Centre for World Environmental History

School of Media, Arts and Humanities News

The Pioneering Female Botanist Who Sweetened a Nation and Saved a Valley

One of India’s finest plant scientists, Janaki Ammal spurred her country to protect its rich tropical diversity

In 1970, the Indian government planned to flood 8.3 square kilometers of pristine evergreen tropical forest by building a hydroelectric plant to provide power and jobs to the state of Kerala. And they would have succeeded—if it weren’t for a burgeoning people’s science movement, buttressed by a pioneering female botanist. At 80 years old, Janaki Ammal used her status as a valued national scientist to call for the preservation of this rich hub of biodiversity. Today Silent Valley National Park in Kerala, India, stands as one of the last undisturbed swaths of forest in the country, bursting with lion-tailed macaques, endangered orchids and nearly 1,000 species of endemic flowering plants.

Read more...

Back to news list


By: Martin Wingfield
Last updated: Thursday, 20 August 2020

Found this interesting? Share it on social media: