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Locating farmer-based knowledge and vested interests in natural resource management: the interface of ethnopedology, land tenure and gender in soil erosion management in the Manupali watershed, Philippines
Lisa Price
Journal of Ethnobiology and Ethnomedicine , 2007, DOI: 10.1186/1746-4269-3-30
Abstract: The study focuses on soil erosion and its control. Research methods used in the study include ethnosemantic elicitations on soils and focus group discussions. In addition, in-depth work was conducted with 48 farmers holding 154 parcels at different elevations/locations in the watershed. The on-parcel research consisted of farmer classifications of the soil, topography, and erosion status of their parcels. Soil samples were also taken and examined. Farming households were also examined with regard to erosion control activities conducted by age and sex. Erosion management was examined in relation to tenure of the parcel, which emerged as a salient aspect among focus group members and was evidenced by the actual control measures taken on farmed parcels.The results show that the major constraint in soil erosion management is not local knowledge as much as it is the tenure arrangements which allow "temporary owners" (those working rented or mortgaged parcels) to manage the parcels as they see fit. Most of these temporary owners are not willing to invest in erosion control measures other than water diversion ditches. Parcel owners, in contrast, do invest in longer term erosion control measures on the parcels they actually work.The findings of this paper illustrate that linking local knowledge and practices is often not sufficient in and of itself for addressing questions of sound environmental management. While local knowledge serves farmers generally well, there are some limitations. Importantly, the pressures in the contemporary world of markets and cash can undermine what they know as the right thing to do for the environment.Ethnopedology includes the study of soil folk knowledge (cognitive systems or corpus), local soil management (praxis), and beliefs (cosmos) [1-5]. Because ethnopedology falls also under the more encompassing ethnoecology, land management is part of this domain [6]. Importantly, however, actual management practices may be linked to other factors be
Children's traditional ecological knowledge of wild food resources: a case study in a rural village in Northeast Thailand
Chantita Setalaphruk, Lisa Price
Journal of Ethnobiology and Ethnomedicine , 2007, DOI: 10.1186/1746-4269-3-33
Abstract: A case study approach was used in order to gain holistic in-depth insight into children's traditional ecological knowledge as well as patterns of how children acquire their knowledge regarding wild food resources. Techniques used during field data collection are free-listing conducted with 30 village children and the use of a sub-sample of children for more in-depth research. For the sub-sample part of the study, wild food items consisted of a selection of 20 wild food species consisting of 10 species of plants and 10 species of animals. Semi-structured interviews with photo identification, informal interviews and participatory observation were utilized, and both theoretical and practical knowledge scored. The sub-sample covers eight households with boys and girls aged between 10–12 years old from both migrant families and non-migrant families. The knowledge of children was compared and the transmission process was observed.The result of our study shows that there is no observable difference among children who are being raised by grandparents and those being raised by their parents, as there are different channels of knowledge transmission to be taken into consideration, particularly grandparents and peers. The basic ability (knowledge) for naming wild food species remains among village children. However, the practical in-depth knowledge, especially about wild food plants, shows some potential eroding.In many locations around the world, as in rural Northeast Thailand, settled farmers have a reliance on wild food resources gathered from the agricultural landscape (fields, ditches, pathways) as well as from within the villages in which they reside [1-8]. Some of the plant foods in Northeast Thailand can be considered managed in that transplanting and protection are undertaken [9-11]. In addition, there are many small protein items collected including freshwater shrimp and crabs, frogs and insects. Hunting activities which include birds, rats, lizards and other small g
Endangered edible orchids and vulnerable gatherers in the context of HIV/AIDS in the Southern Highlands of Tanzania
Joyce FX Challe, Lisa Price
Journal of Ethnobiology and Ethnomedicine , 2009, DOI: 10.1186/1746-4269-5-41
Abstract: 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
From novice to expert: agroecological competences of children orphaned by AIDS compared to non-orphans in Benin
Rose C Fagbemissi, Lisa L Price
Journal of Ethnobiology and Ethnomedicine , 2011, DOI: 10.1186/1746-4269-7-4
Abstract: The research was carried out in rural Benin with 77 informants randomly selected according to their AIDS status: 13 affected and 13 non-affected adults; 13 paternal, 13 maternal and 13 double orphans; and 12 non-orphan children. Informants descriptions from pile sorting exercises of maize and cowpea pests were categorized and then aggregated into descriptions based form (morphology) and function (utility) and used to determine whether the moving from novice to expert is impaired by children orphaned by AIDS. Differences and similarities in responses were determined using the Fischer exact test and the Cochran-Mantzel-Haenszel test.No significant differences were found between AIDS affected and non-affected adults. Results of the study do reveal differences in the use of form and function descriptors among the children. There is a statistically significant difference in the use of form descriptors between one-parent orphans and non-orphans and in descriptors of specific damages to maize. One-parent paternal orphans were exactly like non-affected adults in their 50/50 balanced expertise in the use of both form and function descriptors. One-parent orphans also had the highest number of descriptors used by children overall and these descriptors are spread across the various aspects of the knowledge domain relative to non-orphans.Rather than a knowledge loss for one-parent orphans, particularly paternal orphans, we believe we are witnessing acceleration into adult knowledge frames. This expertise of one-parent orphans may be a result of a combination of factors deserving further investigation including enhanced hands-on work experience with the food crops in the field and the expertise available from the surviving parent coupled with the value of the food resource to the household.AIDS has created a new category of vulnerable rural African household because its impact reduces food production and livelihood viability and creates a spiral of food decline [1-3]. This underm
