Urban biodiversity assessment in Kochi city: A pilot study with reference to birds and butterflies

Published: 23-11-2020| Version 1 | DOI: 10.17632/6sgmz2cr7r.1
Joseliph Abin,
Padayatty Davis Samson


Biodiversity is usually considered and monitored with a prejudiced notion that it is applicable only for rural or wild habitats. But the present scenario of urbanization demands more emphasis on assessment of biodiversity in urban environments. Urban biodiversity plays a critical role in maintaining the life of urban dwellers. Concurrently, urban species are under severe threat imparted by rapidly expanding urban centres. The present status of urban biodiversity is uncertain in many of the cities especially in India. In an attempt to assess urban biodiversity in Kochi, a fast-moving city in Kerala, a six month long assessment of taxa viz. birds and butterflies was conducted from September 2017 to February 2018. A checklist of observed species was prepared. A three month long quantitative monitoring was also carried out during this period in 100 randomly selected locations in Kochi city by point count method once in a month. Species diversity was assessed from the quantitative data by computing indices of richness, diversity and evenness. 70 species of birds belonging to 56 genera, 37 families and 14 orders and 70 species of butterflies belonging to 51 genera, 14 subfamilies and 5 families were recorded. The present study reveals an appreciable diversity of birds and butterflies in Kochi city. The various diversity indices estimated will serve as a baseline data for evaluation of man-made effects on urban ecosystem particularly on biodiversity. The results suggest that both the taxa can be considered for long term biodiversity monitoring programs because of their adaptability to urban environments and the feasibility of monitoring. Also the current assessment recommends a periodic quantitative monitoring in urban habitats with varying degree of urbanization. Such an assessment will be useful in generating a precise knowledge on the present status and dynamics of species diversity of urban birds and butterflies. Meaningful indicator species also can be proposed from them which can be used as the indicators of the state of overall biodiversity in urban habitats. This will be a suitable tool for sustainable urban planning in order to conserve and enhance the biodiversity of urban environments. (In A.B. Kumar, P.N. Krishnan, A.G. Pandurangan, C.K. Peethambaran & C. Sureshkumar (Eds.), Perspectives On Biodiversity Of India - Vol. IV: Proceedings of the International Biodiversity Congress (IBC 2018) (pp. 125-131). Thiruvananthapuram: Centre for Innovation in Science and Social Action (CISSA). ISBN: 978-81-937930-6-0.)