Botanical Survey of India discovers 148 new species.
THE Modi government's responsibility to preserve biodiversity is likely to increase manifold as 148 new species of plants have been discovered by the Botanical Survey of India ( BSI).
While these 148 species are altogether new to science, scientists at the BSI have also discovered 19 new varieties ( sub- species) during 2014- 15.
Besides, 101 species have been recorded for the first time in India.
While 114 novelties ( new traits in a plant species) were described and published by scientists at the BSI, those from other institutes reported 164 novelties during 2014. Seed plants contributed the maximum with 42 per cent of the total discoveries followed by fungi at 19 per cent. Microbes contributed to 13 per cent of the new
findings, while lichens had 12 per cent. Algae formed 9 per cent of the total new species while pteridophytes and bryophytes contributed to 2 and 3 per cent, respectively.
Region- wise, most of the new species were discovered in Western Ghats, which accounted for 22 per cent of the total discovered made, followed by Eastern Himalaya at 15 per cent. The North- East India contributed to 15 per cent of the total discoveries while Andaman and Nicobar Islands shared 13 per cent of the new species found. About 11 per cent of the new findings were recorded from Peninsular India, followed by Western Himalaya with 9 per cent.
The Gangetic Plains, Eastern Plains and Central India, collectively, contributed to 10 per cent of the total new discoveries of 2014.
According to the current estimates of BSI, India has about 11.4 per cent of the total recorded floral species in the world. "We are in the process of identifying several new species. But the existing floral biodiversity is under severe threat from human factors like urbanisation, industrialisation, pollution, destruction of habitats, overgrasing and deforestation among others,"said a senior scientist at the BSI. Union Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar, when asked, said, "We have already started working to form biodiversity committees in all districts and ensure strict compliance of the protocols related to commercial utilisation of biological resources from India."Scientists also find 19 new sub- species of plants
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