Welcome to Journal of Ethnobiology and Ethnomedicine
Andrea Pieroni, Lisa Price, Ina Vandebroek
Journal of Ethnobiology and Ethnomedicine , 2005, DOI: 10.1186/1746-4269-1-1
Abstract: Ethnobiology is a multidisciplinary field of study that draws on approaches and methods from both the social and biological sciences. "Ethnobiology" has proven a rather difficult term to define since the scope of ethnobiological studies has changed considerably throughout history. One of its more recent definitions refers to the study of the reciprocal relationships between human cultures and the natural world [1]. Reciprocal relationships here refer to the human perception of the biological environment, which will ultimately influence man's behaviour, while human behaviour in turn influences – or shapes – the biological environment. This broad definition of ethnobiology encompasses ethnotaxonomy (study of the classification principles of animals, plants, soils, and ecosystems according to local peoples), ethnomedicine (study of the cultural concepts of health, disease and illness, and of the nature of local healing systems), ethnoecology (study of traditional environmental knowledge and of anthropogenic effects on the environment), ethnoagronomy (study of subsistence economies and resource management), and material culture (study of biological resources used in art and technology).Ethnobiology aims at investigating culturally-based biological and environmental knowledge, cultural perception and cognition of the natural world, and associated behaviours and practices.Ethnomedicine is concerned with the cultural interpretations of health, disease and illness and also addresses the health care-seeking process and healing practices.In both ethnobiology and ethnomedicine, the documentation of the consequences of particular behaviours and practices is through cultural and biological expertise intrinsic to the fields of anthropology and biology/medicine.Research interest and activities in the areas of ethnobiology and ethnomedicine have increased tremendously in the last decade. The number of research publications has doubled and the three international, widely recognised
Ethnobotanical investigation of 'wild' food plants used by rice farmers in Kalasin, Northeast Thailand
Gisella S Cruz-Garcia, Lisa L Price
Journal of Ethnobiology and Ethnomedicine , 2011, DOI: 10.1186/1746-4269-7-33
Abstract: Data was collected using focus groups and key informant interviews with women locally recognized as knowledgeable about contemporarily gathered plants. Plant species were identified by local taxonomists.A total of 87 wild food plants, belonging to 47 families were reported, mainly trees, herbs (terrestrial and aquatic) and climbers. Rice fields constitute the most important growth location where 70% of the plants are found, followed by secondary woody areas and home gardens. The majority of species (80%) can be found in multiple growth locations, which is partly explained by villagers moving selected species from one place to another and engaging in different degrees of management. Wild food plants have multiple edible parts varying from reproductive structures to vegetative organs. More than two thirds of species are reported as having diverse additional uses and more than half of them are also regarded as medicine.This study shows the remarkable importance of anthropogenic areas in providing wild food plants. This is reflected in the great diversity of species found, contributing to the food and nutritional security of rice farmers in Northeast Thailand.The collection and consumption of 'wild' plant foods from agricultural and non-agricultural ecosystems has been documented in multiple cultural contexts, illustrating their use and importance among farming households throughout the world [1-3]. The evidence to date suggests that gathering by farmers occurs in various environments, ranging from intensively farmed areas, to more subsistence oriented horticultural systems, and finally in more pristine areas such as forests. This is certainly the case of rice farmers in Asia [4]. For example, Ogle et al. [5,6] found that in the Mekong Delta of Vietnam 90% of women eat wild vegetables, uncovering a total of 94 species. Kosaka [7], in his research on flora from the paddy rice fields in Savannakhet, Laos, recorded 11 edible species from a total of 19 herbaceous useful pla
Weeds as important vegetables for farmers
Gisella S. Cruz-Garcia,Lisa L. Price
Acta Societatis Botanicorum Poloniae , 2012, DOI: 10.5586/asbp.2012.047
Abstract: The objective of this study was to investigate the multiple uses and cognitive importance of edible weeds in Northeast Thailand. Research methods included focus group discussions and freelistings. A total of 43 weeds consumed as vegetable were reported, including economic, naturalized, agricultural and environmental weeds. The weedy vegetables varied considerably on edible parts, presenting both reproductive (flowers, fruits and seeds) and vegetative organs (shoots, leaves, flower stalks, stems or the whole aerial part). The results of this study show that weedy vegetables are an important resource for rice farmers in this region, not only as a food but also because of the multiple additional uses they have, especially as medicine. The fact that the highest Cognitive Salience Index (CSI) scores of all wild vegetables freelisted corresponded to weeds, reinforces the assertion that weeds are culturally cognitively important for local farmers as a vegetable source. This is a key finding, given that these species are targets of common pesticides used in this region.
