India’s first grass conservatory established in Uttarakhand’s Ranikhet

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India’s first Grass Conservatory has been established in Uttarakhand’s Ranikhet town in an area of three acres, funded under the Central Government’s CAMPA scheme. The conservatory was developed in three years by the Research Wing of the Uttarakhand Forest Department.

Around 100 different grass species have been conserved/demonstrated in this conservation area.

Sanjiv Chaturvedi, Chief Conservator of Forest, said, “The project aims to create awareness about the importance of grass species, promote conservation, and facilitate further research in these species.”

“It has been proved in the latest researches that grasslands are more effective in carbon sequestration than forest land,” Chaturvedi said.

He further stressed that grasslands are facing various types of threats, and areas under grasslands are shrinking, thereby endangering the entire ecosystem of insects, birds, and mammals dependent on them.

“Grasses are economically the most important of all flowering plants because of their nutritious grains and soil-forming function,” he said.

The conservation area has seven different sections of grasses as Aromatic, Medicinal, Fodder, Ornamental, Religiously-important, and Agricultural Grasses.

Thysanoleanamaxima, also called Tiger/Broom grass, is a crucial fodder grass found along steep hills, ravines, and sandy banks of rivers up to an altitude of 2000 meters in Uttarakhand. Its dry flowering stocks are used as a broom. Being a perennial species, it can be used as green fodder round the year and also helps in preventing soil erosion on steep hillsides and is used in the rehabilitation of degraded land.

Pennisetumpurpureum, also called Napier/Elephant grass, makes a good contour hedgerow and is an excellent bank and pasture fodder. It is used for firebreaks, windbreaks in paper pulps production, and bio-oil, biogas, and charcoal.

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