Ethnobotany and its application to conservation in Swat-Himalaya, Pakistanパキスタン、スワート地域の民俗植物学とそれらの保全に関する調査研究

Authors著者名

Zabta K.Shinwariシンワリ ザプタ カーン1) 2)

Affiliations著者所属

  1. 1) National Herbarium, P.O. NIH, NARC, Islamabad, Pakistan.
  2. 2) Preseut address. Technical Coordinator, Ethnobotany Project, WWF-P (World Wide Found for Nature-Pakistan) 34D/2 Sahibzada Abdul Qayum Road, University Town Peshawar Pakistan

EXECTIVE SUMMARY要約

This research project is a result of a conservation grant programme jointly managed by the Nature Conservation Society of Japan and the Pro Natura Foundation-Japan. Plant Genetic Research Institute (PGRI) National Agricultural Research Council (NARC) Islamabad and World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) Pakistan were the organization involved in running the project.

The project was scheduled to start from November 2000 but due to the unavailability of funds it was delayed for a month. However, the collection of flora, its identification, seed collection and other conservational goals were achieved successfully.

During the course of this project, the whole of the proposed area was extensively surveyed. All the available medicinal plants with pertinent indigenous knowledge were collected and documented, locals involed in plant collection and marketing were interviewed, possible methods for conservation were studied and the existing marketing networks were explored.


調査研究地のスワート地域は、かつてのガンダーラ文化の中心地であり、またパキスタンでは植物相が多様な地域である。世界中どこの地域においても同じであるが、これまで歴史の中で、人々と植物の関わりは、民間薬、食料、飼料、年中行事、商品として重要な関係にあった。

しかしながら、この地域においても、近年近代化の名の元に人々の生活様式が変化し、また山野の開発によって植物相が貧困になり、時に絶滅に追いやられる植物もあり、加えて人々の植物との関係が疎遠になってきた。

この時期において、かつて人々と植物の多彩な関わりのある(あった)地域において、民俗植物学的調査研究を行い、その保全を環境と人々の生活の立場に立って検討、提言するのが今回の調査研究の目的である。

この目的にそって、2000年10月から2001年10月まで下記の調査項目について、研究協力者と実施した。

  1. 1. スワート地域の地理的条件の記載。
  2. 2. スワート地域の植物相と群落調査を文献と現地の調査で実施。
  3. 3. この地域における植物の民間薬、食料、飼料などに利用している植物についての現地での聞き取り調査、文献調査ならびに必要に応じて、押し葉標本や種子の採集。
  4. 4. 利用されている植物の中で、生薬として期待できるもの、またパキスタン全体、さらに世界的見地からの重要性の検討。
  5. 5. 重要植物については、種子をパキスタンの国立農業研究所に保管し、民間の需要また研究所からの需要にこたえる方法の開発。
  6. 6. 地域住民と有用植物との関わりについて、植物の保全の働きやその働きを助けるための地域の人々との会合。

また、この調査を通じて、この領域の調査研究者の育成のために4名の修士、博士取得者(Quaid-I-Azam University, Islamabad)を調査に従事させ、その目的を達した。

結果としては、上記の調査研究項目は本論で示したように目標を達成した。

さらに、スワート地域の住民と、薬用植物、有用植物の知識や保全、生態系、社会経済についての話し合いの過程で、地域住民に対して、薬用植物の同定、利用、保全などについてのマニュアル作りが必要であることが示された。

(推薦者:中池 敏之 訳)

