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Ethnobotany, Biodiversity and Malaria in Nakai-Nam Theun NBCA, Laos: Three PhD projects
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Biology, Department of Evolution, Genomics and Systematics, Systematic Botany.
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Biology, Department of Evolution, Genomics and Systematics, Systematic Botany.
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Biology, Department of Organismal Biology, Systematic Biology. (Ethnobotany)
2006 (English)In: Program of the Society for Economic Botany 47th Annual Meeting, 2006Conference paper (Other (popular science, discussion, etc.))
Abstract [en]

Starting January 2006 the Department of Biology, National University of Laos and the Department

of Systematic Botany have started a collaboration funded to Sida-SAREC to train three Ph.D.

students at Uppsala University. The projects evolve around ethnobotany, biodiversity studies, and

malaria prevention in the inaccessible Nakai-Nam Theun National Biodiversity Conservation Area in

the Annamite mountains bordering on Vietnam. The Nakai-Nam Theun NBCA was chosen for

fieldwork, because the 2001 review of the Laos protected area system pointed out that the Nakai-

Nam Theun National Biodiversity Conservation Area has the highest need for development,

harbors the richest biodiversity, and would be the most effective area for improvement.


The objectives are to study: 1a) The taxonomy of Amomum (Zingiberaceae) for the Flora of

Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam; 1b) The feasibility of micropropagation of Amomum to create a

cash-crop alternative to wild crafting; 2a) The biodiversity of ethnobotanically used plants in the

area; 2b) The spread of ethnobotanical knowledge between ethnic groups and mountain valleys;

3a) The incidence of malaria, and the traditional knowledge about natural mosquito repellents; 3b)

The effectiveness of impregnating mosquito nets with natural or chemical repellants.


Study objectives 1a and 2a require extensive collection of herbarium vouchers. Objective 1b will be

studied using micropropagation techniques through Khon Kaen University, Thailand. Objectives 2a

and 3a will be studied using semi-structured interviews and forest walks. 3a will be done with the

help of doctors from the Faculty of Medicine, NUOL, and 2b and 3b will be analyzed using various

statistical methods.


During the first three months of this project a preliminary study of the genus Amomum has been

finished, and a few hundred herbarium vouchers have been collected in the NBCA, of which at

least one is a new species to science.


This collaboration will hopefully initiate a lasting and ongoing tradition of ethnobotanical research in

Laos. It will result in a better understanding of the value of plants in the livelihoods of the peoples in

the Nakai-Nam Theun NBCA, and will hopefully improve their situation through knowledge on

efficacy of traditionally used plants, introduction of clonal Amomum varieties, and introducing

mosquito nets and a sustainable impregnation system based on naturally available plants. In

addition it will result in the training of three Ph.Ds., a number of scientific publications, and probably

a lot more.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Keyword [en]
Ethnic minorities, South East Asia, Medical Entomology, Biodiversity Studies
National Category
Biological Systematics
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-23266OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-23266DiVA: diva2:51040
Available from: 2007-01-26 Created: 2007-01-26 Last updated: 2012-01-10

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