World Environment Day 2014: Conserving Medicinal Plants, Protecting Traditional Knowledge

Jun 04, 2014, 19:47 PM IST
Not only have the trainings led to conservation of globally significant medicinal plants, but better quality of the leaf has also resulted in villagers earning greater revenue for the produce. Pic Courtesy- UNDP
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Not only have the trainings led to conservation of globally significant medicinal plants, but better quality of the leaf has also resulted in villagers earning greater revenue for the produce. Pic Courtesy- UNDP

Ganga Devi, a local villager is being trained on how the tejpatta leaf can be collected with minimal damage to the tree. The trainer, Mangal Rawat was trained in a UNDP supported programme. Pic Courtesy- UNDP
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Ganga Devi, a local villager is being trained on how the tejpatta leaf can be collected with minimal damage to the tree. The trainer, Mangal Rawat was trained in a UNDP supported programme. Pic Courtesy- UNDP

For people in Bodmallah village, a project site in Uttarakhand, life is turning over a new leaf. Villagers are receiving training on sustainable harvesting, drying, grading, packing and storing tejpatta (Indian bay leaf), a locally-grown leaf, known for its myriad culinary and medicinal properties. Pic Courtesy- UNDP
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For people in Bodmallah village, a project site in Uttarakhand, life is turning over a new leaf. Villagers are receiving training on sustainable harvesting, drying, grading, packing and storing tejpatta (Indian bay leaf), a locally-grown leaf, known for its myriad culinary and medicinal properties. Pic Courtesy- UNDP

Collection and processing of medicinal plants provides 35 million workdays annually to the poor. However, rising demand and destructive harvesting practices are not only threatening the survival of many species, but also the livelihood of the people who depend upon the produce. An estimated 316 species in India are under threat of extinction. Pic Courtesy- UNDP
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Collection and processing of medicinal plants provides 35 million workdays annually to the poor. However, rising demand and destructive harvesting practices are not only threatening the survival of many species, but also the livelihood of the people who depend upon the produce. An estimated 316 species in India are under threat of extinction. Pic Courtesy- UNDP

Amit Vohra is one of the 50 villagers who have been trained to contribute to the documentation of medicinal plants. About 30 percent of the trainees are women. Pic Courtesy- UNDP
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Amit Vohra is one of the 50 villagers who have been trained to contribute to the documentation of medicinal plants. About 30 percent of the trainees are women. Pic Courtesy- UNDP

As subsequent generations don’t want to follow the profession, the tradition of oral knowledge is under threat of being lost forever. UNDP is supporting the documentation of this knowledge through People’s Biodiversity Registers. Pic Courtesy- UNDP
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As subsequent generations don’t want to follow the profession, the tradition of oral knowledge is under threat of being lost forever. UNDP is supporting the documentation of this knowledge through People’s Biodiversity Registers. Pic Courtesy- UNDP

Janaki Devi, 52, a traditional medicine healer is in great demand in her village in Uttarakhand for her profound knowledge about medicinal plants. The knowledge has been passed through many generations and earns her a decent livelihood. Pic Courtesy- UNDP
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Janaki Devi, 52, a traditional medicine healer is in great demand in her village in Uttarakhand for her profound knowledge about medicinal plants. The knowledge has been passed through many generations and earns her a decent livelihood. Pic Courtesy- UNDP

India is the world’s second largest exporter of medicinal plants after China. The World Health Organisation estimates that almost 65 percent of India’s population depends upon traditional medicines for sustenance and healthcare needs. Pic Courtesy- UNDP India
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India is the world’s second largest exporter of medicinal plants after China. The World Health Organisation estimates that almost 65 percent of India’s population depends upon traditional medicines for sustenance and healthcare needs. Pic Courtesy- UNDP India