Saturday, 30 September 2017

Theories and Major Hypotheses in Ethnobotany

September 2017, Volume 71, Issue 3, pp 269–287 | Cite as Authors Authors and affiliations Orou G. GaoueEmail authorMichael A. CoeMatthew BondGeorgia HartBarnabas C. SeylerHeather McMillen Orou G. Gaoue1234 Email author View author's OrcID profile Michael A. Coe1 Matthew Bond1 Georgia Hart1 Barnabas C. Seyler1 Heather McMillen15 1.Department of BotanyUniversity of Hawai‘i at MānoaHonoluluUSA 2.Faculty of AgronomyUniversity of ParakouParakouBenin 3.Department of Geography, Environmental Management and Energy StudiesUniversity of JohannesburgJohannesburgSouth Africa 4.Department of Ecology and Evolutionary BiologyUniversity of TennesseeKnoxvilleUSA 5.U.S. Forest Service, Northern Research StationNew York City Urban Field StationBaysideUSA Review First Online: 07 September 2017 3 Shares Abstract Ethnobotany has evolved from a discipline that largely documented the diversity of plant use by local people to one focused on understanding how and why people select plants for a wide range of uses. This progress has been in response to a repeated call for theory-inspired and hypothesis-driven research to improve the rigor of the discipline. Despite improvements, recent ethnobotanical research has overemphasized the use of quantitative ethnobotany indices and statistical methods borrowed from ecology, yet underemphasized the development and integration of a strong theoretical foundation. To advance the field of ethnobotany as a hypothesis-driven, theoretically inspired discipline, it is important to first synthesize the existing theoretical lines of research. We review and discuss 17 major theories and hypotheses in ethnobotany that can be used as a starting point for developing research questions that advance our understanding of people–plant interactions. For each theory or major hypothesis, we identify its primary predictions and testable hypotheses and then discuss how these predictions have been tested. Developing research to test these predictions will make significant contributions to the field of ethnobotany and create the critical mass of primary literature necessary to develop meta-analyses and to advance new theories in ethnobotany. Key Words Hypothesis-driven research medicinal plant selection optimal defense theory utilitarian redundancy model taboo as luxury theory in ethnobotany. Literature Cited Aarssen, L. W. 1997. On the progress of ecology. Oikos 80:177–178. CrossRefGoogle Scholar Albuquerque, U. P. 2006. Re-examining hypotheses concerning the use and knowledge of medicinal plants a study in the Caatinga vegetation of NE Brazil. Journal of Ethnobiology and Ethnomedicine 2:(30): 1-10 Google Scholar ———. 2009. Quantitative ethnobotany or quantification in ethnobotany? Ethnobotany Research and Applications 7:1–3. CrossRefGoogle Scholar ———., and R. F. de Oliveira. 2007. 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