Vol. 2, Issue 6 (2017)
Ethnobotanical survey of threatened medicinal plants of West Sikkim
Author(s): Mahendra Tamang, Krishan Pal, Santosh Kumar Rai, Abul Kalam, S Rehan Ahmad
Abstract: Ethnobotanical studies provide useful information about a wide variety of taxa that are used locally by indigenous peoples for various purposes. Present study was carried out in West Sikkim considering its richness in ethnic and floral diversity as well as due to the location of the Kanchendzonga National park which is a world heritage site. The study was conducted between October 2015-September 2017 to understand and assess the present status of local ethno-medicinal plants. Data was collected by interviewing 80 informants that included traditional healers, dhami, bijua, bongthing, vaidyas, Jhakri, lama, farmers and elderly peoples by employing semi-structured and structured interviews. Information such as local name, parts used, diseases treated, present status, etc. were collected which was then followed by voucher specimen collection and assessment of the plant status by organizing regular field trips. The study revealed 54 medicinal plants whose population has dramatically decreased and are found sporadically only in restricted distribution. Applying the criteria of CAMP guidelines of IUCN it was found that out of 54 threatened plants, 24 medicinal plants have become vulnerable contributing 44.44% (VU) followed by 12 endangered species (22.22% EN), 9 species near threatened (16.66% NT), 5 species least concern (9.25% LC), 2 species rare (3.70% RR) and 1 species data is deficient (1.85% DD). Herbs constituted the most dominant plant (55.55%), followed by trees (27.77%), shrubs (9.25%), and climbers (7.40%). West Sikkim harbours rich wealth of medicinal plants diversity. However, due to poor scientific approach towards utilization of such resource they are facing a varying degree of threat hence, this information serves great importance in the process of its conservation.