Research on ethnobotany in recent years has increasingly shifted away from purely academic research, and into applied aspects of the discipline, including climate change research, conservation, and sustainable development. It has by now widely been recognized that "traditional" knowledge is always in flux and adapting to a quickly changing environment. Trends of globalization, especially the globalization of plant markets, have greatly influenced how plant resources are managed nowadays. While ethnobotanical studies are now available from many regions of the world, no comprehensive encyclopedic series focusing on the worlds mountain regions is available in the market. Scholars in plant sciences worldwide will be interested in this website and its dynamic content.
The field (and thus the market) of ethnobotany and ethnopharmacology has grown considerably in recent years. Student interest is on the rise, attendance at professional conferences has grown steadily, and the number of professionals calling themselves ethnobotanists has increased significantly (the various societies (Society for Economic Botany, International Society of Ethnopharmacology, Society of Ethnobiology, International Society for Ethnobiology, and many regional and national societies in the field currently have thousands of members). Growth has been most robust in BRIC countries.
The objective of this new major reference work is to take advantage of the increasing international interest and scholarship in the field of mountain research. We anticipate including the best and latest research on a full range of descriptive, methodological, theoretical, and applied research on the most important plants for each region. Each contribution will be scientifically rigorous and contribute to the overall field of study.
Dr Rainer W. Bussmann earned his M.Sc. (Diploma) in Biology at the University of Tübingen, Germany, in 1993 and his doctorate at the University of Bayreuth, Germany, in 1994. He is an ethnobotanist and vegetation ecologist. He is currently co-director of Saving Knowledge, La Paz, Bolivia, and Principal Scientist at the Department of Ethnobotany, Institute of Botany, Ilia State University, both of which he co-founded. Before this, Dr Bussmann was director of the William L. Brown Center (WLBC) at Missouri Botanical Garden, William L. Brown Curator of Economic Botany, and Senior Curator. Before accepting the directorship of WLBC, he held academic appointments as Research Fellow in Geography and the Environment at the University of Texas at Austin from 2006 to 2007, as Associate Professor of Botany and Scientific Director of Harold Lyon Arboretum at the University of Hawaii from 2003 to 2006, and as Assistant Professor at the University of Bayreuth from 1997 to 2003, following a postdoc at the same institution from 1994 to 1997. He holds affiliate faculty appointments at Washington University, St. Louis, USA; University of Missouri–St. Louis, USA; Florida Atlantic University, Boca Raton, USA; Federal University of Paraíba, Brazil; National University of San Marcos, Peru; and Ilia State University, Republic of Georgia, and serves as external thesis advisor at multiple other universities worldwide. His work focuses on ethnobotanical research and the preservation of traditional knowledge in Bolivia, Peru, Madagascar, the Caucasus, and the Himalayas. To date, Dr Bussmann has authored over 270 peer-reviewed papers, over 1200 book chapters, and authored or edited over 35 books.