Special Issue "Plants and Peoples: Quo Vadis?"

A special issue of Plants (ISSN 2223-7747).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 20 May 2024 | Viewed by 6739

Special Issue Editors

Department of Environmental Sciences, Informatics and Statistics, Ca' Foscari University of Venice, Via Torino 155, Mestre, 30172 Venice, Italy
Interests: ethnobotany; ethnobiology; ecosemiotics; biocultural diversity; Eastern Europe; post-Soviet
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Human life is inevitably related to plants: they offer us food, shelter, and medicine, etc. Yet, to benefit from their presence, we must not only know about them but also know when and how to use them. Throughout the history of humankind, different communities have developed various relations with, perceptions of, and practices related to plants. This Special Issue will focus on the inextricable interrelations between plants and peoples, i.e., plant perceptions and uses in specific human communities and their changes in space and time.

Given the importance of culture in the development of plant science, especially from local perspectives, the Special Issue will also address the conundrum of decolonizing botany, i.e., reconsidering first botanical explorations and their contradictions, plant cultural markers, and the effects of broader socio-political frames and borders on plant use changes and dynamics. We also welcome contributions on plant environmental education and on the revitalization of local plant knowledge in all educational levels and cultural settings.

Dr. Renata Sõukand
Prof. Dr. Andrea Pieroni
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Plants is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2700 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • plants and people
  • perceptions of plants
  • human–plants relations
  • decolonization of botany
  • ethnobotany
  • cross-culture comparison
  • diachronic ethnobotany
  • plant cultural markers
  • socio-economical aspects of botany
  • environmental education
  • wild food plants
  • medicinal plants
  • household plants

Published Papers (4 papers)

