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National Academy of Biological Sciences (NABS) leadership award 2014




National Academy of Biological Sciences (NABS) leadership award 2014

Plant biologist and Director, Malabar Botanical Garden and Institute for Plant Sciences, Dr. R. Prakashkumar has been honoured with the leadership award for 2014, instituted by the National Academy of Biological Sciences (NABS) in the light of his contributions to the promotion of science and technology, biodiversity research and conservation efforts at the Malabar Botanical Garden.

The award conferred at the annual meeting of the academy at Mysuru on August 22.

As the S&T manager, Dr Prakashkumar initiated a series of Science and Technology promotion activities starting from the grass root level to the senior level with a view to make science reach the society. Many of the programmes initiated by him have received national attention.

As leader of Malabar Botanical Garden (MBGIPS), he had started several programmes on the ex-situ conservation of natural resources, which has received appreciation from even the international community. The aquatic gene bank as well as the conservatories established for lower plant groups such as bryophytes, pteridophytes, algae, fungi, lichens etc have become noteworthy. He could develop a Lead garden in aquatic biodiversity in the Malabar Botanical Garden, which is shortly getting transformed into the National Aquatic Biopark, first of its kind in the country. Efforts laid down by Dr.Prakashkumar on Education through Botanical Gardens at MBGIPS are remarkable. In addition the plan to set up conservatories for distinct ecosystems, model ecosystem interpretation centres etc. which has the potential of attracting a larger section of the academia. The Systematic Garden based on Bentham and Hooker which is nearing its completion will be extremely useful and could make a revolution in the taxonomy education in the country, which will be supplemented by the floral diagram garden, inflorescence houses, plant modification houses as well as the RET houses. He has also completed the first phase of the much-appreciated National Capacity building initiative in Lower Plant Taxonomy, which could make a deep landmark in the floristic resource generation of the Country. It is also believed that the recently initiated programme on Rural Employment through Technology Intervention (RETTI) will be a model programme for the Southern states in general and for the State of Kerala in particular.

The sustained conservation efforts of Dr Prakashkumar with the lesser known plants, for the rare and endangered species, the unique collections, its systematic maintenance and the detailed study conducted is unparallel. The dedication he has been showing and the team spirit he has assiduously built is to be watched and vouched. On visiting the Botanical Garden one can easily feel the real treasure of knowledge and the scope for higher education in the hitherto forgotten fields of aquatic flora, algae, lichens, bamboos, palms, ornamental etc for which this recognition is offered.




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