Pune city is blessed with numerous hills. These hills have tropical wet and dry climate. Hills of Pune are green islands with urbanization all around them. Bhamburda is one of the highest hill range in the city. Bhamburda is a huge platue with dry deciduous vegetation, grass patches and intermittent water bodies. Vetal hill and ARAI hill are part of Bhamburda range.
Bhamburda Forest Garden is developed under Joint Forest Management Projects of Pune Municipal Corporation and Forest Department . It is developed under Central Government’s Urban Green Mission program.
Total area of Bhamburda forest garden is 62 acres. Bhamburda forest garden was developed to restore and enrich the greenery of Bhamburda hill by means of conservation measures and providing protection from illegal encroachment of the hill.
Bhamburda hill attracts daily walkers and bird watchers throughout the year. The walk way or a small trail has been developed for the visitors. An open exhibit with models of environmental components has been developed along the trail. This exhibit has models of leopard, ant hill, beehive, tree stump showing growth rings, etc. to create environmental awareness.
Green areas in urban landscape provide shelter for urban biodiversity & provide other ecological services such as soil conservation, water recharging, pollination services etc. Conservation of such areas is of utmost importance when more and more urbanization is disturbing the ecological balance.
FORREST conducted biodiversity assessment to generate biodiversity baseline data for Bhamburda Forest garden. Seasonal surveys were performed to gather data for biodiversity richness and role of community participation in the conservation.
Total 51 acres, of the Bhamburda range, was studied in the project. Inventories of mammals, birds, butterflies, other insects, amphibians, reptiles were prepared.
Flora Assessment outcome shows that area has rich flora diversity with four flora species which are endemic to India.
Lower part of the forest garden has native trees such as Boswellia serrata, Cassia siamea, Azadirachta indica and Morinda pubescence. Upper part of hill has plantation of Glyricidia sepium , an exotic species.
Faunal assessment shows that area has moderate bird and butterfly diversity. Lower part of the hill has greater bird and insect diversity. Upper part of hill has negligible bird and insect diversity.
Bhamburda is also known for its peafowl population.
People’s participation in conservation is an important aspect of Bhamburda Forest Garden. It illustrates that people’s participation is a crucial component of sustainability and success of conservation program.
Green areas play a vital role in the urban spaces by acting as green lungs & supporting biodiversity that depend on these habitats for their survival. Conservation of these green pockets helps in sustaining urban biodiversity and mitigate pollution.
Visitors act as vigilante here in Bhamburda. They not only keep watch on area but actively participate in conservation of plants. They help fill water tanks and earthen water pots kept in the forest area for wildlife. Visitors also water planted saplings regularly.
Bhamburda forest garden is a model of community participation in protection and conservation of green spaces.