Young researchers and students urged to protect natural heritage, biodiversity of Nagaland

International Day for Biodiversity 2024 Photo

Lumami, 22 May (MTNews): International Day for Biodiversity 2024 was observed at Nagaland University, Lumami, on May 22, 2024. Organized by the Centre for Biodiversity Studies and the Department of Botany, Nagaland University, the event began with a welcome address by Dr. Viheno Iralu, Assistant Professor at the Centre for Biodiversity Studies. She welcomed the attendees, emphasizing the importance of preserving the planet’s biodiversity and highlighting the annual observance on May 22, established by the United Nations to raise awareness of biodiversity issues. This year’s theme, “Be Part of the Plan,” calls for individual and collective action in conservation efforts. Dr. Iralu expressed gratitude to the Vice Chancellor for his unwavering support in biodiversity conservation, which has led to the development of the Botanical Garden and the establishment of the Nagaland University Biodiversity Committee.

Dr. Iralu also pointed out Nagaland’s rich biodiversity and the alarming decline in forest cover from 80.50% in 2015 to 73% in 2021, as reported by the Indian State of Forest Report (ISFR). She stressed the vital role of educational institutions in addressing these challenges through research, education, and community engagement, focusing on sustainable practices and conservation policies. She urged researchers and students to advocate for biodiversity conservation and sustainable practices within their communities.

Prof. Jagadish K Patnaik, Vice Chancellor of Nagaland University, was the chief guest. In his address, he emphasized the crucial importance of biodiversity, urging young researchers and students to recognize and actively protect Nagaland’s rich natural heritage. He reflected on the historical relationship between the Nagas and their environment, noting that they have traditionally lived in harmony with the region’s biodiversity. However, he pointed out that advancements in technology and the influence of Western culture have led to significant deterioration of this biodiversity.

Prof. Patnaik specifically highlighted the detrimental impacts of illegal mining activities, which are causing severe harm to local ecosystems. He encouraged the youth to acknowledge the state’s rich biodiversity and to find ways to capitalize on it in a sustainable manner. This, he stressed, is essential for maintaining the ecological balance and ensuring the well-being of future generations. Furthermore, Prof. Patnaik shared his vision for the university, which includes the development of a robust integrated research center. This center aims to provide young researchers with the necessary tools and opportunities to develop and enhance their research skills. He believes that such a facility will be instrumental in advancing conservation efforts and fostering a deeper understanding of sustainable practices among the new generation of scientists and scholars.

The theme speaker was Prof. Joginder Singh Panwar from the Department of Botany, Nagaland University. He discussed the critical importance of biodiversity, highlighting its role in boosting ecosystem productivity. He explained that every species, no matter how small, has a significant part to play. According to Prof. Panwar, richer biodiversity provides greater opportunities for medical discoveries, economic development, and adaptive responses to new challenges such as climate change. He highlighted the alarming decline in species abundance, with a 69% loss since 1970, and the overconsumption of resources exceeding Earth’s capacity by 20%. He reiterated that the theme “Be Part of the Plan” calls on all stakeholders to support the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework. Everyone, including governments, businesses, communities, and individuals, is encouraged to take action to protect and restore biodiversity. This involves collaboration, reducing environmental impact, supporting conservation efforts, spreading awareness, and engaging in sustainable practices. His speech underscored that individual and collective actions can make a significant difference in halting biodiversity loss.

During the program, three books were also released. One book was edited by Prof. CR Deb, Prof. Talijungla, and Dr. Neizo Puro, all from the Department of Botany, Nagaland University. For the other two books, Prof. Joginder Singh Panwar from the Department of Botany, Nagaland University was the co-author.


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