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6. Traditional knowledge and culture is often based on local species diversity and its use

Agricultural biodiversity plays an important part in maintaining cultural identity and traditional knowledge; whether it involves passing on knowledge about local medicinal plants and traditional recipes, to being a key feature of cultural rituals and festivals.

For example:

  • In the Indian state of Maharashtra alone, around 1,600 flowering plants are used in traditional medicine, many of which are threatened with extinction. Much of this diversity is preserved in ‘sacred groves’ and women are often the ones who retain knowledge of their uses (UNDP Equator Initiative 2012).
  • In Benin, 245 species of traditional vegetables are used by communities all over the country as a source of food, nutrition and medicine (Achigan-Dako et al, 2010).