Tongan Ethnobotany

Following up on ethnobotanical field research, laboratory studies are being performed on the chemical constituents that make Tongan medicinal plants effective in fighting various infections, including antibiotic-resistant microbes. Also, in collaboration with the Tongan government, the University of the South Pacific, and the Indigenous Pharmaceutical Society of Tonga, we are preparing to conduct research on community-mediated biocultural conservation through establishing mini conservation plots for culturally and economically valuable plants in existing village church yards, which already have local stewardship rights and culturally upheld taboos on management and harvesting. This research will begin with workshops emphasizing the importance of passing on traditional botanical knowledge to the rising generations.

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