Survey of Flora

Botanical Survey of India (BSI)

In order to explore the plant wealth of the country and indentifying the species having economic potentiality for the welfare of mankind the Botanical Survey of India (BSI) was established in 1890. Its mandate has been modified recently to meet the commitments of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) which are based on three primary principles viz.,


Saravia armata : an ornamental species

BSI, with its Headquarter at Calcutta, has several well equipped Laboratories viz., Indian Botanic Garden (IBG), Central National Herbarium, Industrial Section at Indian Museum at Calcutta and nine regional stations located in different phytogeographical regions viz., Jodhpur, Allahabad, Dehra Dun, Pune, Coimbatore, Gangtok, Itanagar, Shillong and Portblair which are self reliant to meet the challenges of CBD & Patenting.


Objectives of BSI

Primary Objectives


Secondary Objectives



Tacca sp - a rare ornamental plant of Arunachal Pradesh

The activities of the BSI during the year are summarized below :-

Botanical exploration, Inventorisation, monitoring and documentation of phytodiversity : Seventynine exploration tours to inventorise and monitor the phytodiversity and bioresources of forest ecosystems, fragile ecosystems, protected areas etc. including lower group of plants were undertaken. As such, about 25,000 plant specimens were collected and about 11,791 of them were identified. The identification of rest is under progress. After identification the plant species are inventorised and documented in the form of Floras.



A superior phenotype of Emblica officinalis identified for distinct morphological characteristics and fruit production

National Flora/Flora of India

To provide detailed information regarding the phytodiversity of nation as a whole, the organisation is engaged in the revision of Flora of India which will be completed in 35 volumes. During the year under report about 350 species belonging to fifteen families were documented.

State Flora : The manuscripts of 8 State Floras viz., Andaman and Nicobar Islands (Vol. 1), Arunachal Pradesh (Vol. 3), Cold Desert (Vol. 1), Nagaland (Vol. 3 & 4), Madhya Pradesh (Vol. 3), Jammu & Kashmir (Vol.1), Maharashtra (Vol 1 & 2), Kerala (Vol. 1), were completed and edited. The Mosses of Central India and Pteridophytic Flora of North East India were also completed and edited among the lower group of plants. Further, the work on 9 volumes of State Floras viz. Andaman & Nicobar Vol. II, Haryana Vol. 1, Sikkim Vol. 1, Mizoram Vol. I, Assam Vol. II, Bihar Vol. I, West Bengal Vol. III, Karnataka Vol. I, Kerala Vol. II is under various stages of progress and about 730 species were studied during the year. Work on the Flora of Govind Pashu Vihar, Mumbai City and Pench National Park are also under progress.

About 180 species belonging to Lichens, Fungi, Algae, Mosses and Liverworts were collected, identified, inventorised and documented.

Palynological/Cytological/Phytochemical studies : Pollen morphology of about 54 Indian species of Capparaceae, Rhamnaceae, Asclepiadaceae, Gentianaceae and Thalictaridaceae have been worked out. Further, phytochemical screening of 3 species of family Tiliaceae (seeds) was done.

Threatened taxa documentation : BSI has published so far three volumes of Red Data Book and two volumes (Vol. 4 & 5) are under preparation during the year under report. Further, data sheets for 50 species were prepared under negative list of export in reference to Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).

Ex-situ Conservation : The conservation activities during the year include :

Bioperspectives/Ethonobotanical Studies : To provide more information about the economic potentiality of phytodiversity of different phytogeographical regions, studies were conducted in four States viz., Tripura, Assam, Orissa and West Bengal. Six tours were undertaken and about 500 species have been identified which have potential for utilisation for various purposes, especially for medicinal purposes. A book Ethnobotany of Rajasthan has been published which deals with about 610 species. An All India Co-ordinated project on Ethnobotany has been initiated to provide information regarding bioperspectives of megadiversity areas of the country viz., Western Ghats, N.E. India, Eastern Himalaya etc. The work is in progress.

Environmental Impact Assessment : Environmental Impact studies in Pandiyar-Punnapuzha Hydro Electric Project (HEP) of Tamil Nadu Electricity Board (TNEB), Motia Copper open cast Project, Purulia Pumped Storage project, Bansagar Canal project and Chota Nagpur Coal field project were conducted and reports prepared. Besides these, a report on 20 projects throughout India was monitored.

