Teaching ethnobotany in India
Dr Bernadette Montanari (Marie Curie fellow at the ISS) was recently invited to travel to India to teach a short course at the Department of Horticulture and Aromatic and Medicinal Plants (HAMP) at the University of Mizoram.
Her course entitled: “Ethnobotany and Development: What do we have to lose/or gain?” sought to challenge the MSc students to think how major development initiatives would impact on their daily lives, change landscapes and alter culture and traditions. In her teaching, Dr Montanari emphasised the risk of losing vital ethnobotanical and associated traditional knowledge in the course of development initiatives, particularly as the state of Mizoram and the Indian Government are about to undertake major development programs in the region.
Following her visit to Mizoram University, Dr. Montanari was invited to give a lecture at the Department of Botany at the University of Lucknow. The lecture entitled “Ethnobotanical and traditional aspects for uplifting the social status of rural communities” focused on the role of ethnobotanical and traditional knowledge and the scientific validation for empowering community development and sustainable development.
She was then invited to visit the Central Institute of Medicinal and Aromatic Plants (CIMAP) and the National Botanical Research Institute. Both institutes are under the umbrella of the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) and conduct cutting edge and frontier research on aromatic and medicinal plant research and development of botanical products.