City-based organisation TERRE Policy Centre, along with Raanwaata, an NGO based in Satara district, have launched a website dedicated to the Western Ghats — westernghatworldheritage.org. Western Ghats, a biodiversity hotspot, was recently listed as Unesco World Heritage site. Thus, this website was launched to divulge details on its rich biodiversity and will cover all the 39 sites inscribed as world heritage sites
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Knowing Traditional KnowledgeNGOs, botanists, scientists, experts, researchers and local people, who are working on Western Ghats or have traditional knowledge, can forward information on flora and fauna for the website. One can post information on mammals, birds, butterflies and moths, reptiles, amphibians, nature, insects, among others. Vinita Apte, president, TERRE Policy Centre, told TOI that the website was launched to create awareness among the masses about the rich biodiversity of Western Ghats and its conservation. Rajendra Shende, chairman, TERRE, and former director in the United Nations Environment Programme, was instrumental in the launch of this website.
"Information is being uploaded in the website. At present, one can get details on Kas plateau, one of the world heritage sites in Maharashtra. This will now follow updating information on all the 39 sites. Information collected from groups and individuals will be compiled by a team of experts for this website," she said.
Apte said the TERRE Policy Centre will encourage students to take up projects on the conservation of Western Ghats. "The TERRE policy Centre is a partner association with United Nations. So, we can also help students get funding for their project. Our idea is to preserve the traditional knowledge of the local people and work towards sustainable development," she said.