Even the busiest cities have sections covered with greenery

Today (May 22) is yet another United Nations-designated International Day for Biodiversity. Cities occupy only 2 per cent of earth’s surface, but their inhabitants use up 75 per cent of the planet’s resources building concrete jungles. While the overall scenario appears bleak, there is a ray of hope with the cities emerging better repositories of biodiversity compared to the huge agricultural tracks that surround them.

Even the busiest cities have sections covered with greenery. The canopies are temporary or permanent homes to a variety of avian fauna. By definition biodiversity is the degree of variation of life forms within an ecosystem.

Vijayawada city too has areas and road margins covered with trees that are decades old. These trees are being cut down gradually and periodically to make space for new buildings or wider thoroughfares.

The relatively rare Indian Hornbill which cannot be seen in any of the rural tracks of Krishna district is a regular visitor to areas with a thick canopy in the city.

Then there is flora (herbs, shrubs and trees) that has been brought and planted in the city for various reasons. Andhra Loyola College Botanical Garden is an oasis of biodiversity. Botany Department head B. Siva Kumari told The Hindu that there are over 600 species of endemic, rare and endangered flora in their botanical gardens.

The Calabash tree which is on the IUCN list of endangered trees is thriving in the gardens. The tree bears fruits only when bats pollinate it. Yet another miracle of biodiversity--the tree that is actually native to Central and South America has become naturalised to India, Ms. Siva Kumari observes pointing out the role of arboreal life forms.

“We are aware of the significance of biodiversity and trying to preserve that as much as possible. College is shifting to solar energy and energy-efficient systems,” says Andhra Loyola College Principal G.A. Peter Kishore.

Efforts are needed to preserve the biodiversity immediately surrounding us. This will sensitise all on the great diversity of nature and help in preservation of ecosystem as a whole, says Ms. Siva Kumari.

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