Dagmar Lange, Susanne Honnef:
Sustainable Wild Collection of Medicinal and Aromatic Plants

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DAGMAR LANGE1, SUSANNE HONNEF2
1University of Koblenz-Landau, Institute for Natural Sciences, Germany
2WWF and Traffic, Biodiversity, Species Conservation and Traffic, Germany

Besides cultivation in agricultural production schemes, wild collection of medicinal and aromatic plants (MAP) plays an important role to achieve food and health security according to the Millenium Development Goals of the United Nations. In the case of medicinal plants use, the sustainable collection of these valuable natural resources is a key for the basic health security for around 80% of the world's population. Additionally, sustainable wild collection provides people in poorer rural regions of our world with a basic income. Between 50,000 and 70,000 plant species are known to be used in traditional and modern medicine systems throughout the world. Countless additional species are used in the growing cosmetics and foods industries. The great majority of MAP species used are sourced by collection from wild resources. Although harvest from the wild may provide incentives for the conservation and sustainable use of important habitats including sensitive plant areas, over-harvesting, land conversion, and habitat loss increasingly threaten a considerable portion (approximately 15,000 species) of the world's MAP species and populations. The available certification criteria or standards addressing wild collection, as for example organic certification schemes, do currently not provide sufficient guidance to ensure the long term survival of wild populations. Means to support the sustainable use of MAP resources are also lacking within the existing systems. Therefore WWF, TRAFFIC, IUCN and the German Federal Agency for Nature Conservation (BfN) started a broad stakeholder consultation in 2005 to develop the International Standard for Sustainable Wild Collection of Medicinal and Aromatic Plants (ISSC-MAP). The ISSC-MAP aims to provide the currently missing guidance in form of a set of principles and criteria that can be applied to the management of medicinal and aromatic plant species and their ecosystems.

This paper summarises the rationale, the process and current status and provides an outlook on potential implementation scenarios for this standard.



Keywords: Certification, ISSC-MAP, Sustainable Use, Wild Collection


Footnotes

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Contact Address: Susanne Honnef, WWF and Traffic, Biodiversity, Species Conservation and TrafficRebstoecker Str. 55, 61130 Frankfurt A.m., Germany, e-mail: honnef@wwf.de
Andreas Deininger, September 2006