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Authors Volpato, G; Di Nardo, A
Author Full Name Volpato, Gabriele; Di Nardo, Antonello
Title The role of Nucularia perrinii Batt. (Chenopodiaceae) in the camel-based Sahrawi social-ecological system
Source JOURNAL OF ETHNOBIOLOGY AND ETHNOMEDICINE
Language English
Document Type Article
Author Keywords Pastoral nomads; Salty pastures; Dromedary camel; Sahara; Grazing resources; Milk taste; Cultural identity
Keywords Plus REFUGEES; PASTORALISTS
Abstract Background: Pastoral social-ecological systems (SESs) are adaptive and complex systems rooted in the extensive exploitation of forage plants for livestock-based livelihoods and culture. There are species and relations that are foundational to the existence of these SESs. Nucularia perrinii Batt. (Chenopodiaceae) is an endemic halophyte plant of central and western Sahara seldom cited in the scientific literature. The objective of this study was to investigate the role of this plant in the SES of the Sahrawi camel nomads of Western Sahara. Methods: The data analyzed were collected in the Sahrawi refugee camps of Algeria and in Western Sahara between 2006 and 2010. Fieldwork included semi-structured (n = 38) and retrospective (n = 12) interviews with Sahrawi refugees, nomads, and camel owners about N. perrinii and associated topics (e.g. distribution, importance for camels, camel diseases, associated grazing practices, other forage plants, etc.). Results: Askaf, as the Sahrawi call the plant, is crucial to camels' survival, providing salts and water even during dry spells. It holds a pivotal role in the Sahrawi culture, defining the geographical boundaries of the Sahrawi SES and relating the grazing territory with the taste it gives to camel milk, which support the inclusion of askaf as a main element of Sahrawi cultural identity. Conclusions: We argue that N. perrinii ties the ecology of the western Sahara desert with camel husbandry and associated livelihoods, and further with the culture and worldview of the Sahrawi nomads. We stress the keystone role that some forage plants may have in extensive pastoral SESs worldwide.
Author Address [Volpato, Gabriele] Univ Georgia, Ctr Integrat Conservat Res, Athens, GA USA; [Di Nardo, Antonello] Pirbright Inst, Woking, Surrey, England
Reprint Address Di Nardo, A (corresponding author), Pirbright Inst, Woking, Surrey, England.
E-mail Address antonello.di-nardo@pirbright.ac.uk
Funding Agency and Grant Number Ceres Research School of the Wageningen University, The Netherlands; BBSRC DTABiotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) [1094618, BBS/E/I/00001642]; BBSRC Institute Strategic Programme Grant on Livestock Viral Diseases
Funding Text Funds were granted to Gabriele Volpato by Ceres Research School of the Wageningen University, The Netherlands, as part of his PhD research on recovery and adaptation of subsistence practices and ethnobiological knowledge among the Sahrawi refugees. Antonello Di Nardo was supported by the BBSRC DTA (1094618 and BBS/E/I/00001642) and by the BBSRC Institute Strategic Programme Grant on Livestock Viral Diseases granted to The Pirbright Institute.
Times Cited 3
Total Times Cited Count (WoS, BCI, and CSCD) 3
Publisher BMC
Publisher City LONDON
Publisher Address CAMPUS, 4 CRINAN ST, LONDON N1 9XW, ENGLAND
ISSN 1746-4269
29-Character Source Abbreviation J ETHNOBIOL ETHNOMED
ISO Source Abbreviation J. Ethnobiol. Ethnomed.
Publication Date FEB 8
Year Published 2017
Volume 13
Article Number 12
Digital Object Identifier (DOI) 10.1186/s13002-017-0141-3
Page Count 13
Web of Science Category Biodiversity Conservation; Plant Sciences; Pharmacology & Pharmacy
Subject Category Biodiversity & Conservation; Plant Sciences; Pharmacology & Pharmacy
Document Delivery Number EM0SY
Unique Article Identifier WOS:000395029200003
Plants associated with this reference

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