Dependency and Economic Benefits of Use of Wild Food Plants use among Tribal Communities in Malai Madeshawara Hills Wildlife Sanctuary, Southern India
Economic importance of wild food plants
Wild food plant resources and their indigenous knowledge of use, are in danger of being lost in areas where rapid environmental and cultural transformations have led to changes in eating habits and practices. The study assesses the dependency and economic value of wild food plant use among forest-dwelling communities. Community perceptions are used to assess the use patterns and interrelations of human well-being. The data is collected through a combination of semi-structured interviews, household questionnaire survey, and focus group discussions in eight villages. Wild food plants are of vital importance to local communities in terms of food security, dietary diversity, and household economy. Local communities use wild plant species as vegetables, fruits, beverages, in traditional therapeutic practices, and as a symbol of ethnic identity. The taxonomical distribution and diversity of 124 species belonging to 57 families and 91 genera are assessed. The cash value of wild food plants to a household range from ₹ 3200 to 6000 per year. These plants are a reliable safety net for many households and play a vital role in the livelihoods of the local people. The study emphasizes the dependency and livelihood importance of these plants.
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