Eighty percent of Africans use traditional treatments made from wild native plant species—and one-third depend on them entirely. These plants are mostly harvested from forests. But, as populations rise and forests disappear, over exploitation is rampant. If steps aren't taken now to control this overuse, precious forest resources will be lost forever - denying millions of people access to medicines.
Everything is in place for a huge leap forward in the sustainable management of the medicinal plants supplied by Southern Africa's forests. Policy makers now need to take advantage of sustainable harvesting techniques, new networks of stakeholders, and tremendous popular demand for lasting supplies of medicine.