Illegally collected Himalayan plant seed sold in UK

BBC March 2- Seeds of exotic plants illegally collected in the Himalayas of Nepal, India, China and Myanmar are being sold in the UK, the BBC has found. National Himalayan authorities say no permission was obtained to gather and export the plant material. The activity harms the environment and deprives local people of benefits from the trade of plants, they add. Some of the suppliers told the BBC that locals had actually helped them collect the flowers; others said they did not know their activities were illegal.

Experts say horticulture societies and clubs across the UK have long raised questions about such practice. “When people are flouting the regulations then that impacts us – because the host countries get more cautious about things, and we are helping them develop the protocols for ethical sharing of plant materials and the benefits,” said Mark Watson of the Royal Botanical Garden Edinburgh.

The Nagoya Protocol, an international treaty that came into being in 2014, prohibits the collection of plant materials without an agreement with host countries on the sharing of benefits arising from such resources.