A brief summary of this project is given

  1. The field site named as Swat (NWFP-Pakistan) is the area where 3 big mountain ranges (Karakoram, Hindu-Kush and Himalayas) meet, hence the flora is unique. The people of the area are using plants for healing since thousands of years. Swat remained a great center of Gandhara Civilization for centuries. Its altitude ranges from 400 m to 6,000 meters.
  2. Literacy rate is very low in this part of the Globe. Less than 15% of the female population is educated. According to our estimates, more than 70% of medicinal plant collection is done by women and childrens. Our data revealed that more than 25% of the plant collection is wasted during the process of collection, preservation and marketing.
  3. The field study and available literature revealed that Swat contain about 1,600 species of higher plants. It has been estimated that Swat has about 400 species of medicinal plants while its adjoining areas, Buner has 180 sp. and Chitral has 141 sp.
  4. The present study also revealed that 29 medicinal plant species of District Swat are endangered, 40 vulnerable and 24 are rare. Our study indicates that 6.3% of the flora is threatened and several factors are responsible for this.
  5. Parts of drug plants i.e., root, stem, leaves, flowers, fruits, seeds or whole plant are collected in different seasons of the year, regarding the plant part used in medicines. From February to April, 18% of the plants are collected and brought to the local market, 30% in May to July, 37% in August to October and 15% November to December, respectively.
    Morchella esculenta (Guji), Cumminum cuminum (sufaid Zeera), Bunium persicum (Kala Zeera), Viola canescens (Binafsha) and Viola betonicifolia (Fig 5) are found to be highly economical which are traded to other regions of Pakistan as well as abroad. Besides these plants, Podophyllum hexandrum (Fig 6), Adiantum capillus-veneris and Valeriana jatamansii may also be used as trade items after making efforts to their ex-situ and in-situ conservation. Some other important medicinal plants include, Ephedra girardiana (Fig 1), Paeonia emodi (Fig 2), Berberis lycium (Fig 3), Hyoscyamus niger (Fig 4).
  6. Beside all this base-line data, the present project built capacity by training 4 students at M.Sc/M.Phil level beside training collectors and traders to avoid further loss of plant species. Efforts are being made to collect and deposit germplasm of important and endangered medicinal plants for ex-situ conservation in Plant Genetic Reserves Institute(PGRI) Islamabad, Pakistan.

Fig.1 Ephedra girardiana

Fig 1 Ephedra girardiana

Fig.2 Paeonia emodi

Fig2 Paeonia emodi

Fig.3 Berberis lycium

Fig 3 Berberis lycium

Fig.4 Hyoscyamus niger

Fig 4 Hyoscyamus niger

Fig.5 Viola betonicifolia

Fig 5 Viola betonicifolia

Fig.6 Podophyllum hexandrum

Fig 6 Podophyllum hexandrum

All this information will be published in the form of a book in early 2002. Our successful investigations are warmly acknowledged by several agencies (Qarshi Industries) in Pakistan and they offered support for further research work in the area.

Project Objectives

The main objectives of this research project are

  • Enlistment of economic, medicinal, endangered and endemic plants of District Swat.
  • Germplasms preservation of important species.
  • Ex-situ conservation of some important and endangered plants.
  • Documentation of the indigenous knowledge of medicinal plants of Swat.
  • A general vegetation survey.

Activities done During the Course of Project

  • Plant collection and its documentation
  • Identification and comparative study of the flora collected from Swat Valley with adjacent areas
  • Germplasm preservation of important plant species in PGRI Gene Bank
  • Market survey and assessment of medicinal plants traded
  • Seed collection of medicinal and other endangered plant species
  • Enlistment of medicinal, endangered, endemic and globally important plant species
  • Ex-situ conservation of some important plant species

During this project all available literature on District Swat was collected. A checklist of flora of District Swat was made from the Flora of Pakistan (No.1-197), as well as the Stewart's checklist (published in 1967) was also studied which contains round about 1,525 plant species.

INTRODUCTION

History

Swat was inhabited by various civilizations from time to time and this practice is still in progress but in a different way. In 327 BC, the ruler of the Swat was the Buddhist King Arson who, later on, was defeated by Alexander the Great (Gul et al. 1999). Alexander over ran the Valley as part of his dream to conquer and rule the World. In Greek accounts, the towns of this area have been referred to as "Ora" and "Bazira" (Anonymous 1999). It still remained under the Buddhist rule until the beginning of the 11th Century. Even to this day, Swat has many Buddhist remains, sculptures and serenity of the area. The last Buddhist ruler, Gera, was defeated by Mahmood Ghaznawi at Udigram, who was supported by the Pathans of the Dilazak and Swati tribes (Gul et al. 1999, Anonymous 1999). After the conquest, he hand over the charge of the valley to these tribes. However, they were conquered by Yousafzai Pathans who later defended the land against the Mughals (under Babar and his grandson, Akbar the Great), as well as the British invaders, who tried unsuccessfully to invade the valley (Gul et al. 1999).

