Uttarakhand forest department releases report on 2,147 conserved plant species - Hindustan Times
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Uttarakhand forest department releases report on 2,147 conserved plant species

May 22, 2024 04:23 PM IST

In 2020, the number of conserved plant species stood at 1,145, which rose to 1,576 in 2021, 1,943 in 2022 and 2,035 in 2023

The Uttarakhand Forest Department’s research wing on Thursday announced in its annual report that it has conserved 2,147 plant species in the Himalayan state through in-situ and ex-situ measures across seven different forest ranges of its research wing (Haldwani, Jeolikote, Ranikhet, Pithoragarh, Gopeshwar, Dehradun, and Uttarkashi).

A Himalayan lily. (Sourced image.)
A Himalayan lily. (Sourced image.)

Ex-situ refers to conservation of species outside their natural habitats, while in-situ means within the habitat where they are found.

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Sanjeev Chaturvedi, chief conservator of forests (CCF) and in charge of the state forest research wing, said the conserved plant species include 109 species that are listed under threatened plant categories, including 12 critically endangered, 25 endangered, and 16 that are vulnerable, according to the IUCN Red List.

“The measures are aimed at germplasm conservation of these species in case they disappear from the wild due to any reason. Germplasm conservation means preserving the genetic diversity of a particular plant by collecting its seeds or growing it in its habitat or outside habitat for preserving its gene pool,” Chaturvedi said.

The annual report was released by the students of the Government Girls Inter College in Haldwani, Nainital district.

The collection includes a diverse cluster of plant species, including 493 tree species, 184 herbs, 168 shrubs, 46 bamboo species, 86 wild climbers, 12 cane species, 107 types of grass, 191 ferns, 114 orchids, 88 palms, 20 cycads, 285 cacti and succulents, 50 aquatic plants, 28 insectivorous plants, 85 lichens, 107 bryophytes, 14 algae species, and 15 air plants, Chaturvedi said.

“This initiative began in 2020 when we started by conserving 1,145 plant species, which has now doubled in four years. Some of the threatened species include Himalayan Lily, Trayman, Atees, Seeta Ashok, Golden Himalayan Spike, Patwa, Tumri, Tree Fern, Meetha Vish, Jatamansi, Nagchatri, Ksheerkakoli and Red Crane Orchid,” he said.

The conserved list of plants includes 59 species that are endemic to Uttarakhand/Indian Himalayan Region, including Tumri, Jamoi, Moru, Kumaon Fan Palm, Patwa, Emroyi, Ganiya, Bhimal, among others.

Endemic species are species or taxonomic groups that fall within a restricted geographical area, naturally found only in that region.

Chaturvedi said the idea behind the release of this report is to counter the concept of ‘Plant Blindness’.

“The term was coined in 1998 by US botanists and biology educators Elisabeth Schussler and James Wandersee. They described it as ‘the inability to see or notice the plants in one’s own environment’. Plant blindness results in an under-appreciation of plants, and in a limited interest in plant conservation,” Chaturvedi stated.

In 2020, the number of conserved plant species stood at 1,145, which rose to 1,576 in 2021, 1,943 in 2022 and 2,035 in 2023.

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