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Page with question from env3 and space to add your answers

Page history last edited by Kanako Sugai 12 years ago


env3, Cedarbrae Collegiate Institute, Canada, Question:



Aboriginal peoples living near Canada’s boreal forest rely on forest plants for food and medicine. Plants are harvested by traditional methods to maintain natural habitats and local biodiversity. However, these traditional practices are threatened as


more areas are subject to development and commercial resource exploitation.


Our Question:

How are strategies for the conservation and sustainable use of medicinal plants being used by small communities and traditional healers in your country? In what other ways does your society use plants to sustain your population while also supporting environmental sustainability?

For example: sustainable agricultural practices such as crop rotation and seed saving.






How are strategies for the conservation and sustainable use of medicinal plants being used by small communities and traditional healers in your country? In what other ways does your society use plants to sustain your population while also supporting environmental sustainability?

For example: sustainable agriculture practices such as crop rotation and seed saving.


In Canada, medicinal plants are used to treat human ailments, and are a source of large proportions of medicines. The 'First Nations' Canadians used hundreds of species of medicinal plants in traditional medicines. They are still valuable in modern medicine today.

In Canada, we use cultivation to sustain our population while also supporting environmental sustainability. Cultivation preserves economically important wild crops in their natural habitats. Cultivation also provides farmers with new, and beneficial crops. Some of the most used medicinal plants in Canada are Ginseng, Echinacea, Ginko Bilboa, Ligourice, and St. John's wort.

Top 5 benefits of Ginseng.

A picture of Ginseng growing in the soil.

A picture of the Gingko Bilboa tree, a well known herbal supplement.

Reference Cited

Government of Canada. (2007, March 22). www4.agr.gc.ca. Retrieved from http://www4.agr.gc.ca/AAFC-AAC/display-afficher.do?id=1174597176899⟨=eng

Written by:

Adde, Dave, Thanoja, Nicolas, Nadine


Answer from env1



How are strategies for the conservation and sustainable use of medicinal plants being used by small communities and traditional healers in your country? 


NEEM TREE as a medicinal plant

For many years the small communities and traditional healers in my country have been using plants for treatment just thing of the16th century when people where not advanced in technology like this 21rst century our great great grand mums and dads depended on the medicinal plant for treatment .In our community there is a medicinal plant referred to us Neem tree (mwarubaini).





Neem for Sustainable Agriculture and Environmental Conservation : 

In the past two decades, "Green Revolution Technologies" have more than doubled the yield potential of rice and wheat, especially in Asia. These high-input production systems requiring massive quantities of fertilizers, pesticides, irrigation, and machines. However, disregarding the ecological integrity of land, forests, and water resources, endanger the flora and fauna, and cannot be sustained over generations. Also, we cannot look to the sea in future as fishing stocks in many parts of the world are already in crisis due to over fishing or pollution. To a great extent, future food security and economic independence of developing countries would depend on improving the productivity of biophysical resources through the application of sustainable production methods, by improving tolerance of crops to adverse environmental conditions, and by reducing crop and post-harvest losses caused by pests and diseases.


Environmentally Friendly Agricultural Technologies :

Appropriate technologies, which do not assault the nature, would have key roles to play in ensuring food security, in improving human health, and in rehabilitating and conserving the environment to safeguard the well being of the posterity. Instead of striving for more "Green Revolutions" with emphasis on miracle seeds, hard-hitting, synthetic and engineered pesticides, and increased use of fertilizers, the future must look to natural ways and processes for augmenting agricultural productivity. In fact, all development efforts and activities should be within well defined ecological rules rather than within narrow economic gains. Sustainable agricultural systems must be ecologically sound for long-term food sufficiency, equitable in providing social justice, and ethical in respecting both future generations and other species. For developing countries, the use of the neem tree may provide a key component in more sustainable agricultural system including pest and nutrient management, human health, and environmental conservation.


Neem and Environment : 

Neem has powerful pest controlling activities and medicinal properties. More importantly, pesticides made from neem are much safer compared to synthetic pesticides. The side-effects of the synthetic pesticides are often not less serious than the problems themselves. They cause environmental contamination and are a great risk to human health. As a consequence, there has been an intense search for safer pesticides


Neem in Reforestation and Agro-Forestry :

Neem is a very valuable forestry species in India and Africa and is also becoming popular in Tropical America, the middle-east countries and in Australia. Being a hardy, multipurpose tree, it is ideal for reforestation programs and for rehabilitating degraded, semiarid and arid lands.