In the 9th century, the Akhund of Swat rose to power. He was a Sufi ascetic, with a highly charismatic but warlike personality, who united the tribes of Swat and made Saidu Sharif his capital.

The grandson of Yousafzai Pathan, "Akhund" of Swat, Miangul Shahzada Abdul Wadood was officially recognised as the ruler of Swat in March 1926 by the British Empire, who defined the boundaries by conquests and consolidations. He was popularly known as "Badshah Sahib". The Wali (Ruler) of Swat ruled the Swat state for a period of 34 years and has a prominent role in developing the Swat. In 1954, he voluntarily abdicated in favour of his eldest son, Abdul Haq Jehanzeb. In 1969, Swat became an integral part of Pakistan, and now, it is considered as district of the Malakand Division (Gul et al. 1999).

Buner and Shangla were the part of the Swat state which were later on upgraded to district level in 1991 and 1995 respectively.

Different names of Swat in different periods

During the Buddhist Civilization, Swat was known as "Udyana", which means garden or park. Historians in the time of Alexander the Great identified Swat with Swat river which was known as "Swatsu". The word Swatsu is derived from the term Sweta, means white, given to the river due to its crystal clear water. The great Mughal king Babar mentioned Swat as "Swad" in Tuzk-e-Babri which with the passage of time became Swat (Anonymous 1999).

Location

Swat district is located at the northwest corner of Pakistan. It lies from 34° 34' to 35° 55' north latitudes and 72° 08' to 72° 50' east longitudes (Anonymous 1999).

Boundary

It is bounded on the north by Chitral district and Ghizer district of northern areas, on the east by Kohistan and Shangla District on the south by Buner District and Malakand protected area and on the west by Lower Dir and Upper Dir districts (Anonymous 1999)

Area

The total area of the Swat District is 5,337km2. The District is part of the Malakand division. The twin cities of Mingora and Saidu Sharif are the District, as well as the divisional headquarters (Anonymous 1999).

Topography

It is all mountainous with one peak more than 20,000 ft. in height, while the altitude of the lower part of the valley of the Swat river is only 3000 ft. (Stewart 1967).

It can be divided into two regions i.e., Swat-Kohistan and Swat Proper. Swat-Kohistan is the mountainous country on the upper reaches of the Swat River up to Ain in the south. The whole area south of Ain is Swat proper, which can be further divided into:

  • Bar (Pashto) means Upper Swat
  • Kooz (Pashto) means Lower Swat

Archeological remains of Gandhara Civilization

Gandhara civilization was spread over whole of NWFP during 5th century BC. The main center of the Buddhists was Takht Bhai near Mardan. District Swat is also a link of that chain where the remains of the most popular civilization of its contemporary period are still present. It was a well-known center of Gandhara civilization and has been well populated for two thousand years or more.

Swat museum, in Saidu, has articrafts of the Gandhara Buddhist Civilization for display. The archaeological remains of the Butkara Buddhist monastery (Fig 7) are also located here. 3 km from Barikot is the Shingardara Buddhist stupa with its dome intact.

The relics of the Buddhist period can also be seen in the 15 km2 area of Manglour. Jehanabad (Fig 8), on way to Malam Jabba, is famous for one of the most admirable rock carving of Buddha, which is still safe and is in good conditions. It lies 13 feet above the ground. A pile of boulders on the hillside recalls the shape of a stupa.

Fig.7 Buddhist monastery at Butkara (Mingora)

Fig 7 Buddhist monastery at Butkara (Mingora)

Fig.8 Stupa of Buddha at Jehanabad (Swat)

Fig 8 Stupa of Buddha at Jehanabad (Swat)

Rivers and Streams

The swat river rises from the Shandur or Mashabar Range bordering Swat District with Chitral in the north and flows south and south-west approximately dividing the District into two halves (Anonymous 1999). The Himalayan glaciers and the melting snows of the high mountains feed it. Besides the Swat river, the other prominent rivers or nalas are Harnoi Khwar, Deoli Khwar and Daral Khwar.

