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Wild Edible Plants in India
Despite significant evidence base on quantifying ecosystem services, the role of biodiversity in supporting such services in diversified landscapes, and how indigenous communities exploit, utilize and manage plant resources in a biocultural regime, remains understudied. A sum total of 172 WEPs comprising 60 vegetables, 70 fruits, seeds and nuts, 23 underground tubers and 19 mushrooms were collected, consumed, and surplus were marketed by the communities. On average, the number of wild edibles collected annually by households were in the following quantities: 40–240 kg leafy vegetables, 125–386 kg flowers, 120–250 kg fruits, 12–125 kg legumes, 24–120 kg tubers, 5–35 kg mushrooms. Among ethnic groups, the Baiga primitive community utilized 70–90% followed by Gonds (58–81%), Kols (52–78%), Oraons (43–79%), and other communities (38–68%) in different zones. WEPs have contributed to 5–24% (Rs 3559- 12,710) of household income, which was highest in the core zone and lowest in the transition zone. It was observed that WEPs were complemented the diets rather than being a substitute for staple foods. They supplied only 3.7–8.3% of energy and 1.1–4.9% protein requirements; however, they significantly supplemented ascorbic acid, thiamine, calcium, and iron by 38.1–73%, 13.7–35.4%, 17.2–29.1%, 2.6–13.5%, respectively. Significantly higher quantities of nutrients were supplemented in the core zone compared to other zones. WEPs were currently underutilized (less intake) especially in buffer and transition zones, complementing the staple foods and partially supplementing the essential macro- and micro-nutrients. However, these have the potential to fulfill the dietary needs and ensure balanced nutrition, if consumed in recommended portions and sizes.
2. Wild Edible Plants in India
The entry is from 10.3390/foods10071453
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