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Paper review1 biol.807
 

Paper review1 biol.807

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    Paper review1 biol.807 Paper review1 biol.807 Document Transcript

    • 1. INTRODUCTIONAccording to Judd et al. (2002), herbarium (pl. herbaria) is a place where plant collections arestored, typically as pressed and dried plants mounted to sheets of paper, identified, and providedwith locality and habitat data, so that they can be further studied. These locality and habitat dataprovide us with good sources of information about the individual plant as well as any plantcommunity types to identify key species for conservation prioritization. The plants are alsoarranged in such a way that either alphabetically or systematically according to an acceptablesystem of classification thereby serving as a reference room in a library. Moreover, herbaria aregood sources of information for researchers, say chemists or pharmacists, who are going to workon any pyhtochemical analysis about the general knowhow of the particular species of interest. 1.1. ETHNO-ECOLOGYThe field of ethno-ecology focuses on the ways people conceptualize elements of the natural environmentand human activity within it and investigates how these concepts vary culturally as well as revealuniversal aspects of human cognition (http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/1074051/ethno-ecology). Ethno-ecological investigations are among the key elements employed, in this respect, forecosystem restoration and resilience where herbaria can contribute a lot to applied aspects of ethnobotanyin conservation and management of resources in our surrounding. 1.2. ETHNOBOTANYAccording to Cotton (1996), ethnobotany is simply considered to encompass all studies whichconcern the mutual relationships between plants and traditional peoples. Moreover, it waselaborated (http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/194285/ethnobotany), thatethnobotanyis systematic study of the botanical knowledge of a social group and its use of locally availableplants in foods, medicines, clothing, or religious rituals. Rudimentary drugs derived from plantsused in folk medicines have been found to be beneficial in the treatment of many illnesses, bothphysical and mental. The ethnobotany of prehistoric cultures is discovered through examinationof ancient writings, pictures, pottery, and plant remains in jars or maiden heaps (garbage dumps)excavated at archaeological sites. From this information, the agricultural practices and culturaldevelopment of a people can be determined. Ethnobotanists often live for periods of time in thesociety they are studying, to observe all phases of their lives, including mythology, religious 1
    • practices, and language, in order to determine the specific plants used and the methods involvedin their preparation. Travelers’ journals, the field notes of early botanists, and other writingsserve as sources of information about agricultural methods and folk remedies of the past.Hence, Martin (1995) summarized that where as ethnoecology studies the interactions of localpeoples with the natural environment, ethnobotany is the part that studies the interactions of localpeople with plants. Therefore etnobotany tries to get a holistic understanding of local knowledgeon plants.Richard Evans Schultes (An American Botanist): (born Jan. 12, 1915, Boston, Mass.—died April10, 2001, Boston), American scientist who, pioneered the field of ethnobotany, the study ofindigenous peoples and their uses of hallucinogenic and medicinal plants. Schultes spentextensive time among native tribes in South America and collected more than 24,000 plantspecimens from the Amazon region. Although his books on hallucinogenic plants were widelyread by drug experimenters during the 1960s, he dismissed the notion of “mind expansion”espoused by counterculture figures such as Timothy Leary and maintained that such plantsshould be studied for their medicinal value. Schultes had a long association with HarvardUniversity, where he earned a Ph.D. in biology in 1941 and worked as a curator, lecturer, andprofessor from 1954 to 1985. Among Schulte’s numerous awards were the Tyler Prize forEnvironmental Achievement in 1987 and the Linnaean Society Gold Medal in 1992.(http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/761765/Richard-Evans-Schultes).Modern Ethnobotany: Beginning in the 20th century, the field of ethnobotany experienced ashift from the raw compilation of data to a greater methodological and conceptual reorientation.This is also the beginning of academic ethnobotany. The so-called "father" of this discipline isRichard Evans Schultes even though he did not actually coin the term "Ethnobotany". Today thefield of ethnobotany requires a variety of skills: botanical training for the identification andpreservation of plant specimens; anthropological training to understand the cultural conceptsaround the perception of plants; linguistic training, at least enough to transcribe local terms andunderstand native morphology, syntax, and semantics ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ethnobotany).Hence, the objectives of herbaria even could not be achieved without proper applications of the modernconcepts of ethnobotany. 2
