The Centre for Ecological Sciences (CES) at the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) has invited students to participate in its project to prepare a biodiversity map of ecologically sensitive regions in the Western Ghats and other parts of the state.
Prof T V Ramachandra of CES told DH that, in 2012-13, they had undertaken the biodiversity mapping in Uttara Kannada and Dakshina Kannada districts, involving students.
“The first project involving students was successful. The second mapping will coincide with the lake symposium scheduled in Moodabidri in December this year,” he said.
The Karnataka Biodiversity Board and the Western Ghats Task Force have entrusted the CES with the task to undertake the biodiversity mapping of Uttara Kannada. Under the programme ‘My Village Biodiversity,’ the CES has also launched the Young Sahayadri Ecologist- 2016 competition for students. The aim of biodiversity mapping is to know the terrain, biodiversity and conservation methods.
Ramachandra said students should be involved as they are efficient communicators and keen observers.
They will interact with other students and bring out information, he said. In the first mapping, 54 traditional varieties of rice and 12 varieties of brinjal were mapped. “This time we are hoping for more new discoveries,” he said.
He said students get exposed to environmental problems and learn to come up with effective solutions in the project.
“It is also important academically as environment education is part of the curriculum. The training programme started in January and so far, around 200 students have been trained and many students from Bengaluru are showing keen interest in this exercise.
They can also be a part of the short- and long-term courses,” he explained.
The involvement of students will cover traditional crop varieties and their special qualities, traditional livestock varieties, plant and animal biodiversity on land and water, wild plants consumed as food in villages, medicinal plants and their use, village-wise list of nati vaidyas (traditional medical practitioners) who treat humans and domestic animals, local methods of crop cultivation, information on sacred groves, perennial water bodies in villages and details about artisans.