Monday, February 9, 2009

DATED: 29 JAN, 2009

A FIELD VISIT TO YBP

River Yamuna is the life supporting system of Delhi. As the frantic haste of man to convert hostile natural habitats to hospitable havens gained momentum, the river soon started facing high biotic and abiotic pressures. Today the river has considerably lost its potential to support much of the life it previously supported and even its ability to revive itself.
Along with the severely affected water quality, the floodplains of the river Yamuna suffered major ecological changes. Recognizing the fact, the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) and the Centre for Environmental Management of Degraded Ecosystems (CEMDE), University of Delhi, initiated a joint collaboration project which primarily aimed at the ecological restoration of the floodplains of the river Yamuna. In the year 2002, the Yamuna Biodiversity Park was established- a park spread in an area of about 475 acres, acting as a repository of the ecological and cultural heritage of the biological diversity associated with the floodplains of the river Yamuna.

Taking out time from the busy weekdays schedules, the faculty members Dr. S.K. Das and Dr. Pamposh with the students of M. Sc. Biodiversity and Conservation, planned a visit to the Yamuna Biodiversity Park, located at the fringes of river Yamuna, near Wazirabad.

As we stepped into the park a narrow walkway surrounded by the mounted plantations paved our way towards the Nature interpretation Centre. Nature interpretation Centre- NIC is a beautiful classical building with elegant lighting, a red carpet floor, attractive interior designs, panels depicting various biodiversity levels, touch screens, and visual-aids that provide an insight into the basic concepts of biodiversity. Here we met Dr. Faisal, one of the team members at the park who welcomed us and guided us through the park.

Briefly outlining the challenges which their team had to face initially, to improve the poor conditions of the park, he took us across a fruit orchard, to a wetland- the Migratory Birds Wetland. The orchard supported a rich variety of fruit trees such as, cheeku, peach, khirni, mulberry, amla guava, imli, ber, pomegranate etc.
The soil in the Yamuna Biodiversity Park was initially highly alkaline, with pH up to 9.8, and even wild natives could not withstand such harsh conditions. Beginning with the topographical intervention and bioremediation programs, they planned to plant specific grass and legume species, like Sporobolus diander, Dichanthium, Chrysopogon, Vetiveria, and Bothriochloa to improve the soil quality. Successfully within few years, the pH reduced to nearly 8.3-7.6 and this permitted the plantation of trees like sal, teak, acacia species, bistendu, babool etc.

Praising the beauty of the orchard we soon reached the Migratory Birds Wetland- a man-made wetland constructed by topographical intervention. This wetland attracts over 15 species of wintering migratory birds from Siberia, including the Red Crested Pochard, but we got an opportunity to see only few of them.

•Little black cormorants
•Northern pintail
•Shoveller
•Mallard
•Dartar
•Red- Wattled Lapwing

After admiring the beauty of the wetland and the associated biota, we quickly headed towards the butterfly conservatory. All along the way, magnificent trees of acacia, tamarix, babool, khirni, anjir, mahua, eucalyptus and many others, serving as the perching and roosting sites for birds like purple sunbird, yellow footed green pigeon, spotted dove, red cheeked bulbul, shikra etc, captured our attention.

Soon we reached the butterfly conservatory which presently attracts around 30-40 species of butterfly; a few of them which we sited are blue pansy, yellow pansy, common castor, painted lady, plain tiger, grass yellow and the common evening brown. Some of the butterflies’ larvae exclusively feed on specific plant species, for example, common castor larvae on the castor plant and plain tiger larvae on calotropis. The conservatory holds a variety of attractive and colorful flower plants of the tropics, to attract these butterflies.

From the butterfly conservatory we returned back to the NIC and thanking Dr. Faisal, for his guidance and cooperation, we finally left for the university campus.

5 comments:

  1. Wonderful narration of the ecotour to YBP,its really nice to know that so many butterflies are there in Delhi!!
    Keep connected with the nature
    Rita

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  3. heloo this is Swarup from scholl of environment.DU.
    hey i guess the park is of 457 acres. jst do some check ups. n i guess the name of your guide at YBP should be Mr.faiyaz khudser, not faisal!! :)
    bdw i know this because the park is jointly developed by my home department at DU. as a postgraduate student i of environment i can say your blog is as informative for a naturelover as to a lay man. good work miss... carry on!!

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  4. hai swarup!i guess i'm right; the person's is Mohd. Faisal(as he told me and spelled).

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