    • The main objective of this review paper is to give an in-depth critics (both strong and weak side criticism)on the paper entitled; “Linking Ethnobotany, Herbaria and Flora to Conservation: The Case of FourAngiosperm Families at the National Herbarium of Ethiopia” .It is believed that such engagement inreading and criticism practice can scale up the knowledge and practice of beginners who engage in theirfirst hand research endeavor.Conservation is about maintaining the biosphere, taking action to avoid species decline and extinctionsand permanent change to the environment which requires public and governmental support (Taylor, et al.,2003). Biological conservation aims at maintaining the diversity of living organisms, their habitats andthe interrelationships between organisms and their environment (Spellerberg et al., 1995). Ethnobotanistsplay a catalytic role in suggesting which wild or semi-cultivated species can be incorporated intoagroforestry or agro-ecosystems as well as through proposing alternatives to environmentally destructivepractices (Martin, 1995). 2. OVERVIEW ON HERBARIA OF THE WORLD AND INDEX HERBARIORUMAccording to Biorepositories.org (2008), scientists have documented the earth’s plant and fungal diversitythrough dried reference specimens maintained in collections known as herbaria for the past threecenturies. Index Herbarium: A Global Directory of Public Herbaria and Associated Staff under the abovewebsite reported that there are approximately 3, 400 herbaria in the world today, with approximately10, 000 associated curators and biodiversity specialists. Hence, collectively, the world herbaria containan estimated 350, 000,000 specimens that documented the earth’s vegetation for the past 400 years(http://sciweb.nybg.org/science2/IndexHerbariorum.asp). Therefore, Index Herbariorum is a guide tothe crucial source for biodiversity science and conservation.It was said that the Index Herbarium (IH) entry for herbarium includes its physical location, web address,contents representing number and types of specimens, history and names, contact information and areasof expertise of associated staff. The New York Bbotanical Ggarden, Iinternational Plant SscienceCenterer (http://sciweb.nybg.org/science2/IndexHerbariorum.asp) also noted that only thosecollections that are permanent scientific repositories are included in IH. Hence new registrantsmust demonstrate that their collection is large usually 5,000 specimens minimum, accessible toscientists , and actively managed where each institution is assigned a permanent unique identifierin the form of a four to eight letter code, as practiced and dates from the founding of IH in 1935(http://www.biorepositories.org). 3
    • 3. MAJOR HERBARIA OF THE WORLDAccording to http://www.mnhn.fr/museum/foffice/transverse/transverse/accueil.xsp?cl=en, thecontinent Europe is the leading in harboring the largest (9,500,000) specimen collections ofherbarium specimens in France followed by USA, Asia, Australasia and Oceania, Africa andSouth America respectively (Table 1 below). In case of African continent, South Africa is theleading followed by Kenya at the continental level although compared to the other continentsexcept South America, it is with lesser collections of specimens. The East African Herbarium ofKenya is the second largest in African continent but the first largest in the Horn of Africa with its1,000,000 specimen collections (http://www.museums.or.ke/content/view/116/83/).A B CFig. 1 Herbarium preparations (Herbarium specimens of various Nepenthes at the MuseumNational dHistoire Naturelle in Paris, France (A), Preparing a plant for mounting (B), A largeherbarium may have hundreds of cases filled with specimens (C))(Source: http://www.encyclopedia.com)(I) (II)Fig 2 (I) The Swedish Museum of Natural History (Herbarium building) (II) Herbaria soap andtools for field tour (Source: http://linnaeus.nrm.se/botany/fbo/beskrivn.html.en)Table: 1. Herbaria Profile by Continent (See Appendix 9 for more details) 4
    • Continent Name Number Location Source of herbaria of specimensEurope Musum France; National Paris http://www.mnhn.fr/museum/foffice/tr 9,500,000 dHistoire ansverse/transverse/accueil.xsp?cl=en NaturelleUSA New York USA; The http://sciweb.nybg.org/science2/Steere Bronx, Herbarium.asp Botanical 7,200,000 New York Garden City, New YorkAsia Chinese Peoples http://pe.ibcas.ac.cn/ National Republic of 2,470,000 Herbarium, China; Xiangshan, BeijingAustralasia Australian Australia; http://www.anbg.gov.au/cpbr/herbariu National Canberra, m/index.htmlAnd Oceania 1,328,000 Herbarium A. C. T.Africa South African South http://www.sanbi.org/frames/nationalh National Africa; erbfram.htm 1,200,000 Botanical Pretoria, Institute Gauteng ProvinceSouth America Fundacin Argentina; http://lillo.org.ar/content/blogcatego Miguel Lillo 700, 000 Tucum n ry/10/36/ 3.1. HERBARIA IN EAST AFRICA AND ETHIOPIAAccording to http://www.kew.org/science-research-data/directory/projects/E-African-Virtual-Herbarium.htm, East Africa is one of the worlds Biodiversity Hotspots with nearly 7,600 plantspecies, of which a third are found nowhere else on the planet. It is also one of the most denselypopulated places on Earth. The rapid expansion of agriculture and urbanization to service thisrising population places the habitats of East Africa’s plants under threat. 5
