Managing India’s forests for biodiversity and human well being in the face of global environmental change. Funded by USAID, New Delhi.
Genetic diversity is generally assumed to be the basis for adaptation of a species, and for providing the population the ability to respond to environmental stresses. Most often, NTFP harvesting involves removal of reproductive structures such as fruits or seeds, which can have a direct impact on the regeneration of the species. Even harvesting of non-reproductive parts such as leaves, resins, or stems, does affect the physiology, growth, reproduction, and survival of the individual, besides exposing the individual to pests and diseases. Harvesting of NTFPs and the accompanying practices can affect genetic diversity, recruitment, and overall population structure of these species. In this context, it becomes apparent that understanding the distribution of genetic variability of trees that is subject to intense harvest is an important component to successfully manage and conserve these important genetic resources. Our goal in this project was to comprehensively address the issue of genetic resource conservation and sustainable utilization.
The extent of human dependency on three important NTFPs (Phyllanthus emblica, Terminalia chebula and Boswellia serrate) was assessed in BRT, MM Hills and Cauvery Wildlife Sanctuary in Karnataka. For all the three species attempts were made to understand the impact of harvest on population genetic parameters including genetic diversity, population structure and gene flow.