Certifying plants’ wild collection: sustainability is more than conservation
Wild plant ingredients are in thousands of products we consume every day: pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, supplements and wellbeing products, food, spices, drinks and also homewares. Wild collection (WC) is an important economic activity for some of the most impoverished communities. In addition, it often takes place in important wildlife habitats and reservoirs of biodiversity. Then, WC activity is facing several environmental and social challenges. Different organisations are certifying this activity, but with different purposes.
Conservation and sustainable exploitation of Medicinal and Aromatic Plants from mountain areas
Sideritis sp. are among the most overhavested in Greece and many wild populations are threatened. It is used for the preparation of herbal tea, known as Mountain tea which is widely consumed due to its properties known from folk medicine. The traditional use of 4 Sideritis sp. has been adopted by HMPC in a herbal monograph (1) and several studies have been reported on its pharmacological properties. The overharvesting has put a pressure onto its populations. The MOUNTEA-CONSE project (2) aimed at the development of conservation and sustainable exploitation activities for Sideritis populations.
FSC certification: granting access to payment for ecosystem services in cork oak woodlands
This project aims to assess the effects of FSC certification on the conservation of cork oak woodlands namely how certified conservation zones (areas of lower management intervention) affect oak natural regeneration, understory shrub diversity, conservation of water streamlines and associated bird diversity. In addition, at a larger scale, the project also aims to identify geographical areas of conservation value for biodiversity and ecosystem services. Resulting information will contribute to identify target areas to implement payment for ecosystem services schemes using FSC certification as a validating tool of good management practices.
Methodology to assess the situation of a medicinal and aromatic plant species to apply a sustainable management in a specific context
A large number of the medicinal and aromatic plants (MAPs) on the market come from wild collection and some of them are being overexploited or exploited without following proper practices. Establishing an adequate management could maintain the use of some species without compromising their conservation and obtain a benefit for the rural community.
In order to collect, it is necessary to evaluate the situation of that species in the place where it is going to be collected to estimate if it can be considered a “resource” or not, and to do it following an adequate methodology.
Owners group their forest plots into ASLGF to manage their forest and produce essential forest oils
Private forest is often very fragmented: forestry operations and forest products marketing are difficult on small areas. Owners have organized themselves into a forest management association (ASLGF) to group their plots into a single management unit. Their objective is to jointly lead the development of their forests. In addition to harvesting wood, they also registered collective production of essential oils of Scots pine. They wish to label themselves as a Forest Economic and Ecological Interest Group (GIEEF).
The AFC : Structuring harvesting professionals to promote sustainable and respectful management
AFC is the French Association of professionals wild plants pickers. It was created in 2011 to bring together professionals of wild plants picking and to promote this profession.
It defends sustainable commercial harvesting and a responsible profession.
It wishes to ensure the representativeness of the pickers with other operators in the sectors and the public authorities.