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close this bookMedicinal plants: An expanding role in development (WB, 1996, 32 p.)
close this folder4. Toward a strategy
View the document(introductory text...)
View the documentPolicy and Regulations
View the documentMarkets and Prices
View the documentConservation
View the documentAcceptance
View the documentCultivation
View the documentQuality Control
View the documentEnvironmental Issues
View the documentInstitutional Capacities
View the documentInternational Actions
View the documentThe Ultimate Outcome

Environmental Issues

Any forthcoming strategy should address the ecological soundness of the conservation, management, and cultivation initiatives. Farming medicinal plants can in principle be an environmental benefit. For example, in marginal, remote, and/or degraded areas it may increase income and land values, which in turn may promote better soil conservation and more environmentally friendly land-management practices.

But cultivation may also exacerbate environmental problems. Pesticides and fertilizers, for instance, represent a risk if indiscriminately used. In the United Kingdom there is even now a proposal to produce 20,000 tons of daffodil bulbs annually, for galanthamine, a product thought to slow the progress of Alzheimer's disease (The Independent, May 23, 1995). Such large scale production implies monocropping, perhaps with accompanying pest problems and a possible need for pesticides.