Monday, 27 July 2015

2009 Eastern Himalayan alpine plant ecology, Tibetan ethnobotany, and climate change

Volume 19, Issue 2, May 2009, Pages 147–155
Traditional Peoples and Climate Change


Tibetan culture and livelihoods depend on native plants for medicine, food, grazing, wood, as well as cash from market sales. The Medicine Mountains (part of the Hengduan Mountains) of the eastern Himalayas, with tremendous plant diversity derived from steep gradients of both elevation and precipitation, have traditionally been an important source of Tibetan medicinal plants. We examine climate change in this area and vegetation patterns influenced by biogeography, precipitation and elevation (NMS and CCA ordinations of GLORIA plots). The Alpine environment has the highest plant diversity and most useful plants and is the most susceptible to climate change with impacts on traditional Tibetan culture and livelihoods—particularly Tibetan medicine and herding.


  • Climate change;
  • Himalayas;
  • Arctic–Alpine;
  • Plant diversity;
  • Sky islands;
  • Tibetan medicine

Corresponding author. Tel.: +1 314 577 5165; fax: +1 314 577 0800.