KSBB bid to restore biodiversity along the Pampa river

2018 floods had hit riparian vegetation

October 23, 2020 11:30 pm | Updated 11:30 pm IST - Thiruvananthapuram

A gritty attempt is being made to restore scores of plant species which the destructive floods of 2018 ‘stole’ from the banks of the Pampa river.

The floods had severely impacted riparian vegetation across Kerala, leading to large-scale destruction of many local flora found along the river banks. Now, with the help of local panchayats, the Kerala State Biodiversity Board (KSBB) is attempting to set a model for the State by restoring the biodiversity on the banks of the Pampa in Pathanamthitta district.

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan will inaugurate the green initiative, a component of the Rebuild Kerala Initiative, on October 27.

Ninety-four riverine species, including threatened ones, will be restored along the banks of the river as part of the programme. An attempt to identify the species that were lost was made in consultation with the local panchayats. The species are also ones which offer natural protection to river banks, KSBB officials said.

The project will cover 92.95 km of river banks in all and ten grama panchayats under three blocks in Pathanamthitta district. The following panchayats under Elanthoor, Koippuram, and Ranni blocks — which appeared to be the worst-hit in terms of biodiversity degradation — will be covered: Cherukole, Kozhancherry, Ayiroor, Ranni, Ranni-Pazhavangadi, Ranni-Angadi, Ranni-Perunad, Vadasserikkara, Vechoochira and Narannamoozhi.

The plants and trees will be grown in nurseries and planted on the banks of the Pampa, which was one of the rivers which faced severe biodiversity destruction in the floods.

“'The project is being undertaken in collaboration with the panchayats. The idea is to create a model which can be followed elsewhere in the State,” a KSBB official said.

The massive undertaking was designed on the basis of studies carried by the KSBB as well as other departments. For instance, the ‘Concise Report on Biodiversity Loss due to 2018 Flood in Kerala’ prepared by the KSBB had assessed the impact on the riparian vegetation along Kerala rivers, including the Pampa.

“It was recorded that 771 landscapes, including riverine, forest, plantations and agriculture fields (across Kerala), were severely affected due to the 2018 floods. Available data with respect to loss of species revealed that approximately 287 varieties of agricultural crops, 1,053 flora, and 695 fauna were either lost or exiled,” the KSBB noted in the introduction to the report.

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