National Data Base : Data from Indian flora, herbarium holdings, type specimens, Taxonomic bibliography, rare and threatened plants of Indian flora, medicinal plants, live plants of botanical gardens of India was computerised at Coimbatore, Dehra Dun and Pune. An Environmental Information System (ENVIS) Centre has also been engaged in the above work at Calcutta.

Public Services and Environmental Awareness : BSI provides services not only to various scientific and academic institutions but also to individuals.


Publications of the BSI brought out during the year :



Scorpion (poisonous) fish from A&N Islands (Pterois volitans (Linnaes))

Survey of Fauna

Zoological Survey of India (ZSI)

With a view to carry out exploration, survey and inventorisation of faunal resources of the country the Zoological Survey of India (ZSI) was established in 1916. While the headquarters of ZSI is in Calcutta, it has 16 regional stations located in different parts of the country.

Highlights of various activities of ZSI during the year.


Exploration and Survey of Faunal Resources

A total of 68 surveys covering different ecosystems in various States were conducted, during which collection of voucher specimens of almost all groups of non-scheduled animals as well as detailed field observations on scheduled animals were undertaken. Several periodical trips to selected areas were also undertaken for ecological studies.


Ecosystem survey

Tropical Rainforest Ecosystem : Surveys were conducted in Quilon District of Kerala.

Cold Desert Ecosystem : Several areas of cold desert of Ladakh were surveyed.

Wetland Ecosystem : Some important wetlands of the country were surveyed for their faunal composition which included Pong Wetland in Himachal Pradesh, Kondakarla Lake in Andhra Pradesh and Nath Sagar Wetland in Maharashtra.

Estaurine Ecosystem : Krishna estuary in Andhra Pradesh was further surveyed for the collection of benthic fauna and fishes.

Marine Ecosystem : Faunal explorations in the marine and coastal waters of Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and West Bengal were undertaken.


Conservation Areas Survey

National Parks : Faunal explorations were carried out in Pench National Park and Tadoba National Park, both in Maharashtra.

Biosphere Reserves : Gulf of Mannar Biosphere Reserve was surveyed for faunal component.

Wildlife Sanctuaries : Bhim Bandh (Bihar), Kaimur (Bihar) and Asola Bhatti (Delhi) Wildlife Sanctuaries were explored for their faunal component and general ecological studies.

Reserve Forests : Anaimalai Reserve Forest (Tamil Nadu) was surveyed for faunal occurrances.

State Fauna Survey : Under this programme surveys were conducted in several districts of Andhra Pradesh (Srikakulam, Vijayanagaram and Vishakhapatnam), Andaman Islands, Gujarat (Kheda, Pench Mahal and Vadodara), Maharashtra (Kolhapur), Manipur, Mizoram, Nagaland (Kohima, Wokna and Mokokchung), Rajasthan, Sikkim, Tamil Nadu, Kerala (Thriuvananthapuram), and Uttar Pradesh (Bundelkhand and Terrai Region).

Ecological Surveys : Chandrika Wildlife Sanctuary (Orissa), Hugly Matla estaurine system in Sunderban delta, coastal waters of Bay of Bengal near Digha, several areas of North Bengal forests, (West Bengal), Forest of Gujarat and several manmade lakes and ponds of Andhra Pradesh and West Bengal surveyed in connection with ecological studies and status survey of some important species/groups.

Other Surveys : Kopili River in North Cachar Hills (Assam) was surveyed for its faunal composition to formulate a suitable strategy for environmental safeguards.

Scientists participated in Panchchuli Multidimensional Expedition (Uttar Pradesh) and Jarwa Contact Programme (Middle Amdaman).


Research Works

Identification of New Taxa : During the year detailed taxonomic studies resulted in the discovery of a total of two genera and 26 species new to science. These include three species of Amphibia, one species of fish, three species of Diptera (Insecta), two genera and 17 species of Hymenoptera (Insecta), one species of Thysanura (Insecta) and one species of Scolopendromorpha (Diplopoda).

Taxonomic Studies : The research work carried out on fauna collected from different states, conservation areas and other ecosystem is as follows :

State Fauna : Details of the number of species identified (under major groups) based on the collections made from different state surveys, are given in Table - 1.

