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  Estonian Journal of Ecology

ISSN 1736-7549 (electronic)   ISSN 1736-602X (print)
An international scientific journal

Formerly: Proceedings of the Estonian Academy of Sciences: Biology, Ecology
(ISSN 1406-0914)
Published since 1952
 

Estonian Journal of Ecology

ISSN 1736-7549 (electronic)   ISSN 1736-602X (print)
An international scientific journal

Formerly: Proceedings of the Estonian Academy of Sciences: Biology, Ecology
(ISSN 1406-0914)
Published since 1952
 

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Personal and shared: the reach of different herbal landscapes; pp. 20–36

(Full article in PDF format) doi: 10.3176/eco.2012.1.04


Authors

Renata Sõukand, Raivo Kalle

Abstract

We analyse the use of medicinal plants by local populations from two parishes in central Estonia in the 1930s applying a model of herbal landscape. Our study, based on archived records
of traditional ecological knowledge of 11 schoolchildren and 5 adults, compares the individuals’ expertise of medicinal plants to the common knowledge of the local community. This shared knowledge, passed on from generation to generation inside the community (ecocultural commons), is distributed unequally among its members. The results of the study show that 65 plant and 3 fungi taxa were used in folk medicine to deal with 49 indications. Further, the study reveals how know­ledge on plants was distributed among individuals throughout the local communities and how folk wisdom about medicinal plants was preserved. The individual herbal landscapes of the respondents varied considerably, with the usage of many plants shared by only a few members of the community. Still, the general pattern of the communal herbal landscape follows relatively well the pattern of the plant use in folk medicine in Estonia at the time under review, with just a few exceptions. Hence, every person partakes in the knowledge of the ecocultural commons, whereas the individual share of the community’s knowledge is not complete.

Keywords

medicinal plants, herbal landscape, ecological history, public health, ecocultural commons.

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