Other Uses of Neem Oil :

 Apart from pesticide application for storage and protection, neem oil has been a trusted remedy for a naturally healthy skin in the villages of India. Derived from the seeds of the neem tree it contains all the disinfecting and healing properties of the tree, in a concentrated easily usable form. For centuries, this therapeutic oil has provided protection and oil is used for soap making, pharmaceuticals such as creams. Neem oil is currently used in cosmetics for creams, lotions and shampoos. The plant is believed to cure over forty diseases, for this reason the community and traditional healers regard forest where they get there medicine as a holly place this is shown by the Tiriki in Kenya. they regard the Kaimosi forest as a place of high value. The medicinal plants are also used during circumcision season where the boys spend the all night in the forest. 




In what other ways does your society use plants to sustain your population while also supporting environmental sustainability? For example: sustainable agricultural practices such as crop rotation and seed saving.


Ways in which society use plants to sustain population and also support environment



This the plantings of trees together with crops in the same piece of land. By doing so the tree plant are able to prevent strong winds for destroying the crops. Another benefit is that the tree prevent erosion from happening giving the crops a good condition for growing. This helps to increase the rate of food production in the population and also improve the condition of the land from emotional elements.



The plants produce manure which is used to boost the nutrients in the soil this prevent use of fertilizers which when used have a pollute effect to the soil and water bodies. This occurs when the fertilizers is used in excess and it rains the chemical are carried to the water bodies this leads to massive growth of water plants like the hyacinth  in lake Victoria in Kenya therefore  plants reduce this problem.


(a) Organic Manures

Organic manures are natural products used by farmers to provide food (plant nutrients) for the crop plants. There are a number of organic manures like farmyard manure, green manures, compost prepared from crop residues and other farm wastes, vermicompost, oil cakes, and biological wastes - animal bones, slaughter house refuse. 


Organic manures increase the organic matter in the soil. Organic matter in turn releases the plant food in available from for the use of crops. However, organic manures should not be seen only as carriers of plant food. These manures also enable a soil to hold more water and also help to improve the drainage in clay soils. They provide organic acids that help to dissolve soil nutrients and make them available for the plants.


(b) Plants which are used to produce organic manure



                   Sesbania                                      Crotalaria                                          Cowpea


(c) Green leaf manuring plants



               Glyricidia                                        Pongamia                                              Leucina 



(d) Compost

Compost making is the process of decomposing organic wastes in a pit. Site for compost making is selected should be at a high level and water should not pond during monsoon season. Pit should be of 3’ depth and 6’ to 8’ width. Length may be of any convenient size. The process is as follows:

  1. Make slurry of the cattle dung with water.
  2. Prepare 6” layer of organic wastes – plant residues, sweepings from the cattle shed, waste fodder, dried plants stalks and leaves etc. and sprinkle water to just moisten it. (Over watering should be avoided).
  3. Cover with the layer with urine earth and cattle dung slurry.
  4. Add 5 to 10 kg of super phosphate for every 10 tons of organic wastes.
  5. Repeat the process of putting such layers till the pit is full.
  6. Close the pit with urine earth, waste fodder and then heap the soil till it gets convex shape (about 1 to 1.5’ above the ground) so that the rainwater rolls away.
  7. After six months compost is ready to apply to the fields.

The pit can be filled up if sufficient organic wastes are available. Otherwise a temporary partition can be made in the pit with bamboos or stalks and the pit can be filled up over time filling each partitioned area as and when the material is available for composting.





Some animals like the wild chicken are obtainer from the forest and also people who live near the forests are able to get food .The common food that is obtained from the forest include the meat from gazelle, antelope and even zebra . This helps the local people to get income from the local and foreign tourists who visit the area in order to have a little of the sweat delicious meat, due to the income that the local people get from this business they are able to guard the plants in the forest and therefore safeguarding the forest cover.





env1, Kenya, Chavakali High School


Answer from env2


Agricultural Sustainability in Canada


Canada is home to many First Nations communities, who live in different areas across the countries. These communities rely on the natural environment to support themselves and their way of life. Nationwide there are over a thousand plant species that are traditionally used by the Native people. These species provide communities with food, medicine and living materials.

Plants are seen as an integral component of aboriginal medicine. Where most societies turn to doctors for medical help, aboriginal communities turn to herbal specialists to cure diseases and maintain health. The aboriginal people use upwards of 500 plant species in their medicinal practices. Some examples of how they use these plants are in herbal teas, as poultices, as vapours to inhale and to chew on or eat. Plant species are the main form of medicine for these people and are essential to their health.


Currently there are proposals and protests within the First Nations communities to slow down the clear-cutting of their land. This land is home to many plant and animal species that these communities rely on for their day-to-day life. If the government continues to allow deforestation in these areas, many of their cultural practices will no longer be able to be carried out. As a result of this clear-cutting, numerous species in that area will be affected, as they will lose their habitat. It is the responsibility of the Canadian and the provincial governments to see that these areas are protected and conserved, as these communities do not have much say in situations like this. It is crucial that sustainable practices are exercised in these communities, as without it, the way of life of the aboriginal peoples will be greatly affected.


