The City might have seen urbanisation and indiscriminate felling of trees and loss of green cover for infrastructural work, but the people are still maintaining gardens in Bangalore.
Their efforts are aiding the maintenance of local insect biodiversity, which in turn, is helping maintain balance of the environment, directly and indirectly. This has been indicated in the recent study “Patterns of Insect Abundance and Distribution in Urban Domestic Gardens in Bangalore, India.”
The year-long study was published by three City-based ecologists Madhumita Jaganmohan, Lionel Sujay Vailshery and Harini Nagendra. While Harini is a former researcher from Ashoka Trust for Research Ecology and the Environment (ATREE), Madhumita and Lionel are ATREE members.
The study was conducted in coordination with the US-based Center for the Study of Institutions, Population, and Environmental Change. It identified over 2,185 species of insects, including ants, bugs, butterflies, beetles and flies, which, apparently, play a major role in pollination and help other species stay alive.
The study was conducted across 50 areas of Bangalore and the researchers used light and pitfall trap methods for their study. The survey areas included Basaveshwaranagar, Koramangala, Marathhalli, Horamavu, Mahalakshmi Layout, JP Nagar, Shankarpuram, Kumaraswamy Layout, Varthur, Kengeri, Srinagar, Vijayanagar, Kasturinagar, Sadashivanagar, Dollars Colony and BTM Layout.
It was also found that there are over 25 species of trees as well as 117 species of herbs and shrubs in the 50 sampled domestic floor gardens. This has been considered an indication that gardens are still well-maintained in Bangalore.
Harini said, “There is considerable biodiversity of shrubs, trees and flowering plants in the gardens in Bangalore. We can also see a good variety of insects in spite of the urbanisation.
Also, if there is more bare soil, as compared to carpets, the number of grass insects too is greater. Most Bangaloreans do not use pesticides or insecticides in their gardens as they grow fruits and vegetables there and people are health-conscious.”
The study also observed that there is potential for small, scattered habitats such as green roofs, domestic gardens and community gardens to increase and support rich biodiversity even in densely populated urban areas.