Ethnobotanical knowledge of the Kuy and Khmer people in Prey Lang, Cambodia

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Indigenous peoples and forest-dependent communities are known to hold unique knowledge on natural resources in their surrounding environment. However, environmental degradation has diminished the availability of natural resources and threatens the bio-cultural survival of indigenous and local people world-wide. This study documented the plants used by people living in the vicinity of one of Cambodia’s last remaining lowland rainforests. Fieldwork took place
between 2014 and 2016. Participatory mapping exercises and ‘free-listings’ with 31 informants and participatory botanical collections and focus group discussions with 12 key informants were conducted across three villages in the
Preah Vihear and Stung Treng provinces. A total of 374 useful ‘folk taxa’ were recorded, 90% of which were collected and identified. These species were mostly used as medicine (67%), food (44%) and/or materials (37%) with many species
having multiple uses. The most important forest resources for the Kuy people were resin trees of the genus Dipterocarpus, some of which are listed as Endangered by IUCN. Men and women knew similar numbers of useful plants
and played different roles in relation to these. Given the many useful plants reported, the indication of culturally and economically important species, and their distribution and conservation status, forest conservation appears to be essential to maintain the livelihoods and associated ethnobotanical knowledge of local and indigenous people in Prey Lang.
Original languageEnglish
JournalCambodian Journal of Natural History
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)76-101
Number of pages26
Publication statusPublished - 2017

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