Ongoing Projects

Application of GIS-RS in Mapping and Conservation of Threatened Medicinal Plant Species from northern Western Ghats of India

Among the 34 global biodiversity hot spots, Western Ghats of India occupies the fifth position according to the economic potential of its biological resources. It is also one of the highly endemic areas of the world and houses over 4000 plant species that have medicinal uses. Modern medicine is exploiting some of these resources as major raw material and that has threatened traditional health care practices. The present project supported under ISRO-UoP initiative primarily focuses on threatened medicinal plant species in the three districts of northern Western Ghats and critically evaluate the distribution and threat status of these species. Mapping these with GIS-RS tools will aid identifying areas that are critical for conservation of rare, endangered and threatened (RET) species.

Plants and their Uses:Botany of the Sahyadris

Supported by National Geographic Society, US the current project looks into the floristically under explored areas of Maharashtra and BRT & SRF sanctuaries of Karnataka. Documenting ethnbotanical knowledge of the local community forms an integral component of the project.

Recovery and domestication of endangered Nothapodytes nimmoniana (Grah.) Mabb. through community participation.

Nothapodytes nimmoniana (Syn. Mappia foetida, vern. Narkya) is an endangered  medicinal tree from Western Ghats of India, a global biodiversity hot-spot. It is the most convenient source for large-scale production of camptothecin (CPT) which is used in the treatment of cancer and HIV-I. Because of destructive harvesting, habitat loss, the population of this species has declined 50-80%. In view of the mounting demand and perceived threat to the native populations, it is highly essential to develop an appropriate strategy (mass cultivation) for its conservation. We plan to address this by (a) transferring the standardized technology to mass propagate the species (b) developing protocols for a sustained and managed utilization of the wild pool.


Mapping and Quantitative Assessment of Geographic Distribution and the Population Status of Plant Resources of Western Ghats

Supported by Department of Biotechnology (DBT), Govt. of India, current case study generates a high-resolution data on woody species diversity at 6.25 km X 6.25 km scale over an entire Western Ghats eco-region level. Plant resources have been intensively sampled from northern Western Ghats. Masters' students of Biodiversity (Abasaheb Garware College, Pune) are involved in the data generation whereas RANWA provides technical expertise.

Past Projects

Conservation and Promotion of Endangered Medicinal Plant Species from Western Ghats of India.

Western Ghats of India is one of the 34 globally recognized biodiversity hotspots known for its rich diversity of medicinal plant species. Several plant species are becoming globally important due to newfound curative properties. They yield high value metabolites and are threatened globally and endemic to Western Ghats. Unsustainable harvesting in large volumes by forest contractors through local tribals was found to be one of the reasons for its depletion. Reducing harvest pressure on wild population of ‘red list’ species and promoting viable commercial cultivation with the community and government participation is a huge challenge. The present project involves local collectors in conservation, training them in raising quality planting stock and mass propagation / cultivation. Click here for More details....


Ecological Sensitive Areas (ESA) : Time to catch a positive spirit!

Ecologically Sensitive Areas (ESA) or Ecologically Fragile Areas (EFA) has a potential of becoming a very effective tool to conserve areas, which face pressures beyond their resilience power and thus are vulnerable to ecological degradation. Taking up 'Matheran' ESA as a case, this study (a) attempts to address the pros and cons of Eco-Sensitive Areas (b) looks for the possible reasons of conflict / failure and (c) suggests ways to overcome them. However, this case study does not conclude whether to use ESA or not but rather throws light on ''if and how'' it can be used, by whom.
Click here to download complete report in PDF format.

A field Guide to Wild Edible Plants

Present study documents the diversity, nutritional qualities and traditional recipes of Wild Edible Plants from Maval taluk, northern Western Ghats of Maharashtra. Information has been documented and compiled in the form of a field guide which includes (i) season of occurrence, (ii) edible plant part, (iii) time and method of collection, (iv) storage techniques, (v) cultural and nutritional importance, (vi) processing and recepies, (vii) associated folk medicinal properties, and (viii) whether harvested for commercial purpose and sold in the market. Research is supported by ATREE.

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