Plantation Agriculture – RISPC, Tea Act, etc.

Seabuckthorn plantations in Himachal Pradesh

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Seabuckthorn

Mains level : Not Much

The Himachal Pradesh government has decided to start planting Seabuckthorn in the cold desert areas.

What is Seabuckthorn?

  • It’s a shrub that produces an orange-yellow coloured edible berry.
  • In India, it is found above the tree line in the Himalayan region, generally in dry areas such as the cold deserts of Ladakh and Spiti.
  • In Himachal Pradesh, it is locally called Himalayan chharma and grows in the wild in Lahaul and Spiti and parts of Kinnaur.
  • According to the Seabuckthorn Association of India, around 15,000 hectares in Himachal, Ladakh, Uttarakhand, Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh are covered by this plant.

Try this PYQ from CSP 2019:

Q.Recently, there was a growing awareness in our country about the importance of Himalayan nettle (Girardinia diversifolia) because it is found to be a sustainable source of

(a) anti-malarial drug

(b) biodiesel

(c) pulp for paper industry

(d) textile fibre

Benefits of the Seabuckthorn plant

(1) Medicinal benefits

  • As a folk medicine, Seabuckthorn has been widely used for treating stomach, heart and skin problems.
  • In the last few decades, scientific research worldwide has backed many of its traditional uses.
  • Its fruit and leaves are rich in vitamins, carotenoids and omega fatty acids, among other substances, and it can help troops in acclimatizing to high-altitude.

(2) Ecological benefits

  • Besides being an important source of fuelwood and fodder, Seabuckthorn is a soil-binding plant that prevents soil-erosion, checks siltation in rivers and helps preserve floral biodiversity.
  • In the Lahaul valley, where willow trees are dying in large numbers due to pest attack, this hardy shrub is a good alternative for protecting the local ecology.

(3) Commercial benefits

  • Seabuckthorn also has commercial value, as it is used in making juices, jams, nutritional capsules etc.
  • But wild Seabuckthorn cannot sustainably supply raw material to the industry, and the plant needs to be cultivated on a large scale as is being done in China.

What is the latest project?

  • The Seabuckthorn association wants the forest departments of various Himalayan states/UTs to plant Seabuckthorn on arid and marginal lands using compensatory afforestation or CAMPA funds.
  • Recently, the union ministry of environment, forest and climate change asked these states to submit proposals for taking up such plantations.
  • This is in the light of reduced water flow from Himalayan glaciers and their impact on ecology.
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