Human beings share planet Earth with other living beings such as plants and animals. Each of the living organisms works together in ecosystems, like an intricate web, to maintain balance and support life. Together, we all make biodiversity.
Highlighting the importance of biodiversity, the Andhra Pradesh Forest Department has released its biodiversity map. The map is a representation of the rich ecological and cultural heritage of Andhra Pradesh. It has been designed to cover details on wildlife hotspots, flora and fauna, and other related aspects.
The main purpose of the map is to acquaint the local people about the state’s biodiversity and ecology.
What is a biodiversity map?
A biodiversity map is a cartographic representation of any biodiversity data that have spatial and temporal units. A biodiversity map can be used for biodiversity studies, analysis, management, and conservation.
These can also be used to communicate areas that need special attention
for protection and conservation or to describe the wildlife heritage of the place etc. These are also a useful tool in identifying important locations for biodiversity agenda, especially when data collection requires collaborating with others.
A biodiversity map displays biodiversity information in graphical form, hence making it simple to understand than long textual descriptions.
Biodiversity Map of Andhra Pradesh
The Biodiversity map released by the Andhra Pradesh Forest Department is a collection of data on various plant and animal species found in Andhra Pradesh, the wildlife hotspots, and the forest dwellers who depend on the forest for survival.
The map consists of about 60 endemic and rare species of flora and fauna that adorn land and the adjoining sea. Further, there is a mention of 11 wildlife hotspots, and 8 endemic tribes on the map. The forest-dwellers have been an integral part of the forests of Andhra Pradesh for centuries.
The map is available in both English and Telugu. Designed by Sudarshan Shaw, draws inspiration from the Srikalahashti style of Kalamkari. The Srikalahasthi Kalamkari is the dyed hand-painting of fabrics and derives from Srikalahasthi town of Chittoor district in Andhra Pradesh. The artwork has also been granted a GI tag from the state, under handicraft goods.
Aims to create awareness
The purpose behind the release of the biodiversity map is to generate awareness about local biodiversity among the people of the state. Along with this, it also seeks to create a strong relation and profound connection of the people with wildlife. Further, the biodiversity maps can also be used to study patterns or changes in biodiversity such as biodiversity loss, habitat degradation, alteration of species composition, etc. The information can be used for critical analysis.
Biodiversity status of Andhra Pradesh
Spread across an area of 1,60,205 square km, Andhra Pradesh’s ecosystem diversity can be classified as inland vegetation, coastal vegetation, and aquatic vegetation. According to a 2017 study, the state has tropical semi-evergreen forest, tropical moist deciduous forest, dry deciduous forests, among several other kinds. The state has about 3188.74 hectares of mangrove forests.
The State ranks eighth in terms of recorded forest area (RFA) which is 37,258 sq km and accounts for 22.86 % of its geographical area. The reserved, protected and unclassed forests are 85.78 % and 13.60 % and 0.62 % of the recorded forest area in the State respectively.
Andhra Pradesh is also home to a variety of plants and animals. Fauna population includes Leopard, Asiatic Elephant, Sloth Bear, Sambar, Cheetal, Indian Muntjak, Indian Chevrotain (Mouse Deer), Barking Deer, Spotted Deer, Wild Boar, Wild Dog, Slender Loris, Four-horned Antelope, Indian Hare, Indian Giant Squirrel, etc. while birds include Common Peafowl, Grey Heron, Asian Open-billed Stork, White Ibis, Black Ibis, Painted Stork, Northern Pintail, Common Teal, and more.
Andhra Pradesh has 3 National Parks and 13 Wildlife Sanctuaries covering an area of 7,311.08 sq km which is about 4.49% of the geographical area of the State. The State also has the largest Tiger reserve in the country- Srisailam Tiger reserve, and the second-largest Mangrove eco-system in the country – the Godavari and Krishna Estuaries.
States with Biodiversity Map
Prior to Andhra Pradesh, Odisha too had released a biodiversity map depicting its biodiversity. Further, in 2020, The Ministry of Mumbai Magic (MMM), a collection of citizens and environmental organizations, had also launched a biodiversity map of Mumbai.