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Saturday, January 23, 2010

Botanical and Zoological Survey of India

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A complete knowledge, identification and listing of all the species of plants and animals are essential for the protection, preservation, research, and judicious utilization of the biodiversity of a country. The Government of India has constituted Botanical Survey of India and Zoological Survey of India for these purposes.

The Botanical Survey of India was formally constituted on 13th February 1890 with its Head Office at Calcutta (now Kolkata). Sir George King, originally appointed as superintendent of Royal Botanic Garden, Calcutta in 1871 took the charge as its first ex-officio Director. The Central Circle of the Botanical Survey of India started at Allahabad in 1962. In 1972, the survey extended its Branch Offices of the Andaman and Nicobar Circle at Port Blair and Arid Zone Circle at Jodhpur. The Arunachal Field Station of Botanical Survey of India was established in Itanagar in 1977, and regional centre as Sikkim Himalayan Circle was set up in 1979 at Gangtok. “After reorganisation, with the development and establishment of different regional centres, the aims and objectives of the Survey were redefined by the Programme Implementation and Evaluation Committee in 1976 with a view to encourage taxonomic research and to accelerate the scientific expertise for the preparation of a comprehensive flora of the country, under "Flora of India" project, ethno botanical study, modernisation and maintenance of herbaria and museum, and creating interests among botanists and public in general. In a recent review (1987) the aims and objectives of Botanical Survey remained unchanged except that the activities like survey and exploration of plant resources, listing of endangered species, publication of national flora, preparation of national Data Bank on herbarium and live collection, plant distribution and nomenclature were prioritised”.

Following are the Primary and Secondary objectives of the Botanical Survey of India-

A. Primary Objectives of the Botanical Survey of India : 1. To survey the plant resources of the country and to undertake complete taxonomic studies of all the flora of the country, 2.To enlist the endangered species, to undertake measures for the effective conservation and to collect and maintain germplasm and gene bank of endangered, and vulnerable species, 3.To bring out volumes of National Flora and Flora of States/Union Territories, 4. To identify, collect and preserve specimens of plants which are economically and otherwise beneficial to human being and, 5. To prepare National Database of herbarium collection including types, live collections, plant genetic resources, plant distribution and nomenclature.

B. Secondary Objectives of the Botanical Survey of India: 1. To undertake studies on selected critical and fragile ecosystems; 2. To undertake assessment of flora relating to environment impact studies as and when called for; 3. To undertake ethno botanical studies and evaluate plants of economic utility in specified areas and, 4. To carry out geobotanical studies in specified areas.

The Zoological Survey of India was established on 1 July, 1916 with the basic aim of promoting survey, exploration, and research in the animal life of India. It is the only organization in the country involved in the study of all kinds of animals from Protozoa to Mammalia, occurring in all possible habitats from deepest depth of the ocean to the peaks of Himalaya. The Survey had its genesis in the establishment of the Zoological Section of the Indian Museum at Calcutta in 1875. The Survey undertakes no regular teaching but from time to time holds Conferences and Symposia, Training Courses, Workshops and Colloquia. The scientists of the department are constantly exposed to the stimulation of ideas and techniques developed in cognate disciplines by the visiting investigators. For the publication of the results of research carried out in its laboratories, the Survey has its own journals.According to the Zoological Survey of India “Scientists in ZSI are engaged in exploring, naming, describing, classifying and documenting animals from all over India. But a lot more needs to be done to understand and investigate the faunal diversity of India in the light of the objectives of the Convention of Biological Diversity for scientific use and equitable sharing of the benefits of animal resources of the country”.

The Zoological Survey of India has following Primary and Secondary objectives –

A. Primary Objectives

1. Exploration and survey of animal species and their taxonomic studies;

2. Survey of the status of endangered species, and the publication of results in the Journal of the Department;

3. Publication of Fauna of India, maintenance and development of National Zoological Collections;

4. Central Referral, Information, Advisory and Library Services.

B. Secondary Objectives

1. Exploration and Survey of Faunal Resources, and

2. Environmental Impact Studies wherever specially asked for by the Ministry of Environment & Forests

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