Biodiversity Documentation & Monitoring
Our efforts in biodiversity documentation have been supported by the tribal village elders who have shared their traditional knowledge of the forests and the indigenous plants. They have shared with us invaluable information on the NTFPs, their importance, harvesting methods they adopt for sustainability and their uses. This has resulted in comprehensive documentation of all species – indigenous and rare – as well as in the establishment of a vast germ- plasm.
Survey of Flora in 80 square km of the forest
A database on vegetation diversity was initially created through field surveys covering 80 square Km of the forest. This was done with the help of knowledgeable elders from the tribal communities, local youth and experts in ecology and taxonomy.
This has been followed by regular monitoring to update the database.
This study in turn enabled us to establish a seed bank and forest nursery.
Provided below for public access are three Field Guides on Herbs, Shrubs and Trees that resulted from these field studies.
The Field studies revealed the status of the population of the different species, (particularly the NTFP used by the tribal people) using which we were able to identify the species that were locally threatened or were be coming rare. This helped in prioratizing the species that needed immediate attention. These were then raised in the forest nursery followed by afforestation and distribution.
Tracking seasonal data from forests
Phenology (seasonal changes including flowering, fruiting, leaf shedding and leaf flushing) data has been collected for over 8 years. In the last 3 years data collection happens every 15 days. This his has helped in recording the appropriate time for fruit and seed collection in order to raise them ex-situ.
This information has also helped the Self Help Groups to to monitor the productivity of the different NTFP species and plan the manufacture of their forest produce based goods. Understanding the variations in productivity each season is vital for sustainable harvesting and hence floral conservation.
Documenting traditional indigenous knowledge on NTFPs with special importance to traditional medicinal practices
Working closely with these Yanadi people for many years has built close bonds between the members of KEEP and the tribal community. The ‘Yanadi tribals’ are always known for their knowledge and expertise in folk medicines using wild flora. They have been and a few elders, continue to be healers and vaidyas in their localities. Their knowledge of the forests is immense.
The people were generous to share this irreplaceable information with us. Some of the wise elders helped us document the medicinal plants native to this region, the traditional methods of preparation of medicines and their modes of use.
This knowledge sharing is also part of the curriculum of the Sanctuary Schools so that the younger generation learn the information passed on from their elders. Students also raise some of these plants around their homes in the tribal hamlets.