India

Maharashtra to take up documentation of biodiversity soon

Photo By seeveeaar | Flickr
Photo: seeveeaar | Flickr

The Maharashtra state biodiversity board along with the Wildlife Institute of India (WII) will soon start documentation of biodiversity, which will be contributed to an international biodiversity portal.

Maharashtra is the first state to take up this initiative. The information available will be accessible to all at the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF) data portal.

Erach Bharucha, chairman of Maharashtra state biodiversity board, said that very soon the board will start collecting data from NGOs working in the field, institutes, universities and locals on various aspects of biodiversity. The information collected will be sent to Wildlife Institute of India from where it will be further forwarded to international website at GBIF based in Copenhagen, Denmark.

“At present, experts are developing a software to feed in our information. This decision to develop our own database was taken at the XI Conference of Parties (COP 11) to the Convention on Biological Diversity held in Hyderabad recently,” he said.

According to Bharucha, the documentation on biodiversity will have both national and international value. The information will have geo reference, establishing its location in terms of map projections or coordinate systems. The GBIF data portal is formally recognised for bio-diversity conservation, he said.

The GBIF was established by governments to encourage free and open access to biodiversity data, via the internet. Through a global network of countries and organizations, GBIF promotes and facilitates the mobilization, access, discovery and use of information about the occurrence of organisms over time and across the planet.

Bharucha, who attended the COP 11, said, “The convention on biological diversity is important as it not only engages in international negotiations on biodiversity, but as it is hosted in India, we could also showcase our biodiversity. It is important for the common man to understand the role of biodiversity. This year, the thrust was to find ways to involve people or community towards conservation, he said. “The concern lies in the fact that we have lost species such as Cheetah and Siberian crane. Several other mammals, birds and insects are declining in number, and we have very little data on these species. Thus, immediate steps should be taken for its protection and conservation. The COP 11 provided a platform for experts and civil society to interact and discuss on environmental issues during the side events. There is a good number of college students who are attending as volunteers. Delegates from 193 countries are attending COP 11.”

Source: Times of India