Study of medicinal plants at BBP

The first-ever field survey on medicinal plants was conducted at the Bannerghatta National Park (BNP) recently.

This is the first step of an all-India study to ascertain how many medicinal plants have grown naturally in forest areas and urban landscapes. 

The week-long survey taken up by the Karnataka Medical Plants Authority, Karnataka Biodiversity Board, Forest Department and the students of Forestry College, began on May 20.

Around 30 people with 100 forest staffers covered 23 beats of the park, spread across 270 sq km. More than 500 samples were collected during the exercise. The samples are now being tabulated and analysed. One sample was collected at every 200 metres in every beat.

Te park was chosen for the pilot study as it is at the tip of Western Ghats.
Sunil Panwar, Deputy Conservator of Forests, BNP, told Deccan Herald that the study would be extended to Bengaluru urban landscapes and after monsoon, it will be conducted in other forest patches.

“There are around 250 medicinal plant species in and around Bengaluru. Many people, including forest officials, are not aware of them. The idea of the study is to identify the species, prepare a data bank and protect the species. A detailed map of the medicinal plants is also being prepared for Bannerghatta National Park  and it will be replicated for all areas. A collective all-India map will also be prepared,” he said.

Panwar said that poachers had smuggled medicinal plants in the guise of kitchen greens and herbs.

“ Such smugglers have not been booked as the Forest Department and other investigation officials are not aware of the species, their significance and laws relating to their protection. Through this exercise, we will become aware of the species. This will also help us chalk out better protection strategies,” he added.

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