- Herbal medicine practise remains a key rural healthcare alternative.
- Restructured medicinal plant governance can provide multiple community benefits.
- Medicinal plants afforestation may be an affordable local climate adaptation strategy.
- Development of indigenous medical tourism could enhance rural income generation.
Studies indicate that medicinal plants are threatened by climate change impacts. In Kenya, this sector is further threatened by lack of formal recognition and neglect of indigenous curative knowledge by the allopathic healthcare and education sectors. Though a significant reduction of medicinal plants and knowledge could increase vulnerability in rural areas, few studies have analysed governance of this important ecosystem service. Therefore, I use the ecosystem service governance approach that incorporates monetary valuation, climate governance and social network analysis to holistically assess the herbal medicinal sector in Loitoktok district. Findings reveal the lucrative income earned by herbalists, diverse coping measures implemented to sustain local supply of medicinal plants and the disassociated social network structure that hinders capacity development, promotes illegal medicinal plants' trade and perpetuates negative view of herbal medicine. To resolve these structural hindrances, my suggestion is to use the network weaving process to optimally position the medicinal plants sector in enhancing carbon sequestration, poverty alleviation, medical tourism, plant conservation and the Maasai culture.
- Carbon sequestration;
- Ecosystem governance;
- Indigenous curative knowledge;
- Medicinal plants;
- Monetary valuation;
- Social network analysis;
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