Announcing Dr. Robbie Hart as a BioOne Ambassador Award Winner

Dr. Robbie Hart is a winner of the 2018 BioOne Ambassador Award! Dr. Hart is a member of the Society of Ethnobiology.  Congratulations on your excellent scholarship, Dr. Hart, as well as your work on medicinal plant conservation.  

BioOne describes the BioOne Ambassador Award as "recognizing five early-career researchers who excel at communicating the importance and impact of their research beyond their discipline. BioOne created its Ambassador Award to spotlight rising scholars in their specialties and generate a wider interest in recent research from our publishing partners."

Medicinal Plants for Sustainable Livelihoods and Biodiversity Conservation (The material below is copied from BioOne's Meet the Winners webpage.)

Wild medicinal plants are collected around the world by rural people who incorporate them into their own health care or sell them to supplement local incomes. But even as this practice continues, communities that collect wild plants often display uneven knowledge of their uses, marketing techniques, and sustainable harvest requirements. This knowledge gap has negative outcomes. Traditional knowledge can be lost if it is not valued and shared. Local economies are depressed as middlemen garner most of the profits. Wild plant populations may be overharvested and endangered. In this paper, my coauthors and I discuss our efforts to address these problems in Swat, a mountainous area of Northern Pakistan which is famed for natural richness but economically challenged by remoteness and inaccessibility. First, we worked with local communities to document the most important medicinal plants – species such as the highly valued and critically endangered Saussurea costus. Then, we conducted a range of interventions to foster economic and environmental sustainability. These included local awareness campaigns, capacity-building trainings, community mobilization for conservation of threatened species, and exposure visits to link collectors with buyers. Although the impacts are only beginning, our activities have given 200+ local collectors in Swat the resources to sustainably gather medicinal plants, authenticate them to potential buyers with botanical identifications, process them using methods that ensure maximum quality and income, and work together to share and advance their own knowledge. We hope Swat can be a global exemplar of how medicinal plant capacity-building can improve livelihoods and support conservation.

This summary is in reference to:

Promoting Sustainable Use of Medicinal and Aromatic Plants for Livelihood Improvement and Biodiversity Conservation under Global Climate Change, through Capacity Building in the Himalaya Mountains, Swat District, Pakistan. Annals of the Missouri Botanical Garden 102(2):309-315. 2017.  Hassan Sher, Rainer W.