The aim of these Guidelines is to provide a framework for the conservation and sustainable use of plants in medicine. To do this, the Guidelines describe the various tasks that should be carried out to ensure that where medicinal plants are taken from the wild, they are taken on a basis that is sustainable.<br> The Guidelines conform to the principles of Caring for the Earth, prepared in partnership by IUCN, UNEP and WWF. Caring for the Earth extends the message and scope of the World Conservation Strategy to an ethic of sustainable living, and explains how to integrate conservation with development. Its message is particularly relevant to the issue of medicinal plants, which in many parts of the world are being seriously depleted due to over-exploitation and loss of habitats, resulting in a lack of essential medicines and so reducing options for the future.