Sustainability and socio-economic impacts of plant resources utilization in Valley Lalku, District Swat, Pakistan
Background: Plants provide a variety of useful products such as food, wood for construction purposes, secondary metabolites with a huge range of commercial uses and raw materials for modern day pharmaceutical industry. These utilities place plants at the top of natural resources chart both ecologically and economically due to their prominent role in supporting the livelihood of man. In addition to this, common folk also benefit from sales and marketing of plants and plant products. Although these people-plant interactions play a vital role in poverty alleviation it is unfortunate that existing methods of plant resource utilization are unscientific, ill planned and lavish. These poor practices of resource overuse in developing countries have led to deforestation and removal of vegetation cover. Hence well-planned conservation centric studies are need of the day.
Methods: Present study was designed to document plant resources utilization and their socio-economic impacts in montane temperate ecosystems of Lalku valley, District Swat. The study aimed at documentation of ethnic knowledge regarding the medicinally and socio-economically important plant species in the locality. Data on plant resources was collected by using standardized surveys and purpose specific questionnaires.
Results: The study revealed that various ethnic groups of the locality were using 112 plants belonging to 63 families for multiples utilities. During survey it was found that the livelihood of rural populations was highly dependent upon these natural resources which provided a range of suitable products including timber, fuelwood, crude medicines, fruits and many other beneficial aspects for daily life.
Conclusion: This research work concluded that people plant interactions in these montane temperate ecosystems are of huge value for the local folk ranging from wild edibles, timber, fuelwood and medicine as majority of the people belong to low-income classes. It was also noticed that plant resource utilization was heterogeneous which may lead to disastrous ecological consequences in years come. Hence, these plant resources are under the pressure of over collection on large scale. Moreover, the benefits obtained from the plant trade of commercially important plants are not sharing equally among the population, therefore there is a lack of interest in sustainable harvesting and sensible management. This has led to reduction in population density of valuable plant species. Current study will provide a baseline of information for future studies in this regard and will enable conservation biologists to lay down proper conservation strategies.
Keywords: Plant resources, Sustainable harvesting, Socio-economic impacts.
How to Cite
All articles are copyrighted by the first author and are published online by license from the first author. Articles are intended for free public distribution and discussion without charge. Accuracy of the content is the responsibility of the authors.