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Ethnobotany of Gokand Valley, District Buner, Pakistan



Ambara Khan, Syed Shahinshah Gilani, Farrukh Hussain and Muffakhira Jan Durrani
 
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ABSTRACT

A survey was conducted to document the ethnobotanical potential of Gokand Valley, District Buner. The study was mainly focused on gathering information on traditional uses of plants from local peoples. The area has great biodiversity and rich in ethnobotanical utilization. Information on the ethnobotany was collected for 138 plant species which included 40 cultivated species.The local inhabitants used 50 as fodder and forage species, 46 for fuel wood purposes, 17 as vegetables, 17 as pot herb, 14 are defined as timber wood species, 5 species are used for making hedges and fences, 34 serve as fruit plants (12 cultivated and 22 wild fruits) 2 as fish poison, 3 soil builders and 2 as honey bee attractant.Deforestation for fuelwood and agricultural uses appears to be the most serious single threat to the vegetation as more than 90% of the houses use wood as the soul source for fuel. This shortage of fuel can be solved by planting fast growing trees on large scale and by protecting the existing planted trees and conserving the endangered species. The area has high potential for wild life and medicinal plants and as rangeland but ecological management including protection is required so that we can gift these resources to the coming generation.

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  How to cite this article:

Ambara Khan, Syed Shahinshah Gilani, Farrukh Hussain and Muffakhira Jan Durrani, 2003. Ethnobotany of Gokand Valley, District Buner, Pakistan. Pakistan Journal of Biological Sciences, 6: 363-369.

DOI: 10.3923/pjbs.2003.363.369

URL: https://scialert.net/abstract/?doi=pjbs.2003.363.369

Introduction

Gokand is a lush green mountainous valley, dominated by lofty mountains from all the sides except extreme south. It lies between 34o-33’ to 34o-41’ North latitude 72o, 30’ to 72o, 34’ east longitude on the globe. The valley is bounded by Pir Baba (Batai) and Qadir Nagar on the west, Jambail Kokarai in the north, Alpuri in the North East and Chgarzai in the east. Highest point in the area is Loe Sar having an altitude of 2334 meters while lowest is Hissar having an altitudes of 1200 meters.

The climate of Gokand valley is of subtropical type in the lower parts and temperate in the upper regions. In winter snowfall starts from about the end of November and continuous till the end of February at appropriate altitude. The weather is hot in June-July in the lower reaches.

The maximum rainfall occurs in the months of February, March and April while December and January are the driest months. The monsoon rains is high but of short duration of the total. 28.01% of the year precipitation falls in February to March and 54.06% of the yearly precipitation falls in July to September (Table 1).

There are mixed kail and broad leaved forests, blue-pine forest, chir-pine forests and scrub forests in the area.

Plants are the basis of life and provide food, medicines, timber for construction, fodder for our animals, materials for mats and baskets and many other useful items. Man utilizes plants for all of his basic needs, but usually does not acknowledge their potential use and the problems associated with excessive exploitation resulting in habitat losses and shrinkage in biodiversity. Hence it was realized by scientists all over the world, to record the local knowledge about plants, their potential use, problems associated with plants and application of indigenous knowledge for the sustainable development of human beings.

Ethnobotany is the study of direct interaction between human and plant population through its culture. Chaudri and Qureshi (1991) indicated that as many as 709 species of the vascular plants of Pakistan, constituting about one fourth of vascular flora, are in danger of being gradually wiped out or exterminated altogether. Shinwari and Khan (2000) focused on information regarding traditional uses of plants of Kaghan Valley. Out of 48 medicinal species, only 26 are used by the local peoples and 21 plant species were animal fodder. Some woody plants are being utilized for making tools, handles, wheels, carts, plough, etc. besides some poisonous and ornamental species. Shinwari et al. (2000) while working on the medicinal plants of Pakistani Hindukush Himalayas, reported that 12% of the flora of Pakistan is used as medicinal plants and several of them are exported to various countries also. Watanabe et al. (2001) recommended 46 wild aromatic plants of Pakistan that could be adopted as minor cash crops because of their market value. Shinwari et al. (2002) gave an account of more than 300 medicinal plants to be traded in Pakistani herbal markets. Hussain et al. (1996 ) reported 125 species with various uses from Dabargai hills Swat. Ahmad (1996) listed plants with their uses from Sulatanr valley, Swat. Although some studies on the ethnobotany of other parts of Pakistan has been done but no such reference exist for Gokand Valley, Distric Buner, Pakistan.

The present investigation was under taken to prepare an inventory of locally used medicinal plants and to document the local methods of preparing recipes for caring different ailments.

