Diversity of wild edible plants in the Mandal-Chopta forest, Uttarakhand
Reenu Agarwal and Veena Chandra
Wild edible plants (WEP) provide staple and supplement foods, as well as cash income to local communities, thus favouring food security. However, WEP are largely ignored in land use planning and implementation, economic development, and biodiversity conservation. Moreover, WEP-related traditional knowledge is rapidly eroding. The information was collected through focus group discussions and key informant interviews. The methods employed in the study were designed with the purpose of providing baseline information on the use of plant species in local system through village surveys and field visits to various areas in the villages of Chamoli district falling under the boundaries of Mandal-Chopta Forest in Garhwal Himalayas, Uttarakhand. The diversity of wild edible plants being use by the local inhabitants is 64 species belonging to 47 genera and 36 families. Most of the species were used as fruits (30 species) followed by as leafy vegetables (20). Almost half of the species (51%) were also used for purposes other than food. From the species with market value (28% of the total). Further studies revealed that WEP are threatened mostly by habitat destruction, land-use change and over-harvesting. Some of these plants are crop wild relatives and could thus be used for crop improvement.