R. Krishna Kumar
City's climate is perfectly suited for development as urban biodiversity park: Pranjalendu Ray
Schools should take up biodiversity mapping as a World Environment Day project
MYSORE: Herpetologist and environmental scientist Pranjalendu Ray has called for integrating biodiversity protection with urban planning to develop the city as an urban biodiversity park.
Dr. Ray, who retired as the Scientist In-charge of the Regional Museum of Natural History (RMNH), Bhubaneshwar, was in the city on Wednesday. In a chat with The Hindu, Dr. Ray, well known for his study of fauna in the Himalayas, called for an ecological approach to urban planning and management, and pointed out that Mysore with its salubrious climate was ideally suited for development as an urban biodiversity park.
“I have noticed that the rate of regeneration of vegetation in Mysore is very high, because of its climatic conditions that are congenial for the growth, when compared to places such as Bhubaneshwar or Dehradun,” Dr. Ray said.
To usher an ecological approach to urban planning, a database of the existing biodiversity of the city including a study of the flora and fauna in the region and their status in the last 50 years should be made, he said. Data generation can be supported by school students, he said, adding that institutions could take up World Environment Day projects in which students can study, identify and prepare a database of the flora and fauna in their respective localities with pictorial evidence.
Such an approach, Dr. Ray pointed out, will start a process to create ecological awareness among the residents and help maintain Mysore's biodiversity.
Cities in other States had integrated town planning with environment and biodiversity protected, he said. “Mysore was perfectly poised at this juncture to develop itself as an urban biodiversity park and if the opportunity was lost the city's growth would be chaotic and future efforts, if any, may not be as fruitful, he added.
The ecological approach to urban planning also called for ensuring that the rural countryside was self-contained, failing which the lopsided growth of urban areas would disrupt the balance even in the hinterlands, which are biodiversity hotspots, Dr. Ray said.