Chat Archives
Chat on "Restoring degraded lands for wildlife" dated January 25, 2015
  • Susan Sharma: Today's chat is on Restoring degraded lands for wildlife
  • Susan Sharma: Dr. Faiyaz Khudsar, Scientist in charge of Yamuna Biodiversity Park has agreed to moderate the chat.
  • Susan Sharma: Till others join in, please give an introduction about your work.
  • Susan Sharma: Welcome to IWC chat room Dr.Faiyaz!
  • faiyaz a khudsar: practicing restoration ecologist and already involve in yamuna biodiversity park, delhi--a floodplain restoration programme
  • Susan Sharma: What is the area restored so far?
  • faiyaz a khudsar: about 457 acrs of yamuna floodplain divided into two parts--inactive floodplain and active flood zone
  • faiyaz a khudsar: here we established biotic communities with the help of assemblg of plant species from the yamuna rive basin
  • faiyaz a khudsar: a place where PH was very high and nutrient level was very poor
  • Susan Sharma: The inactive floodplain had habitation?
  • faiyaz a khudsar: yes lot of people around
  • faiyaz a khudsar: both the areas are connected by an ecological corridor
  • faiyaz a khudsar: we started with biological remediation using some of the grass and legume species to reduce PH and increase nutrient level in the soil
  • Susan Sharma: Can you name the common names of the plants used for bioremediation?
  • faiyaz a khudsar: today we have achieved 3 story forest in major part
  • Susan Sharma: What is a three storey forest?
  • faiyaz a khudsar: grasses such as cenchrous species, laptochloa fusca, bothrochloa etc
  • faiyaz a khudsar: tree storey fores---top canopy, middle storey and ground vegetation
  • faiyaz a khudsar: legumes such as rhynchocia etc.
  • faiyaz a khudsar: we have restored wetlands by working on depth gradients and vegetation
  • Susan Sharma: Can you mention the common names?
  • faiyaz a khudsar: now these wetlands invite large no of migratory and resident birds
  • faiyaz a khudsar: common name is difficult because vernacular names are area specific
  • Susan Sharma: The three forest is in the eco corridor, I suppose.
  • faiyaz a khudsar: forest communities are home for many mammals, insects, reptiles and birds
  • faiyaz a khudsar: about 30-40 forst community all aronud as designated according to the survey carried out all along the river yamuna basin
  • Susan Sharma: The YBP area is 457 acres?
  • Susan Sharma: Hi Chetan
  • faiyaz a khudsar: yes 457 acres
  • Chetan Ramamurthy: hi susan!
  • Susan Sharma: That is huge and your work must have involved massive operations.
  • faiyaz a khudsar: yes...from a barren area and from a wasteland to wetland
  • Susan Sharma: The villages continue to exist inside YBP?
  • faiyaz a khudsar: no there is no village inside. they are on the periphery..
  • faiyaz a khudsar: in active floodplain there is no village
  • Susan Sharma: So YBP is now virgin forest for wildlife alone
  • faiyaz a khudsar: yes...they are growing well with available habitat and food material
  • Susan Sharma: How many lakes are inside? Are they artificially made ones?
  • faiyaz a khudsar: over 190 species of birds, many species of mammals and butterfly besides reptiles
  • Susan Sharma: What ae the mammals found inside?
  • faiyaz a khudsar: we have created one narrow shallow wetland of 1.8 km and a deep wetland of 7 acres in inactive floodplain and 100 acres wetland restored in active floodzone
  • faiyaz a khudsar: mammals---civet, mongoose, porcupine, jungle cat, wild pigs, nilgai etc
  • Susan Sharma: do migratory birds come into YBP?
  • faiyaz a khudsar: yes.. about 35-36 species of both terrestrial and aquatic migratory birds
  • Susan Sharma: Are public allowed to visit YBP?
  • faiyaz a khudsar: we have around 20 thousands visitors...majority of them are schools and colleges
  • faiyaz a khudsar: we have organised trip free of cost with prior information where experts scientists interact with visitors
  • Susan Sharma: What are the timings for visitors? Any closed day?
  • Susan Sharma: Chetan, please ask if you have questions.
  • faiyaz a khudsar: all working days from 10 to 5 and even on holidays sometimes with prior information
  • faiyaz a khudsar: landline no. 011-65649990
  • Susan Sharma: How many kms is the trek inside?
  • faiyaz a khudsar: about 4 kms.
  • Susan Sharma: The YBP is older to than Aravlli biodiversity Park?
  • faiyaz a khudsar: yes..about 3 years older
  • Susan Sharma: YBP is also bigger, I suppose.
  • faiyaz a khudsar: both the parks have been established with the objective of conservation, education and recreational & cultural values. these parks are now nature reserves of delhi
  • faiyaz a khudsar: Aravalli is bigger---about 693 acres
  • Susan Sharma: Are there plans to develop more?
