By A.B. Chaudhuri

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Major Cause s for the Loss of Biodiv ersity Gener al Threa t to Phyto- divers ity in India. Apparently the quick decline of the vegetation cover of a cOlmtry is directl y linked with the rapid popula tion growth (102 crores in India) with an ever increasing needs. The, major causes of the loss of biological diversi ty in India both in the hills and plains are anthropogenic. Howev er, eight major causes for the loss of biodivers ity have been identif ied namel y-(i) Habita t loss and fragmentation, (ii) Introduced speices, (iii) Over exploitation of plant and animal species, (iv) Pollution of Soil, Water and atmosp here, (v) Global climate change, (vi) Expansion of Industr y, agricul ture and forestry, (vii) Want of pollina ting vectors , (viii) Unisex ual flowered species.

For large scale multiplication of forest tree species two tissue culture pilot plants have been established at National Chemical Laboratory, Pune and at Tata Energy Research Institute, New Medicinal Plants of India : An Observation 41 Delhi. Plant Issue Culture laboratories have also been set up in different National Institute. The West Bengal Scenario So far, no major conservation measures aiming at conservation of medIcinal plants in particular or ensuring sustainable use of the same has been taken in West Bengal.

Threa t to Medic inal Plants in Particu lar All the factors described above threatening the phyto-diversity in India broadly cover most of the threats to medicinal plant species. Over-e xploita tion and indiscr iminat e use of wild resourc es in commercial deman d now-a- days playa great role not only behind the quick decline of the species concerned, but also becomes a threat for the survival of other associated species, thus acting as the major factors disturb ing the entire ecosystem. For medici nal plants, like other plant parts in comme rcial deman d, prema ture exploi tation is anothe r factor which is additio nally respon sible for rapid destru ction of wild stock.

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