CCD spearheads the movement of community-led biodiversity conservation, particularly native herbs and medicinal plants. Began as an intervention for the marginal farmers and landless labourers, CCD’s works among medicinal plant gatherers brought lessons related to the inherent issues of the medicinal plant conservation and sustainable harvest. Then, CCD started working on the conservation, sustainable harvest, protection of herbal diversity.
CCD undertook a lot of studies and documentation since its inception and all these efforts culminated into establishment of Medicinal Plants Conservation Park sprawling over 40 acres in Sevaiyur, Virudhunagar in 2001. This Park is a home to around three lakhs plants. Now the Park is getting transformed into Vaigai Flora Botanical Garden(VFBG) and it has been dedicated to the nation for educating the next generation and to conserve the native and endangered species.
VFBG works for conserving the regional (semi-arid) flora of dry-deciduous species from Ramnad plains, one among the seven agro-climatic regions of Tamil Nadu, which is part of Madurai, Ramanathapuram, Sivagangai and Virudhunagar districts. These species are systematically and scientifically collected from five different accessions in the neighbouring reserved forests (Sathuragiri Mahalingam Hills in Watrap, Shenbagathopu in Srivilliputhur and Ayyanar Falls in Rajapalayam).
It has become a resource centre for educating students, botanists, medical practitioners and communities dependent on medicinal plant based livelihoods such as healers, gatherers, farmers and artisans on the medicinal value of the local flora. CCD offers training to aspiring young generation from traditional healers, medicinal plant gatherers and cultivators, and health conscious public who can learn both theory and practice from experts in the fields of agriculture, horticulture, forestry and botany. CCD works with the GIZ and Tamil Nadu State Biodiversity Board to develop people’s biodiversity register (PBR) and set-up mechanisms for Biodiversity Management Committees at block level in 10 select blocks.
· CCD has established an Ethno-Medicinal Forest (EMF) garden near Madurai city (1995-2000) with the support of FRLHT, comprising 524 species of medicinal plants (http://vaigaiflora.com). About 5,000 visitors, including school and college students, nearby villagers and folk healers visit this garden each year for research and training in identification of plants, their use and cultural relevance.
The Covenant Centre for Development implemented the Project “Capacity and Competency Building of Field Personnel and Stakeholders for strengthening of Biodiversity Management Committees (BMCs), Preparation of People’s Biodiversity Registers (PBRs) and Operationalization of Access and Benefit Sharing (ABS) Provisions in Tamil Nadu” supported by the GIZ, New Delhi. The Project began in September 2019 and concluded in June 2020.
As part of the project, two business dialogues on Access and Benefit Sharing Compliance in Tamil Nadu were organized in Madurai on 16 October 2019 and at Nagercoil on 22 October 2019. The primary objective of the dialogue was creating awareness on user obligations to comply with the provisions of Access and Benefit Sharing of the Biological Diversity Act. The dialogues were attended by a cross section of participants representing companies, industrial associations and traders involved in using bio-resources and representatives from the Forest and Revenue Department, Drug Licensing Authority and Tamil Nadu Biodiversity Board and resource persons from GIZ, Biodiversity Management Committees (BMCs) and facilitated by CCD Team. The key aspects of compliances were:
The PBR preparation and strengthening of BMCs were taken up in 12 Blocks spread across 10 districts in Tamil Nadu.
To begin People Biodiversity Register preparation, a series of orientation meetings were organised in all the 12 blocks, where the project was being implemented. These orientation meetings focused on Biological Diversity Act 2002 and Biodiversity Rules 2004, the roles envisaged from BMCs with regard to preparation of PBRs and management of bio-resources through Access and Benefit Sharing (ABS). These meetings set the tone for the BMC members to commence the preparation of the model PBRs at block level.
In February 2020, CCD organized a training programme for members of BMCs on maintenance of records. The training provided a detailed background on the Biodiversity Act and Rules followed by a workshop on methods in documentation and record keeping including cash book, annual report preparation and Form I for fulfilling legal compliances.
A detailed methodology with the following steps was developed for the implementation of PBR Preparation:
The Covenant Centre for Development
177, Muthukali Bhavanam, Ram Nagar 7th Street, S.S.Colony, Madurai–625016, Tamil Nadu, INDIA
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