CBD COP11: Not just a rural issue: urban biodiversity matters

CBD COP11 (9/10/2012) – Harini Nagendra, Urban Ecology Co-ordinator and DST Ramanujam Fellow at the Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment (ATREE), describes the emergence of Urban Ecology as an academic field in India and across the globe.

Nagendra explains that studies of biodiversity traditionally took place only in pristine landscapes, but slowly there has been recognition that biodiversity also exists where people live. She sees Urban Ecology – the study of ecological systems in cities – as the natural conclusion of this process.

Nagendra underlines how important a field this is for India, which although urbanising rapidly still has a 70% rural population. She foresees a large shift in the size and shape of Indian communities in coming years and so anticipates a significant shift in India’s Urban Ecology.

Nagendra also emphasises how issues of local ecology can galvanise communities into action, especially as major features such as lakes and forests are lost to urbanisation.