Study Site and People

Rajasthan is the largest state of India and is located in the north-western part of the country. Geographically it lies between 23°3' to 30° 12' longitude and 69°30' to 78° 17' latitude (Fig. 3.1). The vegetation of Rajasthan has considerable diversity due to a variety of ecosystems found in different parts of the state. Apart from the predominant desert ecosystem, there are grasslands, scrub jungles, wetlands and deciduous forests, each supporting a characteristic assemblage of plant species. Many tribes are scattered in different parts of Rajasthan, but the southern part of the state is the homeland of several tribes which have their own separate identities.

Living close to nature, these tribes have acquired unique knowledge about the properties and uses of wild plants, most of which are unknown to the outside world. The surrounding plants for these people form an integral part of their culture, and the information about the plants gets passed on from generation to generation only through oral folklore, although many times it is kept secret.

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