Background: The idea that knowledge flows through social networks is implicit in research on traditional knowledge, but researchers have paid scant attention to the role of social networks in shaping its distribution. We bridge those two bodies of research and investigate a) the structure of network of exchange of plant propagation material (germplasm) and b) the relation between a person's centrality in such network and his/her agroecological knowledge.Methods: We study 10 networks of germplasm exchange (n = 363) in mountain regions of the Iberian Peninsula. Data were collected through participant observation, semi-structured interviews, and a survey.Results: The networks display some structural characteristics (i.e., decentralization, presence of external actors) that could enhance the flow of knowledge and germplasm but also some characteristics that do not favor such flow (i.e., low density and fragmentation). We also find that a measure that captures the number of contacts of an individual in the germplasm exchange network is associated with the person's agroecological knowledge.Conclusion: Our findings highlight the importance of social relations in the construction of traditional knowledge. © 2013 Reyes-García et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.
- Germplasm exchange
- Home gardens
- In situ conservation
- Social network analysis, Spain
- Traditional ecological knowledge