Resource protection, management and promotion of e.. (PROHERBS)
Resource protection, management and promotion of ecological awareness for the sustainable exploitation of edible Herbs and Spices
Start date: May 31, 2006,
End date: Jun 29, 2008
The goal of the project PROHERBS is to build indissoluble linkages among ecological conservation, sustainable development and environmental awareness in the Mediterranean region by promoting cooperative actions based on the exploitation of natural resources. To achieve this goal indigenous edible herbs and spices will be studied. Herbs and spices form an integral part of the Mediterranean diet. Apart from culinary applications, they often have a cultural significance or even medical and medicinal uses. However, many of these are endangered, usually due to over-exploitation, destructive harvesting techniques and habitat loss and alteration often related to the construction of new infrastructures which pay little or no attention to the biodiversity of these species. In this respect, the project will focus on the collection of the botanological, historical, gastronomical, medical and medicinal information of the herbs and spices found in Western Greece and Southern Italy and identify a range of natural herbs and spices that have a market potential. On the selected range, a more detailed investigation will be performed, involving a meticulous botanological survey, chemical analysis of their active substances as well as the constituents of their habitats, in order to identify the factors influencing their quality and put into practice their cultivation, harvesting, and protection for their sustainable commercial exploitation. In order achieve this goal all necessary actions for their quality control and certification as high quality biological products will be conducted. A market analysis study will identify the needs, procedures and means (e.g. packaging, collection and storage, marketing, certification etc) for their exploitation by all communities involved. The project will place a strong emphasis on actions of public environmental awareness by targeting on the wider community involving schools, municipalities, the farming community, agricultural organizations, local communities and regional authorities by undertaking actions of training, informing the general public and the authorities, through a wide range of seminars, events and usage of ICT technologies. These will aim to instigate the public and private sector and provide the framework for the sustainable market exploitation of ecological resources using improved products of natural productivity. To activate the local communities the overall effort of public awareness will be built on the already sensitive attitude of the public with regards to environmental conservation and economic sustainability and instigate the biological cultivation of these plants through subsequent financial support actions for herb producers co-funded by national authorities and specifically oriented programs of the European Community (Leader program).
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