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IBOY Satellite Projects

Biological Screening of Marine Algae of the Indian Coast

The sea has immense biomedical potential that can be used not only as a source of drugs for treatment of disease but also for new and novel structures with useful biological activity. A systemic effort towards pharmacological exploration of marine wealth has been initiated in The Periyar College. The study involves broad based biological screening for active principles of ten species of seaweeds collected along the Mandapam coast of India. They will be screened for biomedical potential in:

  • Atherosclerosis
  • Snakebite poisoning
  • Urolithiasis
  • Arthritis
  • Allergy and anaphylaxis
  • Wound healing
  • Malignancy
  • Gastric ulcer
  • Hepatotoxicity
  • Diarrhea
  • Helminthiasis
  • Antioxidant and memory enhancement effects

The Periyar Maniammai Educational and Charitable Society at Tiruchirappalli, India established the Periyar College of Pharmaceutical Sciences for Girls in 1982. The city is located centrally in the state Tamilnadu. Approval provided by the Government of Tamilnadu, The Dr. M. G. R. Medical University in Chennai, The Pharmacy Council of India (PCI) in New Delhi and The All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE), New Delhi.

--A. Jaswanth

Capacity Building of Community Organizations for Biodiversity Monitoring in Himachal Pradesh, Western Himalayas

The main objective of the project is to develop biodiversity mapping and monitoring methodologies for Himalayan areas for use by local communities. Monitoring is expected to lead to understanding and more efficient management of the biodiversity of natural resources, which in turn will enhance the economic benefits that accrue to the local people.

In preparation for the implementation phase of this important project, five major outputs were developed and agreed upon:

  • Identification of suitable NGO/future project staff, including orientation to project.
  • Biodiversity monitoring training program for village groups, a two to three month workshop.
  • The development of field guides. (A Monitoring Manuel containing concise summaries of indicator species as a how to reference guide will continue to be developed and upgraded by the PA. The Indian Ministry of Environment and Forest has expressed pleasure about this document and intends publicizing both it and the project with the view to establishing similar projects elsewhere in India).
  • Indicator species identified.
  • Community registers established and updated. This consists of the first three months of implementation. It is to be regularly updated in 2001-2002 after receiving feed back from the community.

The main indicator of achievement for this objective is to establish a biodiversity mapping and monitoring system in a pilot project area. This project hopes to establish other similar areas in order to increase the income of local communities in the pilot project area and eventually other areas.

Only local Indian issues have a meaning to local biodiversity issues. Methods and techniques requiring 'hands-on' experience teaches people the difficulties associated with such work and allows them to appreciate the amount of time and resources that must be allocated. Ethno-cultural and ethno-biological knowledge transfer is a key component of the project. In the future, the PA will have particular difficulty implementing some aspects of biodiversity management due to lack of resources, such as biological databases and field computers. Preparation of field maps in a timely manner, especially GIS-based maps, will also be a significant problem. PA use of university and SCS&T staff must be expanded to allow for input from experts. However, only the people of a village or area can accurately monitor their area in such a way as to allow detection of trends and 'ownership' of the work.

-- Virinder Sharma and Bob Anderson

Collection, Evaluation, Conservation and Sustainable Use of Agro-Biodiversity

The project on "Collection, Evaluation, Conservation and Sustainable Use of Agro-Biodiversity" is collecting germplasm of wild relatives of wheat from degraded lands. The goals are to evaluate and conserve the wild relatives, establishing a source of germplasm with stress tolerant genes (especially drought and salinity tolerant) that can be used to develop improved wheat strains that can cope with stresses associated with climate change.

The objectives of the project are to:

  • improve land races to be used for re-habitation of their native habitats
  • improve commercial cultivars by adding value in the form of resistant genes residing in the wild species
  • develop systems and techniques, such as wide hybridization, for conservation and mutation induction to develop additional variability in land races, wild species and in commercial cultivars that may allow a sustainable increase in productivity on existing and future marginal areas
  • facilitate the production, evaluation and availability of stress tolerant germplasm including species/varieties/land races and mutants for developing environment friendly, sustainable and profitable agriculture practices. This will ensure the safety of resources such as land, water and agro-biodiversity and help the stability of future agriculture systems. This work and the expertise of the institute is a significant contribution to the approved agriculture and biodiversity plan of the Government.

