New research article on ethnobotany, food security and resilience in the Balkans

We are excited to announce the release of a new research article from our work in the Balkans with collaborator Dr. Andrea Pieroni of the University of Gastronomic Sciences (Italy). The article can be accessed at the Nature Plants Website:

Quave, C.L. and A. Pieroni. (2015). A reservoir of ethnobotanical knowledge informs resilient food security and health strategies in the Balkans. Nature Plants DOI: 10.1038/NPLANTS.2014.21 View at Nature Plants


While all peoples are nested in their environments, their decisions and actions are mediated by culturally constructed values, beliefs and priorities. Ethnobotanical methods can show how different ethnic groups living within the same geographic landscape interact with environmental resources. Here, we explore the impact of culture on ethnobotanical knowledge, and practice on local food security and human health. Gora, a mountainous territory of northeastern Albania, is home to two culturally and linguistically distinct peoples: Gorani and Albanians. We investigated the divergences and convergences of ethnobotanical strategies among the groups with respect to the use of 104 plant species. Local knowledge modulated by cultural history has moulded these peoples’ use of their natural environment, fostering resilience during periods of food insecurity.