Lichen Park Munsiyari

About Lichen Park Munsiyari

Uttarakhand Forest Department has developed India's 'First' lichen park in Munsiyari of Pithoragarh district of the state. 

This park is spread across 1.5 acres and its development began in 2019. The forest department have sent a proposal to the state government for securing permission to open the park for the public and researchers.

Lichen Park Munsiyari in Munsiyari

There are around more than 600 species of lichens in Uttarakhand out of which 150 are found in Munsiyari. This park has been developed by Uttarakhand Forest Department in order to protect, conserve and cultivate lichens.

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.

What is Lichen?

Lichen is a composite organism that is formed by a symbiotic relationship between algae or cyanobacteria and some fungi species. 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. Lichens occur from high alpine elevations to sea level and have the ability to grow on almost any surface.

There are around 20,000 known species of lichens in the world out of which 2,714 species of lichens are found in India. Lichens are considered as a Jurassic era plant, which is still surviving today.

Environmental Importance of Lichens

Considered most significant bio-indicator of ecosystem fluctuations as they are more sensitive towards habitat and climate changes, lichen species are facing many threats and continue to decline from some areas of Himalayan regions because of over-exploitation of natural resources, mounting pressures of urbanization, habitat-destruction, deforestation and increasing pollution, according to forest officials.

Lichen need pure air to grow. If pollution levels increase in a certain area, the lichen species decline there. So it serves as a natural indicator of pollution levels in an area. And they are important to study in the Himalayas, given various threats to Himalayan environment and ecology

Uses of Lichens

  • It is a key ingredient of the famous Hyderabadi Biryani. 
  • Jhula Ghas (one of the Lichen Species) is used as a flavouring agent in Hyderabadi biryani and some non-vegetarian dishes in North Indian cuisine.
  • Lichens are used to prepare indigenous perfumes in Kannauj. 
  • Lichens are also used in sunscreen creams, dyes and some medicines.
  • They are the best bioindicators of the pollution levels

Thus, by developing this park, it can create a source of income for locals. 

Lichens in Uttarkhand

In Uttarakhand lichens are found in: Chamoli, Champawat, Pithoragarh, Nainital, Dehradun 

Some lichen species found in Uttarakhand:

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

What is Lichen Park Munsiyari famous for?

Lichen Park Munsiyari is popular place for following activities/ interests - Zoological Parks.

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