Medicinal plant abundance in degraded and reforested sites in northwest Pakistan (2010)

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Forest resources in northwest Pakistan are under severe threat, negatively affecting local people aiming to meet their subsistence needs through different types of forest use. In addition to uses such as fodder and fuelwood, medicinal plants play an important role in the livelihoods of local people. To reduce pressure and dependency on remaining old-growth forests, some deforested and degraded sites have been reforested. The objectives of the present study were to (1) compare the abundance of medicinal plants on reforested and formerly forested degraded land and (2) assess the influence of reforested stand characteristics on the abundance of medicinal plants. Five plots were randomly selected per land use type. On these plots the authors analysed the abundance and other variables of 10 herbal medicinal plants common and important for the rural human population. Frequencies, densities, and cover of the 10 medicinal plants were significantly higher on reforested sites than on degraded sites. Frequencies of highly valuable species such as Valeriana jatamansi, Bergenia ciliata, and Paeonia emodi increased 16-, 8- and 6-fold on reforested sites, respectively. Moreover, density, cover and diversity of medicinal plants (in total) were 7, 5, and 2 times higher, respectively, and three species absent on degraded sites were encountered on reforested sites. On reforested plots, tree basal area was the most influential variable positively correlated with the abundance of the aforementioned species. Thus, the data suggest that reforestation of degraded sites can greatly increase the abundance of medicinal plants and may be an instrument for improving the livelihoods of local people and protecting remaining natural forest resources.
Year: 2010
Language: English
In: Mountain Research and Development 30(1):25-32.,



 Record created 2011-12-21, last modified 2013-01-17