the Kerala government is putting together an anti-biopiracy plan to protect its resources from the "onslaught of foreign firms.' The Peechi-based Kerala Forest Research Institute (kfri), under the Western Ghats Biodiversity Conservation programme, is building bioresource inventories in seven districts.
At least 86 villages of Ernakulum district are policing their own flora and fauna. The village panchayats (village councils) is undertaking the task with the help of 8,600 trained volunteers. The state government is also on the verge of finalising a biodiversity conservation order. The order will introduce rules and methods to protect biodiversity and utilise them appropriately. "The local administration will be granted major responsibilities to conserve the biodiversity of their area,' said P S Easa, a senior scientist with kfri . The institute is also developing a biodiversity strategy and action plan for the entire state.