Open Defense of Thesis by Ms. Neesha Dutt on 'Urban Greens: Production of Turfgrass Lawns in Bengaluru and their Environmental Implications'
National Institute of Advanced Studies
Indian Institute of Science Campus
OPEN DEFENSE OF THESIS
Title: Urban Greens: Production of Turfgrass Lawns in Bengaluru and their Environmental
Candidate: Ms. Neesha Dutt
School of Natural Sciences and Engineering
Advisor: Prof. Dilip R Ahuja
Date: Monday, July 26, 2021
Time: 10:30 am
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Turfgrass lawns are resource intensive ecosystems that consistently require a range of material inputs such as fertilizers, water and pesticides. This disposition renders the lawn to be a contentious space. From a social aspect, lawns represent sites of aesthetic, recreation and community activities. From an environmental aspect, lawns represent sites of high N (nitrogen) retention and soil moisture that are known to influence nutrient cycling in these ecosystems which, in turn, determine the positive or negative environmental effect . The thesis aims to provide an evaluation of the urban turfgrass lawn in Bengaluru that has remained unexplored from both social and environmental perspectives. The thesis investigates three specific dimensions of the socioecological lawn in Bengaluru, namely a) lawn greenhouse gas emissions of nitrous oxide (N2O) b) spatial distribution and c) their production, use and management in landscaped projects.
Using both quantitative and qualitative methodologies, I evaluate the effect of lawn fertilizer application on N2O emissions. On ascertaining that lawn fertilizer emissions are significant, I proceed to explore whether they could be a concern in Bengaluru by determining if lawn N2O levels in Bengaluru are detectable or not. On discovering that lawn N2O emissions are detectable, I examine the spatial distribution of lawns to understand the nature of lawn spaces found in the city and their transformation with respect to the city’s growth and expansion. Following this, I study the process of lawn design and installation in landscaped projects; and their subsequent use and management in residential, commercial and corporate office spaces. I thereby document and analyze lawn management practices in different types of lawns found in Bengaluru in terms of their resource use and intensity, and implications for the environment in general, and particularly for atmospheric N2O emissions.