With sharp increases in global demand for agricultural resources, including medicinal and aromatic plants, sustainable harvesting and trade practices have never been so important. Keystone’s trainings over the past two decades have been focused on bringing back traditional conservation practices of indigenous people to share their age-old understanding of the ways of the forest, and add their knowledge to modern practices that benefit both people and the environment. By pursuing sustainable harvesting practices, the people who are dependent on NTFP harvesting and gathering will be able to ensure that there will be another harvest next time and avoid over-extraction, maintaining both stable lifestyles and a stable ecology. Since value-added farm and forest produce fetch better prices in the market and have increased storage time, by coupling sustainable practices with value addition the income of indigenous communities is not affected by slight decreases in yield.
The indigenous communities of the forest have a deep symbiotic relationship with it. They do not make a distinction between the wellbeing of the forest and their own wellbeing. Using this understading of the forest, and recognizing the lack of difference between ecological and community health, Keystone looks to improve the quality of life for all beings in the NBR.