Climate

The summer season is short and moderate. It is warm in the lower Swat valley, but cool and refreshing in the upper northern part. The hottest month is June with mean maximum and minimum temperature of 33℃ and 16℃, respectively. The coldest month is January and the mean maximum and minimum temperature is 11℃ and -2℃, respectively. The winter season is long and extends from November to March. Rains and snow occur during this season. The temperature falls below freezing point. The amount of rainfall received during winter season is more than that of summer season. The highest rainfall recorded during the month of March is about 242 mm. As there is no meteorological station in Swat, the mean monthly 30 years maximum and minimum temperature, precipitation and relative humidity recorded at Dir which is adjacent to Swat district is given in the following table 1.

Table 1 Monthwise 30 years mean temperature, precipitation and relative humidity recorded at Dir station.

Table 1 Monthwise 30 years mean temperature, precipitation and relative humidity recorded at Dir station.

Ethnicity and Tribes

Swat has predominantly rural population. Yousafzai Pathans, Mians, Kohistanis, Gujars and Pirachas inhabit it. The Pashto speaking Yousafzai Pathans are the direct descendants of Afghan of Ghazni. The Gujars and Kohistanis, who speak their own dialects of Gujri, Garwi, Torwali and kohistanis inhabit the mountainous areas up north. The Kohistanis are settled in and around Kalam, Ushu, Utror and Gabral valleys. The nomadic Gujars also form a substantial part of the population in the northern areas of the District.

Flora

About 1,550 taxa of flowering plants and 55 pteridophytes are found in Swat. There are 7 types of forests from tropical dry deciduous to alpine (Table 2). There are various reports about ethnobotanically important medicinal plants; the number varies from 55 to 345 species in Swat (Ahmad & Sirajuddin 1996).

Swat is most interesting botanically. It is the area where these three big mountainous ranges namely Karakorum, Hindu-kush and Himalayas meet and the flora is unique.

Table 2 Forest Types of District Swat

Table 2 Forest Types of District Swat

Phytogeographic Regions

Due to the diversity in the climate and topography of the district, it is divided into 3 phytogeographic regions (Ali & Qaiser, 1986) (Table 3) i.e.,

  • Sino-Japanese region
  • Irano-Turanian in the North-North West and
  • Saharo-Sindian regions in the south.

Table 3 Phytogeographic regions of Distt. Swat showing the locality of an area and their representative plants.

Table 3 Phytogeographic regions of Distt. Swat showing the locality of an area and their representative plants.

METHODOLOGY

Collection of flora

The project was started from December 2000. The flora collection is now completed. The checklist of the flora of District Swat was prepared from the available literature. A comparative study of flora of Swat with its adjoining area was also conducted to check occurance of important species. Medicinal, endangered and endemic plants of the area were recorded as per IUCN criteria and field observations.

Market Assessment

Market assessment of medicinal plants, available in the local markets of Rawalpindi, Lahore, Peshawar and Swat, was done. Available literature on market survey was also collected and made a review from it to compare it with our findings. The list of important medicinal plants was also prepared by analyzing the data on the basis of their consumption in the local market and trade to different areas.

Seeds Collection

Seeds of some important medicinal plants were collected from the field as well as from the local market. These seeds were preserved in the Plant Genetic Reserve Institute (PGRI), Islamabad as part of our ex-situ conservation program.

A. Preservation of Germplasm in PGRI Genebank

In order to conserve the economically valuable and medicinally important plants, a meeting with Mr. Rashid Anwar (Director PGRI) was held on 15th January 2001, at Plant Genetic Resources Institute (PGRI), National Agricultural Research Centre (NARC), Islamabad. The objectives, goals and expected results of the project were discussed with him. It was decided in the meeting that Dr.Shahzad Nasim (Scientific Officer) will facilitate regarding preservation of seeds of medicinal plants.

Research fellow of the project was trained about the processes of conservation of seeds. Preserving seeds of wild plants in a gene bank is done for the first time in Pakistan.

B. Process of Preservation

  1. Collection
    The seeds are collected either from the field or bought from shop or concerned institutes.
  2. Drying
    The seeds are sun dried for threshing.
  3. Threshing
    After drying, the seeds are threshed to clean and remove all the inert matters. Blower machines are used for seed cleaning.
  4. Grading
    These seeds are graded down and removed all those seeds which are light in weight, sterile, immature, abortive, diseased or hollow.
  5. Determination of Seed Moisture Contents
    Seed moisture contents are determined.The seeds are further dried in seeds drying machines or seed dying room (subject to the quantity of seeds) at 20℃ at 10-15% humidity.
  6. Storage of seeds
    The seeds are stored in the genebank either for a short term, medium term or long term storage.

