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Sustainable wild-collection of medicinal and edible plants in Lefke region of North Cyprus

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Abstract

The purpose of this study is to record medicinal and edible wild plants and associated traditional knowledge in the five villages (Lefke, Yeşilırmak, Gemikonağı, Yedidalga, Bağlıköy) located in Lefke region of North Cyprus. Data on the target plants and relevant traditional knowledge were collected during autumn and winter of 2013 and spring of 2014. These data upon (e.g. plant harvested, local name, part of plant used and type of use) were obtained from the informants by semi-structured and structured interviews. Accordingly, a total number of 135 informants of various ages and backgrounds and with a sound traditional knowledge of the target plants were interviewed. A total of 47 species (8 medicinal, 18 edible and 21 edible-medicinal) belonging to 26 families was recorded as a result of the structured interviews. 11 of the species are cultivated in small-scale home gardens. The species are collected for a variety purposes, including traditional food (47 %), spice (16 %), pickle and/or appetizer (9 %), herbal tea (11 %), medicine (2 %), ornament (2 %), fruits and/or jam (13 %). The plant parts most widely used are young stems (36 %), leaves (33 %), fruits (14 %), flowers (5 %), aerial part (4 %), young shoots (4 %), bulbs (3 %) and roots (1 %). Major processing techniques include: boiled (24 %), raw (19 %) and spice for food flavouring (15 %). Assessment of the associated traditional knowledge shows that this knowledge has been in decline in the region due to the impact of modernization. A range of responses for the maintenance and transmission of traditional knowledge with the target plants (e.g. establishment of a database, support for small-scale cultivation in home gardens and eco-labelling of the plant material) were proposed. It is hoped that the results of this study will draw attention on the neglect of traditional knowledge in the island of Cyprus in terms of its significance for intangible cultural heritage, biodiversity conservation, sustainable rural development strategies and the vitality of traditional food systems.

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Notes

  1. According to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) (1992), the term traditional knowledge refers to the “knowledge, innovations and practices of indigenous and local communities around the world” [Article 8(j) and 18.4 of the Convention]. Traditional knowledge seems to have significant positive effects for human well-being including determination of the co-viability of social and ecosystem dynamics (Gundersan and Holling 2002), the design of people-centred resource management approaches (Cunningham 2001), playing an active role in biodiversity conservation and ecosystem management (Colding and Folke 2001; Berkes et al. 2003; Houde 2007) and forming the basis for decisions and strategies in many practical areas such as medical treatment and agriculture (Nakashima and Roué 2002).

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Acknowledgments

I would like to thank to the students for their help in the field survey: Sinem Ebedi, Senem Asrak and Gülsüm Yıldız. I also thank to all of the informants who contributed to this study.

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Correspondence to Gulay Cetinkaya Ciftcioglu.

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Ciftcioglu, G.C. Sustainable wild-collection of medicinal and edible plants in Lefke region of North Cyprus. Agroforest Syst 89, 917–931 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10457-015-9824-8

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