Materials and Methods

The study was conducted in difference parts of Gokand valley. The first trip was made in October – November 1997 (winter aspect) and second in June – July 1998 (Summer aspect).

The local names, uses and related information about plants were known through filling about 100 questionnaire and interviewing the farmers, foresters, hakeems (local herbal doctors), drug dealers and shopkeepers. Priority was given to elder people and hakeems, who were more knowledgeable about the traditional uses of medicinal plants.

Table 1: Monthly rain fall (mm) data for 1997 for Pirbaba Pacha Kalay
Source: Agricultural office Pirbaba Pacha Kalay and Agriculture Statistics of N.W.F.P.(Buner)

An effort was made to collect complete specimen. They were dried and identified in the Botany Department, University of Peshawar and PCSIR, Peshawar through the available literature (Nasir and Ali, 1971 – 1995; Qaiser and Ali, 1995 – 2002) and were cobnfirmed at National Herbarium, NARC, Islamabad. A set of plants has been deposited in the herbarium.

Results and Discussion

Information on the ethnobotany was collected for 138 plant species including 40 cultivated species (Table 2).

The local inhabitants used 50 as fodder and forage species, 46 for fuel wood purposes, 17 as vegetables, 17 as pot herb, 14 are defined as timber wood species, 5 species are used for making hedges and fences, 34 serve as fruit plants (12 cultivated and 22 wild fruits) 2 as fish poison, 3 soil builders and 2 as honey bee attractant.

The vegetation of investigated area is under intense deforestation and overgrazing pressure. The most serious single threat to the vegetation is the use of plant as fuel wood as more than 90% of the houses depend on forest fuel. This impact of fuel shortage can be solved by planting fast growing trees on large scale, and by protecting the existing planted trees and conserving the endangered species. Moreover, the area has high potential for wild life, medicinal plants and as rangeland. However, ecological management including protection is required so that we can save resources to the coming generation.

Old aged people frequently mentioned (65%) about plant uses while elders have (20%) awareness, young and children have (12%) and (3%) awareness respectively (Fig. 1, 2).

Fig. 1: Agewise distribution of knowledge of mediclinal plants in the local communities of Gokand Valley

Fig. 2: Percentage of traditional knowledge obtained

Recommendations
1. Conservation education may be extended to the local communities and their local technologies may be incorporated in developing plans.
2. Traditional “Nagha system” may be encouraged for sustainable forest use.
3. Energy efficient and locally tested stove system may be introduced in community area around Gokand valley. This may help in reduction of pressure fuel wood.
4. Royalty of locals in the forest must be ensured for the assured forest protection.
5. Basic facilities of communication, electricity, education and health may be provided locally.
6. Cultivation of the economical medicinal, fruit yielding and fodder plants may be introduced and people may be trained in its processing and marketing demands.

Table 2: Brief ethnobotanical description of plants
* Indicat cultivated plants
REFERENCES
1:  Chaudri, M.N. and R.A. Qureshi, 1991. Pakistan endangered flora: 11A. Checklist of rare and seriously threatened taxa of Pakistan. Pak. Syst., 5: 1-84.

2:  Shinwari, M.I. and M.A. Khan, 2000. Fodder species of Margalla Hills National Park, Islamabad, Pakistan. Pak. J. Biol. Sci., 3: 10-17.

3:  Watanabe, T., H. Watanabe, S.S. Gilani, I.K. Wazir and Z.K. Shinwari, 2001. Survey of wildflowers in Pakistan (1) Conservation and utilization of medicinal plants of Islamabad. Aroma Res. Jap., 2: 195-201.

4:  Ahmad, R., 1996. Ethnobotanical studies of sulatanr valley, district Swat. M.Sc. Thesis, Department Botany, ICP, University of Peshawar.

5:  Shinwari, Z.K., S.S. Gilani, M. Kohjoma and T. Nakaike, 2000. Status of medicinal plants in pakistani hindukush himalayas. Proceedings of the Nepal Japan Symposium on Conservation and Utilization of Himalayan Medicinal Resources, Nov. 6-11, Kathmandu, Nepal, pp: 257-264.

6:  Shinwari, Z.K., S.S. Gilani and M. Shaukat, 2002. Ethnobotanical resources and implications for curriculum. Proceedings of the Workshop on Curriculum Development in Applied Ethnobotany, May 2-4, Nathiagali, Abbotabad, Pakistan, pp: 21-34.

7:  Hussain, F., A. Khaliq and M.J. Durani, 1996. Ethnobotanical studies on some plants of Dabargai Hills, District Swat, Pakistan. Proceedings of the 1st Training Workshop on Ethnobotany and its Application to Conservation, (TWEAC'96), National Herbarium, PARC., Islamabad, Pakistan, pp: 207-215.

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