Only recently, ethnobotany has cought the interest of actors involved in the sustainable management of natural resources based on local ecological knowledge. In the perspective of conceiving a website for the African Ethnobotany Network (AEN), a preliminary study was undertaken in order to assess how ethnobotanical data are presented on the internet. Fifty-two sites were analyzed, as well as the links they propose. The information offered on these sites appears to be heterogeneous and incomplete. Ethnobotanical data are generally presented as a compilation of plant uses. No sites were found discussing theoretical concepts, historical background, or methodological approaches. Bibliographic sources given are incomplete and texts cited may rarely be consulted interactively. This disappointing assessment does not convey the impression that ethnobotany is a dynamic and well-anchored discipline. These shortcomings underline the urgent need to conceive an innovative website enabling a richer exchange of information among members of the AEN, and contributing to present ethnobotany as a substantial scientific discipline.
Systematics and Geography of Plants 71(2): 765-776