EXSITU AND INSITU CONSERVATION OF MEDICINAL PLANTS
India ranks sixth under world's twelve mega bio-diversity zones. Out of these, two ofthem exist in our country. India possesses tremendous ecological bio-diversity. Itcontains 5 % of the world's bio-diversity on 2 % of the earth's surface. Thebiodiversity in our country is unique in nature and its in-situ and ex-situ conservationis very well needed. In recent years, the global demand of herbs has led to a quantumjump in volume of medicinal plants traded within and across the countries. Themedicinal plants have been identified as one of the most important plant diversities for rural development. The use of plants as medicine is as old as human civilization itself.
India is home to about 15000 to 18000 of flowering plants of which about 8000 plant species are recognized as medicinal plants and are being used by various traditional systems of medicine.
The biodiversity in our country is unique in nature and its in-situ and ex-situ conservation is very well needed. In recent years, the global demand of herbs has led to a quantum jump in volume of medicinal plants traded within and across the countries. The medicinal plants have been identified as one of the most important plant diversities for the rural development.
NEED FOR CONSERVATION
According to World Conservation Strategy (IUCN, UNEP and WWF, 1980) conservation is defined as " the management of human use of the biodiversity so that it may yield the greatest sustainable benefit to the present generation while maintaining its potential to meet the needs and aspirates of future generations" The forest areas in the state of Uttar Pradesh are very rich in variety of medicinal plant species particularly in the Vindhyan region where various medicinal plants grow naturally.
According to Planning Commission Report (2000) the primary goal of biodiversity conservation as envisaged in World Conservation Strategy is summarized below: i) Maintaining of essential ecological process and its life support system. ii) Preservation of genetic diversity
iii) Sustainable Management.
The medicinal plants are basic raw material for the production of Ayurveda and Unani medicine medicines. The bulk of the raw material (about 80% of the demand) is derived from the forests only. Hence, the forest areas have been over exploited in the past to meet the requirement of the pharmaceutical and allied industries. Consequently, many of the important plant species have been threatened and some of them are on the verge of extension due to unscientific collection by untrained persons. In recent years, medicinal plants have also been gaining immense popularity not only in developing countries but also in developed countries due to various well-known reasons like side effects of synthetic drugs. Therefore, the demand for the basic raw material has been further increased and forest areas are hardly able to meet this increasing demand of industries. In view of the aforesaid reasons, there is an urgent need to conserve and to propagate some important medicinal plants species so as to save them from extinction and also to ensure greater availability of raw material EXSITU CONSERVATION
Ex-situ conservation means literally, "off-site conservation". It is the process of protecting an endangered species of plant or animal outside of its natural habitat; for example, by remov...