Domestication and sustainable production of wild crafted plants with special reference to the Chilean maqui berry (Aristotelia chilensis).
The principle threats for sustainable production of wild collected medicinal plants are related to ecological factors, such as endemism, and botanical factors critical for survival, such as the collection of roots or barks or slow growing species. The sustainable way to produce raw material on a large scale would be species specific management of the wild resources that guarantees conservation of biodiversity, or bringing the species under cultivation. A checklist proposed by WHO, UICN and WWF (1993) indicates that domestication of any medicinal plant concerns plant selection and breeding, studies about propagation, cultivation techniques, plant protection, time of harvest, among others. The different domestication steps are illustrated for the Chilean maqui (Aristotelia chilensis), a wild tree whose fruits are demanded in increasing volumes by the international market because of its high antioxidant capacity. High yielding plants with good fruit quality have been selected from wild populations and accessions have been cultivated under different environmental conditions to select the most suitable genotypes for the establishment of commercial orchards.