Commenced in January 2007
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Edition: International
Paper Count: 2

Search results for: M. Soubadra Devy

2 Understanding Governance of Biodiversity-Supporting and Edible Landscapes Using Network Analysis in a Fast Urbanising City of South India

Authors: M. Soubadra Devy, Savitha Swamy, Chethana V. Casiker

Abstract:

Sustainable smart cities are emerging as an important concept in response to the exponential rise in the world’s urbanizing population. While earlier, only technical, economic and governance based solutions were considered, more and more layers are being added in recent times. With the prefix of 'sustainability', solutions which help in judicious use of resources without negatively impacting the environment have become critical. We present a case study of Bangalore city which has transformed from being a garden city and pensioners' paradise to being an IT city with a huge, young population from different regions and diverse cultural backgrounds. This has had a big impact on the green spaces in the city and the biodiversity that they support, as well as on farming/gardening practices. Edible landscapes comprising farms lands, home gardens and neighbourhood parks (NPs henceforth) were examined. The land prices of areas having NPs were higher than those that did not indicate an appreciation of their aesthetic value. NPs were part of old and new residential areas largely managed by the municipality. They comprised manicured gardens which were similar in vegetation structure and composition. Results showed that NPs that occurred in higher density supported reasonable levels of biodiversity. In situations where NPs occurred in lower density, the presence of a larger green space such as a heritage park or botanical garden enhanced the biodiversity of these parks. In contrast, farm lands and home gardens which were common within the city are being lost at an unprecedented scale to developmental projects. However, there is also the emergence of a 'neo-culture' of home-gardening that promotes 'locovory' or consumption of locally grown food as a means to a sustainable living and reduced carbon footprint. This movement overcomes the space constraint by using vertical and terrace gardening techniques. Food that is grown within cities comprises of vegetables and fruits which are largely pollinator dependent. This goes hand in hand with our landscape-level study that has shown that cities support pollinator diversity. Maintaining and improving these man-made ecosystems requires analysing the functioning and characteristics of the existing structures of governance. Social network analysis tool was applied to NPs to examine relationships, between actors and ties. The management structures around NPs, gaps, and means to strengthen the networks from the current state to a near-ideal state were identified for enhanced services. Learnings from NPs were used to build a hypothetical governance structure and functioning of integrated governance of NPs and edible landscapes to enhance ecosystem services such as biodiversity support, food production, and aesthetic value. They also contribute to the sustainability axis of smart cities.

Keywords: biodiversity support, ecosystem services, edible green spaces, neighbourhood parks, sustainable smart city

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1 Understanding Responses of the Bee Community to an Urbanizing Landscape in Bengaluru, South India

Authors: Chethana V. Casiker, Jagadishakumara B., Sunil G. M., Chaithra K., M. Soubadra Devy

Abstract:

A majority of the world’s food crops depends on insects for pollination, among which bees are the most dominant taxon. Bees pollinate vegetables, fruits and oilseeds which are rich in essential micronutrients. Besides being a prerequisite for a nutritionally secure diet, agrarian economies such as India depend heavily on pollination for good yield and quality of the product. As cities all over the world expand rapidly, large tracts of green spaces are being built up. This, along with high usage of agricultural chemicals has reduced floral diversity and shrunk bee habitats. Indeed, pollinator decline is being reported from various parts of the world. Further, the FAO has reported a huge increase in the area of land under cultivation of pollinator-dependent crops. In the light of increasing demand for pollination and disappearing natural habitats, it is critical to understand whether and how urban spaces can support pollinators. To this end, this study investigates the influence of landscape and local habitat quality on bee community dynamics. To capture the dynamics of expanding cityscapes, the study employs a space for time substitution, wherein a transect along the gradient of urbanization substitutes a timeframe of increasing urbanization. This will help understand how pollinators would respond to changes induced by increasing intensity of urbanization in the future. Bengaluru, one of the fastest growing cities of Southern India, is an excellent site to study impacts associated with urbanization. With sites moving away from the Bengaluru’s centre and towards its peripheries, this study captures the changes in bee species diversity and richness along a gradient of urbanization. Bees were sampled under different land use types as well as in different types of vegetation, including plantations, croplands, fallow land, parks, lake embankments, and private gardens. The relationship between bee community metrics and key drivers such as a percentage of built-up area, land use practices, and floral resources was examined. Additionally, data collected using questionnaire interviews were used to understand people’s perceptions towards and level of dependence on pollinators. Our results showed that urban areas are capable of supporting bees. In fact, a greater diversity of bees was recorded in urban sites compared to adjoining rural areas. This suggests that bees are able to seek out patchy resources and survive in small fragments of habitat. Bee abundance and species richness correlated positively with floral abundance and richness, indicating the role of vegetation in providing forage and nesting sites which are crucial to their survival. Bee numbers were seen to decrease with increase in built-up area demonstrating that impervious surfaces could act as deterrents. Findings from this study challenge the popular notion of cities being biodiversity-bare spaces. There is indeed scope for conserving bees in urban landscapes, provided that there are city-scale planning and local initiative. Bee conservation can go hand in hand with efforts such as urban gardening and terrace farming that could help cities urbanize sustainably.

Keywords: bee, landscape ecology, urbanization, urban pollination

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