Short term and medium term storage of seeds is done at less than 10% moisture content. While the seed moisture content is set at 5-6% for long term storage.

The seeds are divided into three categories for storage

  1. Original Seed stock: The seeds are stored for long term storage at -21℃. These are packed in storage containers of aluminium foil bag with hermatically vacuum sealed machine.
  2. Base Collection: Base collection (seeds) is stored at 0-5℃.
  3. Active Collection: Active collection is the preserved seed material which is always ready for distribution to end users or researchers. When active collection is finished then the backup of it is Base collection. The seeds are preserved at 10℃.

Base collection and active collection is stored in double seeled plastic bottles (imported from Japan) and silica gel is place in them to absorb remaining moisture.

The seeds are given to the users on the basis of terms and conditions that they will give back at least the same amount of seeds to the PGRI gene bank after harvesting the first crop.

It is necessary to mention here that the seeds which are to be collected in this research project wil be preserved as original seed stock. If there is a chance of multiplying the seeds, they will be placed as base or active collection.

RESULTS AND DISCUSSION

Market Assessment of Medicinal Plants of Swat

In Pakistan there are about 50,000 registered practitioners of traditional medicine and majority of the population, especially villages, is getting health care by Hakeems. It is estimated that 60% of the population use the herbal prescriptions of Traditional Practitioners (Haq 1983).

No economic analysis exists to date for the marketing chain from collection to consumption systems. It is also necessary to know that how much plant material is collected and passing through the whole process of refinements how much quantity reaches to the market. It will give us the rough picture of the whole system from collection to consumption. It may also be the one reason of overexploitation of highly valuable and endangered medicinal plants. All available data is related to quantities traded in markets at a specific time and their approximate values.

Definitely the large quantity of medicinal drug plants is wasted from collection to the marketable material. The reasons behind this are:

  • The people of upper Swat has little access to the allopathic medical system as most of the health centers are empty of staff as well as medicines. Instead people rely on traditional medical practices, based largely on medicinal plants.
  • Unawareness of the locals about proper collection of the desired plant part.
  • The use of poor and cheap equipment, for e.g., they use bags and sack until these are fully rotten, by the collectors during this whole process.
  • The non-availability of the proper space for storing and drying the medicinal plants because most of the plants are collected by those families which have little and congested houses with 1-3 rooms where they live with their large families. These houses are insufficient for them because of joint family systems.
  • Suppliers who collect the medicinal plants from local collectors, they give them very low price which is insufficient for their daily needs. Therefore, locals do not take care of proper collecting and drying methods. The collection of medicinal plants is their additional business besides farming, grazing their cattles in the pastures and woodcutting.

It is observed in the remote areas that when females and children go to the hills, they cut the wood, graze their animals and in addition, they collect the medicinally important plants and make a bundle of it in their shawls or cotton or plastic bags.

It is also observed that there is monopoly of one or two persons in the whole market at local as well as national level. While all other shops situated in an area, sell drug plants at small scale. Due to this monopoly, these focal traders buy items from the locals on a very low price and sell them thrice to quadruple times more expensive to users.

After passing the summer season and melting of snow from the areas, which are to be visited, the price of selling items to drug dealers will be queried from the collectors.

Trade of Medicinal Plants of Swat

The market survey showed that several species are collected from the area and transported to big cities like Peshawar, Rawalpindi, Lahore and Karachi. Some of them are used domestically for e.g., Bistorta amplexicaulis, Paeonia emodi, Myrtus communis and Dyospyrus lotus etc., while some of the drug plants are exported abroad. A study was also conducted in representative areas of Hindu Kush-Himalayas to see geographical distribution pattern of medicinal plants. Different species are collected in different seasons depending on part used etc. Surveying the commercialization and industrialization of medicinal plants were done as Pakistan has well established system of crude drug market (Pansara Market) in major cities and these plants are also exported.

The total number of plant species in the Hindu Kush-Himalayas is estimated to be as many as 25,000 or 10 % of the world of which about 10,000 or 2/3 are useful (Pei 1992).

