Ethnobotanical Leaflets 13: 651-64, 2009.
Plant diversity and Ethnobotanical notes on tree
species of Syabru Village,
Ananda Raj Joshi and Kunjani Joshi*
Former Director General, SACEP,
*Department of Botany, Patan Campus,
In the course of the survey of the useful plants of �
Keywords: Plant biodiversity, ethnobotanical uses, indigenous knowledge, habitats.
the recent years, more attention is given to sustainable use and integrated
management of the� economically
important species due to an
increasing recognition of their contribution to fulfill� basic needs of the people, household
economies, food security and conservation of natural� resources. In
Study Areas and Methods
After reconnaissance of some villages of the Central Development
Table 1.� Physical and Socio-economic characteristic features.
Several field trips in and around the study areas were undertaken� with a view to collect plant� species of ethnobotanical value and document the indigenous practices. The information was� gathered using various techniques such as open and structured interview, and discussion with� local informants, such traditional healers / �jhankri�, and experienced village elders including� midwives and by direct observations on the way different plant materials were being collected� and used (Joshi and Edington, 1990). Voucher specimens are deposited in the SchEMS, Pokhara� University, Kathmandu, Nepal.
�Results and Dicussion
The study areas are endowed with rich and varied biodiversity with various ecosystems i.e.� forest, scrub, grassland, waterbodies etc. Diverse geomorphology, climatic variations and� vegetation have made the forests and adjoining areas flourish with diverse species. The forest� types of Syabru and the adjoining areas is charecterized by pine forest, alder forest and pine- �broad leaved forest. Pine (Pinus wallichiina) is an important dominant tree in the pine forests and� pine�broad leaved forests with other associated species i.e. Alnus nepalensis, Lyonia ovalifolia,� Quercus spp., Rhododendron arboreum, Pyrus pashia, Princepia utilis, Berbaris asiatica,� Mahonia nepalensis, Artemisia indica. In Alder forest Alnus nepalensis, Quercus lanata, Lyonia� ovalifolia, Rhododendron arboreum, Princepia utilis are dominant trees with some shrubs i.e.� Mahonia nepalensis, Dodecadenia grandiflora, Berberis chitria, Buddleja asiatica, Viburnum� cylindricum, Gauitheria fragrantissima and some herbs, such as Achyranthes bidentata, Allium� wallichii, Artemisia indica, Cannabis sativa (Table 2). Species composition of trees in the forest� types and production of wood in the forest areas are presented in Table� 2 and 3 respectively.�
Table� 2. Dominent species composition of trees in Syabru.
Table 3. Production of wood in the forest areas of Syabru.
Tree (.10cm diam)
Shrubs (<10cm diam.)
The wood productivity estimates obtained at Syabru (11.06 m/ha/annum) fall� within the range� 10-30m quoted by Joshi (1988) for forests in the hills of Nepal (Table 3). The fact that the� village estimates are at the lower end of this range is probably related to substantial reduction in� forest cover caused by over-exploitation.
During the field survey, ethnobotanical information of 25 species of medicinal plants belonging� to 17 families have been collected from various habitats of the study areas. Table 4 lists the� plants recorded as being used in Syabru village and adjoining areas. The species are arranged� alphabetically with� family, local names, habitat and uses.
Table 4. Ethnobotanical uses of the trees of Syabru.
The results of the present study revealed that trees and their parts� are widely used� for various� purposes as� fuelwood, timber, medicines, rawmaterials etc. �
In the study village, wood cut from the forest is the principal source of domestic energy for� cooking and heating.� The preferred species for fuel wood by local people are given in Table 5.
Fuelwood Consumption Patterns in the study area are as follows:
(a) fuelwood used by village residents
(b) fuelwood used by tourist trekkers or on their behalf (e.g. where teahouse provide food� and� regreshments)
(c) �fuelwood cut on the village land by outsiders who subsequently export it for consumption� elsewhere.