Table - 1

Groups of Animals Identified

(Total number of specimens and species in parenthesis)

                Coelentrata  Annelida   Apterygota  Thysanoptera  Odonata  Isoptera  Hemiptera  Lepidoptera  Coleoptera  Diptera  
Andaman&Nicobar    18(8)        --          --           --         --         --       --        90(23)         --         --
Andhra Pradesh      --         50(7)        --           --       67(12)     140(3)    13(5)        --           --         --
Arunanchal Pradesh  --          --          --           --         --         --     362(4)        --           --         --
Assam               --          --          --           --         --         --       --          --           --         --  
Kerala              --          --          --           --         --         --       --          --           --        25(9) 
Madhya Pradesh      --          --          --           --        4(2)        --       --          --           --         --
Maharashtra         --          --          --           --         --         --       --          --           --         --
Manipur             --          --        75(8)        5(2)         --       115(3)   226(15)       --           --         --    
Mizoram             --          --        20(3)          --         --         --      87(8)      168(32)        --         --  
Nagaland            --          --          --           --         --         --       --          --           --         --
Orissa              --          --          --          --          --         --       --          --           --         --  
Sikkim              --          --        80(5)        4(1)         --         --       --          --         873(24)      --  
Tamil Nadu          --          --          --           --         --         --       --          --           --        57(7) 
West Bengal         --          --         5(2)          --         --         --       --          --           --         --  

States Surveyed Orthoptera  Arachnida  Acarina  Crustacea  Chilopoda  Mollusca  Echinodermata  Pisces  Reptila     Mammalia
Andaman&Nicobar     59(5)      --        --         --         --        --         97(24)      79(23)    --          --
Andhra Pradesh       --        --        --        16(3)       --        --          --          --       --          --  
Arunanchal Pradesh   --        --        --        11(1)       --        --          --          --       --          --  
Assam                --        --        --         --         --        --          --        325(19)    --          --  
Kerala               --        --        --         8(8)       --       11(2)        --        208(31)    --          --  
Madhya Pradesh       --        --      164(5)       --         --        --          --         13(5)     --          --
Maharashtra          --        --        --         8(3)       4(3)      --          --          6(3)     --          --  
Manipur              --       25(6)      --         8(4)       --      115(3)      226(15)       --       --          --    
Mizoram              --        --       72(7)       --         --        --          --          --       --          --  
Nagaland             --        --        --         --         --        --          --          --       --         10(5)
Orissa               --        --        --        16(3)       --        --          --          --       --          --  
Sikkim               --        --       63(12)      --         --        --          --          --       --          --  
Tamil Nadu           --        --        --         2(2)       --        9(1)        --        357(29)    5(2)        --  
West Bengal          --        --        --         --         --        --          --          --       --          --  


Fauna of Conservation Area

National Parks

Tadoba National Park : 6 examples, 4 species of Crustacea; 9 examples, 3 species of Thysanoptera (Insecta) and 3 examples, 3 species of Reptilia were identified.

Pench Natinal Park, Maharashtra : 10 examples under 2 species of Thysanoptera (Insecta) were sudied.

Eraviculam National Park, Kerala : 13 examples (1 species) of Arachinida, 33 examples (7 species) of Odonata, and 49 examples (4 species) of Hemiptera were studied and recognised. This includes 3 new species of Hymenoptera.

Govind Pashu Vihar, U.P. : 21 examples (5 species) of Chilopoda were studied.

Melghat Tiger Reserve, Maharashtra : 4 examples (1 species) of Arachinida, 8 examples ( 4 species) of Mollusca, 3 examples (2 species) of Amphibia and 8 examples (3 species) of Reptilia were identified.

Asola Bhatti Wildlife Sanctuary, Delhi : 85 examples (2 species) of Amphibia were studied .

Indira Gandhi Wildlife Sanctuary, Tamil Nadu : 11 examples (9 species) of Diptera, 75 examples (8 species) of Scorpionida, 290 examples (5 species) of Millipedes, 137 examples (2 species) of Mollusca, 673 examples (18 species) of Pisces, and 35 examples (5 species) of Amphibia were identified.

