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Year : 2021  |  Volume : 7  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 299-306

Reviewing threats to wild rhodiola sachalinensis, a medicinally valuable yet vulnerable species

1 Traditional Medicinals, Sustainability Department, 4515 Ross Road, Sebastopol, California, 95472, USA
2 School of Life Sciences, University of KwaZulu-Natal, King Edward Avenue, Pietermaritzburg, 3209, South Africa; School of Veterinary and Life Sciences, Murdoch University, 90 South St., Murdoch, WA, 6150, Australia
3 Bundesamt für Naturschutz (BfN), Konstantinstr. 110, Bonn, 53179, Germany

Correspondence Address:
Prof. Josef A Brinckmann
Traditional Medicinals, Sustainability Department, 4515 Ross Road, Sebastopol, California 95472
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/wjtcm.wjtcm_47_21

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Occurring in China, DPR Korea, Japan, and Russian Federation and classified in the Red List of Chinese Flora as a vulnerable species, Rhodiola sachalinensis Boriss. is used increasingly in cosmetics, dietary supplements, and Traditional Chinese Medicines (TCMs). The aim of this study was to evaluate the (i) conservation status, harvesting and trade levels of R. sachalinensis, (ii) current state of experimental and commercial farming, and (iii) evidence of substitution or interchangeable use of R. sachalinensis with other Rhodiola species. We assessed data from multiple disciplines and languages including studies on R. sachalinensis biology and ecology, information on impacts of wild harvest, management measures, and current levels of cultivation. Our assessment shows that while R. sachalinensis is increasingly produced by cultivation, wild populations are decreasing and face multiple threats. These include (a) habitat loss including due to oil and gas infrastructure development on Sakhalin island, (b) climate change impacts on alpine ecosystems, and (c) overexploitation of wild plants to satisfy the growing commercial demand. Assessments of the conservation status of R. sachalinensis should commence in each Range State, as well as resource assessments and monitoring of harvesting and trade of wild R. sachalinensis. Even with increased reliance on cultivation, biodiversity conservation, and genetic diversity in wild populations are relevant to future use of this species.

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