Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Conserving Biodiversity in Urban Life!

It is that range of biodiversity that we must care for - the whole thing - rather than just one or two stars of ratings... David Attenborough.

We all have a terrace or balcony now a days to our flats, some more luckier have got garden also to their homes or flats! It's important how we utilize the space. Many a times its saddening to see that the terrace place is being used for dumping the surplus items in the house where as we can use the same place for some planters as not only they give a nice look but they can give shelter to many a species around. With increasing urbanization around which is a fact we are forgetting a major aspect & that is reducing habitat ie space for other species. Not many years ago the city has sighting of many birds right from "Bhardwaj" to "Bamni maina"  & even Bats at late evening time & now days we don't get to see even common Sparrow leave apart Bhardwaj! All we can see but pigeons that too pet types by few of the street people having them. The reason behind this phenomenon is trees are giving away for buildings & though there is new plantation it will take time tow grow at it fullest & not many trees planted newly are fit to accommodate the bird species around. Like a Chafa tree may look very nice & flowering but because of its leaf & branches arrangement no bird makes its nest on Chafa tree! New building does have trees planted but till the time those trees grows a life cycle got disturbed & broke. It will take many years to restore the same & see the birds back in city & this will need a combined effort from all segments of the society. Local body's like PMC are doing there bit by making gardens & builders have been mandatory to plant one big tree per 80 sq m of plot area but then what is an individuals role in this? We  all must try to promote the plantation in whichever way & conserve the biodiversity is one sure way we can do.

Recently I had been to Singapore & as I have always mentioned the city never stops in trying hard to conserve the nature. In one such effort they have made a largest confined bird park naming Jurong Bird Park. Here they have made special bird feeder trays so as the birds can drink water & eat their food  from visitors making the common man expose to various species & creating a sense of belonging towards the birds over there. I have seen similar trays in many of the Singapore residences in their balconies amongst planters. Important is they understand the need of conserving biodiversity in concrete jungle & are doing their bit & that's why in cities like Singapore you never feel getting lost in gray shade of buildings but both i.e  trees giving shelter to birds & buildings sheltering human beings survives together!

After coming back from my trip the first thing I did was called my fabricator & got a bird feeder designed which will have a water bowl & grain bowl & got it fixed at my office terrace & amazing results its giving! With numbers of birds coming to feed as well bath also as have got some bathing bowls at terrace for birds! What one has to take care is have planters in the terrace so as the birds will be at ease while coming to the feeder. I have came across many a people who does try on their own things like keeping water bowls or container with grains in their terrace but the birds don't visit is their complaint! Well we need to understand that species like birds are very careful while visiting any new place as they have to ensure their privacy as well safety first! If we keep it in too open then they might not come also as I mentioned have some planters first so the greenery will make them at their comfort & then they will start visiting slowly.

In city like Pune there are many stories of individual’s efforts about tress & birds conservation with number of citizens trying their share on the front. Need is to understand the concept of conservation & then act. Many a feel what’s so fuss about it? What’s big deal if we don't see some sparrows or crows regularly? Are not there are enough gardens as well trees for them? Then why one has to do it by individual & waste the place like terrace or balcony when the prices of homes are so high? Well remember when on any vacant land there isn't any building then the piece of land is shelter for many species right from termite to rats to ants & obviously some birds who can wander there undisturbed. But once a building comes up there the whole life cycle gets disturbed & the species get dispersed from the land for making human homes. And this damage can’t be balanced by making some gardens rather creating a small piece of biodiversity in each of home is proper way to doing it.
Reducing biodiversity is cause of concern in urban development & as adhering to Attenborough's quote its not just to show or for some rating but its for the true cause we all should work on this front. And trust me it's a great relaxation also to watch those birds come & chirp around your little terrace. Then you will realize what you were missing in your city life & give you satisfaction of having the full value for the money you paid for your home!

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Sanjay Deshpande

Sanjeevani Dev.

Envo-Power Committee, Credai, Pune

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