Recent ethnobotanical studies have raised the hypothesis that religious affiliation can, in certain circumstances, influence the evolution of the use of wild food plants, given that it shapes kinship relations and vertical transmission of traditional/local environmental knowledge. The local population living in Jhelum District, Punjab, Pakistan comprises very diverse religious and linguistic groups. A field study about the uses of wild food plants was conducted in the district. This field survey included 120 semi‐structured interviews in 27 villages, focusing on six religious groups (Sunni and Shia Muslims, Christians, Hindus, Sikhs, and Ahmadis). We documented a total of 77 wild food plants and one mushroom species which were used by the local population mainly as cooked vegetables and raw snacks. The cross‐religious comparison among six groups showed a high homogeneity of use among two Muslim groups (Shias and Sunnis), while the other four religious groups showed less extensive, yet diverse uses, staying within the variety of taxa used by Islamic groups. No specific plant cultural markers (i.e., plants gathered only by one community) could be identified, although there were a limited number of group‐specific uses of the shared plants. Moreover, the field study showed erosion of the knowledge among the non‐Muslim groups, which were more engaged in urban occupations and possibly underwent stronger cultural adaption to a modern lifestyle. The recorded traditional knowledge could be used to guide future development programs aimed at fostering food security and the valorization of the local bio‐cultural heritage.

Gathered wild food plants among diverse religious groups in Jhelum District, Punjab, Pakistan

Soukand R.;Aziz M. A.;
2021-01-01

Abstract

Recent ethnobotanical studies have raised the hypothesis that religious affiliation can, in certain circumstances, influence the evolution of the use of wild food plants, given that it shapes kinship relations and vertical transmission of traditional/local environmental knowledge. The local population living in Jhelum District, Punjab, Pakistan comprises very diverse religious and linguistic groups. A field study about the uses of wild food plants was conducted in the district. This field survey included 120 semi‐structured interviews in 27 villages, focusing on six religious groups (Sunni and Shia Muslims, Christians, Hindus, Sikhs, and Ahmadis). We documented a total of 77 wild food plants and one mushroom species which were used by the local population mainly as cooked vegetables and raw snacks. The cross‐religious comparison among six groups showed a high homogeneity of use among two Muslim groups (Shias and Sunnis), while the other four religious groups showed less extensive, yet diverse uses, staying within the variety of taxa used by Islamic groups. No specific plant cultural markers (i.e., plants gathered only by one community) could be identified, although there were a limited number of group‐specific uses of the shared plants. Moreover, the field study showed erosion of the knowledge among the non‐Muslim groups, which were more engaged in urban occupations and possibly underwent stronger cultural adaption to a modern lifestyle. The recorded traditional knowledge could be used to guide future development programs aimed at fostering food security and the valorization of the local bio‐cultural heritage.
2021
10
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/10278/3757817
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