Accepted Paper:

Of the rosemary, the sage and the commons  


Elsa Mateus (Institute of Social Sciences - University of Lisbon)

Paper short abstract:

Community-based management strategies based on ethnobotanical knowledge will be analyzed as a process where biodiversity and traditional knowledge protection are intertwined with herbal medicines market demands, pharmaceutical research, local development, eco-tourism and sustainability concepts.

Paper long abstract:

This paper is an introduction to a case study on a small village known as "Terra das Ervanárias" (Land of Herbology), in the surroundings of a Portuguese Natural Park (Serras de Aire and Candeeiros).

The new identity is framed by a strategy of community-based management of natural resources and forest in communal lands (baldios) for local development. The management council (2006) has assumed promoting the Land of Herbology as one of its main projects, in order to restore and protect the traditional ethnobotanical knowledge, expressed in the gathering of spontaneous plants with medicinal value, in a process of restructuring local appropriations of the environment around ecotourism as an effort to sustain conservation and traditional practices within rural economies, uniting social and environmental objectives.

The claim of tradition in the gathering of plants and herbs used in folk medicine and its marketing process by the local industry of herbal products can also constitute an attempt to involve local subjects in the development of "legitimate" knowledge about a native species of sage (Salvia) which is potentially useful for drug development for Alzheimer's therapy, namely, through the possibility of producing it locally.

To be supported by Agronomic Science implies different forms of knowledge and new relations emerging between humans and non-humans at local and global scales.

This paper aims for a reflection upon processes where biodiversity and ethnobotanical knowledge are intertwined with market demands on herbal medicines, agronomic and pharmaceutical research, local development and community based management of natural resources.

Panel W052
Threats on biodiversity: species extinction and sentinel technologies