State Editions

HP sets up biodiversity committees in 366 gram panchayats

| | Shimla | in Chandigarh

Himachal Pradesh has set up biodiversity management committees initially in 366 gram panchayats in biodiversity-rich Chamba, Kullu, Shimla, Sirmaur, Kinnaur and Lahaul-Spiti districts under a United Nations project.

These committees have taken the initiative to document all biological diversity available in their respective areas, including traditional knowledge, by way of preparing People's Biodiversity Registers, said an official spokesman.

He said that so far, six biodiversity registers have been prepared while work on 117 such registers is in progress.

Focus has been placed on capacity-building of stakeholders by organising training and awareness workshops. So far, about 150 awareness and training programmes have been organised to empower villagers, said the spokesperson. A sum of Rs 2.32 crore has been received for these activities, he said.

He said that Himachal Pradesh has become a pioneer State in implementation of UN Environment Project to conserve the rich biodiversity of the state. The basic objective of this global environment funded project is to increase the institutional, individual and systemic capacities of stakeholders on access and benefit sharing basis.

A state biodiversity board under the chairmanship of Additional Chief Secretary has been set up to implement the Biodiversity Diversity Act of 2002.

The spokesman said that Himachal has bestowed with a rich biodiversity and at present, the flora of the state consists of about 180 families comprising about 1038 genera and about 3400 species.

Many of the plant species found in the State are of rare in nature which makes this floristic richness even more important. The age-old traditional values attached with the various medicinal plants have gained tremendous importance in the present century as the industries are increasingly using natural ingredients in their products, and these natural ingredients include extracts of many medicinal plants, said he.

During the last decade, the State has attracted many industries and a number of bio-resource based industries have been set up in Himachal. There are many rare plants particularly in the upper region of Himalayas, which have immense potential for use in the pharmaceutical industry, said the spokesman.

The awareness campaign and concerted efforts of the State Biodiversity Board launched to conserve the rich biodiversity with the active participation of the stakeholders y will go a long way in creating a mass movement in saving the rare plants and species, as about 60 medicinal plant species in the State are facing a threat of extinction, he added.




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