Uncultivated plants and livelihood support –a case study from the Chepang people of Nepal
Keywords:Shifting cultivation, key-informants, household interviews, diversity fair, medicine, culture, tradition, food security, in-situ conservation, domestication
AbstractThis study documents the use of uncultivated plants, their status and contribution to the livelihoods of Chepang people in the mid-hills of Nepal. Diversity fairs, key informant surveys, group discussions and individual household surveys were conducted. The plants identified were used as food, vegetables, medicine, and for cultural and economic reasons. The uses of 85 uncultivated plant species were documented of which 72% had multiple functions. The uncultivated foods contributed significantly to food requirements of the households (mean 2.6 months a year). Fifteen species were stored for future use, e.g., Dioscorea species. Almost all species (87%) were also culturally important or medicinal (43%). The availability of these species has declined over time. However, people have started in-situ conservation and domestication of several important species, e.g., Asparagus racemosus Willd., Dioscorea bulbifera L., and Diploknema butyracea (Roxb.) H.J. Lam, but these resources are neglected in research and development activities.
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