Traditional Chinese Medicine and Species Endangerment: An economic research agenda
The debate about Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and species endangerment has generally focused on the species themselves and their role in the TCM pharmacopeia. There has been little research on the economics of TCM and its implications for species endangerment. Yet in China, the rapid transformation of the economy and the associated increase in the purchasing power of Chinese consumers mean that, left to its own dynamics, the market pressure on medicinal species for TCM will grow over the coming years. While the pressures themselves may be unavoidable, further research may contribute to mitigating the impacts. Based on discussions held at a workshop in China in 1997, this paper identifies some key issues regarding the relationship between the demand for TCM and the endangerment of medicinal species. It also proposes a research agenda in the economics of TCM which may go some way towards identifying options for alleviating the economic pressure on endangered species.