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Experts call for immediate action for conservation

UNI – Sunday, October 18 1998

RISHIKESH: An appropriate strategy for biodiversity conservation in the fragile Himalayan ecosystem requires immediate action at the international, national and local levels, says a paper presented at “Mountain Meet ’98” held here recently.

The paper, titled “The strategy for biodiversity conservation in the Himalaya”, lays great stress on the issue of habitat conservation to save the specific species as well as the biotic community as a whole. Authored by Dr GS Rajwar, Mr Subodh K Gupta and Mr RV Singh of the Government Post-Graduate College, Rishikesh, it says that the government must take the lead in preparing a policy framework, allocating resources and integrating biodiversity into its planning processes.

Important elements of biodiversity conservation include allowing the loss of biodiversity needs, greater understanding about the role of biodiversity in ecosystems and its importance for human existence, says the paper.

According to another paper presented at the meet, some of the weeds flourishing in the Himalayas are playing havoc with the ecological balance. The overgrowth of water hyacinth in various Himalayan aquatic systems has resulted in a total drying up of a number of aquatic bodies, says this study authored by Mr Garvesh Kumar and Ms Neeti Rohtagi of the Botanical Survey of India, Dehra Dun. Lantana Camara, Argemone Mexicana and Mikania Micrantha are some of the other weeds which are taking their toll in Himalayan ecology.

According to the Botany Department of HNB Garhwal University, Srinagar, Himalayan ecology was suffering greatly in the absence of strict measures to check the heavy exploitation of plant species for industrial use. This applies especially to the medicinal plants in the Garhwal Himalays. Medicinal herbs are regularly exploited by various pharmaceutical companies.