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Abstract

Wild Plant Food Resources In Agricultural Systems Of Uttarakhand Hills In India And Its Potential Role In Combating Malnutrition And Enhancing Human Health

Food security today depends on a handful of widely cultivated species. On the other hand, wild food resources, world over, provide a greater dietary diversity to many native communities who depend on them. In Uttarakhand hills of India, the rural communities under different farming agro-ecologies still gather and consume many edible wild harvested plant resources. Consumption of these plants is often essential when there is food shortage during lean period. The wild plant resources are helpful in enhancing livelihoods and supporting household economies of rural farming communities. The wild plant resources are considered especially rich source of vitamins and minerals. The present case study documents a total of about 335 plant species, wild harvested as leaves, fruits, flowers, tubers, seeds, twigs, etc. under different farming agro-ecologies that form minor but important food components of the rural communities. The access to and availability of these food resources are now declining due to degradation of their natural habitats from various developmental activities, poor management of CPRs, the changing climate and recurrent droughts, nutrition transition and inflow of purchased foods, forces of globalization, loss of LEK, etc. The present case study revealed that the contribution of wild harvested foods to total food and nutritional security of native communities has been undervalued. It has now been well recognized that wild food resources are vital for nutrition and health of hill communities beside just source of food and income. The sustainable harvesting of wild economic species therefore requires a strong policy support by ensuring its continued availability to local communities. As substantial nutrition transition has been observed in traditional hill communities during recent years, traditional food revitalization projects including enhanced consumption of wild foods is considered a necessity for better health and cultural benefits. The study clearly demonstrated that we need to combine and enhance the efforts to conserving biodiversity and preserving traditional food systems and farming practices


Author(s): IS Bisht

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