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Study Shows Potential Regions in Indian Grasslands to Discover New Plant Species

Over the years, scientists attempting to discover new plant species, particularly in tropical locations, have mostly focused on forests. Grasslands have been largely overlooked, with the belief that because they were developed by the deliberate destruction of forests, they may only contain a few already known species and that nothing new can be expected from them.

Shivam Dwivedi
Picture of Indian Grassland
Picture of Indian Grassland

A group of scientists discovered that grasslands in the Eastern Ghats and the eastern edge of the Western Ghats could be significant sources for discovering new plant species, giving global efforts to promote biodiversity conservation a new boost.

Findings of Study:

Over the years, scientists attempting to discover new plant species, particularly in tropical locations, have mostly focused on forests. Grasslands have been largely overlooked, with the belief that because they were developed by the deliberate destruction of forests, they may only contain a few already known species and that nothing new can be expected from them.

However, recent research has revealed that this assumption was incorrect. Many new species have been identified from grasslands in recent years, particularly in India. But the data had remained scattered and grasslands continue to be largely ignored.

In a new study, a group of researchers compiled and analyzed data from national, regional, and local taxonomic and floristic records to gain a better understanding. They started by looking through floristic data for plants that were endemic or only found in the Indian savanna.

They next investigated whether there were any patterns in the discovery of the species over time and space, as well as whether any crucial criteria may assist in forecast where new species would be discovered.

According to the study, 206 indigenous plant species have been discovered in the Indian savanna, with 43 percent described in the last two decades.

It also demonstrated that the Eastern Ghats Mountains and the eastern edge of the Western Ghats Mountains could be important sources of new species discovery. It also suggested that the new species are more likely to be short-statured and to be found at higher latitudes and elevations.

The study team consisted of Ashish Nerleker of the Department of Ecology and Conservation Biology at Texas A&M University, USA, Alok R. Chorghe of Rajiv Gandhi Regional Museum of Natural History, Sawai Madhopur, Jagdish V. Dalavi of Shivaji University, Kolhapur, Raja Kullayiswamy Kusom of Indian Institute of Science, Subbiah Karuppusamy of Madura College, Madurai, Vignesh Kamath of Gubbi Labs, Karnataka, Ritesh Pokar of the Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda, Ganesan Rengaian of Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment (ATREE), and Milind M. Sardesai of Savitribai Phule Pune University, and Sharad S. Kambale of MVP Samaj's Arts, Commerce & Science College, Tryambakeshwar, Maharashtra. They reported on their findings in the journal Biotropica of the Association for Tropical Biology and Conservation.

(Source: DTE)

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