Friday, April 13, 2012

Vietnam - TRAFFIC Launches Sustainable Wild Medicinal Plant Project In Vietnam

TRAFFIC has launched its first project in Vietnam to protect plants that rural communities rely upon for traditional medicine.

TRAFFIC, in coordination with the Bac Kan Forest Protection Department (FPD), has launched its first project in Vietnam to protect plants that rural communities rely upon for traditional medicine.

The project in the South Xuan Lac Species and Habitat Conservation Area in Northern Vietnam will implement the FairWild Standard, guidelines drawn up to ensure the sustainability of wild medical and aromatic plant harvesting.

Four plant species have been chosen for this project. Amomum villosum Lour, Amomum xanthioides var. xanthioides, Alpinia malaccensis and Alpinia latilabris are all native to the region.

The project will be implemented jointly with the Bac Kan FPD and the People Resources and Conservation Foundation (PRCF) with support and funding from the Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund (CEPF).

Working with local harvesters, traders and the government, TRAFFIC will help train local workers in wild plant resource management, harvest monitoring, sustainable collection, and value addition processing techniques. Ultimately, the project aims to develop a model that can be applied throughout Vietnam.

There are an estimated 50,000-70,000 plant species that are traded and used for the creation of medicinal products throughout the world, the majority of them obtained through wild collection.

In Vietnam growing demand and habitat destruction are putting wild plant populations at risk and negatively affecting the health and economic livelihood of rural communities that depend upon the sale and use of these plants.

Additionally, increasing use of traditional medicines in China has seen vast quantities of plants sourced from Vietnam transported to the Chinese market, putting further strain on wild plant populations.

“Despite their importance to health and livelihoods, relatively little investment has been made in assessing the conservation status of most medicinal plant species or in developing more sustainable harvest and trade practices,” said Michael Dine, Chief Technical Officer of PRCF’s Viet Nam and China Programs.

At the launch today, TRAFFIC signed a five year Memorandum of Understanding with Bac Kan FPD to conserve biodiversity, strengthen capacity of managing natural resources and develop sustainable livelihoods in Bac Kan Province.


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