GUWAHATI, July 1 - A day-long UGC-sponsored State-level conference was organised by the Department of Botany at Dhing College in Nagaon district on June 21 on the topic, �Prospect of Applied Ethno-botany in North Eastern Region of India,� a press release received here stated.
As many as 75 delegates, including lecturers, teachers and NGOs, besides students, common people and local media personnel attended the conference.
The objective of the conference was to make the students� community, including youth and general public aware of the aforementioned topic. Ethno-botany has been defined as a discipline concerned with interactions between people and plants. There are many aspects of Ethno-botany, including the ways that people name and classify plants, the values placed on them, their uses and their management.
The main aims are sustainable use of natural resources with restoration, if necessary, and a fair distribution of the benefits and costs, to maintain and restore the fundamental biological wealth of the planet with a fair distribution of the benefits and costs.
The objectives of the conference were conservation of plants, including varieties of crops and other forms of biological diversity, botanical inventories and assessments of the conservation status of species, sustainability in supplies of wild plant resources, including of non-timber products, enhanced food security, nutrition and healthcare.
Other objectives included preservation, recovery and diffusion of local botanical knowledge and wisdom, reinforcement of ethnic and national identity, assertion of the rights of local and indigenous people, agreements on the rights of communities in protected areas, besides identification and development of new economic products from plants, for instance crafts, foods, herbal medicines and horticultural plants.
On June 21, Dr Sanjeeb Kumar Nath, coordinator and organising secretary of the conference introduced and felicitated president Dr Sarat Kumar Dutta, Principal of Dhing College and president of the conference, chief guest Prof Partha Pratim Barua, HoD, Department of Botany, Gauhati University and guest of honour Dr PK Das, Chief Scientist of Regional Agricultural Research Station, Assam Agricultural University, Shillongani, Nagaon.
While inaugurating the conference, Dr Sarat Kumar Dutta highlighted the importance of herbal medicine in our day-to-day life. He also shed light on the efficacy of ethno-botanical plants used in the North Eastern region of India. Prof Partha Pratim Barua elaborately discussed about ethno-botany and its importance in Assam and North-East India. Dr PK Das discussed about the use of plants by different communities for various purposes with special reference to North East India.
In the first technical session, Dr Robindra Teron, Assistant Professor in the Department of Life Science & Bioinformatics, Assam University, Diphu campus in Karbi Anglong presented a detailed discussion on �Applied Ethno-botany � A Tool for Describing Plant Diversity and Community Management of Natural Resources�.
In the second technical session, Dr Ajit Tamuli, HoD, Department of Life Science & Bioinformatics, Assam University, Diphu campus in Karbi Anglong discussed elaborately on �Traditional Knowledge on Alternative Cattle Fodder in the Flood Plains of NE India�.
The two technical sessions was presided over by Dr PK Das, Chief Scientist of the Regional Agricultural Research Station, Assam Agricultural University, Shillongani, Nagaon, which was followed by an interactive session. Apart from these, more than 10 papers were presented in the conference.
The conference finally recommended the Government to implement as follows: to support the development of an ecosystem-based approach to conservation and sustainable development as a basic orientation for the development of Applied Ethno-botany.
Promotion of standardisation in the levels of rigour expected of courses and programmes in Applied Ethno-botany within countries and internationally, besides to raise awareness on the value of Applied Ethno-botany within universities and educational institutions, and among potential students and employers.
Further, to promote greater rigour in research in Ethno-botany, including through the formal stating and testing of hypotheses on people-plant relations.
The certificate distribution session of the conference was held under the chairmanship of Dr SK Dutta, who in his address gave an overview of the �Prospect of Ethno-botany in North Eastern Region of India�.
Dr Dutta felt that the conference would help in creating a platform in developing awareness and sensitivity among the students, farmers, NGOs and the common masses to identify the importance of ethnobotanical plants with special reference to North East India. Dr Sanjeeb Kumar Nath subsequently offered the vote of thanks.