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Medicinal herbs in community forests of Darchula District, Nepal: a boon of employment and income generation for rural users

Journal of Historical Archaeology & Anthropological Sciences
Amar Prasad Sah, Ram Asheshwar Mandal, Ajay Bhakta Mathema, Mahendra Nath Subedi

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Collection and trade of medicinal plants are attractive and valuable source of employment and income generation in the community forests of high-altitude region especially for the mountainous country like Nepal. However, the research regarding employment and income generation through this business is very limited. Thus, this research was objectively conducted to assess the stock of major tradable medicinal species, employment and income generation through its collection and trade. Four community forests namely Chhangaru, Gokarna Godani, Tham and Tinkar community forests of Darchula district were selected for data collection. Total 60 samples were collected applying stratified sampling. The square plots having 5×5 m2 and 1×1m2 were laid down for the sapling and seedling staged medicinal plants respectively. The plant parts and their quantity were estimated weighing the harvested samples. Secondary data were collected from records of community forests; these were employment and income from 2015 to 2019, particularly. The data were analyzed using unitary and statistical method. The employment and income generation were calculated in participatory way from the record of income in the community forests. The results showed that in total 16 species of medicinal herbs were collected to sell from the community forests. Specifically, Paris polyphylla, Allium wallichii, Sapindus mukorossi, Valeriana jatamansi and Zanthoxylum armatum were the major medicinal herb species collected by the users to sell. The highest stock was recorded around 1018.470 kg/ha and consequently allowable collection was found highest around 40.739 ton from Tham community forest. One-way ANOVA showed that, there was significant difference in stock of medicinal herbs among the community forest at 95% confidence level. Total collection of medicinal herbs of all species was the highest around 54.285 ton annually from Chhangaru community forest which was the lowest only i.e. 18.15 ton from Gokarna Godani community forest. The estimated highest employment was generated from Chhangaru community forest with 2443 man-days from collection and selling of medicinal herbs which was about 1.5 times more than it created in 2015. The coefficient of variance was less around 0.11 of employment created in all the community forest in 2015 to 2019. The income generation was the highest US $ 10993 from Chhangaru community forest in 2019 and the trend was about triple increase than it in 2015. This study will be useful to understand the role of medicinal plants for rural livelihood.


medicinal plants, subsistence living, sustainable harvesting, community forests, Darchula District, Nepal