Evaluating natural medicinal resources and their exposure to global change

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Medicinal plants and their bioactive molecules are integral components of nature and have supported the health of human societies for millennia. However, the prevailing view of medicinal biodiversity solely as an ecosystem-decoupled natural resource of commercial value prevents people from fully benefiting from the capacity of nature to provide medicines and from assessing the vulnerability of this capacity to the global environmental crisis. Emerging scientific and technological developments and traditional knowledge allow for appreciating medicinal plant resources from a planetary health perspective. In this Personal View, we highlight and integrate current knowledge that includes medicinal, biodiversity, and environmental change research in a transdisciplinary framework to evaluate natural medicinal resources and their vulnerability in the anthropocene. With Europe as an application case, we propose proxy spatial indicators for establishing the capacity, potential societal benefits, and economic values of native medicinal plant resources and the exposure of these resources to global environmental change. The proposed framework and indicators aim to be a basis for transdisciplinary research on medicinal biodiversity and could guide decisions in addressing crucial multiple Sustainable Development Goals, from accessible global health care to natural habitat protection and restoration.
Original languageEnglish
JournalThe Lancet Planetary Health
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)e155-e163
Number of pages9
Publication statusPublished - 2023

ID: 336457764