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People andorplants in Bangalore Greening Graying the City? Urban Biodiversity and Challenges of Urban Conservation

Harini Nagendra ATREE Harini Nagendra With - Madhumitha Jaganmohan, Lionel Sujay Vailshery, Divya With - Madhumitha Jaganmohan, Lionel Sujay Vailshery, Divya Gopal, Sajid Gopal Pareeth, Suparsh Nagendran

• Indian cities contain 11% of world’s urban population • Population growth is mostly going to come from cities • What shapes biodiversity in congested Indian cities?

Long history of tree cutting in cities Lebanon 8th cent. B.C.; Mahabharatha – Khandava forests

But people – especially children – in cities need places to experience greenery – else how will they grow up to have a concern for nature?

Reference: Sudhira and Nagendra (2013)

Forgotten Histories‌ 2 hand drawn maps of 1799

Multiple patches of garden‌?

Mavalli - Lake

Islamic-landscape gardens

Colebrook painting – Lal Bagh with multiple patches

Aerial “fly through” based on Digital Elevation Model, 2 paintings, landmarks – multiple patches outside current boundary

Location of H ome painting

Location of C olebrooke painting

Figure 2

Location of H ome painting

Location of C olebrooke painting

Land cover change

Urban trees

Green networks


Urban collective action Parks


Within the city, most stable green cover related to educational, army, government, public sector, or religious institutions Small patches of new greening within the city – new city parks How does land use shape biodiversity?

Street trees of Bangalore  Study of 152 roads with 2400 avenue trees  Rich in species compared to other cities including Chicago, Mexico City, Bangkok and Hong Kong  Density is very low  Largest trees on wide roads  Changes in species preferences over time

IKONOS satellite image, Jayanagar

Changing preferences for tree planting  Older trees – rain tree, copper pod, African tulip, gulmohar etc  Younger trees – honge, neem, mast tree etc  Preference for narrow canopied trees with less of a “nuisance” factor for roots, leaf fall, flowering…

Environmental significance

Road without trees

Road with trees

Suspended Particulate Matter

Roads without trees have mostly motorized traffic Road without trees

Tree lined streets provide ecological services, biodiversity habitat, and corridors to network green patches Also - important social places for congregation with urban character

Street with trees

Promote walking, bicycling‌

Parks in Bangalore  Study of 1400 trees from 98 parks  80 species, 80% exotic  Old parks are more wooded, new parks are more ornamental  No systematic planting policy  Large tree species being phased out in favor of palm, mast tree etc.

Home gardens of  Bangalore

Preference for plants

Fruiting Religious Plants Plants 20% 25% Medicinal Ornamental Plants Plants 19% 30%

Other 6%

Cooking 4% Shade 1% Hobby 1%

 Decreased garden       size  Change in the  architecture  Hybrid varieties  Preference of non  flowering  plants Changes to  apartments with  preference for palms  and ornamentals 

Slums and biodiversity (Gopal, 2012)

Activities under the canopy Adults playing 3% Flower vending 3% M aking incense sticks 5%

Others 10% Socializing 30%

Washing Dishes 6% Washing clothes 6% Grooming 8%

Cooking 10%

Children playing 19%

• Trees are centres of activity in slums

• Ficus religiosa - Activity hotspot (Gopal, 2012)

Trees ‐ Pillars of support – figuratively and literally! Utility


Clothes line




Tent support


Photograph stand


Switch board




Lamp post


Puncture shop


Storage area


(Gopal, 2012)

Slums vs other land use types  Largely native (65% native vs 3035% in streets, parks)  11 trees/ha vs 28 trees/ha in wealthier residential areas  Older slums have larger sized species – rain tree, peepal – giving way to drumstick and coconut in new slums

Institutions protect trees

Sacred trees

Other religious sites

Hosur Road Cemetery

Hosur Road Cemetery

Biodiversity in Bangalore  Rich variation  Differs across streets, parks, slums, home gardens, apartments…  Strong impact of cultural and social preferences on plant density and species selection  Strong role of Government institutions – BBMP/State Govt, military, public sector, educational, religious etc

Tree of Life

1. H. Nagendra, H. Unnikrishnan and S. Sen (2014). Villages in the city: spatial and temporal heterogeneity in rurality and urbanity in Bangalore, India. LAND 3: 1-18. 2. M. Jaganmohan, L.S. Vailshery and H. Nagendra (2013). Patterns of insect abundance and distribution in urban domestic gardens in Bangalore, India. Diversity 5: 767-778. 3. M. Jaganmohan, L.S. Vailshery, D. Gopal and H. Nagendra (2012). Plant diversity and distribution in urban domestic gardens and apartments in Bangalore. Urban Ecosystems 15: 911-925. 4. H. Nagendra, S. Nagendran, S. Paul and S. Pareeth (2012). Graying, greening and fragmentation in the rapidly expanding Indian city of Bangalore. Landscape and Urban Planning 105: 400-406. 5. M. Iyer, H. Nagendra and M.B. Rajani (2012). Using satellite imagery and historical maps to investigate the contours of Lalbagh. Current Science 102: 507-509. 6. H. Nagendra and D. Gopal (2011). Tree diversity, distribution, history and change in urban parks. Urban Ecosystems 14: 211223. 7. H. Nagendra and D. Gopal (2010). Street trees in Bangalore: Density, diversity, composition and distribution. Urban Forestry and Urban Greening 9: 129-137.


People and plants in bangalore  
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