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Medicinal plant conservation in China
Conservation and sustainable use of threatened medicinal plants in traditional agroecosystems in central Hunan
Project leader: Chunlin Long, Minzu University of China, Beijing
Local communities in Xinshao county in central Hunan have a long tradition of collection and cultivation of local crop varieties and medicinal plants that grow in association with the paddy fields in the low-lands, slope-farming lands and forested hills and mountains. Most significantly over the past 30 years, various crop landraces and medicinal plant species have disappeared from the region as a result of new agricultural techniques promoting rice monocultures.
This project aims to promote the reintroduction and sustainable use of a number of species of medicinal importance, including the threatened Magnolia officinalis and Dysosma versipellis.
In 2012, public outreach activities were initiated to reinvigorate awareness of medicinal plant species that formed an integral part of the traditional agro-ecosystems in central Hunan, including Magnolia officinalis and Dysosma versipellis. A number of interpretational panels were developed and are displayed at pilot restoration sites in three villages, Fengmushan, Yanxia and Maoping. Thirty households from these villages participated in the development of the conservation programme which included a series of consultation meetings and a three-day training workshop in propagation and cultivation techniques of target species.
As this is the first time that an international project has been carried out in the township, there is tremendous interest and enthusiasm shown by the local communities.