Quantification in ethnobotanical research: an overview of indices used from 1995 to 2009

Maria Franco Trindade Medeiros, Poliana Santos da Silva, Ulysses Paulino de Albuquerque

Abstract


Over the last few decades, local knowledge has begun to be studied by ethnobotanists using quantitative
analyses to assess the relationship between biological and cultural diversity, and the relative importance of natural
resources for the local population. A considerable number of published articles have proposed these quantitative analyses,
necessitating discussion and analysis of the commonly employed quantitative techniques. This study examines two
central issues: the nature of quantitative research in ethnobotany and the use of quantitative indices in ethnobotanical
research. A literature review was completed consisting of books, reviews, articles and editorials in the main international
periodicals in the areas of ethnobiology and ethnoecology. Scientific search sites were consulted, and a database was
compiled and analyzed. The analysis of 64 papers and four books constituted the basis for this work. The United States
produce the greatest number of publications in journals in this field (65%). A total of 87 different quantitative techniques
was recorded. This work does not claim to provide a census of all the publications on the subject, but rather intends to
present a panorama on the current state of quantification in ethnobotany.

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.13102/scb108

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