Therapeutic use of plants by local communities in and around Rema-Kalenga Wildlife Sanctuary: implications for protected area management in Bangladesh

Research paper by Mohammad Shaheed Hossain Chowdhury, Masao Koike

Indexed on: 30 May '10Published on: 30 May '10Published in: Agroforestry Systems


Traditional systems of medicine have become a topic of global importance recently. Increased commercialization of economically important medicinal plants has resulted in overharvesting, threatening their survival. The present study was carried out to document the indigenous uses of medicinal plants by the local communities in and around Rema-Kalenga Wildlife Sanctuary, Bangladesh. Data collection was predominantly qualitative recording the species use, identifying their relative importance (RI) and assessing the informants’ consensus factor (Fic) on associated knowledge. We interviewed 140 households of the local community and 5 local herbal practitioners. A total of 44 plant species were in use to treat 33 ailments under 10 broad disease categories. Five species were found to have high use versatility (RI > 1), Emblica officinale L. being the most versatile. Respiratory problems scored the highest Fic value (0.56) involving the use of 30% of the species recorded. Terminalia bellerica Roxb., Sterculia villosa Roxb., Dillenia pentagyna Roxb. and Terminalia arjuna Bedd. were being harvested commercially. Use by the community, particularly for subsistence consumption, seemed to be sustainable, but commercial extraction of some species appeared unsustainable. Buffer zone-based commercial farming of medicinal plants with a commercial value could serve a dual purpose of assuring sustainable alternative income generation for local communities as well as conserving the natural resources in protected areas.