Comparison of the Homegardens of Eight Cultural Groups in Jinping County, Southwest China1
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Comparison of the Homegardens of Eight Cultural Groups in Jinping County, Southwest China. Species growing in 124 homegardens in 15 villages inhabited by 8 cultural groups living in Jinping County, southwest China, were recorded, together with information on the uses of the species and other features of the gardens. Data were gathered using key informant interviews, participatory observation, and ecological sampling. The results showed that production of food for domestic use was the main function of the gardens. Other uses included plants for income generation, household-level construction, local health care, and for ecological purposes (confined to higher altitude homegardens). The primary floristic variation in the gardens was related to climatic change with altitude, with variations in the use of the gardens to grow plants for local healthcare being also significant. Homegardens can be clustered into two groups based on floristic composition—lower altitude gardens (including Dai, Zhuang, Homg, and Lahu) and higher altitude gardens (including Yao, Yi, Hani, and Han). Both cultural conservatism and a readiness to adapt to new economic conditions are reflected in the characteristics of the gardens. Homegardens maintain considerable conservation value as repositories of several species of endangered plants and several species of medicinal plants that are over-collected in the wild.
Key WordsHomegarden floristic composition structure function Jinping
This work is supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant No. 30770220 and 30570167). Many thanks to Dr. Alan Hamilton for assisting with the English. The authors also thank Mr. Mao Longhua, Yu Zhiyong, and Pu Zhifu for their assistance in field work.
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