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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.

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Results from knowledge survey. Comparison of box-plot distributions of a the number of ailments a person can treat using medicinal plants, and b average number of uses known by medicinal plant known
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Fig2: Results from knowledge survey. Comparison of box-plot distributions of a the number of ailments a person can treat using medicinal plants, and b average number of uses known by medicinal plant known

Mentions: Results from the knowledge survey indicated that there is gendered variation in the ability to name medicinal uses for 16 selected plants species (or number of plants known) (p < 0.1) (Table 1). Women knew more medicinal uses (p < 0.05) and more uses per plant (p < 0.05) than men (Fig. 2a, b). From the various age–sex categories, young men (≤25 years of age) reported fewer medicinal plants and uses per plant than people in any other age category (p < 0.05), whereas older women (>50 years of age) reported the largest number of medicinal plants and uses (Table 1).Table 1


Gendered medicinal plant knowledge contributions to adaptive capacity and health sovereignty in Amazonia
Results from knowledge survey. Comparison of box-plot distributions of a the number of ailments a person can treat using medicinal plants, and b average number of uses known by medicinal plant known
© Copyright Policy - OpenAccess
Related In: Results  -  Collection

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

Fig2: Results from knowledge survey. Comparison of box-plot distributions of a the number of ailments a person can treat using medicinal plants, and b average number of uses known by medicinal plant known
Mentions: Results from the knowledge survey indicated that there is gendered variation in the ability to name medicinal uses for 16 selected plants species (or number of plants known) (p < 0.1) (Table 1). Women knew more medicinal uses (p < 0.05) and more uses per plant (p < 0.05) than men (Fig. 2a, b). From the various age–sex categories, young men (≤25 years of age) reported fewer medicinal plants and uses per plant than people in any other age category (p < 0.05), whereas older women (>50 years of age) reported the largest number of medicinal plants and uses (Table 1).Table 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&rsquo; Amerindians. Our results suggest that Tsimane&rsquo; 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&rsquo; 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.


Related in: MedlinePlus