Hyderabad

Special drive to protect forest holds out hope

The rare yellow palash tree found in Talamadugu mandal in Adilabad district.

The rare yellow palash tree found in Talamadugu mandal in Adilabad district.  

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Facilitates natural regeneration of old and rare species of wild flora

The ongoing special drive to protect forests in Telangana has given scope for natural regeneration of old and rare species of wild flora, which are on the verge of extinction, in the erstwhile Adilabad district. The damage caused by unrestricted deforestation in the last few decades has resulted in some known and unknown species going scarce, thereby upsetting the balance in biodiversity.

A couple of rare yellow palash or moduga trees (Butea monopserma variety) found in Talamadugu mandal a few days ago by the Forest Department is a pointer to the once-fabulous biodiversity in the dry, deciduous and miscellaneous type of forest in old Adilabad. The yellow moduga is among the species that are most useful to humans, but are almost extinct in these parts as are the tapsi or gum karaya and the poniki or white sander wood.

“Yes, unscientific tapping of tapsi for gum has almost wiped out the species from the hilly slopes in these parts,” said Adilabad District Forest Officer B. Prabhakar. “With the forests being protected now, such species can make a come back,” he said.

“Species like the gum karaya and poniki are difficult to raise in nurseries as the former is plundered by simians and wild boars for its edible root, while the latter takes considerably longer time to propagate,” the DFO pointed out. “Natural regeneration, therefore, is the only way to conserve such species,” he opined.

“The ancestors of the current crop varieties like rice, sugarcane and many medicinal plants such as sarpagandha (Rauvolfia serpentina) were wild kinds and their genes naturally continue to be preserved inside the forests. But if protection is not given to such rare and endangered species of trees and plants, there is a danger of losing them forever,” warned S. Ram Reddy, Professor Emeritus, Botany Department, Kakatiya University, Warangal, as he underscored the importance of forest conservation.

‘Form a committee’

The academician went a step further and proposed that the State government form a committee to study and identify the lost species and suggest ways and means to conserve what remains of biodiversity. “The government should involve all the stakeholders if such an effort takes shape in future,” he said.

In addition to experts, Prof. Ram Reddy also stressed on the need to involve local people to make use of their knowledge with regard to the use and conservation of land races. “The gene transfer technology can be used to develop drought and disease-resistant varieties of the wild ones,” he summed up.

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Printable version | Jan 26, 2020 4:53:22 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Hyderabad/special-drive-to-protect-forest-holds-out-hope/article26525036.ece

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