Team news

Field research news: Ethnobotanical survey of root and tuber plants in the Peruvian Amazon

Although a high diversity of tropical root and tuber crops and plants are used by indigenous people in the tropics since ancient times, many of these species are still largely unexplored and neglected by science. In the frame of the dissertation entitled ‘Characterization of plant genetic resources of root and tuber crops used in the Peruvian Amazon’, a member of our team Goldis Perry Davila has recently returned from his field research expedition to Ucayali, San Martín and Loreto Regions. During this phase of his field research, he conducted an ethnobotanical survey of local markets and communities through individual semi-structured interviews and focus group discussions complemented with voucher specimen collection. The preliminary results highlighted 9 key species, namely Calathea allouia, Colocasia esculenta, Dioscorea alata, Dioscorea trifida, Dioscorea bulbifera, Dracontium spruceanum, Pachyrhizus tuberosus and Xanthosoma sagittifolium. All documented species will be further investigated to characterize their intraspecific morphological and genetic variability.

New Paper Published: Wild Food Plants as Possible Novel Crops in Selected Food-Insecure Regions

Domestication of new plants is one of the key phenomena in the history of agriculture. Wild plants are the ancestors of current and future crops and the largest reservoir of genetic diversity for crop breeding and improvement. In a recent study, in which TRIBE members Naji Sulaiman and Zbynek Polesny take a leading role, we highlighted a total of 20 wild plant taxa from five war-affected and food-insecure regions (five species from each region). The suggested species have a high possibility of becoming novel crops and may significantly help local communities in their livelihoods, food security, and domestic nutritional care.

Our new paper on the cultivation, utilization, and commercialization of indigenous tree species in Cameroon has been published!

The tropical forests of Central Africa represent an immense diversity of valuable plant species that local people have long exploited for their needs. Despite their economic importance, these species often remain marginal and neglected by mainstream development or agricultural policies. The actual paper published in Economic Botany investigates management practices, plant part preferences, morphological characteristics, and the economy of bitter kola in different regions of the country.

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