Academicians Help to Identify Noida’s Critical Ecosystems for Development of Biodiversity Action Plan

ICLEI South Asia is currently in the process of developing the Local Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan (LBSAP) for Noida, with the support of the HCL Foundation.

The process is a rigorous and inclusive endeavour, rooted in scientific insights and active participation. Extensive discussions have been conducted with an array of stakeholders, encompassing government departments, agencies, NGOs, residents, academics, and subject-matter experts. Notably, comprehensive consultations have been conducted with residents through their respective welfare associations.

In order to engage with academicians and researchers, a consultation workshop was convened at Amity University, Noida, in which the participants engaged in a series of group exercises aimed at identifying the city’s critical ecosystems and the services they provide.

The group exercises resulted in the identification of seven critical ecosystems: Wetlands, Urban Forests, River Yamuna, Botanical Gardens and Parks, Okhla Bird Sanctuary, Avenue Trees, and Agriculture. Furthermore, the workshop yielded a list of ecosystem services provided by each critical ecosystem, as well as an understanding of stewardship, benefitting activities, and the activities that may contribute to their degradation.

Similar consultation sessions are planned with other stakeholders to gather more perspectives on these ecosystems, the services they offer, and the changes they have undergone over the years. The goal is to identify the underlying reasons for these changes. After the stakeholder consultations are completed, the collected data will be collated and presented at a broader stakeholder meeting, which will serve as a platform for formulating the vision for Noida’s LBSAP and validating the compiled data. Additionally, the critical ecosystems of Noida are being mapped using GIS technology to help the city plan and implement development activities without negatively impacting these crucial ecosystems.

The development of the LBSAP is mandated by the Biological Diversity Act of 2002, requiring urban local bodies to establish an LBSAP to serve as the local counterpart to National and State Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plans. Once it is developed, the LBSAP will enable Noida to integrate biodiversity conservation into its mainstream activities. It will outline specific actions for each ecosystem, with the city authority taking responsibility for their implementation. The project also includes the development of the City Biodiversity Index and an Illustrated Natural Asset Map of Noida, along with ecosystem service assessments at two sites: a restored urban forest and a restored wetland within the city.

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