Population Status of Commercially Important Medicinal Plants in Dehradun Forest Division, Uttarakhand (India)
The objective of forest management in the tropics, in recent decades, has shifted from timber production to biodiversity conservation and maintenance of life support system. However, past forestry practices have greatly influenced the structure of plant communities, preponderance of foreign invasive species, populations of high value medicinal plants as well as other non-wood forest products. We assessed the abundance and distribution of medicinal plants in managed and undisturbed forests of Dehradun Forest Division (DFD), Uttarakhand (India). A total of 80 transects (each 1 km long) were laid in various categories of forest types in DFD. This paper deals with distribution, availability and regeneration status of five commercially important species viz., Justicia adhatoda, Aegle marmelos, Phyllanthus emblica, Terminalia bellirica and Terminalia chebula, across different forest types. The study reveals that open canopy forest patches, Lantana infested patches and Acacia catechu-Dalbergia sissoo (Khair -Shisam) woodlands in the eastern part of the DFD have excellent potential for the production and sustainable harvest of Justicia adhatoda. Areas those are less suitable for timber production viz., open hill forests, have greater potential for conservation and development of Aegle marmelos, Phyllanthus emblica and Terminalia bellirica. For the production and management of high value medicinal plants in the DFD these ecological considerations need to be kept in mind.
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