India ranks fourth in Asia and tenth in the world in plant diversity, the Birsa Agricultural University (BAU) Vice Chancellor, N N Singh, has said. "India boasts of 45,000 plants and 91,000 animal species," Singh said delivering a special lecture on Agro-biodiversity and farmers' rights at BAU Saturday.
"India is the centre of 30,000 to 50,000 varieties of rice, pigeon pea, mango, turmeric, ginger, pepper, banana, bitter gourd, okra, coconut, cardamom, jackfruit, sugarcane, bamboo, indigo, goose berries, besides hundreds of species of wild crop relatives and forest trees," he said.
National and international organisations should work together in 'partnership mode' for collective action for biodiversity conservation while maintaining their respective areas of specialisation and thrust, he added.
He also emphasised on inter-disciplinary studies for agricultural landscapes, forests, habitats for pollinators and natural enemies of pests, species improvement, regulating local climate and water flows and soil formation and erosion control. Underlining the importance of integrated approach for conservation, Singh said farming system should bring together work in microbes, crop plants, forest trees, livestock, aquaculture and combine research on genetic, biological, agronomical, socio-cultural and economic aspects.