Pakistan has wide floral biodiversity containing about 6,000 taxa. There are 128 Pteridophytes, 23 gymnosperms, and 1,140 monocots including 576 grasses and 4,492 taxa of dicots. Efforts were made to record medicinal plants of Pakistan. A conservative approach indicates that at least 700 plant species are being used as medicinal and aromatic plants. The present study updated all the information and a complete information for 250 medicinal plants are being published in the form of a book.

Conservation Status of Medicinal Plants

The traditional utilization of biologically diverse resources in the mountain region of the Himalayas not only reflect a diverse resource use pattern, but also the way of maintaining biological diversity in mountain ecosystem by the mountain people. Natural resources management systems are localized systems that form the basis for decision making for rural people. Since the majority of land-based production systems in the Himalayan region operate under indigenous knowledge systems, they are not only of value to cultures from which they evolve, but also for scientists and planners striving to improve conditions in rural societies. However, there is tremendous pressure of socioeconomic change with the ecological knowledge and cultural traditions, which have been continuously developed and transferred from generation to generation are beginning to be lost.

Understanding the indigenous knowledge of mountain people in relation to biodiversity resource management is one of key issues for development of the HKH region today. The use of natural herbal drugs to alleviate suffering is perhaps as old as the origin of man itself on this planet. Plants and animals with medicinal properties were held in the highest esteem in indigenous medicine systems all over the world. All indigenous remedies, whether traditional or modern, have originated directly or indirectly from folklore, and rituals or measures hold the key to they treasures of folk medicinal knowledge and ethnomedic-botany. Conservation of biodiversity calls for both global attention and prompt action at the regional level. Historically, many indigenous societies have formulated and established their own traditional conservation methods, including the protection of plants, animals, and ecosystems based on the society's cultural tradition and indigenous knowledge systems. With rapid population growth and the expansion of economic development by the means of outside interventions, the natural habitats have already been destroyed to a considerable extent. This situation is particularly critical in the Himalayan Mountain Region, for instance, in the Eastern Himalayan, 90 % of the natural forest habitats have already been lost. Some plants which look abundant, but their slow growth, lack of knowledge about its ability to regenerate after harvest and the destructive method used for its collection (up-rooting the whole plant) suggest that it will soon start to disappear unless better management is introduced.

Efforts are needed to identify endemic, endangered, threatened flora of the country and to point out ways and means for conservation of endangered flora. There are more than 420 endemic species of higher plants in Pakistan. According to an estimate 100 species are being driven to extinction per day in the World. Conservation biologists warn that 25% of all species could become extinct during the next 20 to 25 years. More than 15 % of the flora of Pakistan is endangered, including many endemics also (Shinwari et al., 2000). It is also an estimate that more than a quarter of all plant species could disappear within the next 50 years (www.rbgkew.org.uk/friends/tpa.html).

Swat flora contains 93 threatened medicinal plant species, Buner has 23 species and Chitral contains 31 threatened species. In Swat, 8 % of the threatened plants are endangered, 11.5 % vulnerable and 7 % rare; in Buner, 3.5 % are endangered, 6 % are vulnerable and 3.5 % are rare and in Chitral 4 %, 9 % and 9%, respectively. If we calculate the percentage of the threatened medicinal plants of the whole flora of Swat i.e. 1,550 species, reported by Stewart (1967), then 6.3 % of the total flora are threatened, in which 2 % endangered, 2.7 % vulnerable and 1.6 % are rare. Considering an example from adjoining area of Swat, Chitral is represented by 934 species of flowering plants in which, 3 % of the medicinal plants are threatened. Medicinal plants can not be managed effectively without the full cooperation of the local communities, who are in the best position to protect and manage them.

