Mainstreaming Conservation and Sustainable use of Medicinal Plant Diversity in three Indian States: Project Profile of Uttarakhand
The report highlights efforts initiated in three Indian states of Uttarakhand, Arunachal Pradesh and Chhattisgarh to mainstream the conservation and sustainable use of medicinal and aromatic plants into forest management policies and practices.
India’s natural forests are home to about 8000 medicinal plants that form the primary source of health care for 60-80% of the country’s population, particularly the rural poor. However, efforts aimed at equitable use of these resources are largely inadequate and harvesting remains unsustainable. The State of Uttarakhand in north west India was carved out from the state of Uttar Pradesh by separating the predominately hill region 0n 9th Nov, 2000. The state consists of 13 districts with total geographic area of 53,483 sq.km. Uttarakhand has extensive forest cover (about 66% of its geographical area). Eight forest types occur in the state. The state has nearly 700 species of medicinal plants used in traditional system of medicine. The state also has a wealth of traditional knowledge associated with the use of these plants. The State Forest Department manages approximately 70% of the forest area in the state. These forests are managed as per Working Plans that provide guidelines for ecological and sustainable exploitation. Some forests areas are also managed by local communities through Van Panchayats. Functioning of the Van Panchayats in Uttarakhand is guided by Uttaranchal Panchayati Forest Rules, 2001 as amended in 2005. Presently, there are 12,089 Van Panchayats managing 5,241 sq. km. of forests in Uttarakhand.