Traditional practices contribute to conservation of medicinal plants in West Usambara Mountains, Tanzania, report Tuli S Msuya and Jafari R Kideghesho in the March issue of the open access journal Tropical Conservation Science.
These practices include domestication; beliefs on sacredness of trees; beliefs on sacred forests; respect of cultural forests; protection of plants at the burial sites; selective harvesting; secrecy; collection of dead wood for firewood; and use of energy saving traditional stoves. But medicinal plants are increasingly vanishing, not only because they are highly demanded for primary health care, but also because they cater for several other purposes such as trade, food, timber, firewood and building poles. Land clearing (for agriculture, settlements and other developments) and accidental and deliberate fires also contribute to loss of these species.
Fruits of Solanum nigrum. Courtesy of Tuli S. Msuya and Jafari R. Kideghesho 2009.
Msuya and Kideghesho conclude by underscoring the role of traditional management practices in enhancing conservation of biodiversity and as a tool for ensuring primary health care in rural communities.
Tuli S. Msuya and Jafari R. Kideghesho 2009. The Role of Traditional Management Practices in Enhancing Sustainable Use and Conservation of Medicinal Plants in West Usambara Mountains, Tanzania. Tropical Conservation Science Vol. 2 (1): 88-105.