  • faiyaz a khudsar: dda has given land and all support
  • faiyaz a khudsar: we are expecting more land in active floodzone..
  • Susan Sharma: There is a biodiversity park being developed in Gurgaon too. in the Aravalis.
  • faiyaz a khudsar: These parks of first of its kind in india and now part of urban infrastructure wich enhances quality of life
  • Susan Sharma: Yes, these are wonderful initiatives.
  • Susan Sharma: Wetland restoration has been happening in the Southern Coast too, but I am not sure if they are Govt. supported.
  • faiyaz a khudsar: ybp and abp are first of its king where scientist are working using principles of restoration ecology
  • Susan Sharma: What was the role of DU in this project?
  • faiyaz a khudsar: here in ybp restoration has been carried out with full support from DDA based on sound scientific principles
  • faiyaz a khudsar: it id a collaborative project between DDA and DU
  • faiyaz a khudsar: all scientif and technical staff are appointed by DU for the development and management of biodiversity aprks
  • Susan Sharma: Restoration ecology as a science must be very different for different areas. Like (sea)coastal, riverine etc
  • Susan Sharma: Welcome shashi
  • faiyaz a khudsar: yes it is area specific
  • Susan Sharma: The ABP and YBP ecology will also be very different, I suppose.
  • faiyaz a khudsar: this experience can be utised for restoratin of wildlife corridors which is very much needed today
  • Shashi Kant Sharma: DU will Delhi University?
  • Susan Sharma: Yes
  • faiyaz a khudsar: Ybp has forest communities from yamuna river basin and ABP represents Aravalli forest communities
  • Susan Sharma: Yes, The Rajaji corridor for elephants and the tiger corridors.
  • faiyaz a khudsar: yes.. DU is delhi university
  • Shashi Kant Sharma: Wonderful. Does that mean Students persuing Environment Education Programmes are being associated with this initiative?
  • faiyaz a khudsar: rajaji -corbett corridor is very important...
  • faiyaz a khudsar: many msc. students are doing their M.Phil is also complited
  • faiyaz a khudsar: many undergraduate visits the park and understand ecological processes
  • Shashi Kant Sharma: That is encouraging and will hopefully will produce some Environment Conservation Leaders who can lead initiatives. Faiyaz when we talk about restoring degraded lands for wildlife, what are the three first stages that you take off with?
  • Susan Sharma: Is DU associated with the Gurgaon biodiversity Park too? I believe it stretches and joins the ABP.
  • faiyaz a khudsar: many universities from other countries are also visiting frequently not only to understand ecology but landscpae architect are also visiting
  • faiyaz a khudsar: no DU is not associate with Gurgaon biodiversity park
  • faiyaz a khudsar: now we have initiated work in tilpath valley which connects aravalli hills
  • faiyaz a khudsar: objective is very clear to simulate ecosystems of both Yamuna and Aravalli
  • Shashi Kant Sharma: Where about is Tilpath. Is that a place easily accessible from Gurgaon?
  • faiyaz a khudsar: Both river yamuna and the last spur of aravalli ranges (Delhi ridge) are life supporting landscape of delhi
  • faiyaz a khudsar: Tilpath valley is near sainik farm
  • faiyaz a khudsar: Tilpath valley will act as corridor for big mammals when developed
  • faiyaz a khudsar: Red crested pochard comes to YBP only in delhi region
  • Shashi Kant Sharma: If that is just taken up, I am curious what are the 3 stages that the restoration effort will go through - levelling, water harvesting, tree plantation etc
  • faiyaz a khudsar: no levelling ...only reving forest communities which will act as watershed and may bring back reported old springs
  • Susan Sharma: How long does it take for water springs to come back once the plantation is done?
  • Shashi Kant Sharma: If Tilpath Valley has to support big Mammals, will it require significant earth work, developing grasslands, fruit-bearing trees that can support Herbibores?
  • faiyaz a khudsar: we are also looking at the old natural drainage to restore them for tilpath valley
  • Shashi Kant Sharma: Who funds your work? The Government or these are NGO led initiatives?
  • faiyaz a khudsar: a 3-4 storey forest will have all these component as you find in a natural forest community
  • faiyaz a khudsar: Delhi Development Authority
  • faiyaz a khudsar: ok hope to see you all sometime in the ybp to see what I shared with you
  • Shashi Kant Sharma: From what you are saying, it appears that rehabilitating Water sources is the key
  • Susan Sharma: Thank you very much for the wonderful info.
  • faiyaz a khudsar: it also one of the important components for tilpath valley
  • Susan Sharma: We are certain to visit the YBP soon. Will get in touch on phone.
  • faiyaz a khudsar: thanks...
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