Cory W. Whitney and Colleagues
University of Bonn 

The tropical forests of Myanmar are situated within the Indo-Burma Biodiversity Hotspot and support a great diversity of edible and medicinal plant species. Many of these useful plants can be found in local food markets, in the spiritual and medicinal recipes of local monasteries and in household kitchens. Little information is available about the variety of species used, how they are collected and how important they are to local people. This information may be useful for formulation of appropriate and context specific sustainable development policies and interventions in the region. Researchers from the Kunming Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences in Yunnan, China together with SfAA member Dr. Cory Whitney at the University of Bonn in Germany are working to provide ethnobotany and conservation analysis for these species. The work is based on collaborative investigations with many monks, healers, sellers, cooks, ethnic group leaders and other local knowledge holders in Myanmar. The work is carried out in part with funding from Southeast Asia Biodiversity Research Institute, Chinese Academy of Sciences (SEABRI-CAS) and with the support of the Myanmar Forest Research Institute (FRI). 

The Lake Victoria Basin is home to over 30 million people. The freshwater biodiversity of the lake and other small lakes within the basin plays a significant role in supporting livelihoods, particularly of people in rural and poor communities. In Sub-Saharan Africa, freshwater species are important for rural communities providing nutritional, medicinal, structural and cultural values. In many cases these communities take action for the conservation of the species that they use. Researchers from the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) in Cambridge, England and the SfAA member Dr. Cory Whitney at the University of Bonn in Germany have teamed up to study the ethnobiology of the region to look for potential synergies and trade offs of traditional uses of freshwater species and their conservation. The work is based on a recent assessment of biodiversity in the region (Sayer et al. 2018) funded by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. 

Read the original assessment:

Sayer, C.A., Máiz-Tomé, L. and Darwall, W.R.T. (2018). Freshwater biodiversity in the Lake Victoria Basin:

Guidance for species conservation, site protection, climate resilience and sustainable livelihoods. Cambridge, UK and Gland, Switzerland: IUCN. xiv +226pp.

©Society for Applied Anthropology 

P.O. Box 2436 • Oklahoma City, OK 73101 • 405.843.5113 •