Kalyan Dombivli Municipal Corporation (KDMC) has done tree plantation on 40 acres of forest land in Ambivli to compensate for the trees being cut for Kalyan Ring Road Project, but the same can be converted into a biodiversity park instead. They planted about 12000 saplings that are now two years old. The plantation is largely monoculture with avenue trees both native and exotic species.
Despite the heavy plantation, there are still areas available where more plantation could be carried out. These areas have the potential to develop into thematic gardens such as bird, bat, butterfly, bee, medicinal and Nakshatra gardens. The current proposal plans to develop an ecosystem by planting biodiversity special plants that attract bees, birds, butterflies and bats. Additionally, since the undergrowth is missing in the existing plantation areas, hedge plantation will also be created along the pathway as well as between the plantation blocks. The plantation will be carried out along the boundary wall as well. Considering Polyculture, a mixed plantation of herbs, shrubs and trees of around 10,000 saplings will be done.
As KDMC intend to develop this park as an ecotourism site, three nature trails will be developed along with activity stations, exhibits and signages to enhance the educational value for the tourists and to boost tourism to the site. Awareness about the park will be created among the tourists as well as neighbouring schools and colleges. Capacity building and Training workshops for nature guides will be conducted and also for local youth who could conduct the nature walk post project.
Project Location: Ambivli, Kalyan Dombivli Municipal Corporation KDMC, Mumbai, Maharashtra
Project Duration: April 2021-March 2024
Project Partner: iNaturewatch Foundation
Funding Agency: DCB Bank
· Biodiversity Parks are large areas, which are suited for recreation and sustainable tourism.
· They conduce to conservation, development or recreation of varied used landscapes and their biodiversity.
· "Biodiversity Park" and "National Park" are not the same.
· These park act as five intersecting areas of responsibility that enable nature parks to function as model regions for sustainable development.
· Visitors to the biodiversity park are motivated to consciously perceive the environment and during this process, various experience-oriented forms of knowledge transfer play a special role.
· Biodiversity parks comprised of signage, thematic nature trails, interpretation centre, tours and much more.
In recent months, the Ambivli Biodiversity Park Project has made great progress. The saplings in the thematic garden and nursery have been watered attentively by caretakers. They have also been working on route construction, stone pitching, and wildlife habitat installation. The park presently has three well-developed nature trails: the Bird Trail, the Tree Trail, and the Butterfly Trail, which enhance the visiting experience. Insect surveys, ecological assessments, and wildlife installations such as bird feeders, water baths, bird nests, reptile and bug houses have all contributed to the park's increased biodiversity. The pond has been fixed and cleaned. Exhibits and trail signs have been put along the trail at the park.Invasive species were eliminated from thematic gardens after tree guards were restored and overgrown shrubs were clipped.The signage, animal installations, and plant tags are cleaned and maintained on a regular basis.
In the past quarter, significant activities were undertaken to improve the site's biodiversity. A socio-economic survey and plantation review were conducted. Mulching and watering were carried out to support plant growth. Seeds were collected from various plants, and fire lining work was done to clear dried grass around the plantations. The nursery was upgraded with new flowering seeds, and trays were prepared for seedlings. Construction of the entrance gate trellis and installation of signage boards were completed. Planning for pond life restoration commenced, with orders placed for aquatic plants. Due to fire breakage, the drip line network required repair and reinstallation. Development of the nature trail pathway began with hired laborers. Firewood, a vital cooking biofuel for many forest-dwelling tribal communities, was the focus of our foundation's survey near Ambivali Biodiversity Park. Conducted through 40 responses from women regularly collecting firewood and non-timber items, our study aims to gauge forest dependency percentages and explore potential employment and service opportunities for these communities.
In the past three months, caretakers at the site conducted various activities to maintain and enhance the biodiversity. They carried out de-weeding to control the overgrown and dried weeds after the monsoon period. Additionally, nearby plantations were de-weeded, and Russelia sapling bags were prepared for nursery development. A biodiversity survey was conducted, including all flora and fauna, and tree girth measurements were taken. Mulching was also performed to promote plant growth. Furthermore, a bird survey, plantation review, and drone shooting were conducted to assess and document the site's condition and maintenance efforts. The caretakers' dedicated work focused on habitat maintenance and nurturing the biodiversity of the site.
Over the past three months, DCB Bank employees, school students, and KDMC employees participated in a Plantation drive and sapling bag making activity. Together, they planted 230 sapling bags and 25 plants of different species. Caretakers worked diligently to make 1005 sapling bags using cuttings and seeds. Thematic garden pathways were created, canals were constructed for water drainage, and de-weeding activities were carried out to ensure healthy plant growth. Leaning trees were supported, overgrown plants were trimmed, and cuttings were restored. Plantation reviews and bird surveys were conducted to monitor progress and bird species.
