Forest degradation and commercial afforestation may affect health, nutrition and survival of people particularly indigenous people. The opportunities and challenges of indigenous wisdom and knowledge need critical attention when an exiting body of knowledge is available.
Generally, when we talk or think about science, we refer to the western or industrial society. In the context of scientific development, we prefer to discuss more about the so called modern scientific innovations assuming that science is only there in those societies and quite often implying that scientific rigour or interest is absent in other societies. People have developed their own science and technologies based on the demands of the concerned societies, but quite often these are ignored. There is a need to look at indigenous science and technology particularly when an exiting body of knowledge is available. The prevailing health and medical system, the western system, has unfortunately failed to meet the need of the world's majority. In most countries less and less emphasis is given to the social and welfare sectors. As such the financial allocation for health is going down and the condition of the poor, particularly the rural poor and indigenous people has become more critical and difficult. The indigenous people mostly depend on forest resources to get food, nutrition and medicine. Naturally, forest degradation has affected their health and survival. Again, when commercial afforestation is promoted, in most cases, it has also not helped the indigenous people to get food or medicine. In this session, all these issues will be examined with cross cultural data.