The Bridge Web Site: Growing and Sustaining Partnerships Between Ocean Science and Education
Vicki Price Clark,Lisa Ayers Lawrence,Christopher Petrone,Lee Larkin
Oceanography , 2009,
Abstract: When physicist Tim Berners-Lee and a team of fellow scientists at the European Center for High Energy Physics (CERN) launched the first-ever Web site in 1989, their goal was to make it easier for scientists to access research documents and scientific data (CERN, 2008). In 1998, Virginia Sea Grant educators at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science (VIMS) had a similar goal: to make ocean science educational resources and current research data more accessible to classroom teachers. The Virginia Sea Grant education team took the first step toward accomplishing this goal by launching a Web site of its own, called "Bridge." The name was inspired by the idea of a ship's bridge with a teacher at the helm, navigating "an ocean of marine education data." It also represents a bridge spanning the divide between the education and the ocean research communities, which is the essence of the Bridge project's mission.
Assessing the levels of food shortage using the traffic light metaphor by analyzing the gathering and consumption of wild food plants, crop parts and crop residues in Konso, Ethiopia
Ocho Dechassa,Struik Paul C,Price Lisa L,Kelbessa Ensermu
Journal of Ethnobiology and Ethnomedicine , 2012, DOI: 10.1186/1746-4269-8-30
Abstract: Background Humanitarian relief agencies use scales to assess levels of critical food shortage to efficiently target and allocate food to the neediest. These scales are often labor-intensive. A lesser used approach is assessing gathering and consumption of wild food plants. This gathering per se is not a reliable signal of emerging food stress. However, the gathering and consumption of some specific plant species could be considered markers of food shortage, as it indicates that people are compelled to eat very poor or even health-threatening food. Methods We used the traffic light metaphor to indicate normal (green), alarmingly low (amber) and fully depleted (red) food supplies and identified these conditions for Konso (Ethiopia) on the basis of wild food plants (WFPs), crop parts (crop parts not used for human consumption under normal conditions; CPs) and crop residues (CRs) being gathered and consumed. Plant specimens were collected for expert identification and deposition in the National Herbarium. Two hundred twenty individual households free-listed WFPs, CPs, and CRs gathered and consumed during times of food stress. Through focus group discussions, the species list from the free-listing that was further enriched through key informants interviews and own field observations was categorized into species used for green, amber and red conditions. Results The study identified 113 WFPs (120 products/food items) whose gathering and consumption reflect the three traffic light metaphors: red, amber and green. We identified 25 food items for the red, 30 food items for the amber and 65 food items for the green metaphor. We also obtained reliable information on 21 different products/food items (from 17 crops) normally not consumed as food, reflecting the red or amber metaphor and 10 crop residues (from various crops), plus one recycled stuff which are used as emergency foods in the study area clearly indicating the severity of food stress (red metaphor) households are dealing with. Our traffic light metaphor proved useful to identify and closely monitor the types of WFPs, CPs, and CRs collected and consumed and their time of collection by subsistence households in rural settings. Examples of plant material only consumed under severe food stress included WFPs with health-threatening features like Dobera glabra (Forssk.) Juss. ex Poir. and inkutayata, parts of 17 crops with 21 food items conventionally not used as food (for example, maize tassels, husks, empty pods), ten crop residues (for example bran from various crops) and one recycled food item (tat
Memory in Microbes: Quantifying History-Dependent Behavior in a Bacterium
Denise M. Wolf, Lisa Fontaine-Bodin, Ilka Bischofs, Gavin Price, Jay Keasling, Adam P. Arkin
PLOS ONE , 2008, DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0001700
Abstract: Memory is usually associated with higher organisms rather than bacteria. However, evidence is mounting that many regulatory networks within bacteria are capable of complex dynamics and multi-stable behaviors that have been linked to memory in other systems. Moreover, it is recognized that bacteria that have experienced different environmental histories may respond differently to current conditions. These “memory” effects may be more than incidental to the regulatory mechanisms controlling acclimation or to the status of the metabolic stores. Rather, they may be regulated by the cell and confer fitness to the organism in the evolutionary game it participates in. Here, we propose that history-dependent behavior is a potentially important manifestation of memory, worth classifying and quantifying. To this end, we develop an information-theory based conceptual framework for measuring both the persistence of memory in microbes and the amount of information about the past encoded in history-dependent dynamics. This method produces a phenomenological measure of cellular memory without regard to the specific cellular mechanisms encoding it. We then apply this framework to a strain of Bacillus subtilis engineered to report on commitment to sporulation and degradative enzyme (AprE) synthesis and estimate the capacity of these systems and growth dynamics to ‘remember’ 10 distinct cell histories prior to application of a common stressor. The analysis suggests that B. subtilis remembers, both in short and long term, aspects of its cell history, and that this memory is distributed differently among the observables. While this study does not examine the mechanistic bases for memory, it presents a framework for quantifying memory in cellular behaviors and is thus a starting point for studying new questions about cellular regulation and evolutionary strategy.
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