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Density and potential utilisation of medicinal grassland plants from Abe Bailey Nature Reserve, South Africa

Abstract

The Abe Bailey Nature Reserve, South Africa has been identified as a potential community resource reserve compatible with biodiversity conservation. As part of the planning and public participation phase this study investigated the potential for sustainably harvesting medicinal plants. Medicinal plant use data on local species, parts used and harvesting techniques, in collaboration with neighbouring traditional healers were collected. A census of these plants was conducted in the reserve and frequency, density and abundance were calculated. A medicinal plant rating system for assessing conservation priorities was used to combine both social-qualitative and ecological-quantitative data. Five medicinal species suitable for high impact harvesting were identified. Thirty-four species have potential to be set up as harvesting trials to determine sustainable quotas. Thirty-one medicinal species including Boophane disticha, Dicoma anomala, Eucomis autumnalis, Hypoxis hemerocallidea, Pentanisia prunelloides and Indigofera daleoides are considered to be site-specific sensitive species and should not be harvested from the reserve. Following this research an on site nursery has been started at the reserve. A multi-pronged approach involving harvesting trials, propagation and plant rescue from developments to cope with escalating demand and dwindling natural populations needs to be implemented.

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Dzerefos, C.M., Witkowski, E. Density and potential utilisation of medicinal grassland plants from Abe Bailey Nature Reserve, South Africa. Biodiversity and Conservation 10, 1875–1896 (2001) doi:10.1023/A:1013177628331

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  • community resource reserve
  • conservation policy
  • harvesting
  • sensitive species
  • sustainable utilization