Good news, mountain lovers! India has just got its first Moss garden which was inaugurated at Nainital district in Uttarakhand by Rajendra Singh, Ramon Magsaysay awardee and well-known water conservation activist. The garden has been developed by the research wing of the state’s forest department and it is spread across an area of around 10 hectares.
The main aim behind developing the garden was to conserve the various species of moss and other bryophytes and to make people aware of its significance in the environment besides creating a recreation centre for tourists. The project was approved in July last year under the CAMPA scheme by the Research Advisory Committee of Uttarakhand Forest Department, Chief Conservator of Forest Sanjiv Chaturvedi said.
As per reports, it took one year to make the moss garden into a reality. On the day of the inauguration, Rajendra Singh also referred to as the Waterman of India applauded the efforts by the state’s forest department. He said that building a moss garden is a good initiative that will go a long way to mend relationships between man and nature. Adding that now is the time to rekindle the relationship between people and nature. Rajendra Singh said we must rectify our errors now.
Moss Garden, Khurpatal houses around 30 different species of moss and certain other bryophyte species. Two of the moss species found here i.e. Hyophila involuta (Cement Moss) and Brachythecium Buchanani figure in International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) red list, Chaturvedi said. It has a moss trail of 1.2 km on which different moss species and scientific information about them is displayed, he said.
It has an interpretation centre in which different aspects of moss are displayed through models including a First World War painting showing the use of Sphagnum moss as a dressing for wounds as it absorbs liquids about three times more quickly than cotton, is cooler, softer, and less irritating than cotton, besides having antiseptic properties.
It also produces sterile environment by keeping the pH level around wounds low and thus inhibiting the growth of bacteria, the CCF said.
The garden also boasts of a dinosaur model showing the existence of moss since the Jurassic era, ornaments made of live moss which are very popular in Japan, a moss terrarium depicting a live moss ecosystem, and nest of birds using moss for temperature regulation and antibacterial purposes.