Although business and trade have existed for thousands of years, it was only in the 18th century that a group of European scholars began to formalize the discipline we now refer to as economics. Economic evaluation has always played an important role in studies of how plants are used by local people. Some researchers refer to their work as economic botany, putting the emphasis on the discovery of plant resources that attain importance in global or regional markets, thus possibly contributing to national and community development. At present, researchers are making a concerted effort to assess the value of non-cultivated resources that are harvested from forests and fields [89–95]. This forms part of an effort to demonstrate the economic benefits of conserving forests and documenting traditional ecological knowledge [5, 96–98].
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Gary J. Martin
- Springer US