Biodiversity Race: First of its kind in India to Mark the International Day for Biodiversity

22 May, 2016

A Biodiversity Race, first of its kind in India, was organised in Matheran, Maharashtra, to mark the International Day for Biological Diversity. Biodiversity race is an entirely novel concept, and is indirectly a rapid biodiversity survey in itself. Besides, it is a good way of raising awareness about biodiversity, and is also a unique way of promoting people’s participation in science activity. Ms. Supriya Jhunjhunwala, Advisor & Coordinator for Maharashtra, CMPA Project, GIZ participated in this race.

Participatory process, capacity development, and awareness and communication are the three crucial pillars for implementation of the CMPA project in the coastal states of Goa, Gujarat, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu. One of the three key work areas under the CMPA project is to facilitate a dedicated information, education and communication programme to sensitise key stakeholders for conservation of coastal and marine biodiversity and ecosystem services.

Matheran is a small hill station nestled in the Western Ghats, a Biodiversity Hotspot. Besides, Matheran itself is an Eco-sensitive Zone. Participants of the Biodiversity Race were supposed to record as many species of plants, as well as animals as they could in the given time frame, i.e., 12 AM to 3 PM. Sightings were divided into 6 group viz., Plants, Arthropods, Birds, Mammals, Reptiles & Amphibians, and Fishes. Each group was given points according to the difficulty in sighting them. For instance, points assigned to plants were low, while fishes, reptiles and amphibians were assigned higer points for getting sighted. The rule was to provide photographic evidence of each species sighted.

The race was organised by TerraNero, an environmental research organisation and NGO, Eco Echo.

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