Bringing back the rainforest
(Wolfgang Theuerkauf (left), who started the sanctuary 30 years ago with Suprabha Seshan, Photo: Ishan Tankha)
A small group of people is trying to bring back the original rainforest in Wayanad on a small 63 acre plot. They are also creating a living (seed) bank of sorts — collecting and housing endangered ferns, lichens, orchids and other flora found in India’s endangered rainforests. The idea being that even if these forests get lost, the species themselves should not go extinct.
This is essential work. So much of our attention is on saving large animals. We have imperfect understanding of how the smaller fauna are doing. And even less understanding re: how the flora is faring. And yet, they are highly localised, adapted to a small region, and as vulnerable to extirpation as any other species you care to name. And so, the Gurukula team has been travelling through endangered forests – where a dam/plantation etc is about to come up – to rescue and transplant endangered species they encounter.
At a time when the world’s biodiversity is being haemorraged away every day, this is the fire-fighting level at which interventions need to be.
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