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1 March 2006 CULTURAL SIGNIFICANCE OF BIODIVERSITY: THE ROLE OF MEDICINAL PLANTS IN URBAN AFRICAN CULTURAL PRACTICES IN THE EASTERN CAPE, SOUTH AFRICA
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Abstract
Since the International Convention on Biodiversity in 1992 conservation biologists, ecologists and conservationists have devoted considerable attention to the conservation of biodiversity. With this has come the realization that solutions to biological problems often lie in the mechanisms of social, cultural, and economic systems. This shift has emphasized the relationship between biodiversity and human diversity, or what the Declaration of Belem (1988) calls an “inextricable link” between biological and cultural diversity. The term biocultural diversity was introduced by Posey to describe the concept denoting this link. To date this concept has been used only in reference to “indigenous people” who, as part of their traditional lifestyles, use biodiversity to sustain their cultural identity. Our research, however, demonstrates that Xhosa people (amaXhosa) living in an urban context in the Eastern Cape Province of South Africa continue to use wild plants for cultural purposes and often access these through commercial trade. We suggest that recognition of the cultural and spiritual values associated with wild plants would greatly enhance biodiversity conservation efforts. Recognition of the significant role that wild plants play in fulfilling cultural needs for urban Xhosa people would go a long way towards achieving this.
M. L. COCKS and A. P. DOLD "CULTURAL SIGNIFICANCE OF BIODIVERSITY: THE ROLE OF MEDICINAL PLANTS IN URBAN AFRICAN CULTURAL PRACTICES IN THE EASTERN CAPE, SOUTH AFRICA," Journal of Ethnobiology 26(1), (1 March 2006). https://doi.org/10.2993/0278-0771(2006)26[60:CSOBTR]2.0.CO;2
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