Plant diversity of Assam, India: exploration and conservation
ID: 613 / 292
Proposed Symposium Title: Plant diversity of Assam, India: exploration and conservation
Sanjib Baruah, Sanswrang Basumatary
Affiliations: Department of Botany, Bodoland University, Assam, India
Assam is located in the central part of North-East India and has an area of 78,438 km² representing 2.39% of the Indian land mass. It is situated between 24° 18 and 28° 18 N latitude and 89° 42 and 96° 30 E longitude. The first systematic works were concerned with the flora of Assam, which includes all seven states of the North-East region. However, before that, many workers had initiated pioneering botanical work in this region. A list of 3017 species belonging to 115 genera and 21 families for the Flora of Assam was compiled, which constitutes about 86% of Kanjilal's Flora of Assam. Aside from that, a number of works have documented the floristic diversity of several such areas of the state. A total of 4273 species, comprising 148 genera, distributed in 272 families of vascular plants, were recorded from Assam, which represents about 25.12% of the total flora of India, but unfortunately, certain areas and certain plant groups still remain to be explored scientifically.
In the last couple of years, we have involved ourselves in the floristic study of the present political boundary of the state and collected and documented almost 1400 flowering and non-flowering plants. Of the reported species, one species, viz., Smilax sailenii are new to plant science. Three species, viz., Tacca chantrieri André (Taccaeae), Smilax china L. (Smilacaceae) and Amblyanthopsis burmanica (Primulaceae) are reported as a new record for the Indian flora. Sarcopyramis subramanii Nayar (Melastomataceae) has only been collected once in India, from the Lushai Hills in Mizoram state in 1926. Besides these, conservation initiatives and challenges have been addressed in the present communication.
Key words: Assam, conservation, endangered, floristic elements