ONGOING ACTIVITIES

TROPICAL GENE BANK:

The Tropical Gene Bank project aims at conserving indigenous species from the Western Ghats which are under threat of extinction. Nearly 30 acres in Visvesvaraya Technological University (VTU) campus, Belgaum, is currently being planted with more than 300 species which have been collected and planted scientifically under the Biodiversity Park in various blocks such as Medicinal Plant Garden, Butterfly Park, Wildflower Garden, Sacred Garden, Nectar Garden, etc.

 

Awareness & Education :

The identification and collection of indigenous species are based on the awareness levels of the community. The traditional knowledge helps in species identification and this knowledge needs to be documented and transferred to future generations. Thus the field based awareness and education programmes have been designed and carried out at various locations in the Western Ghats region of Karnataka. Students and local community members have been involved in the awareness programmes as they will be the key beneficiaries.

Field Research:

This project also intends to aid future research, academics and further propagation of important species. In this regard species identification at field level is essential and participation of local community, especially students and children is given top priority. The project area will serve as research plot for students of Botany, Zoology, Environmental Science and related subjects so as to build interest among students about fundamental sciences. The studies will also include changes in biodiversity in and around the VTU campus. Benchmark studies and surveys are also part of the field research activities.

Eco-Restoration:

The awareness and education programmes have led to identifying sites in the Western Ghats for collection of species. The field research has been helpful in collecting the species and transfer of planting material to the project nursery and then to the planting site at VTU, Belgaum. The planting is then carried out in different blocks within the campus, with each block having a display board with scientific names of species and pictures of certain significant species. Systematic and scientific planting method is adopted during planting.

Communication Package:

The project is being implemented at the VTU campus and the project information material is being distributed through various means and methods. Various information and communication material under the project have been designed. Catalogue of all the plant species with relevant information are compiled and prepared; posters and info-charts about the project have also been designed and published. The result of the biodiversity studies in VTU before and after the project implementation is being carried out through biodiversity studies. Awareness and publicity material such as books, films, etc., are being planned to help spread the message of conservation and role of institutions such as VTU in strengthening such environmental restoration programmes.