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Bronwen Powell Canada I am currently working on:

My current research interests are focused on the relationship between biodiversity and human nutrition: how do people draw on wild and agricultural resources and diversity to improve dietary diversity, food security and nutrition? The role of biodiversity across land use types in landscape mosaics is increasingly recognized as key to forest biodiversity conservation. My work in the East Usambara Mountains examines how biodiversity from different land use types contributes to human diet and nutrition. I use both quantitative and qualitative methods. Drawing on qualitative, ethnographic and participatory methods, my research uses the Ecohealth approach to examine socio-cultural factors that mediate peoples’ relationship with and use of their environments to meet their livelihood needs. The adaptive functions of cultural diversity, particularly diversity in knowledge and its transmission are among the socio-cultural factors I am most interested in. My work endeavours to improve methods for assessing foods systems, human diet and nutrition in a manner that allows for the identification of links to agrobiodiversity and other environmental factors. I seek novel methods that will allow socio-cultural factors such as traditional or local knowledge to be better incorporated into more quantitative research on ecosystem and human health. I am also interested in applied nutritional anthropology and the examination of the cultural meaning and importance of foods for improved human nutrition and environmental sustainability. As communities in developing countries experiences nutritional transitions, away from traditional foods and toward increase consumption of processed foods high in calories, fat and refined sugar, there is a need for solutions which can address over-nutrition and obesity, and under-nutrition and micronutrient deficiency simultaneously. I believe that holistic approaches hold the key to improving the health and nutrition of communities in a manner that is culturally appropriate, sustainable and conducive to improving overall ecosystem health.