Ethnobotany Grant Recipients

Recipient: Jessica Balerna
Year Grant Awarded: 2021
Institution: University of South Florida

Evaluating trade-offs among biophysical and cultural ecosystem services in freshwater wetlands impaired by groundwater extraction (Tampa Bay region, FL)

Freshwater wetlands provide valuable supporting and regulating services like carbon storage, flood mitigation, and habitat for native plant species as well as cultural services like recreation and aesthetic value. When wetlands are affected by large or persistent disturbances, like groundwater extraction, trade-offs among these services can occur. This study proposes a novel approach: to measure biophysical services, through soil and plant sampling, as well as cultural services, through surveys, and assess trade-offs among them in wetlands impaired by groundwater extraction. The Tampa Bay region hosts numerous wetland complexes found within both a wellfield, or designated area for groundwater extraction, and a publicly accessible park, where frequent visitors can observe changes to wetlands over time. This research project will work with management agencies to highlight losses of ecosystem services, including native plant biodiversity, in these wetlands to prevent further degradation as demand for water continues to rise.

Sponsor:

Palm Beach County Chapter of FNPS

Recipient: Andrea Salas Primoli
Year Grant Awarded: 2019
Institution: Florida International University

The adoption of Florida natives as insectary plants to promote beneficial insects in agricultural communities via trophic resource enhancement

As agricultural expansion increases, areas become isolated and difficult environments to maintain insect-mediated interactions, affecting crop and native vegetation productivity, and farmers’ livelihoods.  Natives in agroecosystems, especially those in ecosystems affected by agricultural practices, should be explored; a recent review suggests native perennial plants bearing extrafloral nectaries hold great potential as insectary plants, promoting long-term restoration of local biodiversity and habitat permanency for beneficial insects.

Cultivating native plants in agroecosystems, this integrated study couples natural and human systems to assess how changes in plant-provided resources affect insect-mediated ecosystem services and attributes affecting farmers’ decision to adopt native insectary plants. Farmers will be trained on native ornamentals cultivation as alternative income source, arthropods identification, and emergence dates to track progression and reduce external input that affect their dispersal and development. Our long-term goal is to increase the range of native vegetation, while encouraging sustainable food production and conservation outside protected areas.

Recipient: Ethnoecology Society (University of Florida Student Group)
Year Grant Awarded: 2019
Institution: University of Florida

The North Florida Heritage Garden Project

The North Florida Heritage Garden (NFHG) is a newly initiated living celebration of the native and agricultural plants important to the peoples of northern Florida. Located within the storied Ethnoecology Garden on the University of Florida campus in Gainesville, the NFHG provides a beautiful space in which members of the public can learn more about the varied uses of the state’s native plants. The flora of north Florida harbors a wealth of taxa that have helped sustain human populations for millennia. For this phase of the NFHG project, our team will plant a wide variety of ethnobotanically important species and produce interpretative materials for the public education. In addition, we will hold educational events demonstrating uses of edible, medicinal, and material plants. Presenting north Florida’s richness of useful plants alongside a larger collection of ethnobotanically important species will underscore the important human connections to our state’s flora.

Sponsor:

Grant sponsored by the Coccoloba Chapter of FNPS in memory of Dick Workman