Forests play crucial ecological, social and economic functions in society as they play a significant part in conserving biodiversity. Forest landscapes have a key role in hydrological cycle that in turn provide water and food security. But against odds of climate change, fragmentation, soil erosion, degradation, desertification and pest and disease proliferation worldwide forest landscape need to be restored to help tackle them better against these global challenges.
Rare tree species conservation centre (RTSCC) involves planting of rare key stone tree species with high ecological values outside their natural habitat. The main objective of setting up of this rare tree species centre is to establish the gene bank of these highly threatened species of the local forest and to develop the nursery of these rare species in future so that the seedlings of these rare species can be replanted in the forest to restore and enrich the floral diversity of the region.
Thus establishing a rare tree species conservation centre not only provides an insurance policy against extinction but eventually supports in-situ conservation for restoring resilience to the forest landscapes.
In order to establish the gene bank of the highly threatened and rare varieties of medicinal, wild fruit and other food species and to develop their nursery for planting back of the seedlings of these rare species for restoring and enriching the floral diversity of the region, the Haldwani forest division has conceptualized the model of rare tree species conservation centre (RTSCC). Taking an initiative in this direction, Haldwani forest division has set up a rare tree species conservation centre at Sultan Nagri block of its Chhakata range.
This is an attempt to identify and grow the local rare tree species of medicinal, wild fruit and other food species at a place to set up the conservation centre. The major wild fruit species which have been planted in this conservation centre include Falsa, Sallu, Kainth, Kumbhi, Amra, Barna, Bhilawa, Mainfal, Pachnala and Ankol etc. Besides, a variety of the medicinal tree species like Thanela, Padal, Pula, Sarpadansi, Maida, Chirongi, Vishtendu, Bijasal, Borang have also been planted in this centre. Apart from some fodder species like Ekdaniya, Udaal and others threatened shrub species, some oil yielding tree species including Kusum, Salai, Indian butter tree to name a few have also been planted in this rare tree species conservation centre. Further to strengthen the rare tree species conservation centre many new species can also be identified and conserved in the centre in the coming years.
It is hoped that this centre will also raise the awareness among the common people and environmentalist for protecting and conserving these rare tree species in the wild. The reforestation of these species as in-situ conservation will reduce the possibility of extinction and enhance the capacity of forest ecosystem to respond to the disturbance and perturbation.
Thus selecting the right key species based on experience and expertise of forest ecologists and senior field foresters and replicating them through such models of Rare Tree Species Conservation Centre followed by planting them back in the forest to restore and enrich the floral diversity of the region can certainly help in restoring the resilience of forest landscapes.
Blogpost and picture submitted by Chandrashekhar Sanwal (Indian Forest Service, India) – chandra.sanwal(at)gmail.com
The content, structure and grammar is at the discretion of the author only.
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