An emphasis of the project is conservation. The utilization of native land races as a source of valuable germplasm for commercial cultivation will make them attractive to people of their native areas who traditionally rely on them for food, nutrition, and shelter. The project will thus play a role in the rehabilitation of rural people to their native land and rehabilitation of degraded habitats harboring the native land races.

Picture - A salt tolerant and low input line of wheat cultivars known as 1076 was developed at NIAB by transferring low input character from wild Aegilops species. The 1076 wheat line requires 50% less water for irrigation and 50% less fertilizer compared to the original commercial wheat cultivars. It is the only germplasm that can be sown in field with standing cotton crop in order to do timely sowing in the areas where wheat cotton rotation is being practiced. Dr. Farooq (right) is visiting the field with a seed certification specialist. The photo shows 1076 after all cotton is removed, and the crop is nearing maturity. This is the time when scientists from seed certification department visit the crop to analyze seed development. The advantageous characteristics of cultivar 1076 are described in publications below.
  • Farooq, S. and F. Azam. 2002. Production of Low Input and Stress Tolerant Wheat Germplasm through the use of Biodiversity Residing in Wild Relatives. Hereditas 136 (In Press).

-- Shafqat Farooq

Conservation of Kanha Tiger Reserve Biodiversity through Exsitu Cultivation of Non-Timber Forest Products and Empowerment of Women through Traditional System of Medicine

The Kanha Tiger project is one of the biggest conservation tiger projects in Asia. The conservation and development of non-timber forest products and documentation of Village level Biodiversity Register will create a boon for tribal development and protection of the Kanha Tiger Reserve. The project will improve the economic condition of women through skill upgradation through a common facility centre based on medicinal aromatic plants. The Kanha Reserve is an area with one of the highest levels of biodiversity in India. In the tribal districts of Madhya Pradesh, the incidence of poverty and illiteracy is higher than the state average. Kanha buffer zone has vast resources of minor forest products and medicinal plants scattered through out the state. The Collection of M.F.P., Development of Medicinal and Aromatic plants and development of common facility centers for processing and packing offer numerous opportunities of gainful self-employment for rural women utilizing local resources, value-addition activities, and local technology. A growing international market exists for many medicinal and aromatic plants, which if tapped successfully, may even be a source of foreign action opportunities. Round the year employment through various activities and interspace utilization of the land will offer better employment opportunity to the women. This project is taking funds for aforesaid activities and we invite interested parties to contact us.

-- R. Sugandhi

Evaluation of Wild Life Habitats in the Proposed Amarkantak Bioshpere Reserve (website)

The proposed Amarkantak Biosphere Reserve lies between latitude 22°15 degrees; to 22°58 degrees; north and longitude 81°25 degrees; and 82°5 degrees; east. The area covers three districts of Madhya Pradesh: Shahdol, Dindori and Bilaspur. A total of ten forest ranges in these districts, covering an estimated area of 3835 square kilometers, has been proposed as a Biosphere Reserve. The area provides an ideal habitat for wild animals.

The status of ecospaces in the proposed Amarkantak Biosphere Reserve (ABR) in Madhya Pradesh has been under investigation since August 1998. The objectives of this evaluation are to study the species composition and distribution, and assess ecological dynamics, status of wild population and resource exploitation. Surveys have been done using various ecological methods for assessing the faunal and floral components in the proposed ABR.

The Achanakmar Sanctuary lies in the North Bilaspur Forest Division. It is considered as the core area of the proposed ABR. All major wild animals like tiger, leopard, bison, sambhar, bear, chital, etc. are found in the sanctuary. A large variety of birds and reptiles are also found. Major human activities are mining, agriculture, and tourism. In the forest, major tribes are Goar, Baiga, Kolas, Kanwar, Pinka, Ahir, and Pradhan. They depend mainly on forest resources.

Habitat destruction is the main factor threatening the wildlife in the unprotected ranges within the proposed ABR. Main problems in the area are due to grazing by livestock, agriculture, mining, collection of NTFP's and medicinal plants. Since 1998, Sal Borer has infested thousands of Sal trees resulting into a clearing of large tract Sal forests.

