Project to conserve woody climbers

E.M. Manoj

Scheme launched in ten schools in Wayanad district.

KALPETTA: Scientists at the M.S. Swaminathan Research Foundation (MSSRF) at Puthurvayal have launched a ‘Vallikudil’ (vine hut) programme to conserve woody climbers, in association with the National Green Corps, a student movement in conservation. The project has been launched as the second phase of a rare-endemic and threatened plant species (RET) conservation programme supported by the Sir Dorabji Tata Trust (Mumbai) in 10 schools in the district.

As part of the project, 600 woody climber plants of 16 different types of endemic and threatened plant species have been distributed in 10 schools in the district, Dr. Anilkumar, Director of the MSSRF, said.

These species include Aspidopterys canarensis (locally called ‘kannaram vally’), Bauhinia phoenicea (‘vally mantharam’), Beaumontia jerdoniana (‘swetha pushpi’), Caesalpinia spicata (‘poomullu vally’) and Decalepis hamiltonii (‘mahalikizhangu’).

The project aims not only at the propagation of the critically endangered climbers, but also at providing a bower for the children in the later stage, he said.

Moreover, it will serve as an awareness programme on the importance of the climber. Though woody climbers are considered a nuisance to other trees, they have their own ecological significance, Ms. Sujana said.

The flowering period of the trees and climbers is different. During the lean period of the flowering of trees, the fruits of creepers provide food for arboreal mammals and different species of birds, she added. Most of the creepers have rich medicinal property too. They have also planned to augment sacred groves with such types of woody climbers, as once they were the dominant species of the sacred groves of Kerala, Mr. Anilkumar added.

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