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Research Paper | October 20, 2022

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Lichens biodiversity in Uttarakhand and significance of precise species identification for promoting lichen conservation and trade

Rekha Gahtori, Ashutosh Paliwal, Garima Chand, Rahul Anand, Rajesh Bajpai, Dalip Kumar Upreti, Penny Joshi, Lalit M. Tewari, Yogesh Joshi, Santosh K. Upadhyay

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J. Bio. Env. Sci.21(4), 118-139, October 2022

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Abstract

Uttarakhand is considered a reservoir of lichen-diversity. Besides their economic importance, lichens are valuable biomonitors of air pollution. At present, approximately 747 species of lichens are reported from the state of Uttarakhand. This study aims at studying the lichen biodiversity of the Kumaun and Garhwal region of Uttarakhand using secondary data, from published literature. In view of rich lichen-biodiversity in the state, it has been suggested that lichen-trade has potential of providing good employment opportunities to the local people in Uttarakhand. However, due to ignorance in precise lichen identification/grading, their share in the total trade-profit remains minimal. Precise species identification in lichen is also crucial for the conservation of rare, endangered, and threatened (RET) and endemic lichens. Due to climatic change and anthropogenic factors many species of lichens are at the verge of extinction. Moreover, it has been estimated that many of the species might already have extincted without ever being identified, possibly/partially due to their cryptic morphology. Unavailability of sufficient number of trained human resource in lichen-taxonomy/identification is another issue jeopardizing the conservation efforts. Therefore, we advocate development of a resource group for training the people in lichen research and trade with precise lichen-identification methods. Additionally, the characterization of lichen biodiversity needs to be complemented with modern methods such as DNA-barcoding and advance variants of complementary chemotaxonomy. The lichen resource group may also participate in sensitizing stakeholders in lichen biodiversity-conservation as well through community awareness programs.

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Lichens biodiversity in Uttarakhand and significance of precise species identification for promoting lichen conservation and trade

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