Endemic Plants of Swat

The present study revealed that the flora of District Swat has only few species which are endemic to Swat Valley. The flora of Swat also contains those taxa which are endemic with reference to Pakistan. 12 species were found to be endemic to Pakistan, 4 of them were found to be endemic to Swat. 0.8% of the Swat flora is found to be endemic to Pakistan.The family Apiaceae contains many taxa as compared to other families which are endemic to Pakistan while other families contain a single taxon each. Endemic plants of Swat are:

Aegopodium burttii E.Nasir, Allium tripterum sp.nova, Bupleurum constancei Nasir, Bupleurum kohistanicum Nasir., Corydalis pakistanica Jafri, Elymus borianus, Erigeron swatensis Griesen Ined., Geranium swatense Schonbeck-Temsey, Ligusticum stewartii (Hiroe) Nasir, Scaligeria stewartiana (Nasir) Nasir, Scutellaria chamaedrifolia Hedge & Paton, Indigofera heterantha Wall. ex Brandis var. gerardiana (Wall. ex Baker) Ali.

Globally Important Species

Our study revealed that there are many species which are globally important from economical and medicinal point of view. But Morchella esculenta and Viola odorata (Banafsha) are hardly matched by any plant in terms of its market value. The price of Morchellai in Swat is Rs. 5,000/- while in Rawalpindi it is Rs.6,000/-. It is not only highly appreciated source of plant proteins but is also utilised in making some valuable medicines. The culturing of this valuable fungus may be the better income generating step to the locals.

It is collected by the locals and sold to the drug dealers in Mingora. Here the drug is dried, graded and packed, then it is sent to Karachi for export to Germany, Holland and France. As it is a commodity of export so a lot of grading process and labour work is involved. Superior quality fetch high price (heads only) and inferior quality has very low price (stalks only). Pakistan export about 100 tons of Morchella in which Swat shares about 15 tons. The drug is divided into 4 categories.

The second main item of marketing is Banafsha, which is used locally in Joshandas (decoction) for flue, cough and coldness. It is traded to other regions of the country and outside the country in large quantity.

Besides morrells and Binafsha, Adiantum capilus-veneris, Podophyllum hexandrum and Valeriana wallichii are also important medicinal plants. These plants can also be cultivated as income generating plants.

Salient achievements of the project

  • The project area was throughly studied and all available medicinal plants were collected.
  • The indigenous ethnobotanical knowledge of locals about the medicinal plants were also documented.
  • Seeds of some important medicinal plants were collected and preserved for ex-situ conservation in the PGRI gene bank at National Agricultural Research Centre, Islamabad.
  • The people involved in the collection of medicinal plants were interviewed and base line training pertinent to the collection and storing of medicinal plants were given to them.
  • In each locality of Swat, meetings with local community were arranged. In these meetings, locals were informed about the importance of plants to the existing ecosystem and their socio-economic conditions as well. These meetings enhanced the awareness of the community towards plant conservation.
  • This project also served the purpose of exploring medicinal plants trade networks in the country. Some suggestions were also made in this respect.
  • This project also provided training opportunity to 4 students i.e. one Ph.D., M.Phil. each and two M.Sc.
  • Several agencies in Pakistan, like Qarshi Industries showed its willingness to further elaborate our studies in Swat.
  • A book encircling all the activities of the project is scheduled to be published in the early 2002.
  • Study confirmed the role of women in medicinal plant collection, therefore, they play a vital role in natural resource use/management of medicinal species.
  • The study identified a rich diversity of medicinal plants (400 species), of them , more than 100 species are known to be of commercial value.

RECOMMENDATIONS

  • The Project findings revealed that, Morchella esculenta, Viola canescens, Cumminum cuminum, Bunium persicum, Podophyllum hexandrum, Adiantum cappilus-veneris and Valeriana wallichii must be paid attention from ex-situ and in-situ conservation point of view.
  • They medicinal plants should be traded to other regions in the country and abroad by reducing the long chain of middle men as it will effect the economic conditions of first collector positively. This will also decrease the monopoly of few groups from the local and national markets.
  • Training of local communities regarding method of collection and conservation efforts are required.
  • The study also recommend the involvement of local people in the in-situ conservation of important medicinal plants as this practice will yield better results.
  • Alternate fuel sources like gas and electricity will reduce pressure on some important plants used as fuel wood in the area.
  • Coordination and cooperation among various agencies such as Foresters and pharmaceutical firms pertinant to the utilization and regeneration of selected medicinal plants is required.
  • Simple mannual of medicinal plants for identification, including their method of collection, local names and local uses must be made.
  • Mannual of endangered, rare and vulnerable plants is also a must.

Map of study area.

Map of study area.