Globally, there is a dire need for enhancing the vegetation cover in order to combat the threatening challenges of climate change. All institutions whether commercial or educational must take responsibility for enhancing the green cover in order to create sustainable and eco-friendly infrastructures.
Guru Nanak Dev University, well known for its clean and green campus, has more than 45,000 trees and shrubs on its campus which is the result of rigorous plantation drives since its inception and many folds more during last 5-6 years under the leadership of Vice-Chancellor, Prof. (Dr.) Jaspal Singh Sandhu.
Trees and shrubs on the campus not only provide greenery to the campus but also shelter to large number of birds; and attract an increasing number of butterflies and insect pollinators. In recent times, most of us are ignorant about trees and shrubs growing in our vicinity.
Many of us can identify maximum of 5-6 plant species, a few can identify 10-12. Only a Botanist who is working on trees and shrubs can identify many but not all. Identification of a tree or shrub is not enough, we need to know more about its morphological details, flowering and fruiting times, economic importance, gardening notes etc.
Prof. (Dr.) Jaspal Singh Sandhu, a great admirer of greenery and flowers, emphasized the need to spread information about flora of the region to the general public. In the current era of digitization, tagging trees and shrubs with QR codes can create awareness on detailed information about trees and shrubs on GNDU campus.
QR codes can be scanned by anyone with a smart phone. Department of Botanical and Environmental Sciences of Guru Nanak Dev University, took out an initiative to create awareness on trees and shrubs of the campus using QR codes. Students of M.Sc. Botany passing out in 2021 and 2022 were given an assignment of preparing name plates for different species of trees and shrubs growing in the campus.
Each student was asked to contribute one name plate with Botanical and common names, family, economic importance and a QR code. Each QR code is linked to a file in the database providing detailed information of the plant species with its flowering and fruiting times, gardening notes, economic importance, detailed morphological information etc.
The exercise was done under the guidance and untiring efforts of Prof. (Dr.) Avinash Kaur Nagpal, Prof. (Dr.) Saroj Arora, Dr.Astha Bhatia, Ms. Jyoti Kalayani, Dr. J. S. Bilga, Mr. Gurwinder Singh and Ms. Akanksha Bakshi. The information linked to QR codes is the outcome of “Electronic Database of Plants (eDOPS)” which is freely available from GNDU website (https://online.gndu.ac.in/). eDOPS was developed by Er. Bupinder Pal Singh and Dr. Gurveen Kaur under the guidance and leadership of Prof. (Dr.) Avinash Kaur Nagpal. eDOPS includes images/pictures of different parts of plants which is an invaluable resource for correct identification of plants.
This is a dynamic database and at present contains information of about 145 plant species of trees and shrubs mostly from GNDU campus and Amritsar. Prof. Jatinder Kaur, Head, Department of Botanical and Environmental Sciences informed that eDOPS will be enriched further with information on more species of trees and shrubs and other groups of plants. This is a unique e-learning platform for trees and shrubs of GNDU campus.