Ethnobotanical and Economic Observations of Some Plant Resources from the Northern Parts of Pakistan

Hazrat Sher, Mohammad Elyemeni, Hassan Sher, Kamran Hussain


A study on the economic value of plants being extracted from a coniferous forest of the Miandam valley of District Swat was conducted during Spring and Summer 2008. The aim of the study was to identify non-timber forest product plants being used from the target area, to identify the trade network that they are sold into, and to evaluate their value as they move within that network in order to make recommendations for socio-economic development of the area. Information was learned through semi-structured questionnaires and participatory interviews with resource uses and traders. 214 species in 79 families were identified as being useful in traditional livelihood. Of these, 150 were herbs, 36 trees, 26 shrubs and 4 climbers. Plant species are locally used as medicinal (115), multipurpose (35), fodder (31), fuel (30), vegetables (12), tools (12), timber (9), poisons (7), roof thatch (7), wild fruits (6), fences/hedges (5), veterinary (5), mud supporter (5), foods (4), spices/condiments (4), religious (4), honey bee (3), brooms (3), and evil repellent (1). Twenty out of 115 medicinal species are collected to sell. The gatherers have very little marketing skills and are often not aware of the high market value. As a result, most of collected materials are sold to local middlemen at low prices.
The study revealed that the availability of important medicinal and aromatic plant species is decreasing and the number of rare and threatened species among the medicinal and aromatic plants is increasing. Further study is, therefore, required to quantify the availability of species and to suggest suitable method for their production and conservation. Recommendations are, therefore, given in the spheres of training in identification, sustainable collection, value addition, trade monitoring and cooperative system of marketing.

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