Rainforest Pharmacopeia in Madagascar provides high Value for Current Local and Prospective Global Uses

April 4, 2013 in Biodiversity and Health, Economic Value and Conservation, Traditional Medicine

 Author: Christopher D. Golden, B. J. Rodolph Rasolofoniaina, E. J. Gasta Anjaranirina, Lilien Nicolas, Laurent Ravaoliny, Claire Kremen
Dates: 2012 Document Type: Article Source: PLoS ONE 7(7): e41221. doi:10.1371/journal. pone.0041221
Madagascar  Discipline and Theory Economics
Key Words: Economic Value, Values of Traditional Medicines, Externalities, Opportunity Costs, Insurance Value, Ecosystems Services, Ecosystems Health Services, Community Health, Tropical Forests, Methodology, Research Methods, Substitution Method
Key Messages: “Botanical diversity provides value to humans through carbon sequestration, air and water purification, and the provisioning of wild foods and ethnomedicines. Here we calculate the value of botanical ethnomedicines in a rainforest region of Madagascar, the Makira Protected Area, using a substitution method that combines replacement costs and choice modeling. The Makira watershed may comprise approximately 0.8% of global botanical diversity and possesses enormous value both in its ability to provision botanical ethnomedicines to local people and as a source of potentially novel pharmaceutical drugs for society as a whole. Approximately 241 locally-recognized species are used as ethnomedicines, including 113 agricultural or weed species. We equated each ethnomedicinal treatment to the monetary value of a comparable pharmaceutical treatment adjusted by personal preferences in perceived efficacy (rather than from known or assumed medicinal equivalency). The benefit value of these botanical ethnomedicines per individual is $5.40-7.90 per year when using the value of highly subsidized Malagasy pharmaceuticals and $100.60-287.40 when using the value of American pharmaceuticals. Using local pharmaceuticals as substitutes, the value per household is $30.24-44.30 per year, equivalent to 43-63% of median annual household income, demonstrating their local importance. Using the value of American pharmaceuticals, the amount is equivalent to 22-63% of the median annual health care expenditures for American adults under 45 in 2006. The potential for developing novel biomedicines from the Makira watershed’s unique flora ranges in untapped benefit value from $0.3-5.7 billion for American pharmaceutical companies, non-inclusive of the importance of providing novel medicines and improved healthcare to society. This study provides evidence of the tremendous current local and prospective global value of botanical ethnomedicines and furthers arguments for the conservation of tropical forests for sustainable use.” (abstract)
Link:  Rainforest pharmacopia in madagascar (pone.0041221)
Related Policy Issues
  • Policy Measure #1
    CBD National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan (NBSAP) ... Read More

  • Policy and Research Question #1
    Design of  methodology - Analysis and evaluation of positive externalities produced by traditional medicines for the health sector ... Read More

  • Tools for Policy Making/Management #1
    Method to calculate the value of traditional medicines services within the context of the national health system and public sector expenditures - Method to evaluate potential benefits of the utilization of medicinal plant ... Read More

  • Policy/Management Priority #1
    Designing policy and management strategies and action plans taking into account: traditional medicines, the inter-linkage between health system, biodiversity conservation, and the wide set of local/global benefits, externalities and values - among them economic monetary and non-monetary values -  related to ecosystems services, utilization of the components of biodiversity and associated  traditional knowledge, innovations and practices.   ... Read More