Nature and humanity: a revival of the fittest?

The EU-funded DIGE project is exploring what happens when a traditional, practical knowledge of plants and animals unified, eroded or centralised by a dominant group, and the impacts on natural resources, health, economies and the well-being of local communities.

Countries
Countries
  Algeria
  Argentina
  Australia
  Austria
  Bangladesh
  Belarus
  Belgium
  Benin
  Bolivia
  Brazil
  Bulgaria
  Burkina Faso
  Cambodia
  Cameroon
  Canada
  Cape Verde
  Chile
  China
  Colombia
  Costa Rica
  Croatia
  Cyprus
  Czech Republic
  Denmark
  Ecuador
  Egypt
  Estonia
  Ethiopia
  Faroe Islands
  Finland
  France
  French Polynesia
  Georgia

Countries
Countries
  Algeria
  Argentina
  Australia
  Austria
  Bangladesh
  Belarus
  Belgium
  Benin
  Bolivia
  Brazil
  Bulgaria
  Burkina Faso
  Cambodia
  Cameroon
  Canada
  Cape Verde
  Chile
  China
  Colombia
  Costa Rica
  Croatia
  Cyprus
  Czech Republic
  Denmark
  Ecuador
  Egypt
  Estonia
  Ethiopia
  Faroe Islands
  Finland
  France
  French Polynesia
  Georgia


  Infocentre

Published: 1 August 2018  
Related theme(s) and subtheme(s)
EnvironmentHealth & environment
Health & life sciences
Research policyHorizon 2020
Countries involved in the project described in the article
Estonia  |  Italy
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Nature and humanity: a revival of the fittest?

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© bit24 #203635231, source: fotolia.com 2018

Understanding the logic of obtaining, managing and perceiving local natural resources, particularly plants, is crucial for ensuring the sustainability of human life, as the use of plants is a key for survival, according to the project.

Specifically, the research is delving into the repercussions of changes in ethnobotanical knowledge, nurtured by traditional societies and minority ethnic groups, when a majority or dominant group tries to unify, erode or centralise these ‘folk’ traditions. These traditions include the practical use of plants for food, healing and ethnoveterinary medicine. And it is evaluating what happens when the policy or centralised approach is suddenly lifted.

The understanding and knowledge gained through the project could serve as a means for developing educational tools to achieve the sustainable maintenance and use of local plant resources to support the health and wellbeing of people.

Path to revival...

The research and field work led by theCa' Foscari University of Venice in partnership with the Estonian Literary Museum – is particularly interested in the ‘path to revival’ of discontinued traditional ethnobotanical knowledge.

Four case studies are being developed based on investigations of several compact yet divided ethnic minorities living in regions of the Setu (between Estonia and Russia) and the Dzukija region (Lithuania/Belorussia/Poland), North Karelia (Finland/Russia) and Bukovina (Ukaine/Romania). These traditional groups have been subjected to various influences affecting their plant use as well as very different social conditions.

Project coordinator Renata Sõukand and her team are keen to learn the effects of these influences on a local populations’ use of plant resources, as well as the different social conditions, including on their well-being and the economy.

Longer term, the scientists want to use the findings to predict the extent and depth of the changes occurring in ethnobotanical knowledge, and to offer best practices for safeguarding biodiversity, local know-how and the sustainable use of natural resources in a way that supports the health and well-being of different populations.

DIGE is funded through the EU’s European Research Council.

Project details

  • Project acronym: DIGE
  • Participants: Italy (Coordinator), Estonia
  • Project N°: 714874
  • Total costs: € 1 496 675
  • EU contribution: € 1 496 675
  • Duration: June 2017 to July 2022

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