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Hardcover Plants, People, and Culture Book

ISBN: 0716750619

ISBN13: 9780716750611

Plants, People, and Culture

(Book #60 in the Scientific American Library Series Series)

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Format: Hardcover

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Book Overview

Discoveries of new drugs, organic pesticides, and other plant uses based on research in traditional cultures are increasingly common. The study of human/plant interactions which draws on the methods... This description may be from another edition of this product.

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Excellent introduction to a fascinating field

Balick and Cox's book provides an excellent introductory text for the field of ethnobotany. It covers a wide range of material, including medical ethnobotany, the origins of foods and indigenous stewardship of crop biodiversity, materials science, plant toxins and hallucinogens, and ethnobotanical approaches to conservation. Contrary to the last reader's opinion, the authors make clear their deep concern for indigenous rights. Cox, for example, personally took out a loan for the building of a school in Samoa, as described in Nafanua, another excellent book. Other issues discussed also reveal the authors' attempt to further indigenous well-being. In work with the Akimel O'Odham in southern Arizona, Gary Paul Nabhan was able to demonstrate the nutritional value of their traditional diet, which had been largely forsaken for all-American junk food, thus leading to severe obesity and heart problems in a people biologically adapted to a harsh desert diet. Thus in many cases, the results of ethnobotanical research can have practical, beneficial effects upon the lives of indigenous peoples.
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