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Conservation and utilization of medicinal plants in high hills of the central Himalayas

  • Nehal A. Farooquee (a1) and Krishna G. Saxena (a1)

Many high altitude regions of the world are still occupied by traditional communities of people, whose livelihood is closely related to a narrow base of locally available natural resources. A survey was conducted in 1991–94 of two villages inhabited by Bhotiya tribal people in Dharchula block of Uttar Pradesh, India. Medicinal herbs (14 abundant species, with Partitella ramitchadalis accounting for >50% by weight) constitute 12–13% of total income to the villages. The harvest is conducted by children during August to October, around summer settlements (up to 4100 m altitude) to which the villagers annually migrate. Fifteen cooperatives with a 1992 membership of 7009 herb collectors and salespeople exist in the Dharchula block, and marketing is through two specialist government agencies. Conservation measures, including protected areas and banning of direct trade with purchasing companies, have not generally been successful; pressure on the plant populations has increased and there is evidence for decline in the resource. Cultivation appears to represent a viable option for the resource, and thus for the income of the traditional peoples who still depend on it.

Corresponding author
*Dr Nehal A. Farooquec Tel: +91 05962 81111/81144 Fax: +91 05962 22100 atten. GBPIHED e-mail:
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