Research Articles

Participatory utilization and conservation of medicinal and aromatic plants: A case from western Nepal Himalaya

Author: Bhishma Subedi
Publisher: International Conference on Medicinal Plants
Language: English
Date of Publication: February 19, 1998
Number of Pages:
Price: Free

Medicinal and aromatic plants in the Mountains of Nepal can contribute to the local economy and subsistence health needs while conserving the ecosystem and biodiversity of an area. This paper examines a range of conservation and development strategies in this sector for improving economic and environmental conditions for the benefit of local community members in a sustainable and equitable way. The data and information for this paper came from the studies conducted and experiences gained while working in the “Community Based Ecosystem Management Through Local Enterprise Development” project in Humla, Nepal from January 1995 to December 1997.

Starting with the theoretical base and contextual background at the initial period of the project, the utilization, harvesting and trade patterns of medicinal and aromatic plants of Humla are assessed. Over 100 species of medicinal and aromatic plants of three distinct but non-exclusive categories of use are identified along with their ecology as well as the existing utilization and management practices. Then, the integrated conservation and development strategies and their results are examined. The main strategies developed and tested are sub-sector analysis for determining enterprise options, local capacity building, and community based enterprise for additional incentives to collectors; strengthening community rights over resources; combining indigenous expertise with scientific knowledge; providing marketing and business support; promoting integrated conservation education; establishing linkages and coordination among user groups; and networking national level forums for proper policy formation and implementation support. It is emphasized that the integrated conservation and development approach that creates more direct incentives to local communities can have better conservation impact than the traditional one.