Ethnobotany (from "ethnology" -study of culture and "botany"- study of plants) is the scientific study of the relationships that exist between people and plants.
Ethnobotany at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa (UHM) draws on the participation of 6 core faculty and numerous distinguished faculty affiliates housed in more than 15 academic departments. Ethnobotany at UHM is part of the Botany Department under the College of Natural Sciences. Faculty and Students in Ethnobotany also collaborate with several complementary research and education programs/organizations within the University of Hawai‘i, around Hawai‘i and internationally.
Ethnobotany at UHM is research focused, with training of undergraduate and graduate students integrated into research that emphasizes scientific reproducibility, and applications that directly benefit communities where plants are used.
Ethnobotany at UHM aims to provide a unique learning environment in which biological and social science theories and methods are integrated within a transdisciplinary curriculum. We place emphasis on hands-on learning experiences that are student-centered and inquiry driven.
The study of Ethnobotany provides students withe the background to:
1. Work in areas related to the conservation of biological and cultural diversity:
- Cultural resource management (major land holders managing biological resources for cultural and community purposes).
- Cultural/biological interpretation (Parks Service, Tourism, Museums, Fish & Wildlife, Department of Land & Natural Resources, Non-government Conservation Organizations, etc.).
- Consultancy for cultural and environmental impact studies.
2. Work in natural health care businesses and practices:
- Development of new botanical products for industry and community ventures.
- Laboratory and field research for pharmaceutical and herbal product companies.
- Non-industrial consultancy for biotechnology work related to traditional medicinal practices.
3. Enter graduate school programs in Ethnobotany, Botany, Anthropology, Geography and related fields.
4. Enter advanced medical training programs
- Schools of Allopathic Medicine, Pharmacy, and Nursing.
- Schools of Naturopathic Medicine, Acupuncture, and Herbalism.