Tag: cities

Bird immune systems reveal harshness of city life

They may peck greedily at feeding tables – and have it easier than country birds do in the warmer urban winters – but city birds, it turns out, are in turmoil on the inside. By Aisling Irwin Researchers have found that many internal defence mechanisms that are quiet in rural birds are much more active in those in cities. These biological pathways are pumping out extra antioxidants, immune system cells and detoxifiers – a sign that urban life is challenging their health. Globally, bird numbers are dropping. According to figures published by conservation organisation BirdLife International last year, 40% of bird species have

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When Cities Were Nature’s Haven: A Tale From Bangalore

Inscriptions on stone and copper plates show that the starting point for a new village was often the creation of a tank, or lake, to collect rain water – essential and life-giving in this unfavourable low-rainfall environment. These inscriptions provide fascinating insights into the close relationship that these early residents had with nature. They describe the landscape as consisting of the lakes, the surrounding irrigated and dry land, the “wells above”, and the “trees below”. This three-dimensional view of the landscape, consisting of two major resources, water (lake) and food (agriculture), nourished by nature below (in the form of wells) and above (in the form of trees) is a remarkably holistic conception of nature.

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