Center for Governance and Sustainability Team Publishes Groundbreaking Research
February 12, 2013
Center for Governance and Sustainability
Professor of Biology Kamaljit Bawa, a faculty fellow of the Center for Governance and Sustainability, and PhD candidate and center Research Associate Uttam Shrestha have recently published cutting-edge research in Biological Conservation on declining populations of the Nepalese fungus yarsagumba.
The fungus is a parasite that infects and grows within moth larvae, eventually killing them, earning it the name “caterpillar fungus.” It is prized for its reputation in China as both a medicine and an aphrodisiac, resulting in high market value.
Over harvesting of the fungus, they have found, has led to a major decline in populations and may seriously threaten biodiversity in the region. According to the UMass Boston researchers, the consequences for the Himalayan ecosystem could be devastating.
Professor Bawa and Shrestha recommend long-term monitoring and sustainable practices with respect to future harvests of the fungus.
Their research is based in part on hundreds of local interviews and represents a major contribution to our understanding of risks in the ecosystems of the Himalayas.
The authors had recently collaborated on a study of widespread climate and associated ecosystem changes in the Himalayan region published in the journal, PLOS. and summarized in the journal, Nature.