Fallen Flowers: Restoring Wild Orchids in India’s Western Ghats

Orchid conservation takes many forms. In the Western Ghats, tropical mountain forests hold almost a third of India’s flora and fauna species. That includes hundreds of native orchid varieties, like Dendrobiums, Bulbophyllums, Habenarias, and Aerides. As deforestation threatens these species, Indian conservationists have enlisted local students to rescue orchids. Within the region’s tea, coffee, and cardamom estates, they find orchids which have fallen out of trees due to winds or heavy rainstorms. They pick up the orchids, identify them, replant them on trees, and have a 90% success rate after 16 months. In the process, the students not only save plants, but also learn about the biodiversity living around them. Education has led the local community to become conservation champions.

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