The Botanical Survey of India (BSI) is the apex research organization under the Ministry of Environment & Forests, Govt. of India for carrying out taxonomic and floristic studies on wild plant resources of the country through Survey, Documentation and Conservation.
Botanical Survey of India was established on 13th February 1890. Sir George King, the then Superintendent of the Royal Botanic Garden Calcutta, appointed as First ex-officio Honorary Director of the BSI.
Almost simultaneously Northern Regional Centre (Saharanpur); Western Regional Centre (Poona); Southern Regional Centre (Madras) and Eastern Regional Centre (Calcutta) were established.
By 1910 only Eastern Regional Centre of Calcutta with Superintendent of Garden Remained.
In 1939, Mr. C.C. Calder, the last Director of BSI retired.
October 14, 1952 – Dr. E. K. Janaki Ammal appointed as Officer on Special Duty (OSD) to draw plans for the revival of Botanical Survey of India.
On March 29, 1954 – Plan reorganisation of BSI was accepted by the Government of India with Headquarters at Calcutta with Chief Botanist as its head. In August, 1963 the post of Chief Botanist redesignated as Director, who is ex-officio botanical advisor to the Government of India.
During the successive plan periods, the functional base of Botanical Survey of India was further expanded to include various new areas such as inventorying of endemic, rare and threatened plant species; evolving conservation strategies; studies on fragile ecosystems and protected areas, like sanctuaries, national parks and biosphere reserves; multiplication and maintenance of endemic and threatened plant species, wild ornamentals, etc., in Botanic Gardens and Orchidaria; documentation of traditional knowledge of plants and development of National Database on Herbarium (including type specimens) and live collections, plant distribution and nomenclature, botanical paintings/illustrations, plant uses, etc.
Specific Initiatives with Relevance to CBD:Over the years, the functional role of the Survey was further expanded. After the ratification of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD: 1994), Enactment of Biological Diversity Act (2002) and Biological Diversity Rules (2004), BSI has become an important institution as its mandate has direct relevance to Articles 6 (Conservation), 7 (Identification & Monitoring), 9 (Ex situ conservation), 12 (Research & Training), 13 (Public education & Awareness), 17 (Exchange of Information) and 18 (Technical & Scientific Cooperation) of CBD.
OBJECTIVES OF BOTANICAL SURVEY OF INDIA
Exploration, inventorying and documentation of phytodiversity (including non-flowering plants) in general and protected areas, hotspots, fragile ecosystems and sacred groves in particular; publication of National, State and District Floras.
Identification of Red list species and species rich areas needing conservation; ex situ conservation of critically threatened taxa in botanical gardens.
Survey and documentation of traditional knowledge associated with plants.
Develop a National database of Indian plants, including herbarium specimens, live specimens, botanical paintings illustrations etc.
Revisionary/Monographic studies on selected plant groups.
Qualitative analysis of nutritive value of ethno-food plants and other economically useful species.
Capacity building in plant taxonomy through refresher courses and post M.Sc. certificate course.
Environment Impact Assessment of areas assigned to BSI for study.
Develop and maintain Botanical Gardens, Museum and Herbaria.
Preparation of Seed, Pollen and Spore Atlas of Indian Plants.
Activities undertaken so far:
Survey and exploration of about 70 per cent of the total geographical areas of the country has been completed for vascular plants. This has resulted into a Repository of about four million National Reference Collections plant specimens with 19100 type specimens.
1 new family, 32 new genera and 925 new species, subspecies, varieties have been discovered as new to science.
Inventorying of about 1700 Rare, Endangered and Threatened (RET) species.
Live collection of over 1.5 lakh plants in Indian Botanic Garden, Botanic Garden of Indian Republic and associated botanic gardens and National Orchidaria of regional offices.
Flowering plants of 7 Biosphere Reserves, 32 National Parks and 23 Tiger Reserves have been documented till date.
EIA studies on the impact of over 100 developmental projects on flora have been completed.
Traditional knowledge, on plants, associated with all tribes belonging to 41 districts of Bihar Jharkhand, Karnataka, Orissa and Rajasthan, and over 114 tribes belonging to Andaman & Nicobar, Andhra Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Jammu & Kashmir, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Sikkim, Tamil Nadu, Tripura, Uttar Pradesh, Uttaranchal and West Bengal have been documented. 17 books of Ethnobotany have been published by BSI till date.
Over 110 research scholars have been trained in different aspects of plant systematics, leading to the award of Doctorate degree by various Indian Universities.
Over 3 million herbarium specimens of India & nearly 2 lakhs of them from different adjoining countries and rest of the World. These includes 16 thousand type specimens (original material based on species new to science and
Over 18 thousand exhibits, tannins, dies, oils, fibres, timbers, medicinal, beverages, vegetables, food, and tribal artifacts in Kolkata and all Circle Offices.
Publications made so far
Flora of India series 1: Flora of India (9 vols.); Fascicles of Flora of India (24 vols.).
Flora of India series 2: State/UT Flora [complete for 16 States/UTs (29 vols.), partially complete for 9 states (12 vols.)].
