the depleted rain forests of the Western Ghats may yet regain some of their green cover if the efforts of scientists from the Tropical Botanical Garden and Research Institute (tbgri) in Palode, Kerala, continue to be productive. Over the years, these forests consisting of trees, plants and medicinal herbs had made way for rubber, cashew and teak plantations. However, "About 500 of the lost species have already started growing and 3,000 is our goal," says P Pushpangadan, director of the tbgri. According to him, the rain forest will make a comeback in 10 years. The efforts which began three years ago have paid off as the forests have already become visible.
The institute is recreating the rain forest in 121.5 ha of land and has asked the Kerala government for an additional 121.5 ha. With a view to conserving the unique germplasm of the Andamans, scientists from tbgri have created its small replica in Kerala by planting 115 species of trees and herbs brought from there in the last 18 months.
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