Illicit harvesting and overexploitation of orchids for the illegal wildlife trade are posing significant threats to these plants, which are one of the most threatened flowering plants in the world. When coming to one of largest homes to orchid species, India, the situation is alarming.
In the new communiqué Orchids; Factsheet on India’s orchids in illegal wildlife trade, the Traffic said that despite India being home for about 1256 orchid species of which 307 are endemic to the country, only 11 species protected under India’s Wildlife (Protection Act).
Orchids are illegally collected and traded for ornamental plants, traditional medicine, and consumption. The increasing demand for orchids for various purposes leads to unsustainable harvesting practises in India. Protected species such as Blue Vanda and Ladies Slipper have been found m wildlife seizure across the country, the communiqué said. It said that orchids like Eulophia dabia and Dactylorhiza hatagirea populations are succumbing to over harvesting. Crepidium acuminatum, Habenaria edgeworthii and Habenaria intermedia are collected from the wild for their medicinal use. They are used in making Chyawanprash, a popular dietary supplement in India.
HABITAT DESTRUCTION AND FRAGMENTATION
One of the most pertinent threats to orchids today is habitat destruction and degradation. Climate change too, is harming the species as it has a significant impact on pollination services and affects the plant communities where orchids exist.
Traffic through its new factsheet strongly suggests raising awareness of orchids among the local communities and promoting sustainable and traceable use of threatened species to ensure that trade in orchids is not a threat to its future.
Raise awareness among local people to encourage them to preserve the wild orchid species in their area.
Promote sustainable and traceable use of threatened orchids in legally permitted areas through village level Biodiversity Management Committees as an additional. source of livelihood.
Include medicinally and ornamentally valuable orchids such as Renanthera Cypripedium, Paphiopedilum , Habenaria intermedia , H. pubescens, Eulophiadabia Dactylorhiza hatagirea threatened by illegal trade and overexploitation in the various Schedules of Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972 of India for protection and to restrain their overharvesting from the wild.