India pitches for cultivation of medicinal plants to mitigate climate change

Marrakech (Morocco), Nov. 10 : The Indian Council of Forestry Research and Education (ICFRE) has 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).

The ICFREE underlined the importance of medicinal plants in India, which has about 6,000 plants species codified under the natural and herbal medical system.

Dr G.S. Goraya, a senior official from ICFREE, said that a research in 18 Indian states, including north-east has 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 the industry 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 "diminishing habitats" is an area of concern for the country.

He stated the factors that have triggered changing climate are weakening resilience of the rootstocks.

"Impact of climate change is 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 the turnaround could be brought about with the survival of the local health traditions, indicating India's agenda at COP22 for sustainable lifestyle, which equals positive climate action.

He also suggested that government to conserve the plants species should identify areas across the country and demarcate it as "medicinal plant conservation area", which are as of now few.

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 are 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), while speaking at IndiaatCOP22 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 has to work with a common vision and submit joint statements to the UNFCCC.

He also pitched that the Himalayan region should work for a better information system, which will enable sharing and learning of ideas.

Source: ANI