More conservation areas for medicinal plants mooted

The Karnataka Biodiversity Board (KBB) has recommended increasing the number of conservation areas of medicinal plants in the State from the existing 10 to at least 30 with one medicinal plants conservation area in each district. It has also recommended identifying in Kannada medicinal plants found in the State.

The KBB, on Saturday, submitted to the State government the report ‘Assessment of population status and removal of bioresources in forest with special emphasis on medicinal plants in Karnataka’ under the project ‘Distribution of Medicinal Plant Resources in the Forests of Karnataka.’ The project was sponsored by National Medicinal Plants Board (NMPB).

The project included a survey of identifying medicinal plant species diversity and assessing their population and availability in forests of the State. The project has information on the medicinal plants (trees, shrubs and herbs) at the the beat, range, division, circle and State levels.

The report has recommended formulation of Circle-wise Status Report and State-Level Status Report using the data and information available now.

Anant Hegde Asisara, Chairman, KBB, said the project had produced a credible baseline data on the availability, distribution and estimation of population density of medicinal plants species in the State. “Out of the 4,800 flowering plants species found in Karnataka, around 2,000 species have high medicinal values. Until now, we did not have any quantitative data on the species. The report has prepared it,” he said.

The report has also identified 217 species only found in that wild which meant that they were not cultivated and were being used in large quantity for commercial purposes. Keshav H. Korse, a conservation biologist, said now such species could be bought into cultivation domain so that industries get quality material and farmers get an alternative sources of income. “Help and inputs from agriculture and horticulture departments should be taken in the regard,” he said.

Mr. Korse, also said the report shed light on district-level information on ‘what is and where is’ about nationally and globally threatened species. Mr. Korse also pointed out that with the data now available, the agencies concerned and the government could stop “misinformation and overload of information” that was being floated about various species.

“An intelligence wing kind of a set-up for medicinal plants should be established so that smuggling of medicinal plants is completely stopped,” he said.

Sanjay Mohan, Principal Chief Conservator of Forests, stressed on the need of a buy back promise for farmers if they grew medicinal plants and information on what should be grown, how much and where should be given from the government’s side.

Meenakshi Negi, Commissioner, department of AYUSH, urged that such reports should be linked with Access and Benefit Sharing (ABS) and be a continuous and dynamic assessment in the future so that it would help in sustainable utilization of resources by the government, farmers and pharmaceutical companies with proper regulations.


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