Field studies on assessment proved extremely useful in terms of recognizing credibility for declaring the area as a Biosphere Reserve. The reason for rich biodiversity in the ABR is due to favorable climate and edaphic factors that abound the area. The entire area is divided into the catchments of rivers Narmada, Son, Johila, and Maniari. The unique assimilation of uneven topography, structural variations and hilly terrain makes it a beautiful endowed forest where streams flow in all directions, forming a radial drainage pattern.

Preparation of an action plan for conservation and management of wildlife is under progress. The focus of the Biosphere Reserve management strategy will be on land-use planning and establishing a zoning system based on criteria of land capability.
It shall recommend alternatives to non-sustainable resources exploitation, farming and mining activities, regulating the development of tourism and seeking greater local participation to promote the rationalization of a sustainable development plan.

-- R.J. Rao

Management of Maliau Basin Conservation Area, Sabah, Malaysia (website)

Malaysia is one of the world's twelve mega-biodiversity countries and the Government of Malaysia is aware of the need for action in line with this as indicated in the Seventh Malaysian Plan 1996 - 2000.

The "Maliau Basin" is situated just above the equator in a remote part of south-central Sabah, the northernmost of the two East Malaysian states on the island of Borneo.

The Maliau Basin Conservation Area (MBCA) is a unique and pristine rain-forest area dominated by lower montane and heath forest but including major areas of lowland dipterocarp forest as well. The rugged terrain is uninhabited and its biodiversity is still only partly known. The area - also known as "The Lost World of Sabah" is important for biodiversity conservation, nationally and internationally. It is one of the most spectacular and pristine wilderness remaining in Malaysia, where it has been left undisturbed primarily because of its remoteness and inaccessibility

In the context of Sabah's protected area system, the MBCA (58,840 ha) contributes firstly as an outstandingly undisturbed an important water catchment area with a rich fauna and flora including many scarce, threatened and endemic species. For instance so far 55 of the 145 Malaysian bird species listed on IUCN's newly revised Red List of Threatened Species (September 2000) have been found in the MBCA. Total species richness of most taxon has still to be identified, but so far 56 terrestrial mammal species, 207 bird species and 460 plant species have been found. Surveys have still only been carried out in 20 % of the MBCA.

Secondly, the montane heath forest and associated transitional forests supports a quite distinct species-assemblage. Thirdly, the scenic spectacles of the gorges, the Maliau falls and the north rim escarpment are outstanding. By any reckoning, the Basin ranks as one of the finest wilderness areas in Malaysia.

In 1997, the Maliau Basin Conservation Area was gazetted by the Sabah State Government as a Protection (Class One) Forest Reserve. In 1999 it was also gazetted under the state Cultural Heritage Bill. Under these bills, the area is to remain unlogged and undisturbed for the purpose of research, education, conservation and wilderness recreation.

The "Management of Maliau Basin Conservation Area, Sabah, Malaysia" project was agreed upon as a Malaysian-Danish government-to-government collaboration project in the field of environment in 1998. The development objective of the project is 1) to secure the conservation of Maliau Basin for the benefit of Sabah, Malaysia and the international community, 2) to establish and develop a functional management structure and field facilities for conservation, research and education, 3) to afford provision for the production of a comprehensive management plan among others.

Danish input is provided through DANCED (Danish Cooperation for Environment and Development) and a Danish consultant Ornis Consult Ltd. & NEPCon Joint Venture, while Malaysian input is through Yayasan Sabah (Sabah Foundation) on behalf of the Maliau Basin Management Committee.

Although under the prevailing law, Maliau Basin is deemed "fully protected" the exploitation from illegal encroachment, poaching for timber, 'gaharu' and wildlife and the possibility of future coal mining of the basin are all threats to the future of the area. Its present status may not be maintained unless a clear management plan describing further protective measures is formulated, and if the area is not recognized and appreciated by a broader public at various levels both nationally and internationally.

Everyone plays here an integral part, particularly the scientist. The task and the challenge ahead is to derive the necessary data to support the formulation of the Management Plan. Intensive field surveys of this largely unexplored area are carried out throughout 2001-early 2002 by scientists from Sabahan institutions, Denmark and Harvard University, USA. - The Maliau Basin Conservation Area is considered as a global heritage; hence it may take a global co-operation to come up with a long-term conservation plan for the area.

