Citizen science in the times of lockdown

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People-led documentation initiatives focussing on the environment have been going strong through the COVID-19 lockdowns. Here’s why this is good news The website eBird lists lakhs of observations on the 10,000 bird species around the world — but that is the least of what it does. With projects like the Great Backyard Bird Count and Nestwatch underway year after year, it pulls together data gathered by everyday citizens in almost every continent: data that, when put together, throws up images of migration patterns, shifting flight paths, rise or fall of populations, changes in behaviour of entire species due to climate change or other factors. On similar lines, Butterflies of India is one of numerous initiatives under the Biodiversity Atlas India family of websites that collate citizen-contributed, peer-reviewed photos and sightings of various species, including reptiles, mammals and more. Says key BAI member Krushnamegh Kunte, “The pandemic and subsequent lockdowns and travel restrictions have resulted in massive growth of data on our citizen science platform. The increase is most acute on the Butterflies of India website, where we have received over 17,000 observations since the lockdown in late March. This is nearly 20% of all the observations on the website […]

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