Botanical Experts Warn about Dangers of Climate Change for Medicinal Plants

A group of botanical experts has published a paper in the journal Planta Medica, warning of the effects of climate change on medicinal plants. In Scientists’ Warning on Climate Change and Medicinal Plants, they write that “populations may be threatened by changing temperature and precipitation regimes, disruption of commensal relationships, and increases in pests and pathogens, combined with anthropogenic habitat fragmentation that impedes migration.” The paper warns that these effects, combined with unsustainable harvest, could push many plant populations to extinction. Furthermore, they note that increased environmental stresses could alter the chemical content of medicinal plants. The authors recommend measures such as conservation and cultivation of plants, harvester education, and efforts to mitigate climate change.