News from the Herb Research Foundation

The Herb Research Foundation goal is improving world health by linking reputable herb buyers in the Western world with sustainable harvesters and growers in developing nations.

| November/December 2001

News from the Herb Research Foundation on improving world health through herbs and sustainable botanicals from Albania.

About the Herb Research Foundation

The Herb Research Foundation is dedicated to improving world health through the informed use of herbs. Since 1983, HRF has been educating the public, health practitioners, legislators, and the media about the health benefits and safety of herbs, drawing on a specialty botanical library of more than 300,000 scientific papers and multiple online databases. Call (303) 449-2265 to join us in supporting the future of botanical medicine!

For centuries, rural people in isolated areas all over the world supported themselves by harvesting plants and other natural products from the forests and grasslands. By harvesting only for personal use or small local markets, these people maintained a delicate interdependence with the plant resources on which they relied for food, shelter, medicine, and income.

In an ideal world, this scenario may have continued indefinitely. In reality, however, growing population pressure, habitat loss, and escalating commercial demand for wild botanicals have created a critical need for a new vision of sustainable plant production.

“There’s an ongoing revolution in health care that’s gradually replacing conventional notions of health and wellness,” says Maureen DeCoursey, HRF’s new director of sustainable development. “We need to take that idea further so that we are not only taking care of ourselves properly by utilizing more natural therapies but also taking care of the plants and the planet that sustain us.”

A conservation and development expert specializing in non-timber forest products, DeCoursey recently teamed up with HRF President Rob McCaleb and the rest of the HRF staff to expand the foundation’s Division of Sustainable Development. DeCoursey has more than seventeen years of experience in biodiversity conservation and economic development, and her work has taken her to more than fifteen countries in Asia, eastern Europe, Africa, and Central and South America. Under McCaleb’s direction, HRF has been involved in sustainable development projects in Africa, Asia, Europe, and the United States, and will next undertake a project in the former Soviet Union.

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