Khan SK, Karnat, NM and Shankar D. 2005. “India’s Foundation for the Revitilisation of Local Health Traditions Pioneering In Situ Conservation Strategies for Medicinal Plants and Local Cultures.” HerbalGram 68 (Fall), p. 34-48.

As medicinal plant use has become more popular worldwide, concern about plant conservation and sustainability has increased. According to the Medicinal Plant Specialist Group of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN), more than 20,000 plant species are used medicinally worldwide. Nearly half of these species are potentially threatened by either over-harvest or loss of habitat.1

Biological diversity includes a wide spectrum of types and levels of biological variation. This spectrum ranges from genetic variability within a species, to the plant life of some selected region in the world, to the number of evolutionary lineages and the distinctness among them, to the diversity of ecosystems and biomes on the earth.2 Southwest American native culture and botanical expert Gary P. Nabhan argues that most biodiversity on Earth today occurs in areas where cultural diversity also persists.3 This principle is also recognized in the Declaration of Belem produced at the International Congress of Ethnobiology in Belem, Brazil, in 1988.4 Nabhan states that 60% of the world’s remaining 6,500 languages are spoken in 9 countries. Of the 9 countries, 6 of them are centers of mega-diversity for flora and fauna: Mexico, Brazil, Indonesia, India, Zaire, and Australia. In short, where many cultures have coexisted within the same region, biodiversity has also survived.3…