EXPLORING THE TRADITIONAL ECOLOGICAL KNOWLEDGE OF THE SANTHAL TRIBE OF INDIA IN THE USE OF WILD EDIBLE PLANT SPECIESEdwin Murmu, Bhupendra Singh Adhikari and Harsh Bardhan Vasistha
Traditional ecological knowledge (TEK) can be very well attributed to the evolution, development, and progress of the traditional civilization of indigenous peoples around the globe. Besides its use in indigenous weather forecasting, ethnomedicine, agriculture, the use in food selection for survival is of greater importance to the indigenous communities, who have been living in the forests for a generation. The study deals with the use of TEK among the Santhal Tribe, a dominant indigenous community from the eastern states of Jharkhand and West Bengal, in the selection and use of wild edible plants species. On the basis of personal interactions with 196 Santhal women from six districts of the study area, we have been able to record 49 species of wild plants, belonging to 35 families, which are consumed by the tribal community either as a dietary supplement or because of poverty. Among the identified species, 28 of them were also found to be part of many ethnomedicinal formulations treating several categories of diseases.
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