This research is an examination of ecological and cultural intersections in environmentalism and health care. As conservation initiatives and protected areas expand and diversify across vast global landscapes, environmental groups come into contact with local communities living off the land. These communities’ livelihoods are often threatened by not only various environmental crises wreaking havoc on their available resources, but also by conservation initiatives, as borders are established and policies are drafted regarding fair and sustainable use. This thesis concerns itself mostly with medicinal plants and the functioning of health care systems in and around the protected areas of Tanzania. I make the argument that in cases of both environmental degradation and environmental conservation, the human environmental rights of local communities in Tanzania’s Maasai Steppe have been infringed upon, as important medicine becomes unavailable whether through deforestation or protected area regulations. I propose that both global and local environmentalisms react to each other in an ecoscape, a derivation of Arjun Appadurai’s globalization theories. Providing evidence from my ethnographic and ethnobotanical research in Tanzania, I argue that global organizations’ initiatives have much to gain from incorporating vernacular environmentalisms into their own agendas.


Matsuzawa, Setsuko


Sociology and Anthropology


Alternative and Complementary Medicine | Environmental Health and Protection | Natural Resources Management and Policy | Social and Cultural Anthropology


Conservation, Maasai, Medicinal Plants, Tanzania

Publication Date


Degree Granted

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type

Senior Independent Study Thesis



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