Conservation and sustainable utilization of horticultural biodiversity in tropical Andaman and Nicobar Islands, India

Abstract

Tropical region representing 36 % of the Earth’s surface and 20 % of its land mass is characterized by warm to hot and moist climate with lush green vegetation. Andaman and Nicobar Islands, India harbour over 2650 species of flowering plants, of which 223 species are endemic and 1300 do not occur in the mainland India. Horticultural crops occupy about 70 % of the total cropped area in the islands. Plantation crops (63 %) are dominant component, while vegetables, fruits and tuber crops are known to contribute in livelihood and nutrition of native tribes and settler population. Continuous introductions of non-native crops and domestication of wild plants expended the list of horticultural crops since the Penal Settlement Process in nineteenth century. Presently, about 150 species of vegetables, 120 of fruits, 132 of orchids, 120 of ferns and 300 of medicinal plants have been reported from the islands. By utilizing the diversity in potential species, 18 improved varieties have been developed in various crops apart from identification of 20 breeding lines, registration of seven unique germplasm and conservation of about 187 germplasm at National gene banks. However, overemphasis on commercial exotics, ignorance of native bioresources, introduction of pests, habitat degradation and changing climatic factors could lead to loss of potential horticultural germplasm. Present article highlights efforts made and challenges involved in the conservation and sustainable utilization of horticultural resources for development of the tropical archipelago in the era of changing climate.

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Acknowledgments

The authors are grateful to the earlier Directors of ICAR-Central Island Agricultural Research Institute, Port Blair for their support and encouragement. The help of In-charge, library of the authors’ institute, local farmers and Nicobari tribal people of ANI is acknowledged.

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Singh, S., Waman, A.A., Bohra, P. et al. Conservation and sustainable utilization of horticultural biodiversity in tropical Andaman and Nicobar Islands, India. Genet Resour Crop Evol 63, 1431–1445 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10722-016-0445-5

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Keywords

  • Climate change
  • Habitat enrichment
  • Horticulture genetic resources
  • Indigenous crops
  • Indigenous tribes
  • Tropical region