TAMANYAN, KAMILLA. Institute of Botany, Yerevan 375063, Armenia. - Sustainable use and conservation of useful plants in Armenia.
Armenians have a long tradition of making good use of plant
biodiversity for economic purposes. It is estimated that local
populations have used in past about 2,000 species of plant (60% of the
flora) for a variety of purposes such as medicine, food, coloring,
etc. The tradition still persists although circumscribed to a
limited assortment of plants that are used in a rather intensive way.
In the past few years the population intensively harvests and sells 28
species of edible plants, various firms process 52 species of
medicinal plants. These data are confirmed by the a survey of a major
market in Yerevan, in which 15 species of edible plants totaling 18.5
tons and 14 species of wild fruit and berry totaling 9.5 tons were
commercialized in 1995. Unfortunately, neither past research
programs, nor current research activities provide information on
sustainable harvesting rates. An important missing indicator is the
volume of their natural reserves. This determines the level of
harvesting that can be done without threatening their long-term
survival. Cultivation the over-harvested species of useful plants on
small scale in house backyards, small farms etc., will go a long way
to preserving the original populations in the protected areas. There
were research studies on the development of planting methods for some
species of edible and medicinal plants, for example, falcaria
(Falcaria vulgaris), horse-fennel (Hippomarathrum microcarpum),
eremurus (Eremurus spectabilis), and valerian (Valeriana officinalis).
These indicate that there is a potential to protect the
Agrobiodiversity of the Useful and Medicinal plants, by encouraging
propagation of the same at the individual consumer level. And there is
possibility to restore the elderly assortment of useful plants.
Key words: Armenia, conservation, medicinal and edible plants, sustainable use, useful plants, volume of natural reserves