The Dharmavana Nature Ark (DNA) is a conservator of life for the welfare of plants (found throughout India & some exotic) and small animals native to our area. We focus on RET and woody species, such as trees & shrubs, that have pollinator problems or whose seed is problematic to conserve - seeds that are heavily parasitised, can't dry out, be kept cool, freeze or that have no long-term viability by other means resulting in poor recruitment. Therefore, our emphasis is on keeping living germplasm alive. Regarding native dryland species of the Deccan Plateau and Eastern Ghats, we regularly tour dry forests near and far to collect hundreds of seeds from multiple mother plants per species. We carefully document the mother plants in their native jungle habitats with a series of data points and often replicate their floral associations within the DNA. All data is logged in our GIS database.
During the months following germination, we purposefully select those seedlings that demonstrate the most resilience to induced stresses (abiotic stressors such as higher soil temperature & alkalinity, much drier air, and sustained heat) for plantation as colonies in the DNA. These same plants thrive all the more during the much higher humidity and rainfall of the monsoon. Our goal is to produce, if not naturally accelerate the production of, more suitable seed for future rewilding efforts over the next hundred or so years. In doing so, we become host to a wealth of native species necessary to a healthy ecosystem, essential for rewilding the most degraded areas of dry deciduous forests. The DNA delivers deliverance.
Relationships among plants and animals must be re‑established as they are fundamental to each other's long‑term survival. Consequently, pollinators and seed dispersers too need a safe home for the time being away from pesticides, real estate and agriculture. Basically, the DNA is just less hustle & bustle though there remains plenty of ardor to go around. Consider us a "back‑up" for much of what is considered, at the moment, to be "unimportant" or "undeserving" diversity. To us, biodiversity is not simply an array of species but very much includes the genetic wealth of infraspecific subtaxa (even forma) that must not be ignored.
Conserving distinct, endemic land‑races is integral to biological diversity and this we have done with several South Asian genera.
These irreplaceable traits found in various localities throughout the Deccan and Ghats can be key to a species long‑term evolutionary survival and deserve a fighting chance. Nevertheless, we most certainly concentrate on flora that is increasingly threatened, rare, endangered and overlooked. We want to do more for the conservation of fauna too. There is so much for humans to learn, love, and revere through scientific investigation.