GUWAHATI, Sept 2 - Popular science activist and noted biotechnologist Prof Mohan Chandra Kalita has made an appeal to the State Government for taking initiatives to create mini institutional forests and forests along the highways to facilitate conservation of the State�s biodiversity.
In letters addressed to the Education Minister, Forests and Environment Minister and Science and Technology Minister of the State, Prof Kalita argued that rampant destruction of the floral and faunal diversity, including the one-horned rhinoceros in the State, has been adversely affecting its overall environment. Such activities have not only depreciated the natural forest areas, but have also adversely affected the animal diversity in a significant manner. This has a role to play in the gradual rise in the ambient temperature.
Talking to this newspaper, Prof Kalita also pleaded for massive avenue plantation in the urban and rural areas of the State to fight the menace of climate change on a war-footing.
He argued that further lingering of the present situation of rampant destruction of the forest cover is fraught with the danger of extinction of many common bird, animal and plant species in the near future, not to speak of the endangered species. Therefore, Prof Kalita said, �It is the need of the hour to create man-made forests in the form of institutional and highway forests for providing shelter to several species of birds and animals for the survival of the State�s civilization.�
He argued that the total size of the forests along the highways would be as big as that of a mega forest. For the purpose, he suggested signing of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI).
Besides highway forests, he said students of educational institutions, right from the primary schools to the university level, should be encouraged to plant trees on the campuses of their institutions with an aim to develop mini or micro institutional forests. This will help motivate the students for conservation of biodiversity as part of their learning process.
On the campuses of the offices too, respective officers and employees should be involved in massive plantation and conservation drives, while the barren plots of land should be developed as forests, he said.
He suggested a national research institute for conservation of the one-horned rhinoceros so that captive breeding of this species and research on it could be carried out in a scientific manner.
Moreover, he said an in vitro/cryo germplasm repository may be created for the State so as to conserve the endangered plant and animal parts, seeds, tissues, reproductive parts etc for a longer period and efforts could be undertaken to revive and restore them with the application of modern biotechnology.
He informed that a copy of his letter on the issue has also been sent to the Chief Minister of the State.