The present study was carried out in Himachal Pradesh of the Western Himalayas, India to obtain information on the wild edible plants used by the migratory shepherds. The shepherds started their migration in July from Chitkul, Rakchham, Batseri, Sangla and Kamru of district Kinnaur (Himachal Pradesh). Questionnaire for the survey, personal field visits and participatory observations were used to collect information about the use of various plants by the migratory shepherds. The shepherds move in a group of 5 to 6 comprising their own family members and size of the flock (of sheep and goats) varied from 654 to 990. The migration route followed from their villages to Churdhar ranges (mid hills) and to Sirmour ranges (low hills). It was observed that in all 50 species were used by shepherds enroute from high hills to low hills. In high hills, 23 species, in mid hills 31 species and in low hills 34 species were found to be used as livelihood source. Some of the plants, besides being used as fruits and vegetables, are also used as herbal tea (bark of Betula utilis) and condiments. Morchella esculenta was found to be one of the delicacies used for food in their tribe. The documentation of plant resources and the indigenous knowledge of shepherds highlighted in the present study is a step in raising awareness about the importance of these edible plants and their further conservation.
Key words: Edible plants, sheep, goats, shepherds, seasonal migration, Himachal Pradesh.
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