UWI Scientists weigh in on “Reshaping the future of ethnobiology research after the COVID-19 pandemic”

Dr David Picking and Professor Rupika Delgoda from the Natural Products Institute (NPI) at The University of the West Indies (The UWI) Mona Campus are among a group of experts featured in the international online journal, Nature Plants.

In an article published in June on the relation between COVID-19 and Ethnobiology, The UWI scientists alongside other world-wide subject matter experts question the impact of the pandemic on research in ethnobiology—a key discipline for biological and cultural conservation. The COVID-19 health pandemic has affected almost every aspect of life across the globe and the authors conclude that ethnobiological research is not excluded from its impact.

Dr Picking and Professor Delgoda note that the questions posed in the article are particularly significant for the Caribbean, which faces health and food security threats and environmental degradation in the context of both COVID-19 resilience and climate change.

In the article, the researchers point to several issues including the pandemic’s effect on indigenous communities, their traditional knowledge, their subsistence or the management of natural resources and the effect of the global crisis on interactions between researchers and local communities. They cite, “given the role of ethnobiology in the conservation, sustainability and ethical use of bio-cultural diversity, the answers to these questions will be crucial.”

The article titled, Reshaping the future of ethnobiology research after the COVID-19 pandemic can be accessed at https://www.nature.com/articles/s41477-020-0691-6.pdf