310037 Applied Ethnobotany

Responsible DepartmentForest & Landscape   80 %
Department of Agriculture and Ecology   20 %

Earliest Possible YearMSc. 1 year to MSc. 2 year
DurationOne block
Credits7.5 (ECTS)
Level of CourseMSc
ExaminationFinal Examination

oral examination

No aid allowed

Description of Examination: The oral exam will analyse one or two key issues in a broader ethnobotanical context.

Weight: Oral exam: 100%

7-point scale, internal examiner
Requirement for Attending ExamStudent must successfully complete 75% of the excercises in order to participate in the exam.
Organisation of TeachingTeaching is through blended learning that is combining classroom sessions and practicals with on-line excercises
Block PlacementBlock 4
Week Structure: A
Language of InstructionEnglish
Optional Prerequisites400022 Qualitative methods in agricultural development
Course Content
The course will introduce students to research at the interface between several disciplines, using methods derived from botany, anthropology, ecology, economy, and ethno-medicine.
Introduction to ethnobotany; definition, history and disciplines which contribute to an ethnobotanical study.
Botanical methods; preparing a reference collection, botanical surveys.
Anthropological methods; understanding local people, surveys and analytical tools.
Ecology; describing the environment and the plant resource, qualitative and quantitative approaches.
Economics and ethnobotany; the value of forest products, surveys of community and household economies and local markets.
Ethno-medicine, collecting plants for phytochemical analysis, ethics of searching for new plant products, and how to return knowledge to communities.
The emphasis is on application of ethnobotany in conservation, sustainable use and community development.
Teaching and learning Methods
The course is composed of alternating lectures, exercises and discussions. The lectures give overview of theory, examples of application in practice and serve to link different disciplines. The focus is on critical discussions, including student presentations. To some extent external specialists will be used as lecturers. During the assignments work, the students work in groups. E-learning (e-modules) will be used to integrate literature studies and excercises. E-learning will be supported by on-line discussions in which students must participate.
Learning Outcome
The core concepts in ethnobotany are provided followed by advanced studies of people-plant relations focusing upon importance of forest plants to local livelihoods and opportunities for sustainable use of tropical forests. The course highlights patterns in plant use and the role that local peoples' knowledge, institutions and cultural perspectives can play in plant resource use, management and conservation.

After completing the course the student should be able to:

Display overview of key areas within ethnobotanical research and describe main theories regarding traditional plant use and its relative importance to different user groups.
Understand the role of ethnobotanical studies in community development, sustainable forest management and development.
Demonstrate awareness of ethics and values related to ethnobotanical studies.
Reflect on ethnobotany in relation to local and national cross cutting issues such as gender, culture, equity, environmental concern and intellectual property rights.

Familiar with methods useful to work with local communities to learn about their knowledge and uses of plants.
Select and apply ethnobotanical principals and tools to explore solutions to forest plant conservation and development issues together with local people.
Define and formulate a research question and plan practical field work
Apply scientific ethnobotanical methods in data collection and analyses in relation to a common project.
Communicate research aim(s) and results to the involved community.

Critically examine ethnobotanical literature
Transfer ethnobotanical methods to own research situation
Work effectively in an interdisciplinary group to define a common research project and plan field work.
Course Literature
Gary J. Martin. Ethnobotany. A methods manual. 2004.
Selected chapters in: Guidelines for Ethnobotanical Research: A Field Manual. Edt. Miguel N. Alexiades. 1996.
Selected chapters in: Anthony B. Cunningham. Applied ethnobotany. 2001.
Selected scientific papers.
Gary Martins manual is used as an easy introduction to the science of ethnobotany and practical field methods.
Selected chapters from Alexiades are used for discussions on ethics and intellectual property right issues related to ethnobotanical research.
Selected chapters from Cunningham are used to explain how local people can learn to assess the pressures on plant resources and what steps to take to ensure their continued availability.
The books are supplemented by articles for advanced understanding of hypothesis, methods, analysis and results of ethnobotanical studies within plant use and management.
Course Coordinator
Ida Theilade, idat@life.ku.dk, Forest & Landscape Denmark/Unit of Forestry, Phone: 353-31742
Study Board
Study Committee NSN
Work Load
theoretical exercises36