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686 - The Social Nature of Plant Diversity in the Neotropics

19.07.2012 | 08:00 - 13:30

Convener 1: Steward, Angela (Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais , Tefé, Brazil / Brasilien)

In recent years, great concern has grown over the loss and degradation of global biodiversity. Yet while human action is viewed as responsible for this loss, much new research has shown how some human societies actively maintain, and in some instances heighten, biodiversity through different forms of natural resource management. The purpose of this symposium is to draw on case studies from the Neotropics to examine the different ways in which plant diversity is maintained through specific social practices and cultural traditions. These papers examine the relationship of phytotherapy, traditional ecological knowledge, social history, and social networks to the maintenance of plant species and genetic diversity. By bridging these studies from the Neotropics, we hope to provide vital information for policies and development initiatives aimed at sustaining biodiversity in the American tropics and the world in general.

Keywords: Neotropics, plant diversity, biodiversity management, ethnobotany, traditional ecological knowledge

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