Plants utility by ethnic communities of eastern India for nutritional and health security, past-present and future
Ambarish Mukherjee (Burdwan University)
Producing the Earth
Roscoe Theatre A
Thursday 8 August, 9:00-10:00, 11:00-12:00 (UTC+0)

Short abstract:

Different anthropogenic activities have led to depletion of valuable plant resources which are used as food, medicine & main source of livelihood for ethnic communities that constitutes major chunk of population in Eastern India and needs to be protected, restored, conserved & documented.

Long abstract:

Human beings are dependent on plants & plant products from time immemorial as forest were their homelands. In addition, food & medicine plants are main source of livelihood & subsistence for the ethnic people, which constitutes the major chunk of population in Eastern India. This mass, also called the Forest Dependent Population, are very expert in utilizing wild plants for all sorts of needs in ways that are no longer known to urban people. Ethnic communities have their own very old traditionally established self managed health care system where crude forms of herbal drugs are used to alleviate/cure the sufferings. There are large number of wild plants being consumed by ethnic people in general and the tribes in particular to meet their dietary, therapeutic, nutritional, agricultural and various items used for their domestic needs. These plants are very rich in dietary nutrients such as proteins, carbohydrates, fats, oils, vitamins, amino-acids and minerals. Eastern India is very rich in ethnobotanical and medical anthropology. Such value based plants are depleting day by day due to various anthropogenic activities in the name of developmental projects and knowledge rich persons are being compelled to migrate from their homelands. There is an urgent need for protection, restoration, conservation of such plants and documentation of traditional knowledge of plants utilities before it is too late.