Over the years, the importance of specific plant species for primary health care has received some recognition from official authorities, research and policy institutions. This acknowledgement has been extremely vital in efforts to conserve medicinal bio-diversity. But the preservation of such plants has depended mainly on how indigenous and local communities have treated ecosystems in general.
In fact, traditional healers have not only directed much of their attention to plants of direct medicinal relevance, but also to the conservation of adjoining areas where non-medicinal species grow. The health and diversity of plants in surrounding areas is crucial in providing cover for medicinal plants. As such, bio-diversity conservation has largely been an integral part of healing activities. The collective wisdom on bio-diversity conservation has been embodied in the cultures of indigenous peoples and passed on from generation to generation.
While international efforts have concentrated on issues of bio-conservation in developing countries, no formula has been devised to compensate local communities for the genetic resources, which they helped to conserve, and which have had significant pharmaceutical spin offs for industrialised countries.
Native American Indian populations have long acted as agents of plant dispersal and have had a influence on native flora. The reciprocal relationships involve certain species of plants, some native Americans in the Canadian subarctic, and contemporary Euro-American and Euro-Canadian botanists.
2. Many organisations have been claiming of successes in conservation of medicinal plants. However many people are not aware of these achievements at the community level. On the other hand most publications have been reporting on the status of conservation of medicinal plants. There is little knowledge on what is going on at the field level.