A team of scientists from the Botanical Survey of India (BSI) have discovered a new gin berry species from the Kanyakumari Wildlife Sanctuary in Tamil Nadu.
Botanical Survey of India (BSI)
- The East India Company (EIC) established the Botanical Survey of India (BSI) in 1890, during the pre-independence era. Kolkata, West Bengal, is the location.
- The Ministry of Environment, Forestry, and Climate Change is its parent institution.
- It conducts surveys, research, and conservation of India’s plant riches.
- It gathers and manages gene banks of threatened and endangered plant species.
- India has diverse biodiversity that is presently threatened by manmade influences.
- To avoid the extinction of unique biodiversity, immediate conservation actions are required.
- Exploration, inventorying and documentation of phytodiversity in general and protected areas, hotspots and fragile ecosystems in particular.
- Publication of National, State and District Floras.
- Identification of threatened and red list species and species rich areas needing conservation.
- Ex-situ conservation of critically threatened species in botanical gardens.
- Survey and documentation of traditional knowledge (ethno-botany) associated with plants.
- Develop National database of Indian plants, including herbarium and live specimens, botanical paintings and illustrations, etc.
Botanical Survey of India- Key Initiatives
- BSI has Floristic surveys of many of the Indian state and Union territories.
- Floristic survey of 68 protected areas, 26 sacred groves, 01 Ramsar site, 12 fragile ecosystems and 23 Tiger Reserves have been completed.
- Towards fulfilling the Global Strategy for Plant Conservation target on ex-situ conservation, the department has 12 botanical gardens spread in different biogeographical zones of the country.
- BSI has also developed a digital platform ‘Indian Plant Diversity Information System (IPDIS)’.
- Glycosmis albicarpa is a Rutaceae plant that belongs to the Orange family.
- It has short and broad leaves as well as huge white fruits.
- It’s a little evergreen tree that’s only found in the southern Western Ghats.
- Indigenous people and tribals use this species for medicinal purposes.
- The species, an evergreen small tree, was found as undergrowth in Tirunelveli semi-evergreen forests at the Panagudi forest section of the wildlife sanctuary as a single population that covers an area of approximately 2 sq.km.
- It’s also a popular edible fruit with a distinct ‘gin aroma.’
- This species’ plants also provide a haven for butterflies and other species’ larvae.
- Threats: Habitat modification causes a major threat to the survival of this species.
- Significance of this discovery: This discovery not only re-emphasises the uniqueness and endemism in Western Ghats’ flora, but also adds to the growing inventory of the region’s flora.
What are the Key Points Related to Kanyakumari Wildlife Sanctuary?
- Kanyakumari Wildlife Sanctuary is a 402.4 km2 protected area in Kanyakumari district, Tamil Nadu.
- The virgin forests of Kanyakumari District were transferred from Kerala to Tamil Nadu on the 1st November 1956 as a result of the state reorganisation.
- Kanyakumari Forest Division came into existence from 1st April 1977.
- Kanyakumari Wildlife sanctuary with adjacent areas of Kalakkad Mundanthurai Tiger Reserve and Neyyar Wildlife Sanctuary of Kerala State constitutes the southernmost tip of Western Ghats.
- It is a tiger habitat. There are seven rivers that originate in this forest.
- The natural vegetation of this region represents biomes ranging from southern thorn forests, dry deciduous, moist deciduous, semi evergreen forests to ever green hill sholas with grassy downs.
- The Shola forests of South India derive their name from the Tamil word solai, which means a ‘tropical rainforest’.
- The Sholas are found in the upper reaches of the Nilgiris, Anamalais, Palni hills, Kalakadu, Mundanthurai and Kanyakumari in the states of Tamil Nadu and Kerala.
- The tract is exceedingly rich in wildlife harbouring a variety of animals such as Indian bison, elephants, rock pythons, lion tailed macaques etc. The avifauna, the reptilian and amphibian fauna of this region are also rich and diverse.
- This tip of the Indian peninsula is a unique geographic point surrounded by all three of the sub-continent’s vast oceans – the Bay of Bengal, Indian Ocean and the Arabian Sea.
Source: The Hindu