There are 335-recorded threatened medicinal plants in India. They range from Critically Endangered (CR), Endangered (EN), and Vulnerable (VU) to Near Threatened (NT) as per IUCN Red List Categories and Criteria. On the basis of their studies, Foundation for Revitalization of local Health Traditions (FRLTH), which is a Centre of Excellence of the Ministry, has assigned Red List status to these plants.
The National Medicinal Plants Board (NMPB) set-up in November 2002 by the Government of India has the primary mandate of coordinating all matters relating to medicinal plants and support policies and programmes for growth of trade, export, conservation and cultivation. A Central Sector Scheme for Conservation, Development and Sustainable Management of Medicinal Plants was operationalized in NMPB during the year 2008. The objective of the scheme is to ensure sustained supply of quality medicinal plants, R&D, training & awareness and promotional activities like creation of Home/School Herbal Gardens and thereby to promote plant based health security.
In addition, to conserve, protect, cultivate, propagate, improve harvesting and collection practices of medicinal plant diversity of the country, Ministry of Environment & Forests has undertook a UNDP Country Programme in the year 2006 for 9 States viz; Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Orissa, West Bengal, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan with an outlay of Rs. 12.90 Crores. The program ended in June this year. The main objective of the project was to promote conservation of Medicinal Plants and Traditional Knowledge for enhancing Health & Livelihood Security and mainstreaming these into the existing policies and programs of the forestry and health sector. The Foundation for Revitalization of local Health Tradition (FRLHT), Banglore acted as the designated Focal Point for the Programme.
The ministry has recently initiated another project namely GEF-UNDP Project on ‘Mainstreaming Conservation and Sustainable Use of Medicinal Plant Biodiversity’.This will be implemented in three states namely Chhatisgarh in Central India, Arunachal Pradesh in North- East India and Uttaranchal in North-west India.This is with the support of UNDP and Global Environment Facility (GEF). The total out lay of the project is US $ 11,414, 121 with 4.93 million $ of GEF and 6.4 Million $ of Government contribution which makes it Rs. 57.07 Crores as the total cost of the project.
The Biological Diversity Act, 2002, regulates the access to forest components, including medicinal plants. Section 38 of the Biological Diversity Act, 2002 stipulates that the Central Government, in consultation with the concerned State Government, may from time to time, notify any species which is on the verge of extinction or likely to become extinct in the near future as a threatened species, and prohibit or regulate their collection and also to take appropriate steps to rehabilitate and preserve these species. In pursuance of this section, the Ministry of Environment Forests has prepared a State-wise list of threatened plants and animals along with guidelines for their rehabilitation in consultation with Botanical Survey of India and Zoological Survey of India.