Haldwani: On the occasion of International Day for Biological Diversity, the Research Wing of Uttarakhand Forest Department, has released its 4th annual report highlighting the successful conservation of a total of 2035 plant species through in-situ and ex-situ conservation measures across seven different ranges of Research Wing, an official statement said. Chief Conservator of Forest (Research), Sanjiv Chaturvedi said,
This exercise was initiated in the year 2020, to create awareness about the conservation of plant species, which are facing serious existential threat, from climate change as well as anthropogenic activities like mining and unplanned construction activities.
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“However, the conservation of plant species, attracts less popular attention than faunal species like Tigers and Elephants, because of the greater glamour quotient associated with these wildlife species. This is despite the fact that plants play a much important ecological role by way of carbon sequestration and also provide the raw material for a number of important medicines,” he added.
Uttarakhand Forest Department is the only one in the country which undertakes this exercise and has perhaps the largest inventory of various plant species, across all the State Forest Departments, he added.
He further said,
The idea behind the release of this report was to counter the concept of ‘Plant Blindness’. The term coined in 1998 by Elisabeth Schussler and James Wandersee, a pair of US botanists and biology educators, indicates the under-appreciation of plants and a limited interest in plant conservation. Plant conservation not only matters for environmental health but also, for human health, in the long run.
In the year 2020, the number of conserved plant species was 1145, it rose to 1576 in the year 2021, and 1943 in the year 2022 and this year number has crossed 2000 and reached 2035 plant species. Out of these 2035 plant species, there are 468 tree species, 177 herbs, 161 shrubs, 46 bamboo, 86 wild climbers, 12 species of cane, 107 types of grass, 179 ferns, 110 orchids, 87 palm, 18 cycads, 264 cacti & succulents, 50 aquatic plants, 28 insectivorous plants, 85 lichens, 77 bryophytes, 10 species of algae and 15 species of air plants, stated the report.
Out of the total species conserved, 107 species are currently listed under threatened/endangered categories, of which 63 species are in the red list of IUCN, it said.
Some of these threatened/endangered species are White Himalayan Lilly, Trayman, Atees, Seeta Ashok, Dolu, Patwa, Himalayan Golden spike and Tree fern, it stated.
In the conserved list, there are 57 species endemic to Uttarakhand/Indian Himalayan Region, the report said.
Endemic species are the species or taxonomic groups which are within a restricted geographic area, naturally found only in that particular region.
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