Morgan Ruelle
Email address: 
Session Date and Time: 
Wednesday, 12 May, 2021 - 11:00 to 12:15
Presentation format: 
Oral (pre-recorded)
, Morgan - Clark University
, Zemede - Addis Ababa University

Since the late 19th century, farmers throughout the Ethiopian highlands have planted Eucalyptus spp. as an alternative fuel, construction material, boundary marker, and source of cash income. Eucalyptus now dominates woody vegetation, while indigenous species such as cedar (Juniperus procera) and olive (Olea europaea subsp. cuspidata) are increasingly rare. Based on interviews, preference ranking, and participatory mapping with farmers in Debark, northwestern Ethiopia, we compare the cultural and economic values of eucalyptus, cedar, and olive. Eucalyptus is appreciated for its high growth rate, coppicing ability, multifunctionality, and market price, whereas cedar and olive have greater cultural values, including close association with the Ethiopian Orthodox church. Although they continue to plant eucalyptus in place of indigenous trees, many farmers are concerned that its proliferation contributes to a warmer, drier landscape. The case study reveals a tension between intangible values and more measurable benefits of human-plant relations.

Presentation format: 
Oral (pre-recorded)
, T. Abe - Salal, the Cascadian Food Institute

While many species of bulrush (Bolboschoenus spp., Schoenoplectus spp., and formerly Scirpus spp.; Cyperaceae) in western North America provide widely celebrated weaving materials, their food use is poorly documented and difficult to attribute to species. I reviewed ethnographic literature and examined "root" morphology and taste in an attempt to sort out ambiguities and highlight this productive, caloric, and tasty group of vegetables for indigenous food revitilzation efforts.

Presentation format: 
Oral (pre-recorded)
, Laurel - Prescott College
, Robin C. D. - Prescott College

Seeds are the basis of our food system, yet crop diversity is eroding. Web-based surveys sought to identify the prevalence and richness of saved seeds and the sources of seeds for St. Lawrence County, NY (n=21) residents to understand food system strengths and weaknesses from agrobiodiversity and seed sovereignty perspectives. Seed saver respondents (n=18) saved 67.2% (39) of the 58 ethnotaxa grown. All savers use their personal seed stocks (100.0%), and the majority use market sources (77.8%). However, only 11 ethnotaxa were widely grown and saved (at rates 50% or higher by respondents), revealing an opportunity to increase seed saving for many ethnotaxa. Content analyses revealed that seed saving motivations were related to ensuring high-quality crops and seed sovereignty, the ability to choose, access, and determine what crops/varieties are grown. Enhancing personal seed stocks and informal networks may provide additional seed sovereignty and agrobiodiversity capacities in the region.

Presentation format: 
Oral (live)
Coimbra Jr.
, Carlos - Fundação Oswaldo Cruz

The literature addressing Brazilian ethnobotany among traditional populations is extensive but often consists of long lists of plants without contextualization in the cultural universe of the people studied. Anthropologist Thekla Hartmann from the Museu Paulista at the University of São Paulo is responsible for presenting the first truly “ethno” contribution to Indigenous botany in Brazil. In the early-1960s, Hartmann conducted fieldwork with the Bororo in Central Brazil, addressing cultural and linguistic issues relevant to understanding the Indigenous classificatory system. In addition, she collected plant specimens for subsequent identification. The results of this research were published by the Institute of Brazilian Studies at the University of São Paulo in 1967 but, unfortunately, seem to have had very little circulation in the academic environment. In this paper I recuperate this relevant study which, due to its primacy and depth, should be used more by those who wish to study Indigenous ethnobotany in Brazil.

Presentation format: 
Oral (pre-recorded)
, Sara - University of Oregon

The H.J. Andrews Experimental Forest (HJA) is located in the Western Cascades of Oregon. During the post-world war years, demand for timber skyrocketed and the fervor of progress took over the HJA as foresters converted old-growth forests into tree plantations for timber production. Scientific forestry aimed to shift forestry toward an agriculture model. During the 1970s, the research at HJA away from industrial forestry and toward ecosystem ecology. This tradition depicted the forest as a de-historicized and bounded machine. In more recent years, dynamic ecology has come to conceptualize the uncertainties and indeterminacy of forest landscapes. These social constructs of the forest parallel certain cultural worldviews. In this paper, I will address these different traditions of science and the philosophical perception of nature that underlie them. The findings are derived from ethnographic fieldwork, semi-structured interviews, and archival analysis of oral histories, research publications, and NSF proposals.

Presentation format: 
Oral (pre-recorded)
, Anabel - Exploring Solutions Past~The Maya Forest Alliance
Ellis Topsey
, Cynthia - Duke of Edinburgh Awards International Belize

It is no accident that the dominant Maya Forest plants are all useful. Generations over millennia crafted a landscape that to satisfy the necessities of life. We are reawakening inherent connections to the forest gardens based on the living museum at the El Pilar Archaeological Reserve for Maya Flora and Fauna of Belize and Guatemala. Understanding the value of the traditional farmer knowledge is a requisite for ensuring food sovereignty and conservation for the future of this tropical woodland. Heterogeneous and biodiverse, forest gardens constitute the strength of the community, relying on the local farming households as action to mitigate climate change. Today, Maya forest gardeners’ intimate knowledge of their landscape is a model of a sustainable co-creative process to reduce temperature, maintain biodiversity, conserve water, enhance soil fertility, reduce erosion, care for people and provide inspiration all over our planet.