Some Plants Are More Equal Than Others or Not?

Y. Han Lau


The relationship between Paiwan and their food plants is examined in terms of the functional roles of food processing technologies and traditional ceremonies on the sustainability of Paiwan food plants. A value-added food plant model is developed to predictably understand the persistence of these food plants using ethnobotanical data collected from six Paiwan villages in Taiwan. Three specific case studies of Paiwan food plants are presented as examples of possible outcomes of traditional food plants within the culture in the context of changing cultural and social environments. These case studies demonstrate the potential of food plants to persist in a culture based on traditional practices. The persistence of traditional practices is, in turn, dependent on finding new cultural meanings and economic means to create an environment that is conducive to their continuous existence. Lastly, an understanding of how value is accorded to food plants will allow better decision-making on the conservation of traditional food plants and associated knowledge.

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Asian Social Science   ISSN 1911-2017 (Print)   ISSN 1911-2025 (Online)

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