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Uses and Conservation of Plant Species in a National Park—A Case Study of Ben En, Vietnam

Sam Van Hoang, Pieter Baas and Paul J. A. Keβler
Economic Botany
Vol. 62, No. 4 (Dec., 2008), pp. 574-593
Published by: Springer on behalf of New York Botanical Garden Press
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/40390391
Page Count: 20
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Uses and Conservation of Plant Species in a National Park—A Case Study of Ben En, Vietnam
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Abstract

This paper surveys the use of wild and cultivated plants by local people in Ben En National Park, Vietnam, and analyzes its impact on the conservation status of some of the utilized species. A total of 208 species used for a range of nonmedicinal purposes are listed. See Hoang et al. (2008a) for 230 medicinal plants used in the park. Most species are used for food. The use of plants contributes very significantly to the livelihood of local people in the park, but the current use patterns are not sustainable and would lead to local extinction of rare and endangered species if no additional conservation measures are introduced. Men collect nonmedicinal plants more often than women. A total of 38 useful plant species are commercialized, and contribute 12% of the average income of individual households. Bamboo shoots of Schizostachyum funghomii (Poaceae) are the most important for income generation. The monetary equivalent of noncommercialized useful plants probably far exceeds the value of the traded plant products. Plant use is independent of the ethnicity of the different populations living in the park. Larger households make use of a greater variety of useful plant species than small families. Abundant species in the forest have a higher use index (Ul) than less common species. Out of the 208 useful species, as many as 27 were found to be endangered locally, many more than the 11 or 8 endangered species included in national or global red lists. Currently, useful plants, especially important timber trees, are more abundant in the less disturbed parts of the park, far away from the villages, indicating the pressures of illegal logging and harvesting near villages on the ecosystems.

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