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Sun, 24 Mar 2019

Northeast Today

India for Cultivation of Medicinal Plants to Mitigate Climate Change

India for Cultivation of Medicinal Plants to Mitigate Climate Change
November 10
12:04 2016

India@COP22
Saidul Khan in Marrakech

The Indian Council of Forestry Research and Education (ICFRE) on Wednesday pitched for conservation and cultivation of medicinal plants for climate change adaptation in India at the Conference of Parties (COP22) United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

ICFREE underlined the importance of medicinal plants in India, which has about 6000 plants species codified under the natural and herbal medical system. A senior official from ICFREE Dr. GS Goraya said that research in 18 Indian states, including in the Northeast have listed about 350 medicinal plants under the threat listed as “red”. Of which, 100 are in active threat and the wild population has reached a level of “no return”.  The official said that the situation has forced industries to use “substitutes” of such plants, which are less efficacious.

“The herbal plants are needed in high quantities but they are not available in the wild. It is mainly due to excessive and destructive harvesting and increasing biotic pressure in the harvested area”, Goraya said, adding that “diminishing habitats” is an area of concern for the country. He stated that factors that has triggered changing climate are weakening resilience of the rootstocks.

“Impacts of climate change are evident across India, where such plants have started flowering early. The situation is aggravated by unprecedented spread of invasive alien species, vanishing water springs and drying of alpine lakes, receding glaciers and effect on glacier melt”, he said. The official stated that a turnaround could be brought with the survival of the local health traditions, indicating on India’s agenda at COP22 for sustainable lifestyle, which equals positive climate action. He also suggested that to conserve the plants species government should identify areas across the country and demarcate it as “medicinal plant conservation area”, which are as of now, very few.

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Director General of ICFREE Dr. Shashi Kumar said that India has to be more sensitive towards promotion of REDD+, which is reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation. It is a mechanism that has been under negotiation by the UNFCCC. He also said that India’s climate change mitigation and poverty elevation programmes are measures, which is part of national determined contributions (NDCs) and India is committed to reduce carbon sink by 2030, which will be submitted to UNFCCC.

Kai Windhorst, chief technical advisor of International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) speaking at India@COP22 said, “ICIMOD is working in the Hindu – Kush Himalayan region of India, Bhutan, Nepal and Myanmar to reduce deforestation and provide a platform for south-south learning across cross border”.  Windhorst said that the Himalayan region have to work with a common vision and submit joint statements to UNFCCC. He also pitched that the Himalayan region should work for a better information system, which will enable sharing and learning of ideas.

(Saidul Khan is an Independent Journalist from Garo Hills in Meghalaya and has been nominated by Association for Development and Research on Sustainable Habitats as Observer at CoP22 UNFCCC and sponsored by The Energy and Resource Institute-TERI, New Delhi.)

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