Biodiversity register of villages in the works
All the 6,000-plus gram panchayats that will be reconstituted shortly will have to create a biodiversity register of all the villages in their limits, said Ananth H. Ashisar, chairman, Karnataka Biodiversity Board.
He was speaking at the twelfth edition of biennale Lakes Conference – 2020, at the Indian Institute of Science, on Monday. Senior scientist and conservationist Dr. T.V. Ramachandra, convenor of the conference, said students need to be involved to develop biodiversity registers, and this will not only act as a force multiplier, but also create awareness among the youth on biodiversity and its conservation.
Dr. Ramachandra also pushed for Aghanashini Estuary of the State to be declared a Ramsar site of international importance and alleged that while the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests was keen, there were bottlenecks in the State. “The State will benefit from getting sites declared under the Ramsar Convention. They will get international projects for their conservation, and to develop ecotourism,” he said.
The three-day conference will have special focus on evaluation of goods and services from the natural ecosystems. “The Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is today distorted, as it doesn’t include valuation of goods and services by natural ecosystems of the region, which mostly goes unaccounted for,” Dr. Ramachandra argued. “We rejuvenated Sarakki lake last year, and the reports indicate groundwater levels have improved phenomenally, which also has an economic impact. For instance, we have done a study of Jakkur lake that has been rejuvenated. One hectare of the lake leads to an earning of ₹10,000 per day, in terms of fishing, groundwater and fodder for cattle for those dependent on the lake. Before rejuvenation, the same was only ₹20 per hectare per day,” he said.
Dr. Ramachandra said in the next two years Bellandur and Varthur lakes would be rejuvenated. “Desilting has already started. When we diverted sewage, fresh water filled the lakes. We are seeing the return of migratory birds,” he said.