Tuesday, May 26, 2009

World Environment Day on June 5th

Sarpagandha, Indian medicinal plant is botanically named Rauvolfia serpentina is available in Western ghat.

"The forest is a peculiar organism of unlimited kindness and benevolence that makes no demands for its sustenance and extends generously the products of its live activity; it offers protection to all beings offering shade even to those who destroy it." --Budha

Tropical forest cover in India has been reduced to two major areas: the coastal hills of the Western Ghats (about 55,000 square miles or 135,000 sq. km) and 14,000 square miles (34,500 sq. km) in Northeastern India. Very little of India's forest cover is considered pristine.

Tropical rain forests are incredibly rich ecosystems that play a fundamental role in the basic functioning of the planet. Rain forests are home to probably 50 percent of the world's species, making them an extensive library of biological and genetic resources. In addition, rain forests help maintain the climate by regulating atmospheric gases and stabilizing rainfall, protect against desertification, and provide numerous other ecological functions.

However, these precious systems are among the most threatened on the planet. Although the precise area is debated, each day at least 80,000 acres (32,300 ha) of forest disappear from Earth. At least another 80,000 acres (32,300 ha) of forest are degraded. Along with them, the planet loses as many as several hundred species to extinction, the vast majority of which have never been documented by science. As these forests fall, more carbon is added to the atmosphere, climactic conditions are further altered, and more topsoil is lost to erosion.

Despite increased awareness of the importance of these forests, deforestation rates have not slowed. Analysis of figures from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) shows that tropical deforestation rates increased 8.5 percent from 2000-2005 when compared with the 1990s, while loss of primary forests may have expanded by 25 percent over the same period. Nigeria and Vietnam's rate of primary forest loss has doubled since the 1990s, while Peru's rate has tripled.

Overall, FAO estimates that 10.4 million hectares of tropical forest were permanently destroyed each year in the period from 2000 to 2005, an increase since the 1990-2000 period, when around 10.16 million hectares of forest were lost. Among primary forests, annual deforestation rose to 6.26 million hectares from 5.41 million hectares in the same period. On a broader scale, FAO data shows that primary forests are being replaced by less bio diverse plantations and secondary forests.

The effects of deforestation are plenty. Very Important among them are climate change, rare species / plants are getting endangered, food /water crisis etc etc., Various institutions( Government / Non-government) in the world are working towards reducing the deforestation and its effects. But somehow these efforts are not making big impact and deforestation is happening at alarming speed.

One of the Very important problem with the deforestation is some of the rare species / plants are getting endangered. Not many institutions are working on this effect and even though some are working it is only half hearted effort. As Our organization " The sharavathi nature conservation Trust (R)" foremost priority is conservation, we are planning to work on these areas in a big way in future.
This year to mark the world environment day which falls on June 5th of every year, we have planned to conserve the endangered native Medicinal plants of western ghat. The plan is to rope in tribal's to identify the medicinal plants which they were using for various ailment, collect them and plant them in a place where they will be taken care. Also plan is to make this plantation as a "Plant Bank" where we can multiply these endangered plants. Also if our plan is successful, tribals or anybody who needs these plants in emergency situation they need not search around. All they have to do is land in this place !. This will help many tribals who are depending on native medicine. We also have plan to get these plants medicinal value scintifically probed later on.

For this purpose we have roped in Karnataka Forest Department and Forest department has been very happy on our inititative and has allocated a small area of land to the trust. We have requested Sri Ananth Hegde Ashisar(Chiarman of Wetsern Ghat Conservation Task force, Government of Karnataka) to be chief guest for the occation. As he is busy till mid of June, He has not allocated the date for us. It will be sometime in 3rd week of june. We will intimate Exact date to all of you once he gives us the date.

So we request all Nature lovers / Trekkers to be present on that day and support the cause. Your inputs on this program is highly appreciated. If you have come accross any native medicinal plant, please do bring it on that day, we can plant it over there.