Kochi develops a new bio-diversity map in order to strategise the conservation of ecosystem

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In an interesting attempt to raise awareness regarding the biodiversity of Kochi’s natural habitat, illustrator and cartoonist Rohan Chakravarty made an illustrated version of the map representing marshlands, mangroves, backwaters and open spaces in the city. This map makes a commendable effort for the citizens to appreciate the natural ecosystem which otherwise seems to have been taken for granted in the process of urbanisation.

Apart from marking these features the map also identifies places such as wetlands for prawn culture, playgrounds and open spaces. The map also aims to redefine the perspective of biodiversity which is largely forest-oriented to be shifted to understanding biodiversity as a part of the urban landscape. The map is the first step towards building a local biodiversity strategy and action plan for Kochi.

The mapping was a collective effort of Kochi Cooperation’s Centre for Heritage, Environment and Development and ICLEI-South Asia as a part of the German Funded project, Integrated Subnational Action for Biodiversity, being implemented in India, Brazil and Tanzania. There have been similar maps that have been prepared for forested areas but this map raising consciousness regarding urban landscapes is first of a kind. The city could also then look accordingly towards mainstreaming biodiversity conservation as a part of urban planning which considers biodiversity elements and ‘blue’ and ‘green’ infrastructure rather than concretising everything. There will be nature-based-solutions that will rejuvenate the city’s biodiversity and ecosystems and will eventually help in integrating that with the urban ecosystem.

The GIS-based survey of 98 sqkm within Kochi Corporation has identified 119 hectares under mangroves,82 hectares under inland backwaters,13 hectares of beach and 199 hectares of tree patches.

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