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Ecologically important hot-spot regions of India

The inventorisation and mapping of bio-diversity in the ecologically important hot-spot regions i.e. Northeast India, Western Ghats, Western Himalayas and Andaman and Nicobar Islands have been successfully completed. This was one of the joint initiatives of the Department of Space and the Department of Biotechnology taken up under the Jai Vigyan Mission. India with 2.4 percent of world’s area has 8 percent of global bio-diversity. It is one of the 12 mega-diversity hot-spot regions of the world.

The study was based on existing knowledge base, intensive field sampling, mapping using satellite remote sensing and geospatial modelling tools. For the first time different types of vegetation- cover maps, fragmentation in forest area, disturbance regimes and biodiversity-rich areas have been mapped on 1:250,000 scale. Over 5000 sample points distributed in different vegetation types have been used to derive species variability, ecological status of medicinal plants, endemism and their ecological sensitivity.

Genetic profiling using molecular marker was also done for a number of species linking to their chemical profiling. Stress tolerant genes have been isolated from species of the cold desert and the mangroves of the coastal region. A number of bioactive molecules and enzymes have also been isolated for product development.

For the first time maps of the major hot-spot regions of India, which provide information on habitat, habitat quality and bio-diversity richness at macro level have also been produced. The species database on bio prospecting has been linked to the bio-diversity spatial database in the form of web enabled geospatial information system. Books, maps and atlas on the bio-diversity characterisation at the landscape level of the three vital ecological regions, are now available for various user agencies.

Source: Press Information Bureau Government of India