General Studies IIIEnvironment and Ecology

Botanical Survey of India (BSI)


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

image 2
  • 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
  • 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

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