Conserving Biodiversity in Sunder Nursery


India’s rich natural heritage is facing immense challenges as the country rapidly urbanizes. Responding to the urgency of spreading awareness about green spaces and conserving biodiversity, Columbia Global Centers | Mumbai launched an exciting initiative in 2019 in partnership with the Aga Khan Trust for Culture (AKTC) in India to develop educational and outreach programs for Sunder Nursery. Located in the heart of the country’s capital city, New Delhi, Sunder Nursery is a rich biodiversity zone, significant for its Mughal monuments and floral and faunal diversity with over 80 species of birds and 280 species of native trees. Read more

Sunder Nursery
Faculty Advisors:

Ruth de Fries, University Professor; Denning Family Professor of Sustainable Development in the Department of Ecology, Evolution and Environmental Biology

Upmanu Lall, Alan & Carol Silberstein Professor of Engineering and Director, Columbia Water Center

Project Director:

Ravina Aggarwal, Director, Columbia Global Centers | Mumbai

Project Activities

1. Academic Programs

The Center aims to disseminate research by Columbia faculty and other regional scholars and practitioners and build thought-leadership in the field of natural heritage conservation by organizing public lectures, panel discussions, and conferences.

City of Haze
City of Haze, Gardens of Beauty: Reimagining Nature in Urban India 

To announce this partnership and also to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Columbia Global Centers, the Center organized a public event at Columbia University in New York on September 10, 2019.  A presentation was made by Ratish Nanda, distinguished conservation architect and CEO of AKTC in India, followed by a discussion on urbanization and green spaces moderated by the Center’s Director, Dr. Ravina Aggarwal, and featuring Dr. Ruth DeFries, Professor of Ecology and Sustainable Development at Columbia University. 

Read more  |  Watch the video

Mumbai's Natural Heritage
Mumbai’s Natural Heritage: Enhancing Public Engagement

Columbia Global Centers | Mumbai hosted an expert convening with the aim of sharing strategies and practices, building a leadership network, and documenting evaluation tools to assess the impact of environmental programming on conserving the region’s biodiversity on July 12, 2019. Participants from the city’s leading organizations presented their efforts at designing and implementing public programs. 

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2. Educational Resource Materials

The Center develops scholarly and creative resource materials in the form of infographics, audio-visual tools, online content, and print materials on environmental aspects of Sunder Nursery for educational and information purposes.

The Importance of Honey Bees 

Without honey bees, 80% of the world's cultivated plants would disappear. On World Bee Day of May 20, 2020, we celebrate research that highlights the importance of honey bees, their critical contribution to sustainable development and food security, their social and communications systems, and the severe threats and challenges they face. Watch national and international experts share their perspectives in this video produced by Columbia Global Centers | Mumbai in partnership with the AKTC India. 

Watch the video  |  Read an interview with Professor John Snow

Don't Bee Afraid 

Honey Bees are a key pollinator species that play an integral role in the food chain and in maintaining biodiversity. Due to a lack of awareness and information, many in urban India are afraid of bees and often destroy hives they see around them. This has led to a decline in honey bee populations, harming global food security and biodiversity. Columbia Global Centers | Mumbai and the Aga Khan Trust for Culture (AKTC) in India launched this campaign as part of the Sunder Nursery project to increase awareness about honey bees and inspire citizens to participate in bee conservation efforts. 

                                                                     Watch the video 


3. Student Internships

In order to build student expertise through immersive practice, the Center hosts a summer internship program at Sunder Nursery for students from Columbia University and local partner universities.

Jiyoon Moon
Researching Honey Bees

Hear about the experience of Columbia student Jiyoon Moon who was a virtual Honey Bee Research Intern for Columbia Global Centers | Mumbai's partnership with the Aga Khan Trust for Culture in India on the Sunder Nursery project as part of the Summer 2020 Global Virtual Internship program.

Watch the video


4. Policy Outreach

The Center organizes expert convening with government agencies to share cutting-edge national and global research and best practices from the field of biodiversity conservation to best inform policy formation and implementation.

Wildlife Conservation
Wildlife Conservation in Urban India: Towards an Inclusive Policy and Programmatic Framework

As part of its Sunder Nursery project, Columbia Global Centers | Mumbai organized a symposium in partnership with the Aga Khan Trust For Culture (AKTC) on November 7, 2019 in New Delhi that brought together academics, researchers and practitioners working in the field of wildlife legislation and conservation. 

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