The National Biodiversity Authority (NBA) has issued guidelines for preparing people's biodiversity register and identifying and declaring biodiversity heritage sites, said its chairman P.L. Gautam on Thursday.

Along the sidelines of a vacation training programme in bio-resources and biotechnology for schoolchildren at the M.S. Swaminathan Research Foundation, Mr. Gautam said 24 states had constituted State Biodiversity Boards (SBB) in accordance with Biological Diversity Act, 2002.

Madhya Pradesh, Kerala, Karnataka, West Bengal and Andhra Pradesh had taken the lead and were doing well to protect biodiversity, he said, emphasising that other states, including Tamil Nadu, were making steady progress.

Eight states had published the list of rare, endangered and threatened species in their territory and would launch special programmes for conservation. Local bodies have been entrusted with the task of preparing, maintaining and validating people's biodiversity register (PBR) in consultation with local people. The registers would have details of the access to biological resources and traditional knowledge granted, he said. The PBRs would be digitised in future.

The NBA had issued guidelines. It was the responsibility of the State governments to notify biodiversity heritage sites and frame rules for management and conservation.

At the valedictory function of the training programme, agricultural scientist M.S. Swaminathan urged the younger generation to reduce the needs as desertification was partly because of human action — removal of trees, forests and overexploitation.

Sharing his experience, K.V.S. Lokesh, a school student, said the training programme helped him understand that biotechnology could be a career option. A field trip to Kollimalai for seeing pineapple cultivation and millet processing was educative and the interaction with Dr. Swaminathan was a thrilling experience, he added. The unanimous vote of the students was for the restoration of mangroves in Pitchavaram, said Y. Srujana, student.