The Union Ministry of Environment and Forest has released the Country Report on the state of Forest Genetic Resources (FGRs), which is the first of its kind baseline document for the new initiatives towards conservation and sustainable use of FGRs. This report would form the India chapter of the State of World’s Forest Genetic Resources to be brought out by FAO in 2013.
The report was released by Union Minister of State for Environment and Forests Jayanthi Natarajan on Saturday. The report has been prepared by Indian Council of Forestry Research and Education, Coimbatore, identified as the National Focal Point by the MoEF for Food and Agricultural Organisation. The report has been developed after wide consultation with multi-stakeholders. The Minister directed that this document should be made available in regional languages for the guidance of farmers and foresters.
India, with just 2.4 per cent of the world land area, accounts for over 45,000 recorded species of plants and 91,000 recorded species of animals even while supporting almost 18 per cent of human population as well as a large livestock population. India is also the repository of a wide array of forest genetic resources (FGR) which has tremendous actual and potential use.
The country report gives a detailed account on the current state of FGRs in India with a long list of main tree species and the species which are under threat and how the knowledge about the FGRs is useful for future generation. The report also gives data on the annual quantity of seeds produced and current state of identification of forest reproductive material of the main forest tree and other woody species in the country.
The reports underscores the fact that the forestry sector in India is impacted by various other sectors such as energy, agriculture, education, water resources, industry, infrastructure development, biofuels, change in demographic structure and economic growth. Further, the report fulfils the need for documentation of our vast resources. Once a baseline is developed, it becomes easier to chalk out management and conservation plans for the FGRs.
This report covers genetic resources of forest species used for different purposes and according to their corresponding management systems, throws light on current management practices regarding FGRs, in situ and ex situ genetic conservation activities, improvement and breeding methodologies, infrastructure, implementation and international cooperation and collaboration, and current knowledge of the resources and management capacity needs.
Out of the 2863 tree species available in the country, about 270 trees have been prioritized for their present and potential value for humankind.
The report outlines the present status of FGR, in situ and ex situ conservation initiatives adopted in the country, national programmes available for conservation and management, FGR contribution in food security and poverty alleviation and the research needs for FGR.
Dr N Krishnakumar, Director, T P Raghunath, group co-ordinator research,K Ravichandran, extension officer, R Anandalakshmi, head, Seed Technology and Dr Rekha R Warrier, scientist authors of the book and K Ghayathri Devi, OSD were present during the release of the book.