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Student Projects

Woody species diversity in northern Western Ghats with special reference to  Chandoli National Park


Composition, abundance, and diversity of woody plant species at Chandoli NP was inventoried in detail by establishing 10 transects totaling an area of 5 ha. All the plants above =15 cm GBH were enumerated. A total of 4252 stems were sampled which represented 131 species belonging to 85 genera and 44 families. We have identified a new sub-type Memecylon-Syzigium-Olea of already defined Memecylon- Syzigium-Actinodaphne floristic series in literature. Out of the total species encountered in CNP, majority of the species show zoochory (82 %), followed by autochory (14%) and anemochory (11%).

Non-Metric Multidimensional Scaling (NMS) was performed to identify gradients affecting woody species composition and diversity patterns at regional scale. It revealed that (a) species composition is governed by a strong temperature- recipitation gradient (b) WGs endemic richness and abundance is correlated with Evergreen (EVG) to deciduous (DCD) ratio.


Wild Edible Plants: Documentation and Nutritional Analysis


Wild Edible Plants have been traditionally used as a source of subsistence by rural communities. These plants are getting wiped out because of habitat destruction and changing trends in agriculture. Though many attempts have been made to document the diversity of WEPs, very few have touched upon the nutritional aspect. Present paper documents nutritional qualities and diversity of WEPs at Shilimb, located in the northern Western Ghats. Fortnightly visits were made to the study area along with local knowledgeable individuals. Information about collection, religious significance and folk tales related to sustainable harvest were recorded through semi-structured interviews. So far we have recorded 50 species belonging to 30 families; Fabaceae and Cucurbitaceae being the most dominant ones. One third of the recorded WEPs are found only during monsoon. While 17% have folk medicinal importance, 35% serve as butterfly host plants. The plants were subjected to nutritional analysis comprising of total soluble proteins, total carbohydrates and moisture content. Market potential of these plants is being explored through feasibility studies. As a follow up process such WEPs can be further taken up for cultivation through self-help groups and kitchen herbal garden programmes.


Study of patterns of accumulation of Camptothecin in Nothapodytes nimmoniana (Grah.) Mabb. and Ophiorrhiza sp. from Western Ghats of India.


Present study looks into Camptothecin (CPT) variation across plant parts and habitats from Nothapodytes nimmoniana and Ophiorrhiza sp. Stem and root bark samples were collected from three different localities (min. 15 per population for Nothapodytes and 5 for Ophiorrhiza) from northern Western Ghats and subjected to CPT analysis using HPLC to identify 'plus specimens' in terms of CPT content. On average CPT varies from 0.1 to 0.3 % in Nohapodytes while some individuals exceptionally record high concentratin such as 1.1%. Fruits were identified as potential source of CPT. CPT content in root samples of Ophiorrhiza sp. was found comparable to Nothapodytes.


Studies on ecology and reproductive biology of Nothapodytes nimmoniana


Of recently, several species from the Western Ghats of India are gaining international importance due to their newly identified pharmacological and curative properties. Modern medicine is also exploiting some of these resources as major raw material, sometimes leading to over harvests and threatening the species with extinction. One such medicinal plant is Nothapodytes nimmoniana, also known as Mappia foetida, an endangered species from the northern Western Ghats of India. Present work deals with the study of ecological parameters of N. nimmoniana with notes on its phenology, breeding biology, current status and comments on its economic importance, trade potential and habitat preferences. Since these habitats varied from open scrubs to tropical evergreen forests, from privately owned degraded sites to strictly conserved Protected Areas, N. nimmoniana individuals could be studied in contrasting and varying arrays of conditions.


Urban Consumption DISASTER: Excess Carbon Budget of Pune City, India


The present investigation projected sequestration potential of trees from our biomass surveys and was compared with literature derived emission potential of socioeconomic strata with Pune census data. These estimates were mapped for each sq. km. grid according to the consumption pattern of various economic groups and tree cover density respectively. As tree cover is estimated to trap only 2 % of the emissions, the remaining 98 % overload may be contributing to the global warming. Rich people generate 34 % of above emission with per capita emission, which is eight times that of the poor. Thus, besides promoting tree plantation as a mitigation measure, curtailing urban consumption is indispensable, besides switching from private transport to public, and promoting biofuels and bioconsumables, to reduce about 25% of Carbon emissions.

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