In news–Environmentalists are stressing on the need for protecting Chenkurinji from Climate Change.
What is Chenkurinji?
- Chenkurinji (Gluta travancorica) is a species endemic to the Agasthyamalai Biosphere Reserve.
- Belonging to the Anacardiaceae family, the tree was once abundant in the hills on the southern parts of Aryankavu Pass but its presence has been fast receding from the area over the years.
- The Shendurney Wildlife Sanctuary derives its name from this species.
- It’s reported to have medicinal properties and is used to lower blood pressure and treat arthritis.
- The heartwood is quite sturdy with deep red colour, and several trees were felled for wood during earlier days.
- It is very susceptible to climate change and the present condition of the species is quite bad with low regeneration performance.
- Though the flowering of Gluta travancorica usually happens in January, of late, the species has reported a tendency to extend the process due to climate change.
- It’s an adaptation strategy to increase the chances of germination and maintain a minimum viable population.
- Though the tree is also seen inside the shola forests near Ponmudi, effective pollination hardly takes place in the habitat.
- Since the conservation measures in the past weren’t totally successful, the Kerala Forest department is launching ‘Save Chenkurinji’, a campaign to be implemented in various areas coming under the Achencoil Forest Division.
- As part of the campaign, the department looks to plant thousands of saplings in the ghat sectors of Kollam and Pathanamthitta districts.
Agasthyamala Biosphere Reserve (ABR)-
- It was established in 2001 and straddles the border of Kollam and Thiruvananthapuram Districts in Kerala and Tirunelveli and Kanyakumari Districts in Tamil Nadu, South India at the southern end of the Western Ghats.
- The ABR has got its name into the UNESCO’s World Network of Biosphere Reserves (BR).
- Located in the Western Ghats in the south of the country, the Reserve has peaks reaching 1,868 m above sea level.
- Consisting mostly of tropical forest, the site is home to 2,254 species of higher plants including about 400 that are endemic.
- Unique genetic reservoir of cultivated plants, in particular cardamom, jamune, nutmeg, pepper and plantain.
- Three wildlife sanctuaries, Shendurney, Peppara and Neyyar, are located in the site, as well as the Kalakad Mundanthurai Tiger reserve.
- A number of tribal settlements comprising a total population of 3,000 inhabit the biosphere reserve.
- Agasthyamalai is also home to the Kanikaran, one of the oldest surviving ancient tribes in the world.
- Biosphere reserves are areas of terrestrial and coastal ecosystems promoting solutions to reconcile the conservation of biodiversity with its sustainable use.