The Traditional medicine knowledge and medicinal plant species move in response to Climate Change Adaptation in Tibetan village of Eastern Himalayas, China

Prof Lun Yin1, Mr. Misiani Zachary2, M. Yanyan Zheng3

1Yunnan Academy Of Social Science, Kunming, China, 2Kenya Meteorological Department, Ministry of Environment and Forestry, Nairobi, Kenya, 3Yunnan People’s Publishing House, Kunming, China

Traditional medicine provides health care for more than half of the World’s population. This makes indigenous cultures vulnerable to environmental change due to climate change, a danger that comes on top of the challenges posed by globalization. In the face of anthropogenic climate change, species must acclimate, adapt, move, or die. Plant species are shifting their ranges both altitude and latitude as a response to changing regional climates. The Eastern Himalayas in North-western Yunnan of China is the hotspot for biodiversity and cultural diversity. In recent years, due to the effects of climate change and extreme weather and climate related calamities, many of the local medicinal plant species have been shifting to adjust to global warming in search of perfect temperatures whereas others plant species which do not adapt fast to climate change, they have become increasingly extincted. Despite a lot of these species being under risk due to ongoing climatic changes and other anthropogenic effluents on the environment, the effect that these changes can have on traditional medicine is not thoroughly understood. Not only climate change has led some of the species on the move in the resources of medicinal plants, but also has an impact on the traditional way to collect the medicinal plants. The local Tibetan medicine’s knowledge of the classification of medicinal plant resources and the change of collection methods provide a new perspective for the study and analysis of the impact of climate change on the traditional use of biological and genetic resources.


Dr. Lun YIN is Professor of the Yunnan Academy of Social Sciences.  He is also the Deputy Director of Center for Biodiversity and Indigenous Knowledge (CBIK). His major field of interests is the Indigenous Knowledge among the mountain ethnic groups in Yunnan which links with watershed management, environment and biodiversity, his work is dedicated to the adaptation and resilience of climate change in support of sustainable livelihoods of the mountain indigenous peoples in Yunnan province and Eastern Himalaya Mountain, China. He undertakes action and scientific research together with indigenous people’s communities which focus on climate change, and in partnership with other governmental, non-governmental and research agencies, and is committed to serving as a bridge between local communities and policy makers in order to improve decision-making that affects local climate change and livelihoods. His work stresses the importance of basing conservation and development interventions on the indigenous knowledge and cultural assets of mountain indigenous peoples. The introduction of Dr. Lun YIN’s work: 24 Hours of Reality 2017: Climate Reality Leader Profiles – Dr. Lun Yin (China):


In 2007, with the support of UNDP Asia-Pacific Regional Centre, he carried out the research project “Impacts of Climate Change on Traditional Livelihoods and Adaptation of Local Tibetan Peoples in Northwest Yunnan.” In 2008, with the support of the Asia-Pacific Network for Global Change Research, he implemented the project “Climate Change in Eastern HImalayas: Community-based advancing Scientific Capacity to Support Climate Change Adaptation.”

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