Traditional Chinese Medicine
The timeline of anthropological escalation of environmental destruction can be roughly traced out, and is very much restricted to the Holocene. Traditional Chinese medicine dates back approximately 5000 years, and is associated with the continued reduction of a number of large vertebrates including tigers, bears, rhinos, monkeys and pangolins (Sodhi et al. 2004). Although evidence exists of hunting in the region from the Late Pleistocene (Niah), evidence for unsustainable hunting does not appear until the last 2-3000 years (Corlett 2007). Extensive habitat destruction is also tied to the recent past - the intensity of man-made fires becomes important only within the last 1400 years (Anshari et al. 2001), while deforestation for agriculture, and more recently logging, has been largely restricted to the last 200 years.
Before colonial contact in Ghana, indigenous health practitioners were the sole practitioners of medicine in the country. When colonial administrators arrived in the Gold Coast, they rapidly initiated a new regime on the basis of Western medicine. According to Twumasi and Warren, the aim of the colonial Government was to 'liquidate native practices of traditional medicine' (Twumasi and Warren, 1986, p. 122). This objective was implemented by the institutionalisation of the new Western medical system through legislation in 1878. Indigenous medicine lost its prestige and was stigmatised, a process aided by missionary influence. The colonial government denied indigenous healers any official mandate and legitimacy, and hence they were forced to practise in secret. (Similar policies and outcomes were experienced in other African colonies such as Kenya and Zambia.) At Independence in 1957, the nationalist government of President Kwame Nkrumah undertook a campaign to create a national...
A way Western medicine does not (Prescott-Allen and Prescott-Allen, 1982). In Asia the study of the traditional uses of medicinal plants has long enjoyed a respected role. Ethnobotanical information is preserved not only orally by folk practitioners, but also in the texts of the Ayurvedic medical traditions of the Indian subcontinent and in traditional Chinese medicine, both of which are widely practised. Such systems were not significantly disrupted by the colonial era, and continue to be studied in herbariums and universities. Limited interest in the developed countries centres mainly on the biomedical application of plant medicines and the cultural context of medicine as regards the acceptance of Western medicine in developing countries (see Romanucci-Ross et al., 1983).
Estimates range from 95 probability, which is most conservative. These have the highest statistical certainty. The in-place resources of methane in the form of gas hydrates in the Bay of Bengal and the Arabian Sea have been estimated to lie in a range between 1,894 trillion m3 (66,290 TCF) at 95 probability to around 14,572 trillion m3 (510,020 TCF) at 5 probability (Table 3). These figures are consistent with an earlier set of estimates for a smaller area carried out by ONGC, which yielded estimates of 10 probability, 264 TCM 90 probability, 33 TCM mean resource, 122 TCM. Although the Andaman Sea area is considered to have considerable gas and hydrate, because it is quite far from the Indian landmass, the problem of transporting gas from this area are considerable no gas estimates are currently publicly available. Total Reserves (TCM)
Part D of the volume analyses the conflicts within culture between homogeneity and diversity. Brown finds that medicinal plants are most relevant because of the important role that traditional medicine plays in most peoples lives it is still only a small minority of the earth's peoples who utilise Western medicine, although the rate of adoption is high and always increasing. Hence, the commercial exploitation of medicinal plants is increasingly a matter of concern. The issue here is whether the concrete values of biological diversity in the pharmaceutical industry can be brought back 'down to earth' to provide constructive incentives for the conservation of the basic resource. Brown earmarks a relation here between cultural diversity and biological diversity. As traditional medicines are supplanted by modern pharmaceuticals, it is possible that the real values of plant diversity may be returned to communities via pharmaceutical royalties and this might in turn be translated into...
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