African Wild Harvest Project
In response to user needs, a recent project focused on sub-Saharan famine food legumes. A manual called Dryland Legumes in Africa. Food for Thought (Huxham et al. 1998) was produced in collaboration with the International Legume Database and Information Service (ILDIS), drawing together information on 35 lesser known legumes. The manual includes data on identification (with black and white illustrations), geographical distribution, local preparation methods and micronutrient contents. Not an end product in itself, Food for Thought was distributed to a number of relief and development organisations and human nutrition departments to seek their views.
As a result, work has recently started in collaboration with the Medical Research Council Human Nutrition Research (HNR) to link nutritional and botanical data on African wild food plants and fungi, drawing together what is currently known about the nutritional content of wild food plants and fungi and highlighting research needs. This African Wild Harvest project is funded by Nestlé and is co-ordinated by the SEPASAL Nutritionist, Rory McBurney.
Reference: Huxham, S. K,. Schrire, B. D., Davis, S. D. and Prendergast, H. D. V. (1998). Dryland Legumes in Africa. Food for Thought. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. 85 pp.
"Global Editing" software, developed at Kew, enables remote data entry into SEPASAL via the Internet.
- Contributors can submit updates to information held on SEPASAL.
- Global Editors with expertise in certain species or regions have editorial control of the data on SEPASAL for "their" species.
- Editors and Contributors receive acknowledgement on the Internet pages on their species.
- Editors can add their own data to SEPASAL and can receive data submitted by other researchers and fieldworkers worldwide.
- The web will only show data that have been checked and committed by the editor of that species.
Global Editing projects already underway include those on the Sausage Tree (Kigelia africana, Bignoniaceae) and Dodonaea viscosa (Sapindaceae), the Global Editors for which are Olwen Grace and Georgina Pearman, respectively.
Information on the following families has also been updated recently: Agavaceae, Amaranthaceae, Anacardiaceae (mangoes, cashews), Burseraceae (e.g. frankincense), Cactaceae (cacti), Combretaceae, Compositae (e.g. daisies), Cucurbitaceae (gourds, melons), Dracaenaceae (dragon trees), Ebenaceae (ebonies), Gramineae (grasses), Leguminosae (legumes), Palmae (palms), Portulacaceae, Solanaceae (e.g. peppers) and Tiliaceae.
If you are interested in becoming a Global Editor of a SEPASAL species on which you have expertise, or would like to contribute data to SEPASAL, please contact us at the e-mail address below.
Look at the pages under SEPASAL data, where there are examples of species entries before and after revision, to see the kinds of data we include.
SEPASAL aims to be a two-way flow of information. We would appreciate any data from visitors to this website about any of these or other priority families, such as Chenopodiaceae, Cruciferae, Meliaceae and Zygophyllaceae. For example, what useful dryland species should be included? Are there any forthcoming taxonomic revisions? All sources of information are fully acknowledged in the database, i.e. your books, papers (published or otherwise) or personal communications.
SEPASAL Node in Nairobi, Kenya
Global Editing software enables partner organisations to use SEPASAL as a tool for recording information on plant uses. The first "node" is being established within the Kenya Resource Centre for Indigenous Knowledge (KENRIK) in Nairobi as part of a collaboration between the National Museums of Kenya (NMK) and RBG Kew. The establishment of this "node" is funded by The Charles Wolfson Charitable Trust.
The collaboration with NMK over the next three years includes:
- repatriation of data on plants of the East African region;
- training local botanists in the use of SEPASAL and international data collection standards;
- provision of Global Editing software.
We are interested in establishing further regional or country "nodes" in collaboration with partners around the world. If your institution is interested in becoming part of such a network then please e-mail us at the address below.
Funding: past, present and future
SEPASAL was established at Kew in 1981 with funding from OXFAM. A generous grant from The Clothworkers' Foundation allowed major software developments and expansion of the database in the 1990s. Recently, funding from The Charles Wolfson Charitable Trust, has allowed the database to be developed on the Internet. In addition, Nestlé has provided funds for a project focusing on the micronutrient content of African food plants and fungi.
If you would like to find out more on any of the above, please contact:
SEPASAL, Centre for Economic Botany
Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew
Richmond, Surrey, TW9 3AE
Tel: +44 (0)20 8332 5772
Fax: +44 (0)20 8332 3717