Does access to natural environments explain differences in the use of wild plants between rural and urban populations?

keywords: Ecological indices, Protected areas, Wild edible plants, Wild medicinal plants, urban ethnobotany


Background: The use of wild plants depends on a number of sociocultural and ecological factors, such as the ease of access to natural environments. This limitation for urban inhabitants leads to differences in the knowledge and use of wild plants compared to rural inhabitants.

Hypothesis:  Rural and urban populations tend to share a similar knowledge of plants and use similar plants species when easy access to natural landscapes is available.

Study site and years of study: Rural and urban area of Curarrehue, Araucanía region (southern Chile), 2017.

Methods: The use patterns of wild edible plants (WEPs) and wild medicinal plants (WMPs) were compared between the rural and urban population of Curarrehue. We evaluated the number of WEPs and WMPs collected, their richness and diversity, the most important gathering environments and the way in which knowledge was acquired.

Results: No differences were observed in the use of wild plants between the populations, except for the richness of WMPs. The WEPs were gathered mainly from the forest by both populations, and in the case of the WMPs, from forest and disturbed areas. The knowledge was acquired mainly through relatives, collecting plants from forest areas.

Conclusions: Access to natural environments is key to preserving traditional practices and contributes to reducing gaps in the knowledge and use of wild plants between local rural and urban populations.


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Does access to natural environments explain differences in the use of wild plants between rural and urban populations?


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How to Cite
Cordero, S., Gálvez, F., Arenas, J., & Rodríguez Valenzuela, E. (2020). Does access to natural environments explain differences in the use of wild plants between rural and urban populations?. Botanical Sciences, 99(1), 104-123.