Urban green cover has always been an indispensable part of human life dwelling in urban settlements. For biodiversity conservation and management preserving large, intact areas of natural vegetation is very important. However, this may not be workable and achievable in urban landscapes or cities. Where these few natural space are the last refuge for existing biodiversity. This includes vegetation along streets, parks, campus forests, abandoned sites and residential areas and is collectively termed as urban green spaces. A healthy and flourishing urban green space has lots of benefits, For example, it can sequester carbon dioxide emission and produce more oxygen; help in reducing impacts of noise pollution; reduces water runoff; maintain biodiversity to support variety of faunal species; plays a significant role in lowering urban temperatures; attenuating the intensity of urban heat island effects and increasing aesthetic beauty. The trees present in the urban forest act as important species in denuded urban environment that support habitat for wildlife
The National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI), Nagpur is devoted to research and innovations in environmental science and engineering besides solving a range of problems posed by industry, government and public. It is a constituent of Council of Scientific & Industrial Research (CSIR), New Delhi and has a nation-wide presence with its five zonal laboratories at Chennai, Delhi, Hyderabad, Kolkata and Mumbai. NEERI Biodiversity Portal (NBP) is a web based platform for sharing knowledge related to biodiversity of NEERI Campus Urban Forests spread in 48 ha. Centrally located CSIR-NEERI campus at Nagpur, Maharashtra has a huge urban forest with large number of beautiful and exquisite flowering and fruiting trees and a variety of shrubs, herbs, grasses and climbers. NEERI urban forest provides an excellent habitat for a variety of native and migrant birds, butterflies, invertebrates, reptiles and mammals. The portal about NEERI urban forest was developed considering the global and national importance of biodiversity following the “the United Nations Decade on Biodiversity, with a view to contribute implementation of the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity for the period 2011-2020” (Resolution 65/161) under Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020 and the Aichi Targets.
The knowledge and awareness of biodiversity around us can act as the basis for halting and eventually reversing the loss of biodiversity of the planet. The prime objective of NEERI Biodiversity Portal is to encourage more people including Students, youth and non scientific people to develop a deep and multifaceted understanding of floral and faunal biodiversity of their surrounding. portal describes and provides a detailed account about the floral and faunal components that is present in the campus since its inception or is added in last few years. The portal in it’s maiden attempt tries to bring together the existing information about trees, birds and butterflies on one single platforms. Thought of having an indigenous NBP for the campus was conceived and initiated in the lines of Aichi targets to generate awareness among citizens about existing biodiversity in their supproundings in 2015 April. In last more than a year the website has received more than 38,000 hits that reflects the interest of people in knowing what is around them. This was developed by Dr.Shalini Dhyani, Scientist (EIRA Division) and Er. Poonam Prasad Scientist and Head (Knowledge Resource Center). NBP is currently being managed, maintained and updated based on still ongoing regular inventories and observations in the campus urban forests.
Author: Dr. Shalini Dhyani