Comparison of traditional knowledge about edible plants among young Southern Tepehuans of Durango, Mexico


  • Raúl Ernesto Narváez-Elizondo Instituto Politécnico Nacional, Centro Interdisciplinario de Investigación para el Desarrollo Integral Regional (CIIDIR), Unidad Durango, Durango, Durango
  • Martha González-Elizondo Instituto Politécnico Nacional (CIIDIR Unidad Durango)
  • Arturo Castro-Castro Instituto Politécnico Nacional, Centro Interdisciplinario de Investigación para el Desarrollo Integral Regional (CIIDIR), Unidad Durango, Durango, Durango
  • M Socorro González-Elizondo Instituto Politécnico Nacional, Centro Interdisciplinario de Investigación para el Desarrollo Integral Regional (CIIDIR), Unidad Durango, Durango, Durango
  • Jorge Alberto Tena-Flores Instituto Politécnico Nacional, Centro Interdisciplinario de Investigación para el Desarrollo Integral Regional (CIIDIR), Unidad Durango, Durango, Durango
  • Isaías Chairez-Hernández Instituto Politécnico Nacional, Centro Interdisciplinario de Investigación para el Desarrollo Integral Regional (CIIDIR), Unidad Durango, Durango, Durango
keywords: cultural erosion, O'dam, Sierra Madre Occidental, traditional ecological knowledge


Background: Traditional ecological knowledge is an important part of biocultural heritage of societies; it has been reported their disappearance and in some cases this phenomenon has been associated with socioeconomic factors such as formal education.

Questions and/or Hypotheses: How does traditional knowledge about edible plants vary between three groups of young Southern Tepehuans from different educational contexts?   

Study site and dates: Southern Durango, Mexico; September 2017 to November 2018.

Methods: Traditional knowledge was compared among young Southern Tepehuan informants from three educational contexts: rural students, urban students and non-students. Each informant answered a questionnaire about 20 selected wild edible plants and wrote a free list of additional species. The results of these instruments allowed to determine a traditional knowledge grade per person. The statistical analyzes performed were ANCOVA and Chi-square tests.

Results: Educational context, as well as age and gender proved to be variables statistically significant, not so the interaction between educational context and gender. Non-students hold the highest knowledge grade, and no significant difference was found in the traditional knowledge among rural and urban students.

Conclusions: As has been documented in studies for other ethnic groups, our results suggest that traditional knowledge tends to disappear among Southern Tepehuans due to changes in lifestyles induced by formal education, such as reduced access to nature, nutritional transition and disuse of indigenous languages. To preserve the biocultural heritage, it is essential to apply novel strategies favoring alternative ways of knowledge transmission.


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Comparison of traditional knowledge about edible plants among young Southern Tepehuans of Durango, Mexico


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How to Cite
Narváez-Elizondo, R. E., González-Elizondo, M., Castro-Castro, A., González-Elizondo, M. S., Tena-Flores, J. A., & Chairez-Hernández, I. (2021). Comparison of traditional knowledge about edible plants among young Southern Tepehuans of Durango, Mexico. Botanical Sciences, 99(4), 834-849.