This study examined traditional harvesting knowledge and practices, paired with field-based assessment of distribution of a vulnerable wild medicinal root, Anacyclus pyrethrum var. pyrethrum, in southern Morocco. Research included focus groups, qualitative interviews, and a survey of 38 collectors. Based on local knowledge, replanting trials were conducted and transects and plot-based assessments were used to examine distribution. Local collectors reported significant declines in A. pyrethrum var. pyrethrum populations, driven by poaching and premature (either before the root has become large enough or before the season of seed dispersal) harvesting in sites that cannot be protected from poaching, as well as grazing and tilling. Thirty sites, totaling approximately 30% of the region, were surveyed: A. pyrethrum var. pyrethrum was identified in only nine. In five sites, plot transects were used to determine plant density, revealing that plant density and the number of flowers and fruit per plant were significantly higher closest to habitation. This research contributes to the understanding and evaluation of the causes of over harvesting and factors that could help to protect this vulnerable species. We believe that there is significant room to build on local collector’s knowledge of harvesting and management of this important natural resource, with potential benefits for both local livelihoods and local ecosystems.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Plant Science