce access to biomedicine. The adaptive capacity of local medical systems generally rests on two pillars: species diversity and a robust local knowledge system, both threatened by local and global environmental change. We first present a conceptual framework to guide the assessment of knowledge diversity and redundancy in local medicinal knowledge systems through a gender lens. Then, we apply this conceptual framework to our research on the local medicinal plant knowledge of the Tsimane’ Amerindians. Our results suggest that Tsimane’ medicinal plant knowledge is gendered and that the frequency of reported ailments and the redundancy of knowledge used to treat them are positively associated. We discuss the implications of knowledge diversity and redundancy for local knowledge systems’ adaptive capacity, resilience, and health sovereignty.

Electronic supplementary material: The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s13280-016-0826-1) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

No MeSH data available.


Map of the Tsimane’ Territory
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Fig1: Map of the Tsimane’ Territory

Mentions: We applied a mixed methods approach throughout 18 consecutive months of fieldwork. The first and second authors lived in two Tsimane’ villages from January 2012 to August 2013. We obtained consent to carry out the research from the Gran Consejo Tsimane’ (the Tsimane’s governing body). Subsequently, a community meeting was held in two villages (V1 and V2) along the Maniqui River (Fig. 1) to explain the project to villagers and to assess their willingness to participate. Once we obtained consent to live in the villages, all adults (16 years of age and older) were invited to participate in the research. Women and men were equally encouraged to participate, resulting in a sample of 68 women and 79 men, for a participation rate above 90 % in both villages. To minimize the risks of gender bias in data collection, we trained a team of male and female assistants and translators (see Morgen 1989 in Pfeiffer and Butz 2005).Fig. 1


Gendered medicinal plant knowledge contributions to adaptive capacity and health sovereignty in Amazonia
Map of the Tsimane’ Territory
© Copyright Policy - OpenAccess
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC5120019&req=5

Fig1: Map of the Tsimane’ Territory
Mentions: We applied a mixed methods approach throughout 18 consecutive months of fieldwork. The first and second authors lived in two Tsimane’ villages from January 2012 to August 2013. We obtained consent to carry out the research from the Gran Consejo Tsimane’ (the Tsimane’s governing body). Subsequently, a community meeting was held in two villages (V1 and V2) along the Maniqui River (Fig. 1) to explain the project to villagers and to assess their willingness to participate. Once we obtained consent to live in the villages, all adults (16 years of age and older) were invited to participate in the research. Women and men were equally encouraged to participate, resulting in a sample of 68 women and 79 men, for a participation rate above 90 % in both villages. To minimize the risks of gender bias in data collection, we trained a team of male and female assistants and translators (see Morgen 1989 in Pfeiffer and Butz 2005).Fig. 1

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

ABSTRACT

Local medical systems are key elements of social-ecological systems as they provide culturally appropriate and locally accessible health care options, especially for populations with scarce access to biomedicine. The adaptive capacity of local medical systems generally rests on two pillars: species diversity and a robust local knowledge system, both threatened by local and global environmental change. We first present a conceptual framework to guide the assessment of knowledge diversity and redundancy in local medicinal knowledge systems through a gender lens. Then, we apply this conceptual framework to our research on the local medicinal plant knowledge of the Tsimane’ Amerindians. Our results suggest that Tsimane’ medicinal plant knowledge is gendered and that the frequency of reported ailments and the redundancy of knowledge used to treat them are positively associated. We discuss the implications of knowledge diversity and redundancy for local knowledge systems’ adaptive capacity, resilience, and health sovereignty.

Electronic supplementary material: The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s13280-016-0826-1) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

No MeSH data available.