Tuesday, 19 January 2010

The micro-ecosystems in our gardens

An unique gift my parents have given me is an increased awareness of the environment . The compound where our family home is located is a forest in its own right, with several mature trees, hundreds of shrubs and herbs. The house is surrounded by a diverse garden, not one of those perfectly manicured ones akin to those listed on 'Country Life' , but a disorderly array of flora that forms the habitat of many species of fauna. As long as I can remember, my siblings and I were taught to appreciate, respect and protect the living forms around thus. Many a time, one of my siblings would bring an injured animal to the house . This would be followed promptly by frenetic phone calls to the vet , the WWF and any portal of further information relating to the potential infirmity the animal had, and identification of remedial measures. Often these animals would be nursed to health and then released . On other occassions, some of the injured animals would die resulting in tears and tantrums.

Our garden is still a haven for several species of birds, notably the crow pheasant, flycatchers, Drongos, mynah's ,koel, sunbird, the occasional woodpecker, kingfishers and visiting parakeets in summer. This is only a short list. Palm civets, squirrels, fruit bats & mongoose are notable mammals. My parents have baskets on tree tops where they leave food for the squirrels. The diversity of flora is perhaps another reason for the myriads of butterfly species that frequent our garden. Very few of our neighbours share our enthusiasm to a degree . The gardens of some houses are paved with concrete with very few plants forming a hostile terrain for fauna. The contrast is all too visible to see, reflecting what happens in the wilderness.

All it takes is a litle effort. A small step towards preserving the ecosystems in our backyard will no doubt result in positive ramifications beyond our confines.

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