Preserving medicinal plants helps preserve ecosystems.

The U.K. organization Plantlife concludes that some 15,000 of the world’s estimated 50,000 medicinal species of plants are under threat of extinction but they can serve as powerful motivation for community-based conservation. Drawing on the results of ten small-scale projects in Africa and Asia, the Plantlife report Medicinal Plants in Conservation and Development highlights a project in Uganda that has assured a sustainable supply of malaria treatment and a Chinese plant reserve that brings in much-needed income for the local community. The projects concentrate on plants that carry local value to generate protection extending to broader habitats because “medicinal plants connect to three basic human interests—health, income and cultural identity.”

From New Scientist - 01/09