IMPACT OF CULTIVATION AND COLLECTION ON THE CONSERVATION OF MEDICINAL PLANTS: GLOBAL TRENDS AND ISSUES

U. Schipmann, D.J. Leaman, A.B. Cunningham, S. Walter
The relationship between in situ and ex situ conservation of species has implications for local communities, public and private land owners, entire industries and, of course, wild species. Identifying the conservation benefits and costs of the different production systems for medicinal and aromatic plants (MAP) should help guide policies as to whether species conservation should take place in nature or the nursery, or both.
In all countries, the trend is towards a greater demand for cultivated material. Standardized quality and quantity of production is the main rationale for bringing a species into cultivation. However, high input costs are a substantial limitation of cultivation as long as sufficient volumes of material can still be obtained at a lower price from wild harvest. For economic reasons, the majority of MAP species will therefore continue to be harvested wild. For them, the priority conservation option is sustainable harvest from wild populations.
There are important social, economic, and ecological benefits from wild harvest. Wild harvesting of medicinal plants is a chance for the poorest members of society, particularly those who do not have access to farmland, to make at least some cash income. If collectors and collecting communities can be involved in the development of propagation and management methods, the likelihood of their having an interest in protecting the wild populations from over-exploitation will be greater. Small-scale cultivation with low economic inputs can be a response to declining local stocks, generating income and supplying regional markets. Besides poverty and the break-down of traditional controls, the major challenges for sustainable wild-collection include: lack of knowledge about sustainable harvest rates and practices, undefined land use rights and lack of legislative and policy guidance.
Sustainable harvesting needs to be recognized as the most important conservation strategy for most wild-harvested species and their habitats, given their current and potential contributions to local economies and their greater value to harvesters over the long term. The basic idea is that non-destructive harvests and local benefits will maintain population, species and ecosystem diversity.
Schipmann, U., Leaman, D.J., Cunningham, A.B. and Walter, S. (2005). IMPACT OF CULTIVATION AND COLLECTION ON THE CONSERVATION OF MEDICINAL PLANTS: GLOBAL TRENDS AND ISSUES. Acta Hortic. 676, 31-44
DOI: 10.17660/ActaHortic.2005.676.3
https://doi.org/10.17660/ActaHortic.2005.676.3
certification, ecosystem approach, health care, resource management, sustainability, threatened, wild harvest
English

Acta Horticulturae