Traditional vegetables with medicinal value from loktak lake shore and threats to the community around

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Author: 
Sundari Devi, N., Kh. Singhajit Singh, J. R. F. and Premila Chanu, O.
Subject Area: 
Life Sciences
Abstract: 

Wetlands with its bio-resources are vital to human life and the service provided by wetlands to human kind is tremendous and non-substitutable. The wetland must be considered as the main source of livelihood of sustainable societies and also wetland plant play a significant role in the socio-economy of the people of Manipur. People have been depending upon wetland for food, fodder, medicine etc. and ecological services that people need for survival since ages. The ethnic communities residing around the Loktak Lake collect large varieties of edible and other useful plants and animal bio-resources. A significant number of families depend on this land for their survival and economy. Generally they go out of their home in the morning for fishing and collecting edible plants and in the evening they sale their collected items in the nearby markets located at the logistic and vicinity of the lake. The maximum supply of edible wetland plants and animal bio resources which are of economic value are coming from the Loktak lake (area=289 sq. km.). Some wetland vegetables which are favourite cuisine of Manipur like Polygonum barbatum (yelang) Ipomea aquatica (Komlamni) Oenanthe javanica (Komprek) Neptunia oleracea (Ekaithabi) Eurgale fero (Thangjing) Hedychium coronarium (Loklei), Alpinia nigra (Pullei), Trapa natans (Heikak) Nelumbo nucifera (Thambal) Nymphaea alba (Tharo) are not only eaten as vegetable but also used in medicinal purpose. In Manipur most of the wetlands are under impacts (Taft & Haig 205). Many of the wetlands are transformed into other land forms such as paddy fields, human settlement, land modification for developmental projects and indirectly by rainfall shift and global climate change. It is very important to study on identification, documentation assessing the use pattern, validating the nutritional quality and studying the trade of the most common edible wetland plants of Manipur which local communities are extremely knowledgeable. Conservation of wetlands is becoming a global burning issue and much discussed topic. To ensure sustainable, self-reliant socio economic development of wetland area, strengthening community linkages, educating them with the environment through various awareness programs and acknowledging the aesthetic beauty of the place through ecotourism etc. would surely help in conserving these valuable treasure in long time perspectives. Sustainable harvesting of wetland biodiversity should be adopted in order to get long time benefits. Systematic and rotational harvesting mechanism may be adopted to sustain the resources. Now a days the wetland plants are reported to have a comprehensive capacity for accumulation of numerous heavy metals. Fluctuations in water level compounding the deposition of nutrient metals and silt by interfering with wetland hydrodynamic and flushing of pollutants.

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