Community Capital and the Conservation of Herbal Plants Diversity

By Saowapa Sukprasert.

Published by The International Journal of Interdisciplinary Environmental Studies

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Community capital plays a large role in herb conservation. Our objectives were to study the conditions of herbal plant diversity in the Na-o municipality of Loei, Thailand, to investigate community capital characteristics and herbal utilization, to explore directions for conserving herbal plant diversity by applying community capitals, and to evaluate directions for conservation. A participatory action research method was applied with qualitative multi-techniques of observation, focus group discussions, interviews, and workshops. The target group was seventy-two key informants. Data were analyzed by content analysis. The results found that community contexts were suitable for natural herbs and plants. Herbs were categorized as perennial, annual, water, climbing plants, and kitchen vegetables in home gardens. Community capital included: a natural resource capital of soils, mountains, forests, and reservoirs; a social capital of unity and mutual help; a cultural capital of local religious traditions; an intellectual and local wisdom capital of resource management and ancestral indigenous knowledge. The community exemplified herbal values and various utilizations. Directions for conservation included the determination of utilization, rehabilitation, and development. They were: increased planting, more learning resources, and knowledge dissemination. Evaluation of the directions indicated that the community was satisfied with the herb values leaflet and exchange of vegetation. All aspects of herbal use were worth conserving.

Keywords: Community Capital, Herbal Plants, Diversity Conservation

The International Journal of Interdisciplinary Environmental Studies, Volume 10, Issue 2, June 2015, pp.13-19. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 281.503KB).

Dr. Saowapa Sukprasert

Lecturer, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, Loei Rajabhat University, Loei, Thailand