KOZHIKODE: In a rare acknowledgment of its scientific expertise, Kerala Forest Research Institute (KFRI) at Peechi in Thrissur will document the unexplored diversity of Maldives’ entire flora.
This is said to be the first time in history that a research institute from Kerala is going to document the flora of a foreign country. Until now, the Indian Ocean archipelago has not yet documented its plant wealth spread across a territory of over roughly 90,000 sq km.
“For KFRI, this is a huge recognition. It is for the first time that an institute from the state has bagged a project for documenting the entire flora of another nation. Our biodiversity, including flora were documented by the Britishers and KFRI will now do exactly the same by documenting the flora of Maldives in a comprehensive manner,” said P Sujanapal, taxonomist and member of the KFRI scientific team, adding, “The Institute has the expertise and experience of senior scientists to successfully complete the project in a time bound manner”.
The project will be implemented with additional funding from the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FIO). Currently India, Maldives and Sri Lanka, who are members of the the Asia-Pacific Forest Invasive Species Network, are involved in a project aimed at controlling and Management of Invasive Species.
“The plant wealth of that nation has not been documented at all. The matter had come up during a meeting, with the officials of Male’s Ministry of Fisheries and Agriculture on controlling the Invasive Species. The Maldivian government had also sought our assistance to document and publish the plant taxonomy of the Island nation and we had agreed to undertake the project,” Sujanapal added.
KFRI expects to complete the work soon and publish the flora in a year’s time.
“We have already travelled to Maldives three times and held discussions with the government officials there. The documentation process will commence soon and we will publish it in a year’s time,” he added.
K V Sankaran (team leader) and T N Sajeev (coordinator) are the other Taxonomists associated with the project.