The Semai have been gathering plants in the forests for generations and have profited from their knowledge of the wild foods, widely referred to as “ulam.” The Star, a leading Malaysian newspaper, published a story last week in which the reporter interviewed Rachel Thomas Tharmabalan, a researcher who specializes in analyzing the edible foods, especially […]

The Semai effectively utilize products from their nearby forests that give them health and economic benefits, and in the process they are able to preserve their traditional way of life. A journal article about a research project in Malaysia, published in 2012, analyzes an important aspect of their traditional relationships with the forests: the uses […]

Although medicine and peacefulness are quite separate issues for most of the world, in some small-scale societies, such as the Paliyan, traditional healers and botanical preparations still help maintain physical, cultural, and social health. A detailed article describing the healing plants used in some Paliyan villages of Tamil Nadu, in southern India, provides some interesting […]

A new study by the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) singles out the Yanadi as an example of an indigenous society with traditional knowledge that needs to be preserved. The IIED released its work on the Yanadi last week, along with studies on other traditional societies in India, Peru, Panama, China, and Kenya. […]

The Calcutta Telegraph reported last Friday that a Birhor village in Jharkhand State has been closely involved with a natural inventory project known as the People’s Bio-diversity Register (PBR). The PBR documents the natural and human ecology of villages in India. It includes the lifestyles of the people, their socio-economic conditions, and the flora and […]

Piaroa society has changed over the past 40 years: they have moved to more accessible locations, many have accepted evangelical Christianity, and they are cautious about sharing their knowledge with visitors. Serena Heckler, in an article which she contributed to a recent book, concentrates on the third issue—their indigenous knowledge. The focus of her research […]