In this five-part story discover how Indigenous and scientific knowledge about plants past and present can drive research that improves planetary health in the future. Nataly Allasi Canales guides you through a personal journey beginning in the Peruvian Amazon of her home, where she found her passion for biodiversity and traditional knowledge. Follow her through the case of the fever tree, and other botanicals used by Indigenous peoples for medicinal purposes; botanic gardens, where valuable specimens can be found; and historical genomes as snapshots of evolution and ecology. Finally, Nataly argues that to sustain the public health, biodiversity and food security of the future, we must act soon.
My rainforest upbringing
In the introduction to her serial, research biologist Nataly Allasi Canales charts the influences that led her to passion for preserving the species of the Peruvian Amazon, where she spent her childhood.
How Indigenous insight inspires sustainable science
The forest of the Amazon Basin is inextricably bound up with the lives of the Indigenous peoples living there. Find out how they feel about the forest, use what it provides, and try to protect it from aggressive commercial exploitation.
Hunting lost plants in botanical collections
A bark specimen at Kew recalls the story of a South American man who harvested the most potent source of the only effective malaria treatment available in the late 1800s. Killed for his work and forgotten by history, Manuel Mamani was a victim of the colonial juggernaut.
Unravelling genetic origins from the potato to cinchona
Starting with the humble potato, Nataly Allasi Canales reveals how researchers unearth the genetic origins of modern plant varieties, and explains why their work is so important for biodiversity.