‘North East biodiversity reservoirs under constant threat’

By Our Reporter

 Shillong: The threat looming over the state’s rich natural resources, documented and non-documented, being wiped out from the face of the earth can be attributed to urbanization and other forms of development thereby paving the way for the depletion of biodiversity in the state, says the Head of Botanical Survey of India (Shillong and Gangtok) Dr TM Hynniewta.

“North East is considered as an ecological hotspot but a large section of the people in the region are not aware that the region’s reservoirs of biodiversity are under constant threat”, Dr Hynniewta opined.

Dr Hynniewta pointed out that the ecosystems of Meghalaya are very fragile and vulnerable and faces various risks that threaten important ecosystem services supporting rich biodiversity heritage. “With the inhabitants bio diversitically and traditionally conscious of their Future, Save-Biodiversity campaign and public awareness prove to be a more successful conservation strategy and it could be made possible for this to become a people’s movement with strong public support”, he stated.

Dr Hynniewta was addressing a one-day seminar on “Conservation of Biodiversity in North East India” organized by North Eastern Service of All India Radio, Shillong in collaboration with the Meghalaya State Biodiversity Board at Don Bosco Youth Centre here on Wednesday.

Stating that Meghalaya is amongst the country’s hotspots comprising an enormous species of flora and fauna, Dr Hynniewta however, said that some of its natural resources are under threat not only due to urbanization and other forms of development while ruing the fact that most of the species are not documented.

Expressing concern over the depleting biodiversity in the state, the former Head of Botanical Survey of India has suggested the use of Taxonomy, a fundamental science that generates knowledge about biodiversity.

“Taxonomy would help to understand the biodiversity gain and loss and it should be used as an effective tool in the management of biodiversity conservation”, Dr Hynniewta said.

He added that the state government could take some effective decision on biodiversity conservation through this method which would prove to be very helpful.

It may be mentioned that Meghalaya is famous for its rich biodiversity sites like the Nokrek Biosphere Reserve, Balpakram National Park, Siju Wild Life Sanctuary, Baghmara Pitcher Plan Sanctuary in South Garo Hills, Nongkhyllem Wild Life Sanctuaries in Ri Bhoi District and 101 religious and sacred forests spread out over the State.

Meanwhile, giving a detailed explanation on the Mawphlang Sacred Forest in Khasi Hills, the Secretary of Mawphlang Sacred Grove, Tambor Lyngdoh informed that the total Project Area including the Buffer Zone is 27,138 ha wherein the Project Area covers a total of 18,800 ha, forest Cover 11,032 ha, dense forest 6297 ha and open forest is 4795 ha.

Lyngdoh further mentioned that in cases of forest fires, the measures undertaken at the Sacred Grove included the traditional control burning, fire lines and social controls.

Speaking as the Chief Guest at the seminar, Additional Chief Secretary PBO Warjri called upon the need to protect and conserve all forms of life, which are vital for human existence.

“All forms of life are inter-dependent to each of other and more crucial to human survival”, he said adding that the growth of plants and animals do not commensurate with the growth of 7 billion populations in the world.

On the same note, Principal Chief Conservator of Forest, TTC Marak said some of the plant species are endemic in North East and they should be protected and preserved. He however, rued the fact that these endemic species could disappear due to urbanization.

While appreciating the growth of rare citrus around the Nokrek Biosphere Reserve and Baghmara Pitcher Plan Sanctuary in South Garo Hills including Nongkhyllem Wild Life Sanctuaries in Ri Bhoi District in Meghalaya, Marak expressed the need for taking affective measures to control fire from destroying them.

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