Keynote Lectures

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Agrobiodiversity provides the foundation of all food and feed production. Hence, need of the time is to collect, evaluate and utilize the biodiversity globally available. Indian sub-continent is one of the world’s mega centers of crop origins. India possesses 166 species of agri-horticultural crops and 324 species of wild relatives. India is reported to have five grass covers identified. There have been almost nil human interference in terms of selection pressure; hence, the biodiversity is well conserved in these grazing lands. There is need of a system approach to understanding biodiversity that moves significantly beyond taxonomy and species observations. In addition to forage value, many grasses hold the medicinal value. Duplication in the collected germplasm is a serious issue. Hence, molecular tools need to be employed. Indian Grassland and Fodder Research Institute, Jhansi is maintaining > 8500 germplasm of many fodder crops. For thousands of years farmers have been domesticating plant species thereby developing a wide range of crop varieties adapted to specific needs and environmental conditions and their rights have been protected through Indian Plant Variety Protection and Farmer’s Right Act. The use of diverse species and varieties by farmers enhances their adaptability and resilience capacity to changing environmental and economic conditions. Farmers in Manipur are conserving the biodiversity of the state by farming around 100 traditional varieties of paddy and rare medicinal plants. Old grasslands are very good place of conservation. Southern India forms the important genetic resource centre for many grass crops which includes cereals, millets, sugarcane, lemon grass, ginger grass etc. farmers in Maharastra are also conserving PGR and maintaining Biodiversity Register of the grassland species under guidance of Samvedana. “Community based conservation” and “peoples’ participation” have become part of the conventional rhetoric. Wealth of segregating breeding population also need to be conserved. The grasses or other species in grasslands are growing in highly diverse and harsh condition. These are harbouring genes for tolerance to many abiotic stresses such as light, heat and salinity/alkalinity. Hence, this wide variability, if conserved suitably, can prove to be resource to address climate change issue.

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Conservation of Grassland Plant Genetic Resources through People Participation

Agrobiodiversity provides the foundation of all food and feed production. Hence, need of the time is to collect, evaluate and utilize the biodiversity globally available. Indian sub-continent is one of the world’s mega centers of crop origins. India possesses 166 species of agri-horticultural crops and 324 species of wild relatives. India is reported to have five grass covers identified. There have been almost nil human interference in terms of selection pressure; hence, the biodiversity is well conserved in these grazing lands. There is need of a system approach to understanding biodiversity that moves significantly beyond taxonomy and species observations. In addition to forage value, many grasses hold the medicinal value. Duplication in the collected germplasm is a serious issue. Hence, molecular tools need to be employed. Indian Grassland and Fodder Research Institute, Jhansi is maintaining > 8500 germplasm of many fodder crops. For thousands of years farmers have been domesticating plant species thereby developing a wide range of crop varieties adapted to specific needs and environmental conditions and their rights have been protected through Indian Plant Variety Protection and Farmer’s Right Act. The use of diverse species and varieties by farmers enhances their adaptability and resilience capacity to changing environmental and economic conditions. Farmers in Manipur are conserving the biodiversity of the state by farming around 100 traditional varieties of paddy and rare medicinal plants. Old grasslands are very good place of conservation. Southern India forms the important genetic resource centre for many grass crops which includes cereals, millets, sugarcane, lemon grass, ginger grass etc. farmers in Maharastra are also conserving PGR and maintaining Biodiversity Register of the grassland species under guidance of Samvedana. “Community based conservation” and “peoples’ participation” have become part of the conventional rhetoric. Wealth of segregating breeding population also need to be conserved. The grasses or other species in grasslands are growing in highly diverse and harsh condition. These are harbouring genes for tolerance to many abiotic stresses such as light, heat and salinity/alkalinity. Hence, this wide variability, if conserved suitably, can prove to be resource to address climate change issue.