Two new genera of frogs were discovered by a team of independent researchers, led by Anil Zachariah and Robin Kurian Abraham, during their recent exploration in the Western Ghats.

The discovery, published in the latest issue of International Taxonomic Journal Zootaxa , is a joint effort by the team which comprised B .R. Ansil; Arun Zachariah of the Wild Life Disease Research Lab in Wayanad; and Robert Alexander Pyron, Assistant professor, Department of Biological Sciences of the George Washington University, U.S.

ITANAGAR: Adding to the rare bouquet of rich biodiversity in the Himalayan state, researchers have discovered a new beautiful species of pink rhododendron flower from Arunachal Pradesh which was hitherto unknown to science.

A team of botanical experts recently carried out explorations in West Siang district’s remote Mechukha valley, few km away from the China border, and found the rare and endemic flower which has been named ‘Rhododendron Mechukae’ after its place of origin.

PANJIM: Claiming that inclusion of Goa region of Western Ghat in the World Heritage Site of UNESCO will put the place on par with other unique sites across the World, the State Government has given its green signal to the proposal to include State’s 755 sq kms protected area on the heritage list.

The proposal has been forwarded to the Dehradun-based Wildlife Institute of India (WII), which is the nodal agency appointed by Ministry of Environment and Forest (MoEF) to coordinate with UNESCO on the proposal of including the Western Ghats as a natural heritage site.

The State government should put the Gadgil panel report on ecology through a serious public debate without taking a pre-decided position that the report was objectionable, former Forest Minister Benoy Viswom has said.

The report had made recommendations to address the “serious deficit in environmental governance” along the Western Ghats tracts. Addressing a ‘People’s Convention’ on Wednesday organised by the State unit of the Bharatiya Karshaka Morcha to discuss the ‘good and evil’ aspects of the report, Mr. Viswom said the views about the report in the State could be compared to the way blind persons interpreted the form of an elephant.

SILCHAR: India is a megabiodiversity country and north-east, in particular, is a hotspot of biodiversity in the world being gifted with innumerable water resources in the form of wetlands, lakes and rivers with biodiversity of resources in them. It is also a fact that the depleting water bodies and fish resources along with bioresources are a matter of concern.

In order to dwell deep into the problem, division of wetlands, fishery science and aquaculture in the Department of Life Science and Bioinformatics under the School of Life Sciences, Assam University, Silchar, organized a 2 day international symposium entitled ‘Frontiers of Wetlands, Fisheries and Aquaculture Research in the New Millennium’ recently.

The days when the gigantic Indian rivers — the Ganges, Indus and Brahmaputra — roar freely down the steep slopes of the Himalayas may be numbered.

The Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers’ Rights (PPVFR) Authority is framing the regulations for a compulsory licensing system under which a registered plant variety could be licensed to a third party for production of seeds, based on the demand from farmers.

Registrar General of the authority R.C. Agrawal said here on Tuesday that the system was designed to suit public interests. “Under the provisions of the PPVFR Act 2001, the authority can license production to a third party for a specific period of time, even if the breeder is not willing, provided there is demand from farmers and the breeder cannot produce seeds in sufficient quantity”.

Namibia, the country with the ‘world’s oldest desert’ and two global biodiversity hot spots, is pursuing an uncommon conservation model— one that sets wild species survival quotas for local communities and allows ‘cropping’ of surplus animals.

A country of 2.1 million with a land area of about 800,000 sq km, Namibia has its entire 1,500 km-long coastline and 44 per cent of the land mass under conservation management. National parks constitute 17 per cent of the land. In contrast, India with its dense population has about 4.7 per cent of its total geographical area under a protected area network.

The Western Ghats of India are known to be a major biological hotspot that supports plant diversity and endemism. On the Kas Plateau, a lateritic plateau of the northern Western Ghats, we examined mesoscale distributions of endemic, rare, or locally significant plant species in forest habitats or on the plateau and its escarpments, and assessed the edaphic and hydrological parameters of seasonal plateau microhabitats.

Urban land-cover change threatens biodiversity and affects ecosystem productivity through loss of habitat, biomass, and carbon storage. However, despite projections that world urban populations will increase to nearly 5 billion by 2030, little is known about future locations, magnitudes, and rates of urban expansion. Here we develop spatially explicit probabilistic forecasts of global urban land-cover change and explore the direct impacts on biodiversity hotspots and tropical carbon biomass.

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