Plant-Biodiversity Conservation in Academic Institutions: An Efficient Approach for Conserving Biodiversity Across Ecological Regions in India
In view of the fact that 2010 is the International Year of Biodiversity (IYB), with the slogan ‘Biodiversity is Life’, a study was undertaken to assess the biodiversity existing at the Institute for Social and Economic Change (ISEC), an academic institution, and to understand how academic institutions could play a significant role in conserving biodiversity. ISEC is located in a sylvan 16-hectare campus at Nagarabhavi, abutting the Bangalore University's 'Jnanabharati' premises on the southwestern outskirts of the city. The Bangalore Urban Arts Commission has adjudged the ISEC campus as one of the best-maintained campuses in the city of Bangalore consistently for three years (www.isec.ac.in). The ISEC campus is home to more than 400 plant species comprising trees (28 per cent), shrubs (30 per cent), herbs (22 per cent), grasses (11 per cent) and creepers (8 per cent) belonging to 90 different families of the plant kingdom, such as Euphorbiaceae (26 per cent), Poaceae (21 per cent), Asteraceae (13 per cent), Bignoniaceae (8 per cent), Verbenaceae (7 per cent) and Apocynaceae, Caesalpinaceae, Acanthaceae (6 per cent) etc. Several threatened/vulnerable/endangered plant species such as Croton lawianus, Santalum album, Leptadenia reticulata and Ficus benghalensis var. krishnae are being conserved on the campus, and they exhibit a high degree of regeneration potential. Croton lawianus (critically endangered) endemic in the Western Ghats of India is found abundantly on the campus. A study of this aspect has its own importance since the existing biodiversity is being lost at an alarming rate and scientists have reported that a significant number of species is expected to be lost in the next couple of decades. This paper discusses how a few additional efforts can save biodiversity and contribute to “promote innovative solutions to reduce threats to biodiversity”, one of the objectives of IYB 2010.
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Web page: http://www.isec.ac.in/
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