Team counts endemic trees of Western Ghats

BSI attempt is part of a three-year research programme

June 08, 2017 11:11 pm | Updated 11:11 pm IST - KALPETTA

A team of experts from the Botanical Survey of India (BSI) is visiting the southern Western Ghats regions of Kerala and Tamil Nadu to explore the endemic tree resources in the region.

The visit is part of our three-year research programme to document economically important endemic trees, K.A. Sujana, scientist, BSI, told The Hindu .

The 22-day expedition of the team in southern Western Ghats would begin on June 17 in Wayanad. The members would spend 10 days in Silent Valley and Nilgiri.

Other regions

Other regions identified during the expedition are Malabar coast, Periyar and Eravikulam national parks, Sholayar-Valparai region, Anamalai, Agasthyamalai and Tirunelveli hills, Dr. Sujana, who leads the team, said.

Western Ghats is a treasure trove of endemic tree species, but there is a dearth of information on these important life forms, Dr. Sujana added.

As depletion of forest area has accelerated the loss of endemic trees and other forest resources, it is time we acted, she said. Since southwest monsoon is identified as the best season to document the flowering or fruiting of some of the endemic trees, the team should make use of this season.

The team would give special focus to northeast India, Andaman Nicobar Islands and Western Ghats where endemic trees are found to be more. The team visited Andaman and Nicobar Islands and many regions of the Eastern Ghats recently.

At the Andaman and Nicobar Islands the team documented 127 endemic trees with its ecological and economic values. This included Knema andamanica and Myristica andamanica (with high medicinal properties); Mangifera andamanica and Syzygium andamanicum (edible fruits); Dipterocarpus alatus and Pterocarpus dalbergioides (timber value).

The three-member team will conclude their exploration in the region on July 9.

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