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The Shaxi Valley
     
 

Introduction

The Shaxi Valley is located in the foothills of the eastern Himalayas (Yunnan, SW China), an area which is characterized by high biocultural diversity. Most of the valley’s population belong to the Bai people, a Tibeto-Burman ethnic group who still maintain their own language and culture. With an average annual income of around 120 dollars, the majority of the people live close to the poverty line.
In collaboration with the "Shaxi Valley Rehabilitation Project" of the ETH Zurich and its module 3 "Sustainable Valley Development", the present ethnobotanical study aims to analyse the current situation of medicinal plant use in the Shaxi Valley and to develop suggestions regarding the cultivation of medicinal plants as a means of poverty alleviation. The research will be conducted within the scope of a master thesis at the Institute of Systematic Botany, University of Zürich and is supported by the Swiss Academy of Sciences (SCNAT). First, the traditional plant knowledge of the local people will be documented, and second, medicinal plants suitable for cultivation will be identified, considering the traditional knowledge, the environmental conditions and agricultural practices, as well as the needs of the (international) market for cultivated medicinal plants.

 

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9/06/10