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Conservation and Society
An interdisciplinary journal exploring linkages between society, environment and development
Conservation and Society
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ARTICLE
Year : 2016  |  Volume : 14  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 345-358

Conceptualising 'Core' Medicinal Floras: A Comparative and Methodological Study of Phytomedical


Centre for Biocultural Diversity, School of Anthropology and Conservation, University of Kent, Canterbury, Kent, UK

Correspondence Address:
Roy Ellen
Centre for Biocultural Diversity, School of Anthropology and Conservation, University of Kent, Canterbury, Kent
UK
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/0972-4923.197608

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Although there have been comparative studies of the botanical content and patterning of ethnopharmacopoeias across different ecological zones, there are few attempts to compare these systematically within the same ethnographic and ecological areas in Southeast Asia. This paper undertakes a simple quantitative survey of the medicinal plant resources of three populations on the island of Seram in the Moluccas, and then compares the results with those from five populations on Borneo. The comparison reveals some surprising omissions and patterns, given what is known about the medicinal use of plants in island Southeast Asia from other sources. The paper discusses ecological, cultural, and methodological reasons for the lack of expected congruence. A model of medicinal plant resource pools is developed to aid comparison, and it is suggested that we need to examine carefully what might be understood by a 'core' medicinal flora. While biodiversity loss is evident in the areas where the studies have been conducted, and this may impact some actual and more potential medicinal plants, it is less likely to erode core ethno pharmacopoeias.


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