Estimate for the annual consumption of fuelwood from the study village is set out in Table� 6. It� will be seen that the trekkers use greater fuelwood (22 metric tons/annum) due to Syabru is a� overnight stoping place for treeker between national park and Dhuche (Joshi, 1988). The other� feature to notice is that wood was also being harvested on village land by people who had come� in from surrounding villages and were subsequently carrying loads� of wood from Syabru (18� metric tons/annum)� out of the area.
Table 6. Wood production and consumption for� Syabru village (value
expressed as mt/ per year).
The most striking feature of the relationship between wood production and consumption is the� excess of consumption over production in the small wood category� the both villages. Small� wood includes the branches of trees and shrubs, the truks of small wood probably has a varietyb� of causes. It can be easily cut using the traditional nepali tools i.e. khurpi or Knief, it can be� conveniently tied into bundles, and subsequently, it is easily fed into the apertures of clay stoves� or between the legs of tripod type stoves. If one is to look for environmental consequences of this� over-use of small wood, one of these appear to be the suppression of tree regeneration. In counts� of regenerating trees in the 25 m survey plots, it was found that few seedlings survived to a� height greater than 100 cm. presumably the main reason was that at this hight the samplings� became usable as fuelwood and were cut and removed (Joshi, 1988).�
Timber for house construction, furnitures and household utensils
���� Nepalese village houses have
a supporting framework of wooden uprights with additional� pillars, to support a balcony if this is
included in the design. At Syabru the roof also usually� consists of flat wooden slabs or shingles.
When asked about the amount of wood used for�
building purposes with the local people, no reliable information were
available from the study� area.
However, Mauch (1976) and Joshi (1988) have�
made a calculation of building-timber use� per person for hill village in
����� Though the hardwoods are generally favoured for constructional purposes of their greater� durability and relative freedom from fungal and insect attack, pine is more widely used at the� Syabru village because of the greater availability. Other� preferred species for house frames are� Alnus nepalensis, Castanopsis indica, Castanopsis tribuloides, Melia azedarach, Myrsine� capitellata, Quarcus glauca and� Q. semicarpifolia. Wood of Pinus wallichiana and Schima� wallichii are usually chosen for window shutters,� doors and �ladders. Wood is also used in the� manufacture of household furnitures including storage boxes, chairs, stools, table and beds.� Species used for these purpose include Abies spectabilis, Bombax cebia, Castanopsis indica, C.� tribuloides, Myrsine capitellata, Myrsine semiserrata, Pinus wallichiana, Quercus glauca, Q.� lanata, and� Q. semicarpifolia. For fencing, favoured species included Alnus nepalensis, Lyonia� ovalifolia and Rhododendron arboreum. Rhododendron arboretum finds a particular use in the� manufacture of such household items as wooden paddles, spoons� and� bowls.
����� The present study revealed that gastro intestinal disorders and stomach ache, dematological� illness and cuts, wounds and headache� are the major diseases and illness in the study area. The� local people use the plants and their parts� for the treatment of these alignments following the� traditional practices. During the treatment of the diseases, various� forms of preparation are used . Among the documented species, 7 species were used to treat gastrointestinal disorders, 2 for� fever, cough, headache, 7 for dermatological illness, 1 for genito-urinary complaints, 3 for� respiratory aliments, 2 for dental problems, and 2 for others (Table 2).
����� Wild foods� are collected by local people from a wide variety of habitats i.e. forest, scrub,� edges of cultivated areas and waste lands. The major food plants are Myrica esculenta,� Castanopsis spp., Pyrus pashia, Prunus nepaulensis, Lindra pulcherrima. The local communities� have also excellent knowledge about the� poisnous plants of the study area
����� 18� tree species are recorded as being used as fodder plants in these villages. Among them,� local people prefer Castanopsis indica, Castanopsis tribuloides, Myrsine capittata, Myrsine� semiserata, Quercus glaunca, Quercus lananta, Q. semiserrata and Salix babylonica.. The� people of the villages� have comprehensive knowledge about fodder plants, as they are in� constant association and dependence on these resources for integrated agriculture development.
