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Bengaluru: New portal captures India’s plant diversity

The portal — indiaflora-ces.iisc.ac.in — is aimed at making India’s immense floristic diversity across climates, topographies, and ecological patterns digitally accessible.
Last Updated : 12 April 2024, 21:22 IST
Last Updated : 12 April 2024, 21:22 IST

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Bengaluru: The Centre for Ecological Sciences (CES) at the Indian Institute of Science on Monday launched India Flora Online (IFO), a first-of-its-kind database of India’s flora. Led by Prof K Sankara Rao, the project compiles data on 15,349 species.

The portal — indiaflora-ces.iisc.ac.in — is aimed at making India’s immense floristic diversity across climates, topographies, and ecological patterns digitally accessible.

Prof Rao, distinguished fellow at CES, said the initiative was built on data compiled from extensive field work, complemented with information from the herbarium at CES, which houses a large number of specimens of native and naturalised plants.

He said IFO was the culmination of efforts to showcase authentic, scientifically robust data on a digital platform. IFO describes individual species in a wide range of details — from host landscapes to distribution patterns to conservation status. The advanced search option also allows users to search the species by vernacular names.

For the team at the CES herbarium, the portal is the extension of previous projects that digitally compiled data on flora in Karnataka, the Western Ghats, and peninsular India. IFO also includes data on plants from Afghanistan, Nepal, Tibet, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, and Pakistan.

Prof Kamal Bawa, President Emeritus–ATREE, Bengaluru, formally launched the portal.

Speaking on India’s priorities in community ecology and conservation biology, he called for a shift in focus from wildlife to plant-dominated ecosystems. "We don’t have a very good understanding of how our ecosystems are structured and plant biology is basic to that understanding,” he said.

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Published 12 April 2024, 21:22 IST

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