Madivala lake transforms into biodiversity park

An island has been created in the lake as a nesting ground for birds and reptiles.   | Photo Credit: G_P_Sampath Kumar

From just another lake in the city with a walking path along the bund to a biodiversity park, Madivala lake has undergone a massive transformation over the last two years. The 272-acre park in BTM Layout, which was under development since the end of 2016, is now home to many native species of flora and fauna. It is set to be inaugurated in the coming months.

The transformation was the result of a proposal by the Karnataka Knowledge Commission to develop the lake into a unique biodiversity park. Recently, Chairman of the Karnataka Knowledge Commission Dr. K. Kasturirangan met Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy requesting him to inaugurate the park.

At present, only parts of the park, which is maintained by the Forest Department, are open to the public.

Under the project, an open butterfly park, conservatory of insectivorous plants and orchids, cycad and palm grove, herbal garden, island ecosystems and a scented garden are among the features that have been developed.

Professor C.R. Babu, Professor Emeritus, Centre for Environment Management of Degraded Ecosystems, University of Delhi, who is spearheading the project, said the park is being developed with an underlying theme to recreate self-sustaining ecosystems with native flora and fauna. It’s a one-of-its-kind park in south India, focusing on creation of the entire ecosystem of flora and fauna, unlike a botanical garden, where the focus is on flora. A biodiversity park offers ecological services like retention of groundwater and prevention of floods, he explained.

Officials said their idea was to make the park not only a place where citizens could relax and get a breath of fresh air, but also make it a place where people, especially children, could come to learn about native flora and fauna.

Butterfly park

Among the prominent features of the park is an open butterfly garden, developed by collecting plants from forests in and around Bannerghatta National Park, Cauvery Wildlife Sanctuary, and Kanakapura region. Around 132 plant species of both nectar and larval host plants have been nurtured to create a breeding space for butterflies. So far, around 40 species of butterflies belonging to five families have been spotted within the butterfly garden, officials said.

Orchids and carnivorous plants

Another significant feature is a collection of nearly 30 species of orchids, 20 Nepenthes pitcher plants, 25 varieties of succulents, ferns and aroids. Developed in separate temperature-controlled enclosures, they are being planted to educate public about the different species of flora. That apart, about 50 species of rare, endemic and threatened (RET) plants native to the Western Ghats have also found space in this park.

Islands and birding area

The park is also being developed to attract birds. Nearly a 100 fruit-bearing plants from 10 species have been planted to attract frugivorous birds, such as bulbuls and parakeets.

An island has been created in the lake as a nesting ground for birds and reptiles.

With the creation of this island, the lake area has been expanded by 10 hectares. This has enhanced the capacity of the lake to hold an additional 250 MLD of flood water during the monsoon. This would prevent flooding of areas surrounding the lake, Prof. Babu said.

According to project coordinator Dr. Padmavathi, there are a lot more features in the offing, which will be developed eventually. These include a rainforest ecosystem, swamp forests and wetland systems.

This project came about after Karnataka Knowledge Commission, in 2015, submitted a recommendation to the government to establish a biodiversity park at Madiwala lake on the lines of the Yamuna Biodiversity Park in Delhi. The government allocated Rs. 24.72 crores for the same and Karnataka Lake Conservation and Development Authority (KLCDA) was chosen as the nodal agency.

Proposal for management

The Knowledge Commission has urged the State government to create a separate board to manage the park. “The park requires maintenance. Having a dedicated board will help in the upkeep of the park,” said Dr. Padmavathi. Also, while the KLCDA was in charge of the project, with the wrapping up of the Authority, the project work was slowed down. Officials are now hoping that the park would be handed over to a dedicated management, which could take care of the maintenance work.

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Printable version | Apr 19, 2021 1:23:17 AM |

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