Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Ethnobotany in the Kailash Sacred Landscape, Nepal: Implications for Conservation through Interactions of Plants, People, Culture and Geography
by Kunwar, Ripu Mardhan, Ph.D., Florida Atlantic University, 2018, 245; 10846076
Abstract (Summary)

Little is known about the vegetation, forests, useful plants and their patterns of use at the gradients of climate, geography and culture in Baitadi and Darchula districts, far western Nepal. The interactions among plants-people-places were analyzed using data from phyto-sociological studies, community interviews, and literature. Ecological sampling, participant observation, semistructured interviews, and informal discussions were held between February and September 2017. We compared plant collection, use and management of two culturally distinct groups (Baitadi and Darchula), who inhabit different physiographic regions, yet share the same ecological landscape, environmental resources and livelihood challenges. We hypothesized that the salient (visible, apparent and accessible) plants and places are likely to be more frequently foraged than the non-salient ones. We also hypothesized that the elderly, native and traditional healers living in rural and remote physiographic conditions possess more diverse and detailed knowledge of plant use and conservation than young, non-native and non-healer people. A total of 18 forest types including eight from the study districts showed that the study area is rich in forests and plants. A total of 975 plant species including 82 new species records and 23 new use reports to Baitadi and Darchula districts were recorded. There were 305 (31%) useful plant species including 122 useful reported in the present study. The people of study area showed a large repertoire of knowledge that helps them execute different strategies of plant use suited to their environment and geography. The knowledge of plant use follows a pattern according to ecological conditions (availability) as well as the cultural significance (transhumance, settlement) of the landscape. However, the latter prevails. Predominate foraging by the agro-pastoral communities from the remote undisturbed forests for quality products and medicines in Darchula district was divergent from the collections from ruderal areas in Baitadi district by generalist collectors for ritual purposes. The extensive usage of plants for socio-economic reasons, livelihood and rituals indicates that the plants and culture are inseparable. Conservation measures with acknowledgement of human, cultural, geographical and environmental variables, are therefore encouraged for sustainable management of the natural resources and traditional knowledge of the Baitadi and Darchula districts.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Fadiman, Maria, Cameron, Mary
Commitee: Bussmann, Rainer, Hindle, Tobin
School: Florida Atlantic University
Department: Geosciences
School Location: United States -- Florida
Source: DAI-A 80/02(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Cultural anthropology, Geography, Sociology, South Asian Studies
Keywords: Ethnobotany, Ethnography, Himalaya, Medicinal plants, Nepal, Transhumance
Publication Number: 10846076
ISBN: 9780438449015
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