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Friday
May232014

Wild plants the stars of innovative online toolbox

27th May 2014—Today sees the launch of an online interactive “Traditional and wild” toolbox, created to showcase the use of a variety of wild plant species used for traditional medicine and for food in Hungary, the Czech Republic, Slovenia and Poland and beyond.

The state-of-the-art website, which features the FairWild Standard, was created by TRAFFIC and WWF Hungary as part of an EU-funded project aimed at preserving knowledge about sustainable harvesting of wild plant resources in Central Europe. It is available in Polish, Hungarian, Slovenian and Czech, with some sections in Roma.

Already the toolbox has won “Site of the Day” for its innovative creative design and ease of use from the prestigious theFWA.com and cssdesignawards.com websites.

The website guides visitors on a journey through the wonderful world of wild plants, challenging them to test their knowledge about the plants themselves and traditional harvesting practices. The information contained can be used in a variety of contexts, for training purposes and in workshops to enrich knowledge about wild plants.

The toolbox comprises eight sections including comprehensive information about 30 commonly used wild-collected plants in the region, such as Leopard’s Bane Arnica montana and Common Nettle Urtica dioica.

Such information is traditionally passed on by word of mouth from generation to generation, but today it is being lost through a combination of fewer wild plant harvesters operating and an increasingly urbanized population.

The website introduces the public to the principles of the FairWild Standard, explaining how they can guide efforts to ensure plants are managed, harvested and traded in a way that maintains populations in the wild and benefits rural producers.

A newly developed online cartoon features in the website to explain and promote the use of the FairWild Standard.

Also included is an overview of worldwide projects incorporating use of the FairWild Standard including those on FairWild-certified Frankincense (Commiphora and Boswellia species) from Kenya and Liquorice root Glycyrrhiza uralensis from Kazakhstan.

The online toolbox also features a Resource section, intended for use by users of wild harvested plants, companies seeking information about sustainable harvesting and trade, government bodies charged with regulating such trade and those looking for a better understanding of the sector.

According to TRAFFIC, the three-year “Traditional and wild” project has helped revitalize aspects of the wild plant industry in Central Europe and resulted in the launch of a “dream catcher” scented pillow and other products and the opening of a “folklore house” dedicated to preserving traditional knowledge about the use of wild plants. The FairWild Standard was used as the framework to develop sustainability principles for the project.

Medicinal Plant Officer Kristina Rodina, who oversaw the project for TRAFFIC said: “Wild plant collection may be centuries old, but knowledge about sustainable practices is dying out: this cutting edge online toolbox is designed to capture that information before it is lost and open the eyes of the next generation to the exciting world of wild plants.”

For more information about the Traditional and wild project, see the summary report available from TRAFFIC’s website in Czech, English, Hungarian, Polish and Slovenian (PDF, 2 MB).

The original version of this article featured on: www.traffic.org