Role of forest biodiversity in conservation of non-mulberry (vanya) silk in India

Abstract :

The world’s species diversity is described as 1.75 million out of the possible 12 to 100 million species and insect group comprises the largest diversity among all living organisms with 9.50 lakh described species. Biodiversity forms a still largely explored treasure that is severely endangered due to a huge amount of destructive human interventions. Changes in land use, habitat reduction and fragmentation, nutrient enrichment, and environmental stress, caused by human beings in the form of pollutants lead to reduced biological diversity on all levels (genes, species, and communities) and all functional roles. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations estimated that about 13 million hectares –an area roughly equivalent to the size of Greece, of the world’s forests are cut down and converted to other land uses every year.  The non-mulberry (vanya) silk industry is depending primarily on the productivity of forest eco-system. The vanya silkworm germplasm have several idiotypes and wild counterparts in nature. Due to their strong endemism, the metapopulation structures of these wild silkworms are highly sensitive to the present biodiversity crisis contributed by deforestation, fragmentation of forest land, environmental pollution and climate change. The North East India is considered as the hotspot of ser-biodiversity with diverse forest based food plants and sericigenous insects which play a significant role in sustainable rural livelihood and poverty alleviation in the country. Globally India is the second largest producer of silk and contributes about 15.5 % to the total world raw silk production and generates employment to 6.8 million rural people mostly women folk. The present paper deals with the present status of wild silkworm germplasm and their food plants available in North East India and maintained at Germplasm Conservation Centre, Central Muga Eri Research & Training Institute,  Chenijan (Jorhat). The prospects for commercial exploitation of some perennial forest trees such Borpat, Ailanthus grandis , Borkesseru, Ailanthus excelsa and Maiphak, Evodia (Tetradium) meliaefolia in eri silk sector have documented in the present study. The realistic approaches, strategies and intervention frameworks (both short term and long term) for conservation and commercial exploitation of vanya silkworm germplasm and their food plants have been discussed

Keyword :

vanya silk, conservation, eri silkworm, forest, bio-resources

Author(s) : Ahmed, S. A., Singh, N. I., Sarkar, C. R.
Downloads : 1627
Published Issue : 2015 Vol. 10 Number 2

2015 Vol. 10 Number 2