Nepal hosts >100 medicinal orchids species traded for Ayurvedic and Chinese medicines, with widespread reports of population declines. This project prepares the first-ever baseline on the illegal orchid trade, to integrate orchids into domestic policy and facilitate appropriate enforcement. Concurrently, the project implements the world’s first orchid harvester self-reporting scheme, and expert-informed Population Viability Analysis to develop science-based management.

While in the long run, the impact of this project contributes to the reduction of illegal orchid trade in Nepal, replaced by science-based sustainable alternatives, serving as an innovative model for global action to end orchid IWT, the project outcomes are focused on the Nepal government in particular to CHAL area. This includes, 1) enforcement against illegal orchid trade, and initiation of a science-based legal alternative, raising global awareness about orchid IWT; 2) availability of baseline trade, legal and livelihood data needed to improve enforcement against orchid IWT, and guide environmental and social policy on legal orchid trade’ 3) improved understanding of how trade impacts wild orchid populations, including implementation of a pioneer harvester reporting scheme, to improve the management of legal harvest; 4) key central and local government agencies empowered, and demonstrate strengthened enforcement against illegal commercial trade of medicinal orchids; 5) wild orchid harvesters and traders understand sustainability issues affecting orchids, rules governing orchid harvest and trade, and potential for improved legal resource management and reduced IWT; and 6) increased awareness of the threats IWT poses to plants/ orchids among conservationists globally.

Partners: Lancaster University, University of Oxford, IUCN SSC Orchid Specialist Group, University of Hawaii, UKAID

Project period: October 2020 – September 2022

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