It has been a challenging first quarter for the project. In order to safeguard the plants from the hard summers, we encountered difficult hurdles. Due to the overcast conditions in May, the solar water pumps' performance decreased, resulting in low water pressure and insufficient water for all the plants. As a result, several plants were watered by hand. In this extreme conditions, we made regular efforts to protect and keep an eye on the seedlings. For optimal growth, compost and soil mixture were applied to the plants. Additionally, tree guards were put in. We appreciate the hard work of every member of our staff, both on and off the field. Without the ongoing assistance and direction from the DCB Bank and KDMC, we could not have accomplished any of them. To the entire staff at KDMC and DCB Bank, we are appreciative.
From January to March, we initiated the works of pathway lining and development. For the same labour was outsourced and crushed stones and gravel was bought in. The pathway that was previously paved, was now prepped with stones and levelling for the same was done with the help of labours and our caretakers. In fact our caretakers played a major role in governing the event and made sure there was no hindrance caused. the pathway will be watered and will be given sufficient time to settle in and later the finishing works will be carried out before the onset of Summer. Along with this, we have also initiated grass removal and mulching for our plants through weekly volunteering activities so as to prepare our plants for the scorching summer heat. Plantation review is also being carried out and the mortality rate of our plants is quite low.
During these three months for the period of October to Decembe,r we conducted biodiversity survey, plantation review, maintenance work including grass removal, ringde-weeding, grass pressing, and community engagement programmes. This time we recorded a total of 66 species of plants (13 trees, 8 Shrub, 6 climbers, 38 herbs), birds (31 species), reptiles (7 species), insects & arachnids (36+7 species), amphibians (2 species) and mammal (2 species). We also witnessed a casual fire that almost burned our drip irrigation pipes, that we had to replace with new ones. The fruit of our labour has started to show, with the Ambivli project getting recognised and featured twice in the local newspapers. we have also started to see an increase in biodiversity.
our thematic zones are now easily navigable, thanks to the signage development.
Around 9923 ft and 3.02km trench were dug in the middle of the pathway and thematic garden. More than 2000 pits were dug for tree plantation and trenches for herbs and shrubs. The Baseline survey and Biodiversity survey was also conducted. During this survey, a total of 39 species of plants (13 trees, 6 Shrub, 6 climbers, 14 herbs), birds (22 species), reptiles (6 species), insects & arachnids (13 species), amphibians (1 species), and mammal (2 species) were recorded. A drone shoot was also conducted to cover the entire area, to draw out a comparison of the site area for before and after plantation scenarios. To protect the site and for maintenance purpose, 3 caretakers and a security guard has been already appointed. A total of 9884 plants are planted at the site out of the 10000 plants target
On 7 sep2021KDMC Commissioner paid a visit to our project site to check the status of biodiversity park works. We informed him of the completion of the Plantation and that maintenance works are one. We installed thematic zone signages prior to his visit so that he could see how the entire area is getting developed into Astral Garden, Bat Garden, Butterfly Garden, Medicinal Garden, and Bird Garden. He was impressed with our work. He felicitated our chairman Mr. Isaac Kehimkar & Gaurav Mehta CSR head of DCB Bank for their support.
The Development of Ambivli Biodiversity Park project was initiated in the month of May 2021. Considering the pandemic, lockdown protocols and travelling issues, we somehow managed to commence our work in May2021. The Kalyan-Dombivli Municipal Corporation (KDMC) provided ID cards for the entire team working on the project, which eased the travelling issues to the site.
The Biodiversity Park is been developed on the land allotted by the KDMC. The team members, Dr. V. Shubhalaxmi and Mr. Isaac Kehimkar along with the Staff of Municipal Corporation visited the site prior in the month of May 2021. During the initial visit, all the required area measurements were taken for the planation. GPS coordinated were taken for all the seven thematic gardens and mapped accordingly. Around 9923 ft and 3.02km trench were dug in the middle of the pathway and thematic garden. More than 2000 pits were dug for tree plantation and trenches for herbs and shrubs. The Baseline survey and Biodiversity survey was also conducted. During this survey a total of 39 species of plants (13 tree, 6 Shrub, 6 climbers, 14 herbs), birds (22 species), reptiles (6 species), insects & arachnids (13 species), amphibians (1 specie) and mammal (2 species) were recorded. A drone shoot was also conducted to cover the entire area, to draw out comparison of the site area for before and after plantation scenario. To protect the site and for maintenance purpose, 3 caretakers and a security guard has been already appointed. A total 9884 plants are planted at the site out of the 10000 plants target.
· Baseline Survey
· Seasonal Biodiversity surveys
· Soil and water analysis
· Formation of Butterfly, Bee, Bird, Bat, Medicinal, Pond and Nakshatra Van.
· Pathway Development
· Digging trenches and pits
· Installation of Irrigation System.
· Boundary Wall - 1500 tree saplings
· Thematic zones - 500 trees, 5000 herbs and shrubs.
.Trail plantation- 3000 saplings
· Appointment of Security Guard and 3 caretakers.
· Security Cabin installed
· Watering, Deweeding, Mulching and Protecting the park from Vandalism.
· Natural Trails developed to enhance educational value.
· Bilingual Signages about local flora and fauna
· Incorporation of 10 field stations
· 10 Outdoor exhibits
· Stakeholder Meeting
· Corporate Employees and Community Volunteers
· Nature Awareness Programmes
· Capacity Building of Forest Guards and Local Communities