The case studies highlight the need and some of the means for preserving the rich biodiversity of the region while also underlining the relationship between biodiversity, economic sustenance and preservation of cultural traditions and environmental resources. Medicinal plants have a specific role in serving the needs of indigenous medicine, of the pharmaceutical industry, and of providing genetic resources for future propogation and cultivation in- and outside their natural habitat.
The case studies also show that modern development has impacted on the biodiversity of MP's in varied and complex ways, and they illustrate examples where urban demands exploit rural poverty and illiteracy. This leads to immediate deterioration of the rural environment and a delayed but relentless impoverishment of national biodiversity and cultural assets. It is therefore, essential that collection and cultivation of MPs be viewed in a holistic way to achieve long-term success in protection of species and in providing socio-economic benefits to society, locally and nationally.
Analysis and hindsight perception show that reversal of this trend can come about through managing the demand for medicinal plants within an equitable, farmer-centred system of quality assured products produced under an organic or similar, well certified regime. The outcome of such an approach can be expected to correct past mistakes and generate a relatively stable but flexible mechanism for enhancing prosperity and socio-economic development for rural populations as well as for preserving biodiversity of MPs and their ecosystem companions, while also ensuring that the livelihoods of existing collectors and cultivators are assured.