U’khand forest department develops India’s 1st lichen park

Uttarakhand forest department has developed India’s first lichen park in Kumaon’s Munsiyari, Pithoragarh district. Lichens are found in the Himalayas up to 5000 metres are important species as they are the best bioindicators of the pollution levels.

The project aims to study the distribution of different lichen species, their habitat, their morphological and physiological aspects, surveying and literature review, the establishment of species, current threats to their habitat including anthropological and climatic factors, and coming up with suitable conservation strategies and protection strategies. These Jurassic-era lichen species are used in food, perfumes, dyes and traditional medicines.

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Uttarakhand has more than 600 species of lichens followed by Himachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir with 503 and 386 species respectively.

In Uttarakhand lichens are found in:

  • Chamoli
  • Champawat
  • Pithoragarh
  • Nainital
  • Dehradun

Some lichen species found in the state:

  • Parmotrema Pertatum
  • Usnea Lognissima
  • Lecanora Subfuseescens
  • Sarcogyne Privigna
  • Arthonia Impolitella
  • Acarospora Fusca
  • Acarospora Oxytona
  • Polysporina Dubia

What is a lichen?

A lichen is a composite organism that arises from algae or cyanobacteria living among filaments of multiple fungi species in a mutualistic relationship. They come in many colours, sizes and forms. The properties are sometimes plant-like but lichens are not plants. Lichens may have tiny, leafless branches, flat leaf-like structures.

They are one of the oldest living things, grow in a wide range of habitat including some of the most extreme conditions like the arctic, tundra, hot dry desert rocky coasts, toxic heaps, roofs bare rocks, walls, exposed soil surfaces are some of the places where it can be easily found.

Important takeaways for all competitive exams:

  • Chief Minister of Uttarakhand: Trivendra Singh Rawat; Governor: Baby Rani Maurya.
  • Gairsain in Chamoli district has been formally declared as the summer capital of Uttarakhand.