Bagged State Biodiversity Board’s Custodian of Traditional Knowledge Award
Kerala State Biodiversity Board has conferred their award for the year 2019-20 for“custodian of traditional knowledge/ citizen scientist” to Sri. Salim Pichan, an employee of MSSRF. The award is given to persons who have an excellent track record in biodiversity conservation, environment protection and traditional knowledge. As a zealous para taxonomist, Mr Salim Pichan accrued the knowledge pertaining to the plants, uses and modalities of its applications through his association with traditional healers and tribal communities over a period of two decades. Mr Salim Pichan, a person with intermediate qualification has first become a lover of nature then a para taxonomist and eventually a custodian of traditional knowledge! This is what his life’s journey is all about. He has contributed to the discovery of eight new species of plants to science, seven new plant records to Kerala and has also published several books and articles. As a dedicated conservationist, his 30 cents of land is protecting 300 plant species, of which 100 of them belong to the Rare Endemic and Threatened (RET) category. A collection of Ceropegia, a unique climber is what makes his garden exceptional along with protection of 11 species in addition to 130 numbers of Orchids, 13 numbers of Dioscorea spp and 123 numbers of medicinal plants. Most of these plants are collected from different forests and vegetation types across the state and are carefully protected with utmost care.
Many awards and recognitions have reached him in the past as well with the notable ones including Vanamithra award by Kerala State Government in the year 2012 and Swami Vivekananda Yuvaprathibha Puraskaram in 2015, Wayanad District Youth Award in 1998. To honour his efforts in biodiversity conservation, some taxonomists also named a plant endemic to the Western Ghats as a tribute with his name Seidenfadenilla salimii.