Essential and Carrier Oil-Bearing Plants: Conservation Consciousness

By Kelly Ablard, PhD, MSc, RA, EOT The planet is undergoing the “sixth extinction” whereby species are being lost at a rate that far outruns the origin of new species. According to the IUCN (2018), approximately 970 species/subspecies are extinct, and nearly 7000 land plant species are threatened (i.e. critically endangered, endangered, or vulnerable). As …

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LEARNING TO DEFINE SUSTAINABILITY: LESSONS FOR ESSENTIAL OIL CONSUMERS

by Erika Galentin, MNIMH, RH (AHG) The Elephant in the Room Define sustainability. “Sustainability” is a not-so-new term floating around the shelves of our global economy, hot on the tongue of marketers and advertisers ready to sell us the next best thing to organic. Within the natural products industry, “sustainability” is a concept that appears …

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WHEN THE MUSIC GOES SILENT

by Susan Leopold, PhD (From the latest Journal of Medicinal Plant Conservation) As of January 2017, all rosewoods (Dalbergia), bubinga (Guibourtia), and kosso (Pterocarpus erinaceus) were added to Appendix II of the CITES list of protected species.1 “Every species has a song”, is a quote from Kathleen Harrison, founder of Botanical Dimensions.2 Brazilian rosewood (Dalbergia …

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Seeking the Silvestre Romero in Spain

statue

by Susan Leopold I landed in Spain for the International Congress of Ethnobotany, and as serendipity would have it, the hotel I had booked was in a small square located in what was once the Jewish/Arabic part of Cordoba. Next to my hotel was the only remaining synagogue that was not destroyed when the Jews …

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Pirates for the Planet

atriskgraph

by UpS Executive Director, Susan Leopold

The “At-Risk” Tool made its published debut in 2014 culminating in years of work by many in the UpS community.1 The visionaries of the “At-Risk” tool are former UpS Board Member Kelly Kindscher of the University of Kansas and Lisa Castle, the 2014 Medicinal Plant Conservation Award recipient, of Southwestern Oklahoma State University. The format of the assessment tool was in part patterned after the Blue Oceans Group’s Seafood Mini Guides.2 Similar to plants’ susceptibility to over- harvesting, wild caught seafood is also in deep decline from over-fishing. Vulnerability of species that are wild and in demand depends on many different factors, from intrinsic life history traits to market forces. Based on literature, logic, and discussions with conservation practitioners, five main factors that influence a species’ vulnerability to overharvest were determined: life history, effect of harvest on individual plants, population size, habitat, and demand.3 These five categories are the framework for the tool, and in each section a series of questions leads to a numerical answer, and the total scores then rate a species. The higher the number, the more vulnerable the species is to over-harvesting. In figure one you can see a graph of all the at-risk and to-watch plants that have been reviewed, which illustrates the numerical risk and the colors indicate scores within each of the five main factors.

atriskgraphFigure one: See www.unitedplantsavers.org for all scoring data, assessment tool, and Journal article

 

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