Although there are disagreements between First Nations communities and the Canadian government about land policies, there are currently many efforts being made by the government to ensure sustainability for their land. Environment Canada’s Enforcement Branch works to ensure that companies and individuals with the pollution prevention and conservation goals of environmental and wildlife protection acts and regulations.


These are the some of the agriculture policies in our home province of Ontario that are designed to identify the need to protect major rural areas for long-time use for farming:


-  The main agricultural areas are given priority for protection with specialty crop areas as well to provide the maximum amount of protection, led by classes 1,2, and 3 soils

-  Special designation of specialty crop areas. Development such as urban expansions and non-farm uses are forbidden in the specialty crop areas

-  Agricultural uses have to be licensed (their size, type, and intensities)

-  Allow for divisions for agricultural and agriculture-related uses

-  No new residential lots are to be created, for the exception of farmhouses, and agricultural uses

-  There has to be a minimum distance set in place for the separation of livestock

-  Comprehensive studies need to be completed before prime agricultural lands can be constructed for urban expansion


Answer from env4


Use of Plants as Medicine

For thousands of years, plants have been used in treating human aliments. It’s been estimated that 400 000 species of vascular plants globally, with somewhere between a quarter and third of these plants have been used for medicinal purposes. In Canada, medicinal plants have been in the history for a long period of time. The First Nations Canadian used hundreds of species in traditional medicine, with the potential for many of these plants to be valuable in modern medicine. The North American ginseng is Canada’s most important medicinal crop. Other major medicinal crops would be Echinacea, ginkgo biloba, liquorice, and St. John's Wort.

In Canada, medicinal plants are generally grown on small plots of land due to the large amount of maintenance and highly specialized growing equipment required. The majority of the world's supplies of medicinal plants are collected from the wild with over half of Canadian medicinal plants being wild crafted. However this may lead to over-collection from the wild and thus cultivation becomes more feasible and necessary. Here in Canada, medicinal herbs are an important part of the natural health product industry. The natural health products include vitamins and minerals, herbal remedies, homeopathic medicines, traditional medicines, probiotics, and other products such as amino acids and essential fatty oils.

An example of a medicinal plant used in Canada is the Anise Hyssop. Anise Hyssop is found mostly in the moist, open woods, along streams and lakeshores, and in wet ditches and prairies. Its natural distribution is from British Columbia across the prairies and into Western Ontario and the adjacent states. The Anise Hyssop has been used by the North American First Nations people as a breath-freshener, as a tea, and as a sweetener. An infusion of the herb was used for chest pain, and the roots were used to coughs. They are also used in Chinese prescriptions for heatstroke, headache, fever, and angina. The leaves are used as poultices for sores. It is used in dried flower arrangement, and the essential oils are used in perfumes and aromatherapy. It is also a good source of nectar.
external image AniseHyssop.jpgexternal image ginseng-pictures_2.jpg
Anise Hyssop Plant Ginseng Plant

Strategies to maintain medicinal plants in Canada

The production of medicinal plants in Canada is very small when compared to the world production. In Canada, medicinal plants are usually grown on small plots of land because of the large amount of maintenance and the requirement of highly specialized growing equipments. The production of these medicinal plants and herbs requires a lot of high investments. But in Canada, this can be done at a low cost. Some ways to maintain these plants in Canada is because of cultivation which can be an advantage of growing different varieties of plants and to increase the amount and quality of them. Another way Canadians maintain plants is by site changing or changing the location where they planted these plants every month or so. This helps with the quality and effectiveness of the plants and their resulting products. The risks of contamination (pollution of the soil, air and water from the usage of different chemicals) should be avoided in order to protect the plants valuable to our health and survival. The soil should also contain enough nutrients and should be fresh to maintain the medicinal plants’ growth and quality. Growers and producers use very minimum amount of pesticides and herbicides. To improve quantity and quality of medicinal plants, there is timely application of measures like topping, bud nipping, pruning and shading. It is very important to maintain medicinal plants very carefully because if this is not done, the production level could decrease by a large amount and this could be risky for many lives.
external image sustainable-agrculture.jpg
Other Sustainable Practices

One method that farmers use to increase the soil fertility is crop rotation. Crop rotation is the planting of differing crops on the same land. It helps to avoid the waste of soil, and to control weeds, diseases, and pests. The benefits of crop rotation are to reduce nitrogen fertilizer usage, in order to make the yield of crops to be a considerable amount. Traditional agriculture practices used in Canada are not sustainable because people are polluting the environment; for example excessive forestry, use of chemically enhanced plant products such as fertilizers and pesticides. Crop rotation is the important factor for product quality and low costs production in Canada. For example the crop rotation system for Potato Production in Atlantic Canada helps to evaluate the economical and environment performance of different crop rotation systems.

