The world’s first Genetic Garden of Halophytes (naturally occurring salt-tolerant plants) was inaugurated at the coastal town of Vedaranyam in Tamil Nadu. The first of its kind garden in the world was inaugurated by Mauritius President Ameenah Gurib Fakim through video-conferencing.
- The garden has been set up by M S Swaminathan Research Foundation (MSSRF) founded by eminent agriculture scientist Prof M S Swaminathan, father of Indian Green Revolution.
- It will have over 1,600 species belonging to 550 genera and 117 families of Halophytes plants.
- Initially it will comprise halophytes occurring along the coasts of India including the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
What are Halophytes?
- Halophytes are salt-tolerant or salt-resistant plants.
- They can thrive and complete their life cycles in soils or waters containing high salt concentrations. They constitute two per cent of terrestrial plant species.
- Halophytes plants are important in the context of increasing salinisation of land especially due sea level rise because of climate change and global warming.
- In recent times, alarming rise in the sea level has prompted agriculture scientists to call for the cultivation of saline-tolerant crops in light danger of sea intrusion.
- In future, anticipatory research of these plants could reap rich rewards to mitigate impact of climate change as they can provide food for people, fodder for livestock, bio fuel and also can be used for ornamental purposes.