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Forest department conserves 1943 endemic 'threatened or endangered plant species

Dehradun: On the occasion of World Biodiversity Day, the research wing of the Uttarakhand forest department said that it had conserved a total of 1,943 species in 2022, with a focus on endemic species, some of which would have become extinct due to "biotic interferences or effects of climate change" if not conserved, according to officials. As per the IUCN categorization, 12 of these species are "critically endangered" 23 are "endangered", 12 are "vulnerable" and 14 are "near threatened". This year, the conservation was done in Haldwani, Ranikhet, Pithoragarh, Gopeshwar, and Dehradun in situ (conserving a species in its habitat) and ex-situ (growing a species in a nursery) methods. Last year, 1,576 species were conserved, officials of the research wing said.
Chief conservator of forest (research), Haldwani, Sanjiv Chaturvedi said, "This exercise is undertaken only by the Uttarakhand forest department in the country, as it is technically difficult to identify species and sort them into groups in order to conserve them. It was started in 2020 when we conserved over 11,000 species."
Officials said that protecting these plants is also crucial for several animal and plant species dependent on them. Besides, 560 of the conserved plants have medicinal properties.
"For instance, there is a plant species with medicinal properties that grow only in some places in Rishikesh. We are growing it in nurseries so that even if it goes extinct, we have the nursery species to fall back on. The plants are crucial for carbon sequestration, soil conservation, and moisture-retaining and are affected by climate change, biotic interferences, and illegal extraction," Chaturvedi added.
Uttarakhand observed the "International Day for Biodiversity" on Sunday. Various government institutions and social organizations marked the day with their own events. At the Forest Research Institute, birdwatching and organization programs were conducted for young scientists, researchers, and citizen scientists on Sunday. The theme of the day was "building a shared future for all". Renu Singh, director of FRI, said, "Biodiversity conservation is intrinsically associated with the survival of mankind." A quiz competition was also arranged for all participants.

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