In a bid to strengthen its efforts at conservation of endangered plant and animal species, India has decided to initiate the Red listing process on regular basis.
A high-level Environment Ministry panel has decided to bring its first report on the country's endangered species -- both plants and animals -- by the end of next year.
"To begin with, two documents, one each on 'Red list of Indian Plants' and 'Red list of Indian Animals' would be released during the COP-11 of the Convention on Biological Diversity to be held in New Delhi in October 2012," a Ministry document said.
The Red listing process would follow the framework of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) regional guidelines and criteria, it said.
The document was prepared by the 10-member steering committee, chaired by Jagdish Kishwan, Additional Director General of Forests (Wildlife).
Botanical Survey of India (BSI) and Zoological Survey of India (ZSI) would be the focal points for the Red listing of plant and animal species, respectively.
The Ministry decided to carry out the Red listing process on a regular basis to end the "paucity of information for the general public on the status, biology and major threats to the endangered species" of the country, which has a staggering variety of flora and fauna.
Many organisations are working independently in the country on the Red listing process. The Ministry would provide necessary coordinating mechanism to integrate the efforts of scientific and voluntary organisations into a scientifically acceptable useful output.
"The directors of BSI and ZSI would co-opt as many experts -- both individuals and organisations -- as required, to form a core group, each for plants and animal species separately for completion of the Red listing exercise within the stipulated time period," the document said.
The Steering Committee would monitor and guide the process of Red listing and the divisions concerned of the Ministry would allocate necessary budgetary provisions for undertaking the exercise.
Last month, the Ministry in collaboration with the ZSI, had released a comprehensive document on 'Critically Endangered Animal Species of India'.
As per the latest (2011) quantitative evaluation done by the IUCN, there are 57 critically endangered species of animals in India.
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