It is a case of overexploitation of medicinal plants. In a recent survey conducted by the Botanical Survey of India it has been revealed that almost 93 percent of medicinal plants in India are endangered.
Of the 359 prioritized wild medicinal plant species surveyed, 335 have been assigned Red List status ranging from critically endangered, endangered, vulnerable to near-threatened.
The list was taken out adhering to the Conservation Assessment and Management Prioritisation using International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) Red List Categories.
Indian government officials who conducted the survey said that the most important reason for this was the over exploitation by herbal industries. The officials also added that almost 95% of these plants are harvested directly from the forest growing in the wild. It is this that is mainly leading to the fast depletion of the plants.
It is not that efforts are not being made to preserve the species. Organization like the National Medicinal Plants Board constituted in November 2000, has been developing a central scheme for conservation and development of cultivation methods for the plants.
State governments too have been instructed to give assistance to the state forest departments in protecting the species. Projects for setting up of 29 Medicinal Plants Conservation Areas (MPCAs) have also been implemented in the states covering mainly the medicinal plants like the Asoka, Guggal and Dashmool varieties.
But the big question here is whether enough is being done to save these varieties. Hopefully all will not be lost and herbal industries will see this survey as a wake up call to make amends. If the medicinal plants are endangered, that endangers their industry too.
More has to be done to save the green treasures of India.
Flickr photo by tatters:)