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Medicinal Plants - International Journal of Phytomedicines and Related Industries
Year : 2009, Volume : 1, Issue : 2
First page : ( 79) Last page : ( 95)
Print ISSN : 0975-6892.
Article DOI : 10.5958/j.0975-4261.1.2.011

Medicinal plants conservation and enterprise development

Kala Chandra Prakash

Dr. Chandra Prakash Kala earned his Ph.D. in Forestry from the Forest Research Institute, Dehradun, India. He has more than 16 years of research, teaching and administrative experience, especially on the medicinal plants sector and natural resource management. Before joining the Indian Institute of Forest Management, Dr. Kala was associated with the National Medicinal Plants Board, as a Consultant. His many years of strenuous work on the biodiversity assessment and conservation of the Valley of Flowers National Park finally helped in declaring the Valley of Flowers as the World Heritage Site. He has published over 100 research papers and 3 books on the biodiversity and conservation. He was awarded the ICFRE Award for Excellence for his outstanding contribution in the field of forest conservation (biodiversity and ecology).

Ecosystem and Environment Management, Indian Institute of Forest Management, P.B. No. 357, Nehru Nagar, Bhopal - 462 003, Madhya Pradesh, India.

Corresponding author: E-mail: cpkala@iifm.ac.in, cpkala@yahoo.co.uk

Abstract

The knowledge of medicinal plants, historically, was occupied by a few specialized herbal healers in rural communities; thus much of their use was observed as being primary of local interest. For past couple of decades, medicinal plants have been increasingly recognized for their role as not only for health care but also for improving the economic status. This ongoing trend towards increasing commercialization has resulted in overharvesting of some economically important medicinal plant species, many of which has become rare, endangered and threatened. Since the medicinal plants form an important health commodity, sustainable utilization and conservation of this valuable bio-resource is an urgent need of hour. India is one of the largest countries in Asia, which has the richest arrays of well-known medicinal plants and alternative medical systems including Ayurveda. A large number of manpower from herb collectors/farmers to industry is involved in the medicinal plants sector, which is largely unregulated. Realizing the continuous erosion in the traditional knowledge of many valuable plants for medicine in the past and the renewal interest at present, the need existed to review the various issues associated with the medicinal plants, especially the sustainable development of the medicinal plants sector. The present review mainly deals with the availability of medicinal plants resources and their conservation in India along with constraints in medicinal plants enterprise development and initiatives taken up by the Govt. of India to mitigate the constraints and strengthen the medicinal plants sector. On the basis of this review and existing information, recommendations are made for the benefits and development of the medicinal plants sector in India.

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Keywords

Medicinal plants, conservation, cultivation, management, enterprise development, policy level intervention.

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