Another method used by Canadian farmers for agricultural sustainability is soil amendment. Soil amendment is the process of adding helpful materials to soil to encourage the growth of healthy and quality plants. This conditioning of the soil satisfies the any deficiencies that the soil may have or add the proper nutrients the soil may lack in order for plants to be produced properly. For example, lime can be added to soil to make it less acidic. In Canada, wastes and by-products have been used to improve soil quality. Also, industrial residues have been used for this method. However, the use of industrial residues has the potential to contaminate soil and ground water. As a result, the Ministry of Environment (an environmental protection division in Canada) has established a "code of practice" for the beneficial use of specified industrial by-products on land. This code of practice provides consistent requirements across the province and protects the quality of soil as well as the surface and groundwater on sites where the by-products are applied.

external image corn%2Bstalks.jpgexternal image organic+soil+amendments.jpg






Answer from env5


Dear env3

70% of Liberia’s population live in the rural areas and relied on the rainforest for survival. Herbal treatments is widely practice and prefer in Liberia than western medication as a result certain trees species like the cotton wood trees are considered sacred and are conserved in most of our forest for its value. However, the farming method practiced in Liberia has had serious impact on conservation.


Slash and Burn Farming practice in Liberia.

 Traditional farmers practice subsistence farming, farmer produce crops on a smaller scale for his household. This farming method entails rotational farming, bush following and the slash and burn practice. These farming terms include changing farming land on a rotational basis in search of soil fertility, cutting of trees and burning it to create farming space in the forest. This farming method have destroy plant animal habitat, it has contributed to the emission of carbon dioxide on a large scale. The Forestry Development Authority told us that conserving the national forest and animal habitat have remained a serious challenge for the forestry management team. Incorporating mechanize farming or other farming method that would introduce the use of fertilizers who help to conserve our forest and animal habitat.





Answer from env6


In Ghana, medicinal plants are used to treat human ailments, and are a source of medication for rural dwellers. There is a research centre into plant medicine in Mampong in Ghana which conducts research into these plants speciesToday, CSRPM has become a leading research institution in Africa that has made Research and Development of herbal medicines its core business.
Our objective is to make significant contribution to healthcare through quality research in order to realize our vision “ to make herbal medicine a natural choice for all ”
What we do

Mist Tonica, an Effective Blood Tonic
Mist Tonica, one of the several herbal remedies the Centre for Scientific Research into Plant Medicine (CSRPM) has produced, has been used as an effective treatment for anaemia and loss of appetite for over 30 years at CSRPM. more

How standardized are herbal medicines in Ghana?
Herbal medicines are prepared from a variety of plant materials such as leaves, stems stem bark, roots, root bark, fruits and flowers. These are harvested mainly from the wild and at various stages of development. .Also, there are several clinics and hospitals dotted all over the country who use plant medicine to cure ailments.People from other countries travel to Ghana to receive treatment with herbal medicine.
In Ghana, we use traditional agricultural practices to sustain our population while also supporting environmental sustainability. However, bush burning practices tend to affect our environment negatively. The government and other NGO's are doing much to help preserve the environment.





Answer from env7

    Plants have been used as medicines throughout history. Medicinal plants are widely and successfully used on every continent.

    In Europe, the use of herbal medicine is increasing fast, especially for correcting imbalances caused by modern diets and lifestyles. Many people take medicinal plant products on a daily basis, to maintain a good health as much as to treat illness.


    In Romania, there are 800 species of medicinal plants. Medicinal plants are found in various forms: teas, tinctures, essential oils and other successful health minister, since the beginning of the world.

Using plants to prevent and treat disease is the oldest form of medicine known.Botanists say that the natural balance of the active principles of plants is much less harmful and more effective than synthetic drugs for the sole active ingredient.








Answer from env8







Answer from env9


     Since ancient times, people wanted to find cures for diseases that beset them. They used knowledge passed down from generation to generation to treat diseases and they used most often the medicinal plants. At that time, pollution was almost nonexistent, there were no chemicals, no industry.


     The 20th century was the time of progress of science but also a period of evolution of urban settlements and industry, leading to deforestation of large areas of forests. In our country, people use medicinal plants to treat differents diseases and there are many natural pharmacies here. People who live in villages are using more medicinal plants than people from the cities, because the plants are grown in their locations. These are closely related to trees and other plants, and deforestation has a bad influence on them.


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