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Workshop 3
Using Plant Diversity Sustainably

Main points of workshop:

Gap analysis

  • The concept of sustainability needs operational definition:
    • lack of understanding sustainable harvest.
    • Sustainability is often driven by human concerns (which may not reflect biological harvesting potential of the plants)
    • Can we apply an economic perspective to the use of plant resources?. Sustainability includes social and economic sustainability. Some participants suggested to include market forces in regulating the productivity.
  • The sustainable use targets do not identify the threatened status of species, ecosystems;
  • Lack of awareness / education on sustainable harvest/agricultural production among end users/consumers/customers
  • ABS of local plant resources and bio-prospecting are not well documented links between ABS and GSPC processes are weak.
  • Lack of baselines and thresholds.

Findings / recommendations:

  • Working towards the sustainable use targets requires involvement of a broader set of sectorial stakeholders (AG, FO, BG, ) at different levels. Seychelles: a broad participation from the beginning allowed work on AIS and linking local, national and international levels.
  • A species based approach and an ecosystem or production system approach (for example overgrazed rangelands or pastures) have been proposed.
  • A supply chain approach is needed to achieve target 12. Use successful examples of sustainable harvest of wild plants species as case studies or models for other countries (Protea flowers in South Africa).
  • The targets on sustainable use need a local level approach.
  • Two ways to reduce threats on used wild species: reduce pressure (regulation of harvest in the wild) and/or increase production. The benefits of domesticating wild plants are debated.
  • Target 12 could benefit from a list of species used and their level of threat (link with target 2).
  • As long as a list of plants used and their threatened status does not exist, conservation may have to rely on emblematic species.

Priorities for GSPC implementation at national level

  • Research and practical tools to assess sustainability, needed
  • Priorities may be set according to threats to economically important plant species or production systems / ecosystems. Link with Target 2.
  • Conservation to integrate improvement of local livelihoods / incomes and development (diversification of livelihood strategies) and engagement private sector and end users..

Elements for a national-level toolkit:

  1. Background information: case studies, success stories of sustainable management.
  2. Guidelines for priority setting based on species/ecosystems and threats.
  3. Guidelines for developing local regulations for harvesting, enforcement etc.
  4. Elements of awareness raising, education, capacity building
  5. List of plants used and their current conservation status and threats.