Ethnobotany of Amazonia

  • Guillaume Odonne
Living reference work entry

Amazonia is a place for myths and legends, and if it has been described for a long time as a “green hell,” it tends now to be perceived as a “green treasure,” with Native people keeping jealously the hidden secrets that may heal the whole planet. The truth is somewhere in the middle. Many people in Amazonia have a really good knowledge of their surrounding biodiversity and its uses, but this knowledge is unequally shared and rapidly eroding. Moreover, how Amazonian inhabitants use plants is a very dynamic field, due to the movements of people and the evolution of their culture. Summarizing Amazonian ethnobotany in a single encyclopedia entry is a challenging goal.

Amazonia is generally understood as the Amazon basin. Nevertheless, from ecological or anthropological points of view, this area is anything but coherent. In this entry, I will speak about the practices of the people from the tropical South American lowlands. This area encompasses the Amazon basin, i.e., the drainage area of...


Guiana Shield Euterpe Oleracea Ficus Insipida Medical Ethnobotany Common Cultural Background 
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© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.CNRSCayenneFrance