The main objective is the ethnobotanical study of the Catalan-speaking regions and the comparison with other territories, particularly Iberian and Mediterranean areas. This research line is basically structured in regional studies and other cross-cutting issues that we briefly describe below.
Meta-analysis of ethnobotanical data. Derived from the currently abundant information available in our database, we have initiated comparative ethnobotanical analyses in Catalan-speaking areas.
Study of agroecosystems, particularly homegardens. Ecosystems shaped by crop activities constitute a reservoir not only of cultivated and wild biodiversity, but also of management practices and knowledge, which makes them particularly interesting. Homegardens and, in general, plants living in the human environment are, in our area, vivid facts and ethnobotanical information sources which are very productive. In some of these studies we collaborate with other Iberian groups (J.J. Lastra, M. Pardo de Santayana, V. Reyes).
Study of markets and urban ethnobotany. In addition to the agroecosystems where useful plants are grown, it is also very relevant the study of plants commercialized in markets, where cultivated and wild biodiversity can be found. Furthermore, in some urban areas (such as Barcelona) we study the plants used by the various ethnic groups in the city.
Ethnobotanical research on allochthonous plants. Partly in relation to prospections on ethnic ethnobotany (see previous paragraph) yet independently, we study the incidence of non-autochtnous plants (from those acquired in stores to those introduced in the territory, some even becoming invasive).
Wild food plants research. Derivative from the two previous points, we carry out a line of research about wild food plants and lower crops. All these subjects have been always important in the Ethnobotany and they become more significant in a time of economic crisis like the present one. In these ethnobotanical studies, we deal in particular with traditional knowledge about this kind of plants on the investigated regions. We also work on this subject in collaboration with other Iberian groups in order to establish comparisons and understand how the people have changed the consumption and the perceptions about these plants over the years and how they use them in the present.
Study of local agricultural plant races. Recently, we have initiated a research line on cultivated plants, with a special attention to traditional crop races, often managed at a local level, in the Baix Llobregat, Ibiza and Formentera. Concurrently, we participate in projects at the Iberian scale with this type of plants. As with the ethnoflora, we essentially work in Catalan Countries, we also collaborate in a Spanish project, the Spanish inventory of traditional knowledge linked to agrobiodiversity.
Phytonymy. The popular names of plants are one of the most abundant and diverse datasets in ethnobotany. In our work we collect the different Catalan names of plants that are reported. We study their variety, geographical distribution, originality and ethnobotanical meaning. In collaboration with the Terminology Center “Termcat”, we created and are periodically revising and updating a collection of Catalan names of plants, which already goes beyond the 35,000 entries Names of plants).
- Ethnofloristic studies. The aim of the works we carry out is two-fold. On the one hand, to contribute to the inventory of a relevant part of the cultural and natural heritage, particularly fragile, because most of the traditional knowledge about plants is in the hands of very old people. Moreover, constitute one of the stages of bioprospection or search of exploitation forms and management of biodiversity, while serving as a basis for chemical, pharmacological, bromatological and other studies that could lead to new natural sources of medicines, food and other items for the welfare of mankind. Approaches in quantitative ethnobotany are also done, supported by statistical analyses and mathematical models.