Mountains are among the most fragile environments on this planet. They are rich source of biodiversity, water, providers of ecosystem services on which downstream communities (both regional and global) rely. They are home to some of the world’s most threatened and endemic species (including medicinal plants), as well as to some of the poorest people, who are dependent on the biological resources. The worth of medicinal plants in regular healthcare practices provides clues to latest areas of research and in biodiversity conservation is now glowing. However, information on the uses of plants for medicine is deficient from interior areas of Himalaya. Keeping this in view, the present study has been conducted to study the diversity, indigenous uses, threat categorization and conservation prioritization of medicinal plants in Banjar Valley of Kullu district in Himachal Pradesh, North Western Himalaya. A total of 357 species of medicinal plants belonging to 98 families and 237 genera were recorded and used by the inhabitants of the area. These medicinal plants comprise of 27 trees, 269 herbs, 54 shrubs, 02 climber and 05 ferns. From the total, 193 medicinal plants were native, 03 endemic and 43 were near endemic. Highest medicinal plants were reported in the altitudinal zone, 2801- 3600 and decreased with increasing or decreasing altitude in the study area. These species have been also analyze for their nativity, endemism, rarity and are prioritized for cultivation. An area-specific threat categorization of species is very essential for squat or long term management planning. In present study such an effort in the study area, using information on different attributes was initiated. The presence of critically endangered, endangered and vulnerable medicinal plants indicates high anthropogenic stress on these species. The over-exploitation, habitat degradation and changing environmental conditions may lead to the extinction within a few years. Therefore, regular monitoring of population and habitats, development of conventional protocol, establishment of species in-situ conditions and associated habitats and replication of this approach in other parts of Indian Himalayan Region have been recommended.
Citation: Sharma P, Samant SS, Lal M, Sharma A (2014) Diversity, Indigenous Uses, Threat Categorization and Conservation Prioritization of Medicinal Plants: A Case Study from Himachal Pradesh, India. J Biodivers Endanger Species 2:134. doi: 10.4172/2332-2543.1000134