About us

We are 80 members interested in ethnobotany, coming from different areas such as botany, pharmaceutical sciences, health services, ethnology, horticulture, etc. The Swiss Ethnobiology Network is a society dedicated to cultivating the ethnobiology culture in Switzerland by promoting a deepening in the understanding of the human relation to nature and its related cultural practices. It is committed to strengthen the field of ethnobotany and enhance its accessibility in Switzerland, by establishing a forum for ethnobiological discourse, knowledge exchange and collaborative efforts. The network welcomes scholars, practitioners, and enthusiasts of ethnobiology, as well as individuals engaged in related fields.

What is ethnobiology?

Ethnobiology is a scientific discipline studying the interactions between humans and environment in the cultural context.

Ethnobiologists explore for instance the use of plants and animals as food, medicine, materials or for ritual purposes within their related value and classification systems, as well as in thehistorico-cultural processes they partake in.

Due to the inter-and transdisciplinary approach ethnobiology applies research methods of various disciplines such as botany, zoology, ecology, medicine, pharmacology, anthropology, archeology, sociology, linguistics and economics. Interviews and participant observations are just as much part of the data collection and research as the compilation and identification of plants and animals or the analysis of natural products.

Ethnobiology makes an important contribution to comprehension and appreciation of local knowledge as well as cultural and biological diversity. Applied ethnobiology contributes to the field of conservation, development cooperation, primary health care and – especially in Europe – complementary medicine.

Our Mission

Ethnobiology is an interdisciplinary science studying people, animals, plants and their interactions across cultures. To the same degree as biodiversity is threatened, also its associated traditional knowledge is endangered with extinction. The goal of ethnobiological research is, therefore, to document and analyze this knowledge and thus create starting points for applied projects e.g. in the field of medicinal plant utilization or sustainable use of natural resources in general.
The goal of the Swiss Ethnobiology Network is to improve networking between ethnobiology and related disciplines. We also want to address students who are interested in ethnobiology, supplying them with the required information for their studies, and link them with competent people in academia.

The network seeks to achieve this purpose by:

  1. Providing useful information on the network website;
  2. Mentoring/supporting students in ethnobiology;
  3. Organize an annual symposium to present current research in the field of ethnobiology;
  4. Promoting information exchange between members;
  5. Promoting interdisciplinary collaboration.