Picture - Maliau Basin surrounded with its characteristic nearly circular rim and the outlet of the Maliau River to the southeast. The darker green areas inside the rim are undisturbed forest ranging from Lowland Dipterocarp Rain Forest and Edaphic Climax Forest (Heath Forest) to Upper Montane Rain Forest (Montane Ericaceous Forest). Yellow-greenish areas outside the rim (particularly south and west of the rim) are logged forest. Satellite picture, September 1999.

-- Hans Skotte Moeller, Waidi Sinun

Monitoring Biodiversity and the Traditional Health Care System "A Pilot Project of Satpura Hills" (Botanist Paradise of India)

India harbours an enormous diversity of plants and animals, both domesticated and wild. The millions of species which constitute biodiversity have their own intrinsic value as recognised by religions and faiths in India. Today, millions of people derive their daily sustenance from forest, rivers, grasslands, and seas. This project envisages the assessment and inventory of biodiversity related information at various levels, including distribution of endemic and endangered species. Key features of this project include an emphasis on gender sensitive decentralised planning and the use of interdisciplinary working groups to involve all sector concerns with biodiversity conservation.

The Pilot Biodiversity Monitoring Program will help in preparing the People's Biodiversity Register which will include all traditional health care system of villages. Bioprospecting, or screening of living organism for molecules with potential commercial applications, has emerged as an important activity in recent years. This pilot study will create broad based technical capabilities as well as information which will be helpful for bioprospecting activities undertaken by interested organisations. India has the great advantage of being a biologically rich nation with a good base of science and technology to address the new challenges of monitoring biodiversity. The project Satpura Hill (Botanist Paradise of India) is in one of the major geographical features of India. The area is rich in plant diversity and has a gene pool of 1190 species of angiosperms (flowering plants) belonging to 127 families, in addition to 633 genera reported in this area. The areas surrounding Pachmarhi (hill station of India) are also rich in several valuable useful rare medicinal plants. The proposed site is India's best subtropical forest which is known as Queen of Satpura or Botanist Paradise of India.

-- R. Sugandhi

Project for surveying and monitoring biodiversity of cultural forests in North-eastern Thailand (website)

This project will collect, analyze, and evaluate quantitative ecological data collected in the cultural forests (forested public lands near villages) of Thailand that are rapidly changing due to deforestation for salt production and/or firewood. The duration of the study is from 1995-2006. This project aims to:

  • study the biodiversity in cultural forests.
  • study the economic value of non-timber products from cultural forests and their importance to local people’s way of life.
  • examine appropriate methodology for rehabilitation of native flora and fauna.
  • exchange and transfer knowledge to local teachers and councils.
  • produce media for a very broad audience.
Northeastern Thailand, the driest and economically poorest part, contains one-third of the country’s land and population. Only 7% of the forested areas, comprised mostly of deciduous trees, are conserved and managed by the indigenous people. There are three main categories of cultural forests:
  • Pa Don Pu Ta: Known by the villagers as the "reservoir of life," this forest generally is very rich in biodiversity. Local rules and regulations protect this reserved area. No one is allowed to remove anything from such forests. A spirit house is located at the center of the forest and villagers annually celebrate environmental monitoring in May (Earth Day).
  • Pa Cha: This area is the village cemetery. Wood is taken from the area to cremate the bodies of local residents.
  • Pa Tam Lae: This is the village market. Local residents use this forest for various products necessary for survival such as food, traditional medicine, firewood, fiber, tools, building materials and forage for livestock.
According to FAO statistics in 1992, more than 1 billion US dollars of non-wood forest products were taken from cultural forests. Products included cork, resin, mastic gum, honey, mushrooms and wild fruit. The indigenous people rely on products from cultural forests. The rehabilitation of these areas must be done to conserve the biodiversity and culture these forest communities.

This project will produce informative, science-based books, demonstration slides, cultural videos (films) and tape cassettes. During the IBOY project, activities will include field studies, workshops, community meetings and training in environmental science, medicine, eco-tourism and environmental management. The project also aims to develop primary and secondary school curriculum on biodiversity for sustainability for local teachers.

