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Riled Up is a journal of science, the environment, exploration, new technology, and related commentary.  Contributors include scientists, explorers, engineers, and others who provide perspectives and context not typically offered in general news circulation.  For interested readers, additional resources are included.

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Plantsmen of the Rainforest

Plantsmen of the Rainforest


Mark Plotkin (credit: Twitter @DrMarkPlotkin)


Mark Plotkin is an ethnobotanist. This is an area of plant science that investigates wild plants and the indigenous peoples who know their uses, most of which are virtually unknown to western science and medicine.

Plotkin spends much of his time in tropical rainforests, particularly in the Amazon, meeting with tribal healers and shamans to learn of their experiences. They are the people who maintain an encyclopedic knowledge of trees, plants, and other species that surround their lives in these forests. He speaks with a passionate urgency for both the plants and these elders who are being negatively impacted by rampant deforestation for agriculture, mining, and also experiencing introduced diseases to which they have no immunity. Plotkin presented some of his early efforts to understand this indigenous knowledge to a TED conference audience in rapt attention. WHB

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