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Endangered edible orchids and vulnerable gatherers in the context of HIV/AIDS in the Southern Highlands of Tanzania

DOI: 10.1186/1746-4269-5-41

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Data was collected through interviews with 224 individuals in the Makete District of Tanzania close to the boarder of Zambia. Free-listings were conducted and Sutrup's Cultural Significance Index (CSI) constructed. The independent t-test was used to compare the differences in gathering frequencies between affected and non-affected gatherers. A multiple comparison of the 4 subgroups (affected adults and children, and non-affected adults and children) in gathering frequencies was done with a one way ANOVA test and its post hoc test. To examine the difference between affected and non-affected gatherers difference in source of gathering knowledge, a chi square test was run.Forty two vernacular names of gathered orchid species were mentioned corresponding to 7 botanical species belongs to genera Disa, Satyrium, Habenaria, Eulophia and Roeperocharis. Ninety-seven percent of HIV/AIDS affected households state that orchid gathering is their primary economic activity compared to non-HIV/AIDS affected households at 9.7 percent. The HIV/AIDS affected gathered significantly more often than the non-affected. AIDS orphans, however, gathered most frequently. Gatherers perceive a decreasing trend of abundance of 6 of the 7 species. Gathering activities were mainly performed in age based peer groups. The results revealed a significant difference between affected and non-affected individuals in terms of their source of gathering knowledge.HIV/AIDS is related to increased reliance on the natural environment. This appears even more so for the most vulnerable, the AIDS orphaned children followed by HIV/AIDS widows.One impact of HIV/AIDS has been the creation of a large number of orphaned children. It is estimated that 12 million children in African countries are currently HIV/AIDS orphans and that the number of AIDS orphaned children under the age of 18 will increase to more than 14 million by 2015 [1,2]. This paper reports on a study which examines the collection of wild edible orchids


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