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Biodiversity Conservation with Special Reference to Medicinal Climbers: Present Scenario Challenges Strategies and Policies

Journal Article

Sharma S; Arya R

2015

Biotechnological strategies for the conservation of medicinal and ornamental climbers

23-63

Climbing plants typically contribute 2–15 % of the leaf biomass and about 5 % of the wood biomass to forests. In India they are widely distributed from Nilgiris to Himalayas to Andaman Nicobar Islands. Phylogenetically climbers are found in over 125 families of flowering plants as well as among several fern groups and even in one significant gymnosperm genus Gnetum. They are largely used by all divisions of the population either directly as folk medications or indirectly in the preparation of recent pharmaceuticals. Climbers also play a vital role in horticulture and agriculture. Thus people depend on climbers for several purposes like for medications non-timber forest products food etc. Nowadays plant-based pharmaceutical industries have been increased due to various advantages of plant-based medicine over the synthetic ones. Wild plants are the good source to provide the raw materials for such industries. Unfortunately a huge number of medicinal climbers have been listed in Red Data Book and are on the verge of extinction due to unsustainable collection of plants habitat loss climate change and industrialization coupled with urbanization. Thus biodiversity conservation is an utmost concern globally. Various strategies are in use for biodiversity conservation such as in situ strategy ex situ strategy reduction of anthropogenic pressures and rehabilitation of threatened species. Protection and preservation of germplasm within national parks biosphere reserves and sanctuaries are the examples of in situ conservation. However it is not an effective means of conservation. In this regard biotechnological approach like plant tissue culture technique proved to be fruitful. Plant tissue culture can be applied to the rapid propagation and ex situ conservation of rare endemic and endangered medicinal plants as explained by several authorities. Other modern biotechnological tools including cryopreservation techniques DNA fingerprinting and bioreactor-mediated bio-production of phytochemicals are mostly relevant in this context. The Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) in force since 1992 is the major international conservation convention. The global strategy for conservation of plants was adopted with the intention to harmonize with existing international initiatives addressing various aspects of plant conservation.

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The Liana Ecology Project is supported by Marquette University and funded in part by the National Science Foundation.