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Title Towards a sustainable use of the devilís claw (Harpagophytum procumbens) - results from a simulation model

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Short title Sustainable use of the devilís claw

Author(s) SchŁtze, S.(1); Blaum, N.(1); Tietjen, B.(1); Strohbach, M.(2); Rossmanith, E.(1); Jeltsch, F.(1)

Presenting author Blaum, N.

Institution(s) (1) Plant Ecology and Nature Conservation, University of Potsdam; (2) National Botanical Research Institute, Windhoek

Keywords Population dynamics; harvesting; management; risk assessment

Abstract The Devilís Claw, a medicinal plant of semi-arid rangelands of southern Africa, is an important resource for health care and provides an alternative income for rural communities. Present harvesting practices are often driven by socio-economic forces, aimed to relieve short-term needs of an additional income. Such sporadic resource use and absence of longer-term resource management practices results in over-harvesting, threatening the persistence of the Devilís Claw. However, a loss of these plants will affect marginalised rural communities, who rely on these plants growing in their vicinity for healthcare and income. To approach the question of sustainable harvest we developed a model simulating a Devilís Claw population dependent on weather conditions and harvesting methods. The model analyses the fate of individual plants by explicitly describing growth, mortality and dispersal. With this model, we analysed long-term impacts of harvesting intensities and cycle lengths of consecutive harvesting on population dynamics of Devilís Claw. Particularly, we determined the harvesting output with regard to a sustainable use of the Devilís Claw.

Congress Topic Process Analysis

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Ref. No. 597