Assessing sustainable use of wild medicinal plants: a case study in the Naban River Watershed National Nature Reserve (NRWNNR), Yunnan/China

Solveig Franziska Bucher, Abdolbaset Ghorbani, Gerhard Langenberger, Manfred Küppers, Joachim Sauerborn

Abstract


Background: Commercially harvested wild medicinal plants are often subject to overharvesting. This study aims to examine the ecological requirements, collection status, harvest practices, sustainability of harvest and trade chain of five medicinal plant species and assesses the socio-economic importance of these medicinal plants for local households.

Methods: We studied the abundance of five selected medicinal plant species in the surrounding areas of five selected villages. Harvest and trade related information was recorded by interviewing plant collectors and middlemen as well as pharmacies in Germany. For the ecological analyses concerning the occurrence of plants we performed ANOVA followed by LSD Post-Hoc tests. Correlations between profit from collection of medicinal plants and income per household in the five villages were calculated with the Pearson Correlation Coefficient.

Results: The results showed that (1) harvest practices are destructive for individual plants, (2) economic contribution of plant harvest varies between villages and species and (3) the amount of cash earned is negatively related to average per capita income in the village.

Conclusion: A management plan for sustainable harvest or cultivation is recommended to ensure the future existence of the plant species as well as the sustainability of market supply.

Keywords: Non- Timber Forest Products (NTFPs), wild collection, household economics, Traditional Chinese Medicine, sustainable harvest


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