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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.


 Magnolia officinalis 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.


 Training course for local people

 On-farm training for local farmers  


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.

Monitoring of some 1,050 seedlings of the above target species planted in 30 trial plots, will continue in 2013. Further outreach activities will be carried out including a series of training courses for local communities in propagation, cultivation and reintroduction techniques.


 Re-establishing agroforestry system   
 Re-establishing agroforestry system(Citrus reticulata and Magnolia officinalis)