The Madhya Pradesh government has initiated a process to declare biodiversity heritage sites, an effort for preservation of local habitats rich in plant and animal life.
Work started after the state biodiversity board received proposals from biodiversity management committees (BMC) of Keoti village in Rewa district and Jatashankar in Chhattarpur district.
The board’s bio-resource access manager Bakul Lad said the required documentation process for these areas is underway.
The claims are primarily about rare medicinal plants and herbs. Rewa’s proposal says it is rich in medicinal plants such as Samavalli Somlata, Morshikha, and Patthar Chatha. In the Chhattarpur area, over 58 medicinal plants are used by the local Gond, Bhil and Bediya tribes,” he said.
But these claims were very generic and as such they have been asked to come up with documents in a proper format. “Once that is done, we will constitute survey committees to verify the claims,” Lad said.
The board’s member secretary, SP Rayal, said the proposals from Rewa and Chhattarpur were not sent in the right format. “The BMCs of these two areas have been asked to file fresh documents. We are trying to simplify the procedure in consultation with the state government.”
The biological diversity act of 2002 says BMCs are to be constituted to promote conservation, and sustainable use and documentation that include preservation of habitats and chronicling of traditional knowledge.
Besides, the state biodiversity boards can invite suggestions for declaration of heritage sites.
Once an area is declared a heritage site, the local body will get a revenue share from those using biodiversity resources for commercial purposes.
Forest and environment ministry counsel Om S Shrivastav explained an area can be declared a biodiversity heritage site if it has unique flora and fauna or traditional knowledge.
“After recommendation from the state biodiversity board and consultation with the central government, the state government can issue a notification regarding biodiversity heritage site,” he said.