Flora of India series 3: District (26) Flora (34 vols.).
Flora of India series 4: Red Data Book of Indian Plants and Red List species of India (5 vols.) and 140 titles dealing with various thematic topics related to Indian flora.
Periodicals: ‘Records of the Botanical Survey of India’ (23 vols.); 'Bulletin of the Botanical Survey of India’ (51 vols.); Vanaspati Vani (17 vols.) and ENVIS Newsletter (17 vols.).
Progress/Achievements made during April – December, 2013
BOTANICAL EXPLORATION & INVENTORYING OF PLANT DIVERSITY
Field tours and Herbarium consultation tours:
Seventy Five field tours for collection of plant specimens/materials for floristic, ethnobotanical and pharmacognostical studies on flowering and non-flowering plants were undertaken by different regional centre and units of BSI covering the following regions, including three biodiversity hotspot, viz. the Himalaya, the Indo-Burma and the Western Ghats-Sri Lanka. These include 26 protected areas and 07 Sacred Groves. In addition, 09 tours for the collections of live germplasm were also undertaken in these areas.
Western Himalaya: Uttarakhand (in and around Sonanadi Wildlife Sanctuary, Namik and Hiramani glacier valleys, Pithoragarh, Kumaon);
Eastern Himalaya: Arunachal Pradesh (Lohit district, Changlang district and Kamlang Wildlife Sanctuary); Sikkim (Shingba Rhododendron Sanctuary and different areas of North Sikkim & South Sikkim);
North–East India: Assam (Laokhowa Wildlife Sanctuary); Mizoram (Murlen National Park);
Arid – Semi Arid: Haryana (Sultanpur National Park and Kalesar National Park); Gujarat (Shoolpaneshwar Wildlife Sanctuary, Dang District); Rajasthan (Jamwa Ramgarh Wildlife Sanctuary);
Gangetic Plains: Uttar Pradesh (Upper Ganga Ramsar Site); Bihar & Jharkhand (Koderma Wildlife Sanctuary, Palkot Wildlife Sanctuary, Gautam Buddha Wildlife Sanctuary, Vikramshila Gangetic Dolphin wildlife Sanctuary, Rajmahal hills, Pakur, Godda, Sahibganj, Dumka and Deogarh districts); West Bengal (Buxa Wildlife Sanctuary, Jaldapara Wildlife Sanctuary);Orissa (Koraput, Jajpur and Balasore);
Deccan Peninsula: Chattisgarh (Surguja & Korba area); Andhra Pradesh (Mamillapalli and Maddimadugu sections of Kadapa rangeof Seshachalam Biosphere Reserve, Amarabad, Mannanur, Achampet and Lingal ranges of Achampet division of Nagarjunasagar Srisailam Wildlife Sanctuary);
Western Ghats:Maharashtra (Koyana Wildlife Sanctuary, Chandoli Wildlife Sanctuary for ferns, Junnar, Harishchandragarh, Ganesh kind, Karzat, Matheran, Sanjay Gandhi National Park, Alibag and Phansad Wild Life Sanctuary for follicolous fungi); Karnataka (Sharavathi valley Wildlife Sanctuary, Shimoga and Biligirirangaswamy Temple Wildlife Sanctuary);Tamil Nadu (Srivilliputhur Wildlife Sanctuary);
Coastal Region:Kerala (Coastal area and Malabar Wildlife Sanctuary);
Andaman & Nicobar Islands: S. Andaman (Rani Jhansi Marine National Park);
Apart from that 28 herbarium consultation/study tours were also conducted for identification of specimens/authentication of identifications.
During these field tours, ca 9,541 (incl. 1976 of non-flowering plants) specimens were collected, out of which ca 8,204 specimens were identified into ca 4,201 species, subspecies and varieties. This resulted into the discovery of 28 species and 01 variety as new to science; 39 species and 01 subspecies as new to India and 122 new distributional records for different geographic regions/ states.
Galium asperifolium var. lasiocarpum W.C. Chen Rubiaceae
Lindelofia longiflora var. levingii (C.B. Clarke) Brand Boraginaceae
Pertusaria psoromica A. W. Archer & Elix Pertusariaceae
PLANTS COLLECTED AFTER MORE THAN 50 YEARS
Dendrobium treutleri (Hook.f.) Schuit. & Peter B.Adams (Orchidaceae) was collected from Dullong Reserve Forest, Lakhimpur district, Assam in 2012 after a lapse of 122 years after its first collection in 1890 by Treutler from Sikkim. The species is introduced and growing in botanical garden of BSI/ERC/Shillong.
Salix obscuraAndersson (Salicaceae) has been collected from Lachung Valley in North Sikkim in 2006 and again in 2008 after a gap of nearly 121 years since its last collection from Lachen by Robert Pantling in 1885. Prior to that, the species was originally collected from Lachen by Sir J.D. Hooker in 1849.
Sonerila andamanensis Stapf & King (Melastomataceae) has been collected from Saddle Peak National Park in North Andaman in 1976, after a gap of nearly 92 years. It was again collected from Mt. Harriet National Park in South Andaman – the type locality of the species, in 1989. Prior to that the species was last collected from Mt. Harriet in 1884 by King’s Collectors.
