COIMBATORE: People’s registers will be prepared in the state in the next six to eight months, said Biodiversity Board secretary A Udhayan on Thursday.
The state government has recommended biodiversity management committees in the state to enrol volunteers from the local colleges to collect and key in data.
The people‘s biodiversity register is a list of all the local biological resources available within a block. It includes marine life, domestic animals, species, plants, herbs, trees and wildlife. It will also have comprehensive information on their extent of availability and knowledge of each species‘ use if any including medicinal or tradition.
“The register has to be prepared and maintained by biodiversity management committees, which will be instituted in every block in every district across the country,” said Udhayan. A biodiversity register in every block is mandatory under the Biodiversity Act 2002.
While committees are beginning to be formed, the state government‘s biodiversity board has created software where all the data for biodiversity registers across the state has to be keyed in.
“It will become a digital register and will allow us to access any information on any species across the state from one point,” said the secretary of the board. “We have also recommended that the committees tie up with a local college where they can get a lot of volunteers to help with data collection and keying in the data,” he said.
A biodiversity register is expected to help reveal the rich biological resources available in a geographic area in the country. “We don’t even know what resources are available in different areas. Searching and collection of data will reveal a lot of unknown species and their uses,” said chief conservator of forests, Deepak Shrivastava.
On Thursday, the board conducted a training programme for all forest rangers in Coimbatore and the Nilgiris on their roles and functions as secretaries of their respective Biodiversity management committees (BMC).
“In Tamil Nadu the state government has decided that the forest rangers will be BMC secretaries. So, we are first teaching these rangers how to form a biodiversity management committee, including the fact that it needs to have seven members and how they can recruit members,” said Udhayan. “The committees will be managed by local bodies at the block level and can have members from the local communities like farmers, fishermen, traders or any ordinary citizen interested in the environment and biodiversity,” he added.
Udhayan said, “The Act mandates that any company or institution should inform the biodiversity management committee of a block before collecting any sample for commercial or research purposes. The committee can agree or refuse or restrict it on basis of quantity or location,” said Udhayan.
“The committee can also ask for a share in revenue earned from collection of the plant or sample, like a percentage of their profits,” he said.