Forests and Human Health January-09-2012

Editor’s words

Forests have always been a rich source of edible plants, berries, nuts and mushrooms for people almost all over the world. In developing countries the traditional use of herbal plants as medicine is still of great importance. It is well-recognized that the diversity of forest plants supports the livelihood of rural communities. Therefore, for sustainable use of forest resources, we should also pay attention to endangered indigenous plant species. Forests provide additional nutrition for people in both developing and western countries. In Western countries forest food, such as berries and mushrooms, is used as delicacies or health-promoting nutraceuticals. More research is needed into the nutritional or health-promoting effects of forest food as a complement to diets. In this issue, we will focus on the importance and potential exploitation of forests as a source of food and herbs as well as on the possibilities of promoting the development of technologies to utilize different plants, herbs and mushrooms without overharvesting the species.

By Dr. Tytti Sarjala

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