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Research

32 pages, 4972 KiB  
Article
New Plants, New Resources, New Knowledge: Early Introductions of Exotic Plants to Indigenous Territories in Northwestern North America
Plants 2023, 12(17), 3087; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants12173087 - 28 Aug 2023
Viewed by 852
Abstract
Plants have always been important for the Indigenous Peoples of Northwestern North America. Collectively, these peoples named and used hundreds of different native plant species, along with diverse animal species. When traders and settlers from Europe and other parts of the world arrived [...] Read more.
Plants have always been important for the Indigenous Peoples of Northwestern North America. Collectively, these peoples named and used hundreds of different native plant species, along with diverse animal species. When traders and settlers from Europe and other parts of the world arrived in the region, they brought many new species of plants with them. Some (e.g., turnips (Brassica rapa) and onions (Allium cepa)), were from Europe, and some (e.g., potatoes (Solanum tuberosum)) were from South America or elsewhere. Other plants, like dandelion, Taraxacum officinale, probably arrived unintentionally, as weeds. Examining the ways in which the Indigenous Peoples have incorporated these new species into their lexicons and lifestyles provides insight into processes of acquiring and embracing new products and expanding the cultural knowledge base for human societies in general. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plants and Peoples: Quo Vadis?)
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20 pages, 3014 KiB  
Article
Medical Ethnobotany of the Bissau-Guinean Community of Migrants Living in Northern Italy and Comparison with the Ethnopharmacology of Guinea-Bissau
Plants 2023, 12(9), 1909; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants12091909 - 08 May 2023
Viewed by 1160
Abstract
This study compares the knowledge of medicinal plants of Bissau-Guinean migrants now established in Italy with the ethnopharmacology still present in their country of origin. We also investigated how traditional ethnobotanical knowledge is changing following the phenomenon of migration from Africa to Europe. [...] Read more.
This study compares the knowledge of medicinal plants of Bissau-Guinean migrants now established in Italy with the ethnopharmacology still present in their country of origin. We also investigated how traditional ethnobotanical knowledge is changing following the phenomenon of migration from Africa to Europe. The ethnobotanical data were collected during 2017–2018, by interviewing 49 informants belonging to 8 ethnic groups, living in 8 provinces of northern Italy. The final inventory of botanical taxa included 81 species belonging to 34 families, with Fabaceae and Malvaceae the most represented, followed by Euphorbiaceae, Apocynaceae, Combretaceae, and Solanaceae. Plant remedies were used to treat 21 ailment categories, such as fever, internal infections, intestinal and respiratory problems, and pains. The traditional ethnobotanical knowledge of Bissau-Guinean migrants in Italy was associated with gender, with women showing the highest knowledge. In addition, a negative relationship was observed between the maintenance of this knowledge and the number of years migrants have spent in Italy. Overall, a loss of knowledge was observed in the less numerous ethnic groups. However, traditional preparations based on plants from the country of origin are in general well preserved to maintain a good state of health. Our work could help in transferring to the next generation the cultural heritage of Bissau-Guinean people permanently moved to European Countries. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plants and Peoples: Quo Vadis?)
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22 pages, 3973 KiB  
Article
An Ethnobotanical Investigation into the Traditional Uses of Mediterranean Medicinal and Aromatic Plants: The Case of Troodos Mountains in Cyprus
Plants 2023, 12(5), 1119; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants12051119 - 02 Mar 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2285
Abstract
The Troodos mountains in Cyprus are a hotspot of plant diversity and cultural heritage. However, the traditional uses of medicinal and aromatic plants (MAPs), a significant aspect of local culture, have not been thoroughly studied. The aim of this research was to document [...] Read more.
The Troodos mountains in Cyprus are a hotspot of plant diversity and cultural heritage. However, the traditional uses of medicinal and aromatic plants (MAPs), a significant aspect of local culture, have not been thoroughly studied. The aim of this research was to document and analyze the traditional uses of MAPs in Troodos. Data on MAPs and their traditional uses were collected through interviews. A database was constructed with categorized information on the uses of 160 taxa belonging to 63 families. The quantitative analysis included the calculation and comparison of six indices of ethnobotanical importance. The cultural value index was selected to reveal the most culturally significant MAPs taxa, while the informant consensus index was utilized to quantify the consensus in information obtained related to uses of MAPs. Furthermore, the 30 most popular MAPs taxa, exceptional and fading uses, and the plant parts used for different purposes are described and reported. The results reveal a deep connection between the people of Troodos and the plants of the area. Overall, the study provides the first ethnobotanical assessment for the Troodos mountains in Cyprus, contributing to a better understanding of the diverse uses of MAPs in mountain regions of the Mediterranean. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plants and Peoples: Quo Vadis?)
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25 pages, 3041 KiB  
Article
Disadvantaged Economic Conditions and Stricter Border Rules Shape Afghan Refugees’ Ethnobotany: Insights from Kohat District, NW Pakistan
Plants 2023, 12(3), 574; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants12030574 - 28 Jan 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1563
Abstract
The study of migrants’ ethnobotany can help to address the diverse socio-ecological factors affecting temporal and spatial changes in local ecological knowledge (LEK). Through semi-structured and in-depth conversations with ninety interviewees among local Pathans and Afghan refugees in Kohat District, NW Pakistan, one [...] Read more.
The study of migrants’ ethnobotany can help to address the diverse socio-ecological factors affecting temporal and spatial changes in local ecological knowledge (LEK). Through semi-structured and in-depth conversations with ninety interviewees among local Pathans and Afghan refugees in Kohat District, NW Pakistan, one hundred and forty-five wild plant and mushroom folk taxa were recorded. The plants quoted by Afghan refugees living inside and outside the camps tend to converge, while the Afghan data showed significant differences with those collected by local Pakistani Pathans. Interviewees mentioned two main driving factors potentially eroding folk plant knowledge: (a) recent stricter border policies have made it more difficult for refugees to visit their home regions in Afghanistan and therefore to also procure plants in their native country; (b) their disadvantaged economic conditions have forced them to engage more and more in urban activities in the host country, leaving little time for farming and foraging practices. Stakeholders should foster the exposure that refugee communities have to their plant resources, try to increase their socio-economic status, and facilitate both their settling outside the camps and their transnational movement for enhancing their use of wild plants, ultimately leading to improvements in their food security and health status. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plants and Peoples: Quo Vadis?)
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