Having grown up in a rural village where we hardly visited the doctor, most of our treatment would be done (most often) at home using locally available plants. My grandfather was renowned for knowing plants and using them as different local medicines. My kid’s mind used to ask hundreds of questions with him, but they were never solved. With these unsolved queries, I grew up curious to know about these plants; sadly, traded for the same reason.
Since then, I wanted to explore more about them trying to curb their illegal trade and started haunting for opportunities. In search of the right platform, I grabbed very “diverse” jobs including an Environmentalist for the Government of Nepal and a Capacity Development Officer UNDP Nepal. Unfortunately, none of them was on conservation; compelling me to continue the haunt until one day I realized I could work with a group of young conservationists like me at Greenhood Nepal where I am working for a few years now.
Initially, I started my conservation journey with awareness programmes to school kids, local communities, to high-level government stakeholders focusing on wild animals. As I grew up and started following news and stories on plants, I realized plants are even more interesting (and in need of more research).
My particular interest is in understanding the dynamics of trade in medicinal plants (particularly orchids). I see, identifying the trade dynamics (causes, results, and contribution to and from humans) is an exciting way to mitigate the key challenge in conservation, particularly in the field of medicinal plants. It is very common for me to interact with people who love orchids (because orchids are the best!) but they often do not know that they are traded in such a high amount for their medicinal usage. I am also quite interested in using tools like statistics and GIS in conservation. This said I want to explore more on the human side of the medicinal plants.
I am currently working on a project to help map the distribution of Dracula orchids, to contribute to conservation assessments.