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Inhabitants of Altai taught responsible harvesting of medicinal herbs

WWF and charitable project “World around you” summed up the results of the programme for the sustainable harvesting of medicinal herbs in the Altai. One important outcome was the creation of a network of responsible suppliers.

The healing properties of herbs Altai is known far beyond the borders of the region: today the Altai teas, cosmetics enriched with herbs and various balms can be found not only on the shelves of Altai, but also in shops of most Russian cities.

High demand is known, creates and offer: thousands of local people involved in the process of harvesting medicinal herbs. For many, this work is the main source of income. However, few people know about the consequences of uncontrolled harvesting of plants: irresponsible collectors mercilessly destroy many rare species.

WWF and charitable project “World around you” the Corporation “Siberian health” was launched in the Altai program on responsible harvesting of medicinal plants by the locals. The main goal of the project was to teach the population the correct harvesting herbs: what types, in what terms, in what ways and in what quantity can be procured, as well as their properly dried and processed.

“A positive outcome from these programs is huge, — says project coordinator of the Altai-Sayan division of WWF Elena Repetunova. — With the right approach and careful attitude to plants, such procurement can become a significant legal and quite sustainable source of income for the local population, and most importantly, this alternative method will not harm the unique ecosystems of the Mountain Altai”.

The main executor of the project became the Gorno-Altai Botanical garden, which is one of the leading organizations in the region responsible harvesting and plantation of medicinal plants. In the summer of 2014 experts conducted training seminars, meetings and workshops for local residents.

In total, the project managed to conduct 10 workshops trained 150 people from five regions of the Republic. In meetings active participation of the Altai and Katun natural reserves, natural parks “AK Colospa” and “Uch Enmek”, as well as representatives of district and rural administrations.

The seminar participants got acquainted with peculiarities of biology and distribution of medicinal plant species that are not rare, widely distributed and easily renewed. Such plants are Kuril tea, Hypericum perforatum, origanum vulgare, creeping thyme, elecampane. On the basis of these herbs the guests were taught to make songs for teas, scented sachets, making handmade soap. In addition, the experts told the seminar participants, how to organize the sheds-drying and primary processing of herbs.

Also thanks to the project in the Altai began to operate a network of responsible suppliers of medicinal plants. In the village of Besh-Ozek locals for the summer season have prepared 200 kg of the Kuril tea. And in the village bike, where almost all the population involved in the procurement process, gathered bergenia 200 kg, 200 kg leaf currant and also 150 kg of fungus.

“The goal of our project is to draw attention to something that needs our help and support: from small plants up to the entire planet. The nature of Altai is our common heritage and we are proud to contribute to its preservation” . – said the head of the charitable project “World around you” Larissa Buyantuev .