'Nature is man's best friend', as it not only provides food, shelter and other necessities, but also teaches them to survive in extreme conditions. Right from 'Early Man' to modern civilised human being, nature has played a vital part in the making of human being.
But as the technology is advancing and humans are getting more modernised day by day, they are forgetting the valuable contribution of nature in carving them as a 'Man' out of 'Early Man'. Despite of strong rules and laws made by the government and courts of the country, many forests have been chopped down for wood or for land or under the name of development. As a result, many important species of plant, trees, herbs etc. are on the edge of extinction.
If we talk about the State of Karnataka, there are many species of vegetation which are exclusively found here, but due to regular dropping of axes on them, now they are about to say final bye to the world. In the absence of a full-fledged database of Karnataka's plant wealth, authorities too found it difficult to locate and safeguard these varieties of species.
In order to safeguard nature's beautiful gift and to protect these species from extinction, Indian Institute of Science has come up with the country's first digital map of plant wealth exclusively for Karnataka. This map will be available soon for the public on its website.
The map called 'Herbarium JCB maps' has 5,000 different vascular plant species spread across various district of the state. This miracle happened only because of the head to toe efforts by K Shankar Rao and his hard working and dedicated team of researchers from IISc's Center for Ecological Sciences.
"The digital herbaria on regional flora would lead to creating informatics in the developing world to help achieve the goals of sustainable resource management and species conservation. Despite a rich flora spreading across evergreen forests of Western Ghats, dry deciduous forests of Malnad and the plains of the state, there is hardly any database of such unique variety with us," says Rao.
He further stated "In fact, out of 5,000 plant species that we have recorded, as many as 3,956 are yet to be assessed."
According to the database, there are about 120 species endemic to Karnataka. Out of these, 72 species have been declared as endangered and need urgent action to conserve them.