Workshop on Biodiversity Assessment at Vallachira Grama Panchayat, Thrissur

CCSBI’s institutional biodiversity assessment program aims to map and understand the local biodiversity, with the goal of fostering scientific literacy among the local population. The local bodies are also mandated to document the biodiversity. To foster this, we conducted a workshop on biodiversity documentation using digital tools at the Vallachira Grama Panchayath in Thrissur District. The workshop covered the importance of biodiversity, sustainable use and digital tools to document biodiversity. Following this, a project using the iNaturalist platform, which allows the documentation and mapping of biodiversity was developed. Following this a survey was organized for the participatory mapping of biodiversity. The survey was conducted by six groups, each led by an expert, covering different zones of the Panchayath. The keen interest of volunteers helped to accelerate the documentation process. The documentation was done using smartphones and cameras, with photos taken on smartphones directly uploaded to the project created in iNaturalist platform, and those taken with cameras uploaded later for identification.

The single-day survey conducted in the Vallachira Panchayat documented 77 bird species, 63 butterfly species, 28 dragonfly and damselfly species, 10 reptile species, 7 amphibian species, and 2 mammal species. Most species were identified using the iNaturalist platform, while some observations required further confirmation from experts within the platform. The use of citizen science tools sparked an interest in biodiversity documentation among the local population, leading to continued contributions of observation data and a steady influx of new information.