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J Ethnopharmacol. 1998 Dec;63(3):233-45.

Indigenous patterns of conserving biodiversity: pharmacologic implications.

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  • 1Department of Anthropology and Social Science Research Institute, University of Hawaii, Honolulu 96822, USA.


The accelerating rate at which the world's botanical resources are being depleted today has inspired redoubled efforts on the part of global conservation programs. For the most part, this reflects the actions of outsiders who are culturally and politically detached from the threatened environments, and who identify species for conservation through western economic models. In view of this, ethnopharmacologists--and primarily those representing the social sciences--have drawn attention to the cogency of indigenous knowledge of biotic diversity and its conservation. This paper reviews how local paradigms of plant management promote conservation, and problematizes the issue specifically to the use of plants by Hausa peoples in northern Nigeria. The pharmacologic implications of indigenous patterns of plant use and conservation derive from the manifold and overlapping contexts in which plants, especially wild species, are used by local communities. These applications identify the importance of particular species and should be employed in assigning priority for the conservation of plants.

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