By OUR STAFF REPORTER
DEHRADUN, 22 May: The ICAR-Indian Institute of Soil and Water Conservation (ICAR-IISWC), Dehradun celebrated the International Day of Biodiversity with series of 5 special online seminars in two technical sessions on diverse topics of bio-resources, ecosystem services, and conservation needs, on May 22. Dr. PR Ojasvi, Director, ICAR-IISWC presented the inaugural address and highlighted the importance of Biodiversity Day and conservation needs when the world is facing unprecedented impacts on biodiversity and healthcare problems. Dr. Ojasvi briefed the interactions happening between various ecosystems and consequences to the online audience.
Dr M Muruganandam, Principal Scientist, ICAR-IISWC citing various challenges and technological options called for the responsible utilization of the soil, water and available bio-resources so as to continue availing the flow of ecosystem services for long. While explaining the concept of biodiversity as a structural base that gives the flow of various ecosystem services with which the world revolves around, he spoke on various issues of biodiversity status and conservation options including the ones naturally existing. He highlighted the importance of maintaining structural components and processes of various ecosystems to sustain the wellbeing of human beings and the planet Earth. Required categorical managerial principles, solutions and approaches including various personalized actions, Integrated Watershed Management (IWM) interventions needed technological support for the farming communities and wildlife managers and the public to tackle the growing and recurring ecological problems were the main focus.
S.S. Rasaily Member Secretary, Uttarakhand Biodiversity Board, Dehradun interacted with the online audience and provided an overview of the importance of biodiversity, and conservation needs. He briefed the Biodiversity Conservation Act 2002 and subsequent developments of the National Biodiversity Authority, the State-level Biodiversity Boards, Panchayat-level Biodiversity Management Committees (BMC) and People’s Biodiversity Registers etc. drawing reference to various bio-resources of India and the world scenarios.
Dr M Sankar, Sr Scientist highlighted soil microbial diversity and its contribution to soil health and productivity. He explained the processes of soil formation, erosion, and associated concerns of ecosystem services. An understanding of the flow of ecosystem services emanate from the soil resources was explained to the audience. Dr. Gaurav Sharma, OIC & Scientist-E, ZSI gave an informative seminar and deliberated on various issues on faunal diversity and conservation with the help of science-based information and exhibits. The uniqueness of Indian Biodiversity was exhibited in his presentation.
In the second webinar session, Dr. Muruganandam discussed on the “Zoonoses, COVID-19 and Societal Solutions and Approaches. He highlighted the significance of various zoonotic diseases and infections that affect the health of the people and the environment. He gave a range of conservation principles and technological options including IWM that would protect natural resources, farm animals and wildlife while briefing the importance and support needs of livestock development, fisheries production, and wildlife management, especially during this pandemic COVID-19 Era. He advocated for more research and products using herbal-based and indigenous medicines to cure many zoonotic diseases since most farmers and local people depend more on traditional medicines and treatment and they have the potential to cure many diseases and infections.
The presentations emphasized that the farming communities and the public need to be provided with the right information and technological options through suitable means including camps and demonstrations to clear their myths and superstitions so as to avoid environmental and healthcare problems timely and adopt recommended technologies to improve farm production and wildlife resources. The interactive seminars by eminent scientists and technocrats were informative on the whole range of biodiversity and management from a global perspective. The virtual seminars were attended by 90 scientists, professors, scholars, students, and civic activists from across the country besides few international audiences from Italy and the USA. The audience was requested to maintain social distance and safeguard themselves from the ongoing COVID-19 problem. In the end, professors, students, and participants had interactive discussions on various aspects of biodiversity, ecosystem services and management, conservation, and responsible use of resources, especially in the context of changing perspectives of resource management, ongoing healthcare problems, zoonotic diseases, and climate change.
The seminar was coordinated by Dr. Muruganandam and Er Amit Chauhan, Sr Technical Officer, ICAR-IISWC, Dehradun.