Parambikulam Wildlife Sanctuary, Kerala : 2 examples (1 species) of Hymeniptera were determined.

Anaimalai Reserve Forest, Tamil Nadu : 4 examples ( 4 species) of Rotifera, 16 examples (4 species) of Diptera, 4 examples (4 species) of Crustacea, 29 examples (18 species) of Pisces and 2 examples (2 species) of Reptilia were identified.


Fauna of Ecosystems

Wetland Ecosystem

Harike Wetland, Punjab : 34 examples (4 species) of Pisces and 12 examples (2 species) of Amphibia were identified.

Pong Wetland, Punjab : 25 examples (4 species) of Oligochaeta (Annelida) and 50 examples (14 species) of Lepidoptera (Insecta) were identified.

Asan Reservoir, Dehra Dun : 18 species of migratory Aves were observed and recorded.

Doon Valley Wetland, Dehra Dun : 167 examples (17 species) of Pisces, 7 examples (1 species) of Amphibia, 3 examples (3 species) of Reptilia were identified.

Ladakh Cold Desert Ecosystem, Jammu & Kashmir : 23 examples (3 species) of Annelida (Oligochaeta) and 40 examples (7 species) of Pisces were determined.

Himalayan Ecosystem : From Western Himalayan Region of Himachal Pradesh 32 examples (6 species) of Annelida (Oligochaeta) and 10 examples (2 species) of Pisces were identified.

Tropical Rainforest/Western Ghat Ecosystem, Kerala : 390 examples (41 species) of Hymenoptera, 86 examples (35 species) of Lepidoptera, 24 examples (7 species) of Odonata, 97 examples (26 species)of Pisces, 68 examples (9 species) of Amphibia, 4 examples (3 species) of Reptilia and 2 examples (2 species)of Mammalia were identified. These include 14 species new to science.


Goral at Malsid Park

Krishna Estuary, Andhra Pradesh : 16 examples (2 species) of Crustacea were determined.

Andhra Pradesh Coast : 11 examples (6 species) of Polychaeta and 19 examples (3 species) of Sipunculata were identified.

Tamil Nadu Coast : 91 examples (20 species) of Crustacea and 25 examples (75 species) of Pisces were studied.

Deep Sea : A total of 3,409 examples (10 species) of Chaetognatha were identified out of the material obtained during the cruises of Sagar Sampada.


Ecological Studies

The following research studies/projects pertaining to various ecosystems were continued during the year.


Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) Studies

During the year detailed faunal studies, including site surveys, were made in respect of the following EIA projects referred to the ZSI by various Agencies for expert opinion.



Sarus Crane incubating their eggs

Development of National Zoological Collcections

The ZSI, which is the National repository of Zoological specimens, maintains a collection of large number of identified species belonging to almost all groups of animals occurring in the country. The National Zoological collections were further enriched by 10,595 identified examples belonging to 834 species, including 26 species new to science.

Publications : During the year, three volumes under the Fauna of India series and one volume each of Records of Zoological Survey of India and the Fauna of Mahanadi were published.


Other Activities


Forest Survey of India (FSI)

Established in June, 1981, the Forest Survey of India (FSI) is entrusted with the responsibility of survey of forest resources in the country. The FSI has four zonal offices located at Bangalore, Calcutta, Nagpur and Shimla with headquarters in Dehra Dun.

The objectives of FSI are as follows :



Mixed coniferous forest

The activities of FSI during the year were as follows

Vegetation mapping

One of the main objectives of FSI is to assess the extent of forest cover the monitor on a two years cycle, the broad changes in forest vegetation cover of the country by using multi-satellite data on 1:2,50,000 scale. The first attempt to assess the forest cover of the country by visual interpretation of satellite imageries was made in 1984-85 and the first NFVM was prepared in 1987 on 1:1 million scale. FSI which used Landsat satellite data earlier, has now completely switched over to the Indian Remote Sensing Satellite (IRSS) for the assessment of the forest cover. Besides visual interpretation of the satellite data, the FSI is gradually switching over to digital image analysis. SFR 1997 is the sixth report in the series of biennial reports, published by the FSI since 1987 and presents a comprehensive account of forest cover of the country and its dynamics over the previous assessment (SFR 1995).