����� Various plant and parts of the plants are used as rawmaterials for the manufacture or� preparation of commodities. The major products and uses as follows:
���� At Syabru the main dye used is a dark brown dye derived from the bark of Schima wallichii.� The dye are used for coloring wool and for painting designs (usually with a stick) on baskets,� mats, and cloth.
Handals of agricultural tools
���� Species especially favoured for the handles of tools and agricultural implements include� Melia azedarach and� Pyrus pashia.,
Manufacture of soap and wax
����� Pinus wallichiana is an important source of resin
and turpentine in the study area. Resin is�
used in the manufacture of soap, grease, and waxes and is exported for
these purpose to Trisuli� and
Insectisides and� Fish poison
����� The village people use a variety of plant materials to deter flies in the houses and to protect� stored grain from insect damage. Leaves of� Lyonia ovalifolia or dried fruits, leaves, bark of� Melia azaderach are placed in the mouth of grain bags and in the tops of open-air storage bins� (bhakari), to discourage the entry of grain-feeding beetles and moths.�
���� Plant extracts are widely used in the studied village for capturing fish. Crushed leaves� of� Lyonia ovalifolia or immature leaves of� Rhododendron arboreum are introduced into streams� and river with the aim of stupefying fish. The affected fish float to the surface and are removed� from the water usually with a piece of cloth stretched across a branched stick. Similarly fruits of� Melia azaderach or bark and fruits of Schima wallichii are also used as fish poison.
Strategies for Sustainable Management
����� Despite the formulation and adoption of various policies, plans, strategies and� implementation of progrommes� for the conservation of the species and their habitats, there is a� growing consensus among the conservationists that� the conservation of bio-resources, especially� of� plant biodiversity is entering into a stage of crisis, since there has� been hardly any attempt to� conserve these resources in an integrated manner (Joshi and Joshi, 1998). Therefore, the� following strategies should be implemented in order to� conserve and sustainable use of trees in� particular and other plant diversity in general in an environmentally sound way.
�1. Inventory, Documentation of the species and research
����� Though the inventory of plant biodiversity has initiated in different biogeographical areas,� many parts of the country� are� still remained unexplored. Hence, it is strongly recommended� that major thrust� should be given to an intensive inventory and documentation of the useful� trees as well as other species� and their products. The research related to chemical screening� should also be initiated to analyse chemical contents and their implications on health, food and� plant products.
2. Documentation of ethnobotanical uses, Traditional knowledge and�� practices
����� Regarding the ethnobotanical information, there is still a paucity of quantitative data about� the traditional uses, effectiveness, sideeffects and traditional techniques.� The rural people have� excellent ethnobotanical knowledge which they have developed� due to constant association� with the forest ecosystems. These existing valuable information are needed to be� documented� before lost or disappeared. Therefore, it is strongly recommended that emphasis should� be� given to the action activities for the documentation of indigenous uses, traditional knowledge� and practices� following in quatitative methods.
3. �Conservation of useful species and their habitats
����� At present urbanization trend is rapidly spreading even in the forest and waste land.� �Deforestation and habitat destruction due to� land use change would pose a serious threat to the� useful species and habitats. Hence, efforts should be directed to formulate and implement� appropriate conservation strategies and programs for habitat management and sustainable uses� of the plants and their products taking consideration of the needs of the people.
The authors are thankful to the inhabitants of the study areas for their kind cooperation and help� during the field survey. Thanks are due to� Dr. John F. Edington, University of Wales, U.K. for� his guidance and suggestion, and Dr. S. K. Jain, Founder and Ex-Director, Institute of� Ethnobiology, Lucknow, India, Profs. P.K. Jha, R. P. chaudhary and K. K. Shrestha, Central� Department of Botany, Tribhuvan University, Kathmandu, Nepal for constant encouragement.
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