Research centre at Bannerghatta to study climate change impact

Research centre at Bannerghatta to study climate change impact

Soon, Bannerghatta National Park (BNP) will have a dedicated weather station and a research centre to know the impact of climate change and commercialisation on the forest patch closest to Bengaluru city.

BNP has teamed up with Environmental Management and Policy Research Institute (Empri) to set up a preservation plot on one acre of land in the national park. The purpose of the study is to understand the effects of climate change on forests.
Empri is a nodal agency to assess climate change and an autonomous organisation under the state Forest department.

This is for the first time that such a study is being conducted at BNP. Indian Institute of Science will conduct a similar study in a forest patch in Mudumalai.

“The study will help in understanding the impact of increasing commercialisation, mining and human interference, which is rampant around the fragmented forest patch,’’ Javed Akhtar, BNP director, told DH. The cost of the project has not yet been finalised.

The study, spread over 20 years, will record changes on the chosen barricaded plot. The plot will be kept free from human interference. A team of researchers from Empri and BNP will visit the spot at regular intervals and take readings. They will study the impact of climate change on natural habitat, soil condition and medicinal plants. A weather panel, measuring 20x20 sq ft will also be set up for regular weather readings.

O K Ramadevi, consultant and head of Centre for Climate Change at Empri, clarified that there will be minimal damage to the existing forest patch and tree cover. “We are not constructing any buildings. The research plot will be undisturbed, except for a weather monitoring system,’’ she said.

“We have partnered with them since no forest land can be given to any organisation. The study also will help BNP to know the threats and prepare for the future,” said Akhtar.

Since the landscape of BNP is variable and undulating, Empri had proposed to have research plots in two locations. But the forest officials have told them to choose one location which has a combination of scrub and dry deciduous forest patch, from the identified two plots. Based on the success of this study, the Forest department is planning to set up more such centres in other forest patches also.

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