Nature's Narrative Vol. 3(III)
Indian Renewable Energy Update
India develops World's Largest Solar Tree
CSIR-CMERI has developed the World’s Largest Solar Tree, which is installed at CSIR-CMERI Residential Colony, Durgapur. The Solar Tree has been designed to ensure maximum exposure of each Solar PV Panel to Sunlight and also creation of the least amount of shadow area beneath. Solar powered e-Suvidha Kiosks may also be connected to the Solar Trees for real-time access to the vast majority of agricultural database as well as to the e-NAM i.e. National Agricultural Marketplace for instant and real-time access to a unified online market.
This Solar Tree is a Quantum Leap towards making an Energy Reliant and Carbon Negative India in compliance with the sustainable development goals.
Hindrances to Hydropower development in Kinnaur
While India has been pushing for hydropower development, a latest study in Kinnaur district of Himachal Pradesh on forest land diverted for hydropower projects has revealed that construction activities for hydropower are threatening biodiversity, impacting indigenous people and fragmenting critical wildlife habitats. The researchers revealed a poor state of compensatory afforestation carried out in Himachal Pradesh, with some of the plots, where compensatory afforestation had been apparently carried out, with no saplings.
The researchers demanded a hold on further expansion of hydroelectric projects in the Himalayan region until a detailed, independent and multidisciplinary inquiry is done into the alteration of the ecosystems.
Indian Enviro-Administrative Update
Enviro-Administrative Steps of the Collector of Nilgiris District
Collector of Nilgiris district, J. Innocent Divya is making headlines for stellar administrative decisions made to safeguard the environment in the ecologically sensitive district. The fragile ecosystem of Ooty and the pressure the Nilgiris district faces from increasing tourism made Divya realise the need for decisions safeguarding the environment. She began her crusade for environment protection with Unnadha Udhagai or Sublime Udhagai (Ooty) programme that won the administration the Green Award for the year 2018 from the Tamil Nadu government.
A complete ban on plastic and borewells and streamlining solid waste management through waste segregation are some of the measures she took to keep the district ecologically sound.
National Biodiversity Update
The Grey Slender Loris- a fading species in Bengaluru
The grey slender loris, which spends most of its time in canopies, is found across peninsular India and parts of Sri Lanka. Bengaluru comes in the northern end of the range, and before it became the country’s third most populous city, it was also home to a significant number of lorises. The species has somehow clung to life in Bengaluru’s remnant green spaces, even as the city is getting concretised at a frenzied pace.
When continuous patches of green become isolated patches, it can have catastrophic effects on loris populations, who, unlike monkeys, do not jump between branches nor are seen descending on the ground to cross wide-open spaces.
A new species of underground-dwelling ant discovered
A new species of underground-dwelling ant, Vaibhav’s Protanilla (Protanilla flamma) has been described from Goa. The species is very small, measuring just 2.5 mm in length, yellow in colour, and is completely blind. The genus Protanilla is a rare group of ants, of which only 12 species are known worldwide. This discovery from Goa is the 13th species.
This new species of ant has emerged from the leaf litter at Netravali Wildlife Sanctuary. Goa based researcher Pronoy Baidya discovered this Species under the guidance of Sumanta Bagchi, Associate Professor at the Centre for Ecological Sciences at Indian Institute of Sciences.
Woolly Flying Squirrel still not extinct
A Woolly flying squirrel (a species that has believed to be extinct for decades) has recently been spotted in Uttarakhand's Gangotri National Park. Woolly flying squirrel, which is scientifically known as Eupetaurus cinereus, is believed to be disappeared from the subcontinent except for some of its traces in Kashmir. Woolly flying squirrel uses its furry claws as a parachute to fly. It is special and unique because of its large size and dentition.
Some researchers speculate that it belongs to a distinct family of species. The Forest Research Institute has spotted its presence in 13 of the 18 forest divisions of the state. This sudden appearance makes it astonishing and intriguing for the scientist to study. They are particularly interested to know if the behavioural patterns of this species still suite to Indian forests and how this could be protected.