Reimagining neighbourhood parks for biodiversity conservation

Cities comprise of mixed green patches that vary in size and are highly scattered and disconnected. Although small green spaces largely dominate the cityscape, they are often neglected and ignored by the naturalists and conservationists, as they do not fulfil the large green spaces criteria. The citizens on the other hand seem to have a different perception and requirements from small green spaces as they are within their neighbourhood.

Bangalore consists of a large number of newly formed residential areas which have pocket green spaces in the form of neighbourhood parks (henceforth NPs). They are maintained by the municipality and are mainly designed for recreation purposes, completely neglecting the fact that these spaces could be essential for biodiversity..

In a new study, through a questionnaire survey researchers assessed the biodiversity citizens are fond off, and used them as surrogate taxa for the not so immediately obvious taxa, insects to enumerate the biodiversity within NPs.

The study analysed and identified landscape characteristics around NPs which could enhance the biodiversity within NPs. The results revealed that people are fond of Birds and Butterflies. The study used them as surrogates for the inconspicuous taxa to assess biodiversity within NPs. 55 tree species, 45 species of birds, 41 species of butterflies and 68 morpho species of insects were recorded. The study demonstrated that small green spaces are critical systems and help support biodiversity across three scale within the city. Interestingly, results suggested that density of NPs is more important rather than the size of NPs. Also, the presence of high density of NPs within a neighbourhood could support similar biodiversity that large green spaces support. Finally, it provided insights on the landscape matrix that could help enhance biodiversity support service within NPs and the surrounding neighbourhood.

Link to paper: https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0215525