State’s biodiversity to be surveyed

By Our Reporter

 Shillong: Despite being identified as one of the biodiversity hotspots in the world, the North Eastern part of the country has undergone a regression in its effort to protect and preserve the biodiversity resulting in the extinction of species both flora and fauna, said Additional Chief Secretary PBO Warjri.

“There has been no progress, infact, there is regression of the biodiversity and we are actually going backward in this aspect, increasing the chances for rare species to become extinct, threatened or endangered,” Warjri said.

Notably, the Rio+20 conference held at Brazil in June this year has reinstated the need for selected countries with India being one of them, to conserve the rich biodiversity as no progression of the same was visible.

Warjri was addressing a gathering at the launching of the project, ‘Survey of Biodiversity in Meghalaya and its potential’ by Albert Einstein Science Institute in collaboration with the North Eastern Hill University (NEHU) and the Meghalaya Tourism Department at NEHU here on Tuesday.

Informing that the North East entered the biodiversity map of the world in 1992 after being identified as one of the biodiversity hotspots in the world at the Rio Conference in 1992, Warjri said within a span of 20 years, the availability of enormous species both flora and fauna has lessened, with some already being wiped out from the face of the earth while others are under the verge of extinction.

“Therefore, the challenges becomes bigger with the indication of climate change, still vague and henceforth, there is a need for the government to think in ways on how to prepare in withstanding such impacts on the already fragile biodiversity”, Warjri said, adding that the same could however be overlooked from a different angle as the adverse could be beneficial.

Reiterating the need to understand the biodiversity, Warjri said, “In this Industrial Age, for a sustainable existence, there is a need to balance greed with needs,” adding that if the citizens of this State would have understood their role then “our rivers wouldn’t have been destroyed and polluted”.

Meanwhile, giving an insight into this project, a nineteen-year-old scientist from Bihar, Vivek Kumar, who is also the director of the Albert Einstein Science Institute informed that the project would be carried out by the Science and Environment Awareness Society (SEAS).

“Meghalaya needs large-scale conservation of biodiversity as there is continuous loss of floral biodiversity in the state that needs immediate evaluation and mitigation,” he said, adding, the project strategy that will be adopted by SEAS is to create a unique digital web database of biodiversity of the State.

He informed that the project would also include creation of a GIS system for plant species and publishing the collective work in form of books in several volumes.

Furthermore, the project would include students from different colleges and schools in the State for collection and identification of plant species. While documentation would be done for all the species per area, these would be made accessible online for interested researchers and people around the world, the young scientist said.

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