    • Table 2: The Eastern African Virtual Herbarium project (Source: http://www.Bioscience.org)Country Name of Herbaria Location Approx. Size of SpecimensKenya National Museums of Kenya, Nairobi, Kenya East African Herbarium 1,000,000Tanzania National Herbarium of University of Tanzania Dar es Salaam 125,000Uganda University of Makerere ? ? HerbariumEthiopia Ethiopian Addis Ababa 80,000 University National Herbarium Ababa 3.2. HERBARIA IN ETHIOPIA:THE ETHIOPIAN NATIONAL HERBARIUMEthiopia is a land of great ecosystem diversity. The great ecosystem diversity is attributed to thenumerous floristic diversity of the country. However, compared to the available Flora and landmass of the country, the available herbaria is not sufficient to host all plant species both fromboth the vicinity and remote areas. Experiences from other countries around the world are goodindicators of the need to design herbaria expansion projects at least in each higher learninginstitutions of the country.The National Herbarium of Ethiopia (ETH) was founded in 1959 (Friis, 2001 quoted in ErmiasLulekal et al., 2011). The Ethiopian Flora Project was launched in 1980 and it is currently thesource of information for many researchers, academic as well as nonacademic institutions both inEthiopia and abroad (Edberg and Edwards, 1989). The Ethiopian National Herbarium which isthe result of the Ethiopian Flora Project and it is currently harbored approximately 80,000specimens representing 450,000 species and the Ethiopian Flora contains approximately 6,000 7
    • The Kew website also noted that Preserved plant specimens are a vital resource forconservationists, forming the foundation of plant research and conservation projects. Specimensare used to identify, name and classify plants, and to document a population’s spread or decline.This historical record of plant distribution and vegetation change is fundamental to ourunderstanding of the implications of climate change and human impact. It informs conservationpriorities, drives land management policies and encourages sustainable use practices(http://www.kew.org/science-research-data/directory/projects/E-African-Virtual-Herbarium).Hence, the Virtual Herbarium is a web-based collection of digital images of preserved plantspecimens and associated information, which makes data on taxonomy, geographic distributionand plant biodiversity available to conservationists throughout East Africa. CollaborativeFieldwork and Vegetation Studies in Ethiopia indicated that Kew is working in collaboration withherbaria at Addis Ababa University (ETH) and the University of Copenhagen (C), to carry outand document detailed studies on the woody plants of Ethiopia. Plant specimens are housed inherbaria and it was stated that a good Flora as the foundation from which other work can come,whether in the form of local floras and guides for specific areas and/or groups of plants, orproviding the basic information for research into new and economically or intellectually fruitfulfields (Edwards, et al., 2000). The five major herbaria in Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda and Tanzaniacontain over 3 million plant specimens. Access to this data is severely limited - less than 5% isavailable digitally. A virtual herbarium, a web-based collection of digital images of plantspecimens and supporting information, will enable conservationists throughout East Africa tomake use of this data in order to protect the region’s biodiversity from further degradation(http://www.kew.org/science-research-data/directory/projects/E-African-Virtual-Herbarium). 6
    • Continent Name Number Location Source of herbaria of specimensEurope Musum France; National Paris http://www.mnhn.fr/museum/foffice/tr 9,500,000 dHistoire ansverse/transverse/accueil.xsp?cl=en NaturelleUSA New York USA; The http://sciweb.nybg.org/science2/Steere Bronx, Herbarium.asp Botanical 7,200,000 New York Garden City, New YorkAsia Chinese Peoples http://pe.ibcas.ac.cn/ National Republic of 2,470,000 Herbarium, China; Xiangshan, BeijingAustralasia Australian Australia; http://www.anbg.gov.au/cpbr/herbariu National Canberra, m/index.htmlAnd Oceania 1,328,000 Herbarium A. C. T.Africa South African South http://www.sanbi.org/frames/nationalh National Africa; erbfram.htm 1,200,000 Botanical Pretoria, Institute Gauteng ProvinceSouth America Fundacin Argentina; http://lillo.org.ar/content/blogcatego Miguel Lillo 700, 000 Tucum n ry/10/36/ 3.1. HERBARIA IN EAST AFRICA AND ETHIOPIAAccording to http://www.kew.org/science-research-data/directory/projects/E-African-Virtual-Herbarium.htm, East Africa is one of the worlds Biodiversity Hotspots with nearly 7,600 plantspecies, of which a third are found nowhere else on the planet. It is also one of the most denselypopulated places on Earth. The rapid expansion of agriculture and urbanization to service thisrising population places the habitats of East Africa’s plants under threat. 5