The International Standard for Sustainable Wild Collection of Medicinal and Aromatic Plants (ISSC-MAP)


Josef A. Brinckmann


Traditional & Complementary Medicine Exhibition 2007 (TCME 2007)




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An estimated 50,000 - 70,000 plant species are used in traditional and modern medicine throughout the world. These species make an essential contribution to healthcare, provide an important source of income to rural harvesters, and, along with species used more for their aromatic properties, fuel a major industry in herbal products, pharmaceuticals and fragrances. The great majority of medicinal and aromatic plant (MAP) species used today are collected from the wild. Unfortunately, available information suggests that up to 15,000 MAP species could be threatened, many as a direct result of unsustainable collection practices. The process to develop an International Standard for the Sustainable Wild Collection of Medicinal and Aromatic Plants (ISSC¬MAP) began in 2004 as a joint initiative of the German Federal Agency for Nature Conservation (BfN), World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF Germany) and TRAFFIC. The initial core group has expanded to include industry associations, companies, certifiers, and community-based NGOs through international steering, advisory and technical groups. The purpose of the ISSC-MAP is to ensure the continued use and long-term survival of MAP species and populations in their habitats, while respecting the traditions, cultures and livelihoods of all stakeholders. The objectives of this standard are to provide a framework of principles and criteria that can be applied to the management of MAP species and their ecosystems, to provide guidance for management planning, to serve as a basis for monitoring and reporting, and to recommend requirements for certification of sustainable wild collection of MAP resources.