DOCUMENTATION OF PLANT DIVERSITY
National Flora (Flora of India):
Taxonomic description for 142 species of flowering plants (towards family Memecylaceae & Bignoniaceae; subfamily Cypripedioideae; tribe Vernonieae; subtribe Habenarinae & Sporobolinae and genera Fimbristylis, Festuca & Kobresia) and 36 spp. of nonflowering plants (families Pertusariaceae, Graphidaceae, Hymenochaetaceae and genera Athyrium, Lepisorus) have been completed. The manuscript of ‘Tribe Cercideae subtribe Bauhiniinae (Benth.) Walp.’ was submitted for publication and that of subtribe ‘Habenarinae in India’ and ‘Endemic Angiosperms of India’ are being finalized.
Taxonomic descriptions for 1,201 taxa of flowering plants (towards the flora of Landfall Island (Andaman & Nicobar Islands); Lohit, Kameng, Lower Dibang Valley districts (Arunachal Pradesh); Impatiens of Arunachal Pradesh; Flora of Bihar; Flora of Jharkhand; Wetland flora of Bihar from Buxar to Katihar; Grasses & bamboos of E. India; Flora of Upper Ganga Ramsar site; Flora of Chhattisgarh; Grasses of Odisha; Gesneriaceae of NE India; Flora of Uttarakhand, Vols. 2, 3 & 4; Flora of Sikkim, Vol. 2; Endemic orchids of Maharashtra and 172 taxa of non flowering plants towards Algal flora of Jharkhand; Liverworts & hornworts of Mizoram; Liverworts & hornworts of Anjaw and West Siang districts (Arunachal Pradesh); Mosses of Darjeeling district; Lichens of Rajasthan, Kutch and Gujarat; Wild mushrooms of North Sikkim; Wood-rotting Fungi of Rajmahal hills; Wood-rotting Fungi of Koderma WLS; Pteridophytic flora of Sikkim and Maharashtra have been completed. The manuscripts of (i) Flora of West Bengal Vol. II and (ii) Flora of UP, Vol. III were submitted for publication.
Flora of Protected Areas:
Taxonomic descriptions for 1123 taxa of flowering plants towards Rani Jhansi Marine N.P., Andaman & Nicobar Islands; Gautam Budha WLS, Palkot WLS, Koderma WLS (Jharkhand); Jaldapara WLS, Buxa WLS (West Bengal); Shoolpaneshwar WLS (Gujarat); Seshachalam B.R. and Nagarjunsagar-Srisailam WLS (Andhra Pradesh); Phawngpui N.P., Murlen N.P. (Mizoram); Laukhowa WLS, Ranga, Kokoi & Dulung R.F. (Assam); Siju WLS, Baghmara Pither Plant WLS, Balpakhram N.P. (Meghalaya); Sultanpur N.P. and Kalesar N.P. (Haryana); Singba Rhododendron Sanctuary (Sikkim); Sharavathi Valley WLS (Karnataka), Malabar WLS (Kerala) and Koyana WLS (Maharashtra) have been completed. Manuscripts of (i) Flora of Barnadi WLS (Assam) & (ii) Flora of Great Indian Bustard WLS (Maharashtra) were submitted for publication.
DOCUMENTATION OF KNOWLEDGE ASSOCIATED WITH PLANTS
Various ethno-botanical uses, like healthcare, food, oil, fuel wood, timber, fodder & forage, socio-religious, rope-making, agricultural implements, biofencing, insecticide/ pesticide, piscicide, gum, beverage, musical instruments, etc., associated with plants from Dang district of Gujarat and Balasore & Koraput districts of Odisha have been recorded. Manuscript ‘Traditional knowledge associated with plants of Junagarh district, Gujarat’, comprising 241 species, is being finalized.
About 3,027 saplings, seeds, propagules belonging to 432 species of rare, threatened, endemic and economic plant species, including wild relatives of cultivated plants, aquatic plants, orchids, palms, canes, bamboos, ferns and fern-allies, etc. (Appendix-1), were collected for introduction in AJC Bose Indian Botanic Garden, Howrah and associated botanic gardens of different Regional Centre.
MICRO-PROPAGATION OF THREATENED SPECIES
Cultures of Cymbidium tigrinum and Ilex khasiana have been maintained and multiplied. Axenic seed germination of Armodorum senapatianum have been initiated. In vitro propagation protocol has been standardized for the callus, multiple shoots, and root induction in Eremostachys superba. Callusing has been induced in Pittosporum eriocarpum. Seed viability and germination percentage in Eremostachys superba, Pitosporum eriocarpum andIndopiptadeniaoudhensis has been studied. Ultra morphological study of different parts of E. superba plants,such as cottony hairs, leaf glandular hairs and stomata, hairs of the apical tuft of seed and pollen has been carried out under SEM.
STUDIES ON NUTRACEUTICAL VALUES OF WILD EDIBLE PLANTS
Six wild edible plants collected from Meghalaya were analyzed for their nutraceutical potential under following parameters.