The traditional knowledge survey of forest plants in Gangwon province, Republic of Korea

Hyunseok LEE, Chanhoon AN & Jaeseon YI
Kangwon National University, Chuncheon, Rep. of Korea

Traditional knowledge is referred to here as the knowledge conveyed from the previous generation to the present one about using materials originating from plants or animals in food, medicine, household, goods, etc. We surveyed and documented traditional knowledge on mountain-grown plants through interviews of local people in Gangwon province, the Republic of Korea located in the mid-eastern part on Korean Peninsula. The province was divided into five survey areas, for the sake of convenience, along the Baedudaegan mountain range. It was found that men have more traditional knowledge than women. It is presumed that men usually work in the field and have more opportunities to harvest plants in mountain and field than women. Persons who are 71 to 75 years old knew more than persons of other ages. More than half of the plants surveyed were used as medicines to cure cold, fever, stomach ailments, joint pains, injury, woman's disease, etc. The secondary usage was for food. Some of the plants were used differently both in purpose and method by different communities. Medicinal and edible plants were important during the last decades because medicines and even food were not easily available due to colonization and internal conflicts. Some plants used have toxic materials, but interviewees knew well how to remove them, although the process was not supported scientifically and technologically. Thus it needs a lot of caution if one takes these plants as medicine or food. The most popular part of a plant is whole plant, leaves, roots, stem, in that order. It was believed that herbs are used more frequently than trees because they are easily accessible and not necessarily divided. The collection season was from spring to autumn, widely distributed throughout the year.

2012 Organizing Committee