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Bhojpatra Tree: The Himalayan Birch

Context:

Recently, the Prime Minister of India, in 103rd edition of ‘Mann ki Baat programme highlighted the business of ‘bhojpatra calligraphy’ by the women of Mana village near Badrinath.

Relevance:

Facts for Prelims

Bhojpatra Tree: The Himalayan Birch

  • Also known as Himalayan Birch, it is abundant in the Himalayas.
  • A deciduous tree native to the Western Himalayas, thriving at elevations of up to 4,500 meters.
  • Possesses high freezing tolerance, enabling it to form a treeline in the Himalayan region.
  • A long-lived species with a survival capacity of up to 400 years, and the dominant angiosperm at extensive sub-alpine altitudes in the Himalaya.

Distribution:

  • Widely distributed in the altitudinal range of 3100 to 3800 meters in the North-western Himalaya.

Ecological Contribution:

  • Plays a vital role in preserving the Himalayan ecosystem by reducing soil erosion.
  • Creates a bio-shield for the remaining forests and sub-alpine meadows below the treeline.
Cultural Significance:
  • The bark of the Bhojpatra Tree has been historically used for writing lengthy scriptures and texts.
  • Particularly prominent in historical regions like Uttarakhand and Kashmir, where it was utilized for writings in Sanskrit and other scripts.

Source: Times of India


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