Survey of Threatened and Rare Flora in Eastern Ghats, India

The Chittoor district, one of the most outstanding vegetation zones in the Eastern Ghats, is located at the Southern most region of Andhra Pradesh, India. This area shelters forest types like tropical thorn, southern tropical moist deciduous and tropical dry deciduous trees. It is endowed with vast natural resources including floristic diversity that is rich and diversified. Some floristic components have great potential in term of medicinal, botanical and economical aspects. Unfortunately due to indiscriminate biotic interference, the species are being depleted and becoming threatened at an alarming rate.

There is an urgent need for comprehensive studies regarding species' habitats, their specific locality and causes of the threat. The data available is very limited, and previous workers surveying floristic components left many areas of the district untouched also leaving behind data on threatened and rare flora.

The NGO Grameena Vikas Samithi (GVS) is a member of the Commission on Education and Communicator of IUCN and a partner NGO of Agriculture Man Ecology (AME) a bilateral program of the Government of India and the Netherlands that seeks to implement integrated farming systems for sustainable development. GVS is coordinating the project to:

  • Survey threshold areas of extraction to delineate status of the threatened and rare flora.
  • Identify critically endangered, vulnerable, and rare plant species.
  • Study economic utilization of plants by tribes and villagers (For example, the marketing and processing aspects of Non-Timber Forest products and the collection of medicinal plants by traditional healers and pharmaceutical industries).
  • Support traditional in-situ conservation programs.
  • Organize awareness camps for the public (especially in fringe areas of the forests and tribal areas) to engaging them in the conservation of germplasm and ecology/environmental protection programs.
  • Establish a botanical museum including a threatened and rare plant herbarium.

Intensive exploration will identify and document threatened, rare indigenous plant taxa in the various habitats of the Chittoor district including areas such as Sri. Venkateswwara National Park at Tirupati and the Kaundinya Elephant Sanctuary at Palamaner. Experienced specialists will assess the plant species on the basis of their population, exploitation and biotic interference. The taxa will be demarcated according to IUCN guidelines as Critically Endangered, Endangered, Vulnerable and Rare. This will be useful for various departments dealing with eco-development programs, forestry, Biosphere Reserves, conservation of eco-types and community education.

The project also plans to establish a botanical museum to house the collected threatened and rare herbarium specimens and to enhance public knowledge in biodiversity and conservation of rare and threatened plant species in the Eastern Ghats.

-- Surya N. Reddy

Sustaining Nepalese Mountain Economy and Environment through Conservation and Proper Utilization of Biodiversity

The biodiversity contained in the Hills and the Mountains of Nepal is of national and international importance both in view of the number of globally threatened wildlife and fauna as well as the diversity of ecosystems contained within the area. Despite efforts made to protect them through national parks and wildlife reserves biodiversity is threatened. The threat to biodiversity is caused by biotic pressures including the high population growth rate and ever more pervasive poverty in Nepal.

This project will provide room for better understanding of the Highland resources and their conservation and proper utilization by the local people and transfer of knowledge to other interested people and institutions inside as well as outside the country. The main emphasis is to enhance biodiversity, to promote environmentally friendly economic activities and to achieve environmentally sustainable and economically sound and socially acceptable development. The project has been planting economically and environmentally sound plants in the degraded public areas of Nepal since 1997. In 2000 a Mountain Resource Training Center (MRTC) was established through which local people will be trained with the local resources, biodiversity, their proper utilization, conservation and marketing. The project is also going to establish a herbal garden adjacent to the MRTC. The project will conduct seminars and conferences at local and national levels. The outcome of these seminars and conferences will be publicized though different media at local, national as well as international levels.

The expected results of the project include:

  • Soil conservation
  • Improvement in living standard of the local people through the conservation of biodiversity
  • Establishment of a Herbal Garden
  • Eco-restructuring through people's participation and external support
  • Promotion of Organic Agriculture
  • Promotion of Mountain Area Eco-tourism
  • Establishment of the Mountain Resource Conservation Centre
  • Human resource development through skill development training
  • Directing all efforts towards sustainable Hills and Mountain development

-- Punya Prasad Regmi

Last updated December 4, 2002

IBOY took place during 2001 and 2002 and is now completed. Information on the projects, activities and products that took place during IBOY are available on these pages. Many of the projects are still continuing their research and education activities and links to their homepages can be found on the project pages.

For more information on on-going activities of IBOY's parent organization, DIVERSITAS, see

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