Supporting Thai Ethnic Communities for Conservation of Kadsura coccinea (Lem.) A.C.Sm. (Schisandraceae)

25 Oct 2023 Mae Fah Luang District, Thailand, Asia People | Plants

Methee Phumthum

Thailand is home to a multitude of ethnic minorities who are integrating their knowledge and cultures into their environments harmoniously. They possess extensive traditional knowledge concerning the utilization of plants.

Our world is currently facing a significant period of traditional knowledge erosion, with biodiversity loss being one of the primary drivers. Conversely, biodiversity loss is also a significant driving force behind the vanishing of traditional knowledge.

Kadsura coccinea is an important species for many ethnic communities in Thailand. However, this species is rare and not commonly found among most ethnic groups. Many villagers have attempted to propagate this plant but have encountered difficulties in germinating its seeds.

This project has chosen an Akha ethnic community located in northern Thailand as a study model. This particular community has documented traditional uses of the species. Crucially, community members possess knowledge of plant locations and have access to the plant specimens for various purposes. According to information gathered from the villagers, there exist two distinct Kadsura species/groups in the area: one with larger fruits primarily used for food, and another with smaller fruits employed stem for medicinal purposes. Kadsura species are at risk of extinction within the village. This project aims to assist the villagers in conducting experiments for the propagation and cultivation of these species. In the long-term study, it is anticipated that the villagers will be able to augment the population sizes of these species within their area.

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