Robbie Hart, PhD

Director, William L. Brown Center
Missouri Botanical Garden
Honorary Adjunct Assistant Professor

Evolution, Ecology and Population Biology Program

Research Abstract:

I research the ecology and ethnobotany of mountain ecosystems, particularly their responses to climate change through changes in spatial and temporal distributions along gradients of elevation and seasonal phenology. Much of my current work centers on a Himalayan subnetwork of plots within the Global Observation Research Initiative in Alpine Environments (GLORIA) network. In this subnetwork, my colleagues and I monitor dynamics of and connections between vegetation, climate and ethnobotanical practice. I also work within the broader global GLORIA network and with colleagues outside the network to ask whether there are generalizable patterns in vegetation response to climate change across mountains environments, or whether these patterns are overwhelmed by regional contingencies.

My primary appointment is as Director of the Missouri Botanical Garden’s William L. Brown Center (WLBC), which is dedicated to the study of useful plants, understanding the relationships between humans, plants, and their environment, the conservation of plant species, and the preservation of traditional knowledge for the benefit of future generations. In this capacity, I’m especially interested in the position of mountains to humans as concentrations of unique natural resources, barriers, and areas of cultural contact. More broadly, I also work to further quantitative methods for analysis of ethnobotany and local ecological knowledge, primarily drawing data from montane and alpine environments. I also collaborate with other scholars within the WLBC who study other facets ethnobotany and economic botany, including plant natural products, community led conservation, and the evolution of crop diversity.

Selected Publications:

2019 J Salick, Fang ZD and R Hart. Rapid changes in eastern Himalayan alpine flora with climate change. American Journal of Botany 106 (4). doi: 10.1002/ajb2.1263

2019 WL Applequist, JA Brinckmann, AB Cunningham, R Hart, M Heinrich, DR Katerere, T van Andel. Scientists’ warning on climate change and medicinal plants. Planta Medica doi: 10.1055/a-1041-3406

2018 R Hart and J Salick. Vulnerability of phenological progressions over season and elevation to climate change: Rhododendrons of Mt. Yulong. Perspectives in Plant Ecology, Evolution and Systematics 34: 129-139. doi: 10.1016/j.ppees.2018.09.001

2018 R Hart and RW Bussmann. Trans-Himalayan transmission, or convergence? Stauntonia (Lardizabalaceae) as an ethnoveterinary medicine. Medicina nei Secoli 30: 141-160.

2018 RW Bussmann, NY Paniagua Zambrana, C Romero, R Hart. Astonishing diversity - the medicinal plant markets of Bogotá, Colombia. Journal of Ethnobiology and Ethnomedicine 14:43. doi: 10.1186/s13002-018-0241-8

2017 R Hart and J Salick. Dynamic ecological knowledge systems amid changing place and climate: Mt. Yulong rhododendrons. Journal of Ethnobiology 37: 21-36. doi: 10.2993/0278-0771-37.1.21

2016 H Sher, RW Bussmann, R Hart & HJ de Boer. Traditional use of medicinal plants among Kalasha, Ismaeli and Sunni groups in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, Pakistan. Journal of Ethnopharmacology. doi: 10.1016/j.jep.2016.04.059

Last Updated: 11/4/2021 4:06:06 PM

Swertia multicaulis, an alpine species highly valued in traditional medicinal systems across the Himalaya, growing at our field site in Bhutan
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