Wetland Plants for Sustenance of Mankind

Wetland Plants for Sustenance of Mankind

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Wetlands are earth’s liquid assets and often described as “kidneys of the landscape.” These, in fact provide many services and commodities to humanity. Nearly all cultures from ancient times to present day have used wetland resources for their sustenance. However, during the last few decades, the interaction of man with wetlands has been of concern largely due to the rapid population growth accompanied by intensified industrialization, modernization and urbanisation, and needs to be addressed before the knowledge is lost forever. From Indian perspective, wetland services alone are worth Rs 21.45 lakh crores annually, yet wetlands are ignored and reclaimed for all kinds of development projects, consequently accounting for loss of about 40% of its wetlands during 1991-2010. This scenario at all is not good for the health of Indian wetlands. Despite the advantages of wetlands to human beings, enlistment of number of Ramsar sites from India and resurgence in the field of ethnobotany during the past 40 years, no efforts have been made till date to document precious knowledge on the traditional uses of wetlands/wetland associated plants from India in general and Bilaspur Himalayas in particular – a region with more than 1,016 villages under its 3 Tehsils Ghumarwin, Bilaspur Sadar, Jhanduta and also credited with one of the biggest man-made reservoir on the river Sutlej. Against this backdrop, the present work is a solitary attempt in this direction with a view not only to record their multifaceted usages but also for using them as valuable clues for social forestry endeavours, therapeutic agents, supplementary foods, and sustainable management of species as well as their habitats for the ultimate welfare of mankind. It is expected that this invaluable compendium, the only of its kind available, will prove a milestone in the advancement of knowledge on the subject and certainly become a standard reference for many decades.
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