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Method Manuals

People and Plants Methods Manuals provide guidelines on methodologies for conservation and community development.
The editor of the series is Martin Walters. Contact: Stanley Thornes (Publishers) Ltd, Ellenborough House, Wellington Street, Cheltenham GL50 1YW, UK; UK Customer Services Department, Tel. +44.1242.267267, Fax +44.1242.253695, e-mail cservices@thornes.co.uk
Export Customer Services Department, Tel. +44.1242.267283, Fax +44.1242.253695, e-mail export@thornes.co.uk

Three titles are currently in print, three are being prepared and additional ones are under discussion:

Ethnobotany: A Methods Manual, Gary J. Martin, 1995. People and Plants Conservation Manuals, Volume 1. Originally published by Chapman and Hall, London; also available in Bahasa Malaysia and Chinese; Spanish edition in preparation.

For information on foreign language editions, contact: Gary Martin or Fatima Zahmoun, BP 262, Marrakesh-Medina, Morocco; Fax +212.4.329544, email gj_martin@compuserve.com or peopleandplants@cybernet.net.ma

Ethnobotany - the study of people's classification, management and use of plants - is an endeavor which attracts people from various academic disciplines. Ethnobotanists and local people face the challenging task of not only recording knowledge of the plant world, but also applying the results of their studies to biodiversity conservation and community development. One of their goals is to ensure that local natural history becomes a living, written tradition in communities where it has been transmitted orally for many years. They are working against time, because indigenous knowledge of the environment is fast disappearing in the face of worldwide destruction of natural areas and transformation of traditional cultures.
This book - the first in a new series of practical manuals in plant conservation sponsored by WWF, UNESCO and the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew - provides a detailed overview of this emerging discipline. Aimed primarily at researchers who are beginning field studies, it gives clear descriptions of the skills and methods most commonly employed by ethnobotanists. It will also be of interest to experienced field workers who wish to review new concepts and techniques drawn from botany, anthropology, economics, ethnopharmacology and other disciplines. The manual begins with advice on data collection and hypothesis testing, and ends with practical ideas on fieldwork ethics and the application of research results to conservation and community development. Illustrated with experiences of colleagues from around the world, it demonstrates that the key to excellent results is close collaboration with local people, conservationists and specialists of various academic fields.

The manual:

  • Describes basic skills and techniques needed to collect quality field data;
  • Forms part of a new series of conservation manuals sponsored by WWF, UNESCO and the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew;
  • Focuses on six academic fields related to ethnobotany: botany, ethnopharmacology, anthropology, ecology, economics and linguistics;
  • Is written in a non-technical style accessible to researchers from various academic disciplines.

Gary J. Martin is an anthropologist and botanist from the USA. He is the regional coordinator for Southeast Asia of the People and Plants Initiative, general editor of the People and Plants Handbook and Website manager of People and Plants Online.


Plant invaders: the threat to natural ecosystems, Quentin C. B. Cronk and Janice L. Fuller, 1995. People and Plants Conservation Manuals, Volume 2. Originally published by Chapman and Hall, London.

The second in a new series of practical manuals in plant conservation sponsored by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), UNESCO and the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, this book is a handy, practical guide to a subject of increasing concern.

As with each of the books in the series, Plant Invaders: The threat to natural ecosystems aims to give an authoritative account of the subject in a jargon-free style. It should therefore be of interest not only to the biologists studying plant invasion, but also to land managers and others concerned with practical conservation.

Case studies of invasive species highlight specific problems from a wide range of countries, including North America, Africa, Australia, South and South East Asia, Europe, and the Pacific and Atlantic islands.

The book contains an invaluable list of invasive species with their countries of origin and regions of introduction. A full bibliography carries references to all cited articles and books.

Quentin Cronk is Lecturer in Vascular Plant Systematics at the Royal Botanic Garden, Edinburgh and at the Institute of Cell and Molecular Biology, Edinburgh University, UK. Janice Fuller is a PhD student in palaeoecology in the Department of Plant Sciences, University of Cambridge, UK.


Plants and protected areas: a guide to in situ management, John Tuxill and Gary Paul Nabhan, 1998. People and Plants Conservation Manuals, Volume 3. Stanley Thornes, Cheltenham.

Plants and Protected Areas is the third in a series of practical manuals in plant conservation sponsored by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), UNESCO and the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.

The conservation of plant resources has sometimes been directed disproportionally towards seed banks and botanical gardens. However, a comprehensive conservation strategy should seek to complement this off-site approach with the in situ management of plant resources in their natural habitats. With the dual aims of facilitating better management of protected areas and illustrating innovative approaches to the conservation of plant resources within their original landscapes, the emphasis of Plants and Protected Areas is firmly on the practical conservation of plant biodiversity based on collaboration between conservation professionals and local communities. Drawing on concepts and methods from ecology, forestry, conservation biology, agricultural sciences, anthropology and ethnobiology, this book will be an invaluable practical aid to natural resource managers, environmental policy-makers and conservation biologists.

John Tuxill is a botanist and conservationist currently based in eastern Panama. He is also a Research Fellow with the Worldwatch Institute. Gary Paul Nabhan is Director of Science at the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, Arizona, USA.


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