The total forest cover of the country has been estimated to be 63.34 million ha. i.e.19.27% of the geographic area of the country. While the dense forest (crown density more than 40%) and open forest (10%-40%) occupy about 11% and 8% of the geographic area respectively, mangroves occupy 0.15% of the total geographic area.

The country has lost about 5,482 sq.km. of forest cover since the 1995 assessment. Major losses have been recorded in the states of Andhra Pradesh (3,822 sq. km.) and Madhya Pradesh (3,969 sq. km.) while Maharashtra has shown a significant increase of 2,300 sq. km. The North Eastern states, which have rich forest cover (67%), have lost 316 sq.km. forest cover compared to the loss of 783 sq.km. recorded during the 1995 assessment.


Survey of Non-forest Area

Keeping in view the important role played by forestry plantations and to assess the impact of social forestry and other forestry extension programmes in meeting fuelwood, timber and raw material requirement of the wood based industries, survey of plantation outside conventional forest has also been initiated by the FSI. The survey completed in Harayana reveals that the total growing stock of wood in the state is 10.3 million cu.m. as compared to 1.4 million cu.m. in the natural forest areas. Though the two situations are outside the forest areas reflects the great potential that the plantations programmes have in wood production.


Field Inventory

Since its inception as Preinvestment Survey of Forest Resources (PISFR) in 1965, field inventory has been one of the most important activities of Forest Survey of India. During the sixteen years of existence, PISFR has carried out ground inventory over a forest area of 2.28 lakhs sq.km. in India and 0.38 lakhs sq.km. in Nepal and Bhutan. After creation of the Forest Survey of India (FSI) in 1981, it has carried out field inventories in an additional area of 4.01 lakhs sq.km. till 1995. Methodology adopted by the FSI for carrying out field inventories is based on the two stage stratified random sampling with standard error 10%.

An inventory report prepared by the FSI gives details of area estimates, topographic description, classification, rate of forest (healthy or degraded), ownership , pattern, estimation of volume and other growth parameters such as height and diameter in different types of forest, estimation of growth, regeneration and modality of important species, volume equation and wood consumption of the area studied.

The annual target of field inventory is about 25,000 sq.km. and data pertaining to 25,000 sq.km. is processed every year. The reports of inventory are being brought out every year.


Thematic Mapping

FSI is engaged in preparing thematic maps on a scale of 1:50,000 by interpretation of aerial photographs. These maps depict the forest types, species composition, ground density of forest cover and other land use classes. These maps are prepared for the entire country on a ten year cycle. Every year about 5,000 aerial photographs corresponding to 260 topographical sheets (1:50,000) of Survey of India are interpreted.


Electronic Data Processing

The objective of the Electronic Data Processing unit is to provide qualitative and quantitative information about the forest resources of the country. This unit functions as the national forest data bank by storing relevant data on forest inventory.



FSI organises a number of training programmes for forestry personnel on various aspects such as application of remote sensing techniques in forestry including GIS, forest inventory and electronic data processing. The duration of training varies from one week to four weeks depending on the level of personnel and the objective of the training. One week training is imparted to officers of the Indian Forest Service (IFS) and 2 weeks training to State Forest Service (SFS) Officers for exposing them to remote sensing techniques and its application in forestry. Two weeks training is imparted to Working Plan Officers to train them on the use of remote sensing techniques in preparation of working plans, updating stock maps, ground inventory and data processing. Four weeks training is imparted to Forest Range Officers to train them in interpretation of aerial photographs and satellite data, forest inventory and electronic data processing. The skills of the technical staff of FSI are also updated through suitably designed trainings courses.


The Andaman and Nicobar Islands Forest and Plantation Development Corporation Ltd.

The Andaman & Nicobar Islands Forest and Plantation Development Corporation Ltd., a Government of India Undertaking has a authorised capital of Rs. 600 Lakhs out of which Rs. 35 Lakhs is subscribed and paid up. During the year the Corporation have declared a dividend of Rs. 14.37 Lakhs. During the year the Corporation has also contributed a total sum of Rs. 390 Lakhs to the national exchequer by way of income tax and royalty. The Corporation has created assests worth Rs. 19.0 crores. The Department of public Enterprises has also conferred the status of mini Ratna to the Corporation.