Chennai. June 1, 2022
The MSSRF Community Agrobiodiversity Centre (CAbC) in Wayanad, Kerala, is celebrating its silver jubilee this year, and to commemorate the occasion, M S Swaminathan Research Foundation (MSSRF) is organising a hybrid international conference on ‘Biodiversity, Climate Change and Adaptation’ on June 5 and 6, 2022, at the Community Agrobiodiversity Centre at Wayanad, Kerala.
A curtain raiser to the Conference took place at MSSRF Taramani premises, Chennai, on June 1, 2022, to highlight the significance of the conference at Wayanad, Kerala.
Dr Madhura Swaminathan, Chairperson MSSRF, released the Special Newsletter that presented four major outcomes from CAbC in Waynand covering:
1. Ex-situ conservation of RET plants in the Western Ghats;
2. Conservation and protection of neglected and traditional tuber crops;
3. Conservation of vanishing rice varieties rich in nutritional and medicinal value; and,
4. The focus on growing food in tribal homestead gardens for better dietary diversity.
She added that agrobiodiversity, agriculture and coastal biodiversity must receive close attention if climate adaptation is to be achieved in India, and that the MSSRF Community Agrobiodiversity Centre at Wayanad focuses on making these connections possible with the involvement of all stakeholders.
Dr GN Hariharan, Executive Director MSSRF, spoke briefly about CAbC highlighting the mission and vision: “The Centre is engaged in developing and disseminating solutions for sustainable management of biodiversity, particularly community biodiversity to enhance food, nutrition and livelihood security of the most distressed communities.” He emphasised that the conceiving of CAbC by Prof M S Swaminathan (Founder MSSRF) in early 1990s was to “integrate conservation, cultivation, consumption and commerce – the four dimensions of sustainable genetic resource management into a practical approach to address the issue of sustainable agriculture.”
Dr V Shakeela, Director CAbC, spoke about the achievements and impact of CAbC work in Kerala and beyond. The Centre has documented and conserved rare, endemic, and threatened plant species of the Western Ghats, recording a total of 2,100 flowering plants with 52 RED Data Species and nearly 900 Indian sub-continent endemics. It has described 39 plant species from the Kerala part of the Western Ghats that are new to science (23 numbers from Wayanad alone). For example: “The Eugenia argentea, a species thought to be extinct (“Possibly Extinct” status) was recollected from the study region after a lapse of 130 years.” Another species Hedyotis wynaadensis with similar status was recollected from the Chembra peak shola forest. CAbC has also facilitated many RET gardens across the state of Kerala such as Manikavu Sacred Forest in Wayanad that covers 30 acres of land.
Dr T Jayaraman, Senior Fellow Climate Change MSSRF, presented on how the Biodiversity, Climate Change and Adaptation conference has immediate relevance since it is organised closely after the IPCC Working Group reports have been published in February 2022. Setting the context and significance, he said: “Biodiversity is threatened by increasing greenhouse gases and carbon emissions, and getting governments to spend within carbon budgets is important. The conference therefore includes delegates who are lead experts on the subject and related polices, and also those who offer experiences from across the world.” Kerala being a biodiversity hotspot is a perfect location to discuss the biodiversity and climate change linkages and disconnects, particularly a way forward for a sustainable future together.
ENCL: Conference concept note + Special Newsletter Release photo (caption: L-R: Dr GN Hariharan, Executive Director MSSRF, Dr Madhura Swaminathan, Chairperson MSSRF, Dr T Jayaraman, Senior Fellow Climate Change, MSSRF)
A press release in Malayalam was also made available to the Malayalam language press following the media briefing at the Wayanad Press Club on June 3, 2022.
For details, please contact –
Director – Communications
M S Swaminathan Research Foundation (MSSRF)
3rd Cross Street, Institutional Area, Taramani,
Chennai 600 113, India
Mobile: +91 9841051489