The Royal Scottish Society of Arts (Science and Technology)
One-hundred and seventy-fifth session: 1995-96
The fifth meeting of the session will be held within Craiglockhart Campus
of Napier University on Monday 5th February 1996 at 7:30pm.
The Vice-President Mr Thomas Menzies will occupy the chair.

Indigenous People and Plant Use: Learning from Traditional Societies.
Ian Darwin Edwards, Head of Public Education,
Royal Botanic Gardens, Edinburgh.

For a decade the loss of natural resources, including plants and their habitats, has been the focus
of considerable international concern. Far less public attention appears to have been given to the
significant loss of traditional knowledge, including plantlore, although globally this may be
disappearing at an even more alarming rate. This paper argues that the public should be as
concerned with preserving cultural diversity as they are with the conservation of biological

Education is seen as a two-edged sword: being both the most serious threat to traditional plant
knowledge and the only means of saving it. Nine brief case studies are offered to demonstrate
contrasting situations in Africa, Asia, Central America, Australia and Scotland. Emphasis will
be put on the benefits which our Western society may gain from learning about the traditional
use of plants.

Private Business:
1. The minutes of the Meeting held on Monday 15th January 1996
2. Any other business.

Coffee will be served after the meeting.

Harry Ogden,

3 Southbank Court
Easter Park Drive,
Edinburgh EG4 6JR.
Telephone: 0131-336 2346