Staff Publications

Staff Publications

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    'Staff publications' is the digital repository of Wageningen University & Research

    'Staff publications' contains references to publications authored by Wageningen University staff from 1976 onward.

    Publications authored by the staff of the Research Institutes are available from 1995 onwards.

    Full text documents are added when available. The database is updated daily and currently holds about 240,000 items, of which 72,000 in open access.

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Record number 560037
Title Scientists warning on climate change and medicinal plants
Author(s) Applequist, Wendy L.; Brinckmann, Josef A.; Cunningham, Anthony B.; Hart, Robbie E.; Heinrich, Michael; Katerere, David R.; Andel, Tinde Van
Source Planta Medica 86 (2020)1. - ISSN 0032-0943 - p. 10 - 18.
DOI https://doi.org/10.1055/a-1041-3406
Department(s) Biosystematics
EPS
Publication type Refereed Article in a scientific journal
Publication year 2020
Keyword(s) climate change - ethnobotany - medicinal plants - sustainability - traditional knowledge - traditional medicine
Abstract

The recent publication of a World ScientistsÊ Warning to Humanity highlighted the fact that climate change, absent strenuous mitigation or adaptation efforts, will have profound negative effects for humanity and other species, affecting numerous aspects of life. In this paper, we call attention to one of these aspects, the effects of climate change on medicinal plants. These plants provide many benefits for human health, particularly in communities where Western medicine is unavailable. As for other species, their populations may be threatened by changing temperature and precipitation regimes, disruption of commensal relationships, and increases in pests and pathogens, combined with anthropogenic habitat fragmentation that impedes migration. Additionally, medicinal species are often harvested unsustainably, and this combination of pressures may push many populations to extinction. A second issue is that some species may respond to increased environmental stresses not only with declines in biomass production but with changes in chemical content, potentially affecting quality or even safety of medicinal products. We therefore recommend actions including conservation and local cultivation of valued plants, sustainability training for harvesters and certification of commercial material, preservation of traditional knowledge, and programs to monitor raw material quality in addition to, of course, efforts to mitigate climate change.

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