India’s First Lichen Park Comes up in Uttarakhand

India’s First Lichen Park Comes up in Uttarakhand
Lichens are a natural visual check of the pollution levels in the Himalaya, Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Home to over 150 lichen species, Munsiyari will now play host to the first ever lichen park in the world

OT Staff
October 10 , 2020
02 Min Read

Uttrakhand has got its first lichen park. Spread over an area of over 1.5 acres, it is presently being regulated in terms of visitors to ensure overcrowding does not take place in the wake of the pandemic. 

The Uttarakhand Lichen Park may just be the perfect spot for spending a lazy afternoon sprawled on the grass and soaking in the warm sunlight. With an area of 1.5 acres, the park hosts over 150 species of lichen.

The mountain state is known for its natural beauty and this park will be a further addition to the environment conservation efforts of the hill state.

Home to more than 600 species of lichen, Uttarakhand provides an ideal environment for the plant to thrive as it can only grow in areas of low pollution. The mostly rural nature of the state and the low levels of pollution aided by a large green cover has led Uttarakhand to become a breeding ground for lichens.

There's more.

Did you know that lichens are a perfect indicator of pollution levels? Their decline directly aligns with the rise in pollution levels and at a time when the world is dealing with record pollution levels, these Jurassic-era organisms remind us of the need to act now to save our environment. They provide a visual insight into the ecology of the Himalayas and are used in research by experts to predict the health of the ecosystem.

Read: Uttarakhand Tourism Rolls out Special Workcation Packages

And lichens find use in a variety of ways. Jhula ghas, a species of lichens, is commonly used in the famous Hyderabadi biryani to add flavour to the dish. Many lichens are edible and are used to add a flavour of spice to North Indian cuisine as well.

They come in all shapes, sizes and colour, and are quite the visual treat.

The saga of the lichens doesn’t stop here as scientists are currently in the process of developing lichens for use in antibiotics and sunscreen. The Uttarakhand State Forest Department has taken a crucial step in encouraging awareness about the uses of this underrated cyanobacterium that will boost the livelihood of the locals in this area. 

Read: Rediscovering Garhwali Cuisine

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