Human-Induced Movement of Wild Food Plant Biodiversity across Farming Systems Is Essential to Ensure Their Availability

Publication Type:Journal Article
Year of Publication:2014
Authors:G. S. Cruz-Garcia, Price L. L.
Journal:Journal of EthnobiologyJournal of Ethnobiology
Date Published:Spr-Sum
ISBN Number:0278-0771
Accession Number:WOS:000332371100007
Keywords:chameleon, domestication, ecosystems, farming landscape, food security, gathering, kingdom, legacy, management, northeast thailand, resources, southern-africa, swaziland, transplanting, wild food plants

Farmers from around the world manage, gather and eat wild food plants from anthropogenic ecosystems. Research conducted in Northeast Thailand among rice farmers documents the pattern of this management related to the distribution of edible species. Interviews with 40 farm households yielded a total of 165 transplanting cases involving 32 species. Flows of transplanting material were unidirectional and bidirectional involving different anthropogenic ecosystems. Evidence of farmers' extensive transplanting of species in their gardens and fields indicates that they are ensuring availability and stability of the wild food plant supply for domestic consumption, which is crucial for local food security. We recorded 2,196 household gathering events for domestic consumption for one week a month over 12 months, showing that most species that are transplanted are actually gathered by local farmers. We conclude that conventional dichotomies of wild versus domesticated underlying conventional thinking and research on human food systems overlook the reality of how 'wilderness' and 'farming' come together in creative ways, forming foodways and securing the food supply as illustrated in this case of farmer management of wild food species across different ecosystems of the farming landscape.

Alternate Journal:J Ethnobiol
Scratchpads developed and conceived by (alphabetical): Ed Baker, Katherine Bouton Alice Heaton Dimitris Koureas, Laurence Livermore, Dave Roberts, Simon Rycroft, Ben Scott, Vince Smith