Keywords: commercialisation, conservation, cultivation, economic development, Himalaya, medicinal plants, sustainable development, sustainability, over-harvesting, pharmaceutical companies, herbal healers
Problems and prospects in the conservation and development of the Himalayan medicinal plants sector
With the advent of a market-orientated economy, the medicinal plants wealth of the Himalaya has become a high price commodity. As a result, many wild populations of valued medicinal plants are declining due to over-harvesting. In order to prevent the further loss of medicinal plants in the wild and, at the same time, to meet the demands of pharmaceutical companies and herbal healers, attempts are being made at various levels (e.g. farmers and government organisations) to cultivate these species. Unfortunately, these cultivation efforts are not entirely successful for many reasons, including the specific ecological requirements of many Himalayan medicinal plant species. Moreover, there are many other constraints in the development of the Himalayan medicinal plants sector. The present study examines such constraints and also identifies the prospects in view of developing and managing the medicinal plants sector.