Cataloguing & Mapping Life of India

This programme aims to catalogue and map India’s expansive life, including ecosystems and species diversity, genetic diversity, people, cultures and biodiversity management regimes. By continually synergising and updating this information, the programme sets out to identify areas of vulnerability as well as those of great promise for green economy using artificial intelligence to detect vital and informative trends in diversity.


Health Heatmap of India is an open data platform built for bringing together data from diverse sources and facilitating visualization, analysis, and insight building from such data. In this paper, we describe the context and need for such an open data platform and describe the technical aspects of building it. The beta site of the portal is available at

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A Brief History of the Next Pandemic
Vijay Chandru / BLiSC India
This session was jointly organised by NCBS and IIT-Goa, and hosted by Dr. Sreejith A.V. (IIT-Goa).
Exploration, Discovery & Genetic Characterisation of India’s Biodiversity: Addressing the Linnaean Shortfall
Biodiversity Collaborative / Biodiversity Collaborative
Book Release: Guests Who Never Left - Common Invasive Alien Plants of Peninsular India  
Biodiversity Collaborative & Nature Conservation Foundation
09 Nov 2023
The Protected Areas of Madagascar Portal was launched by the India Biodiversity Portal. This project is supported by the Critical Ecosystem…
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About Cataloguing & Mapping Life of India

In recent times, the rate at which biological information is being generated has increased several-fold due to advances in technologies such as remote sensing and sensor networks. The dynamics of complex ecosystems, essential for the resilience and sustainability of human communities, are still not fully understood. While considerable biological explorations and cataloguing has been accomplished through many years of scientific research, new species are continually being discovered all across India. Additionally, much of this information remains in silos. A comprehensive catalogue of biodiversity and its spatio-temporal distribution is essential to realise the full potential of this data as well as to address the challenges of conservation and sustainability for human well-being. In order to balance development, sustainability and conservation, an essential requirement is the availability of comprehensive and open data across the complete spectrum of biodiversity, natural resources and human populations. Integrating small and large research efforts that gather data on biodiversity and maintain distributed repositories into an open national repository will have multiplier effects on conservation, sustainable livelihoods and human well-being.

Cataloguing and Mapping Life (CML) is the centrepiece programme of the National Mission on Biodiversity and Human Well-being. The programme will develop a comprehensive database and portal for the biodiversity of India, setup pilots and operate environmental DNA sites across the country, identify biodiversity data gaps and catalogue biodiversity of such areas and serve as a data repository for all other programmes and projects of this Mission.

Over the years, there have been multiple initiatives, funded by the Government as well as non-government agencies, to catalogue and monitor biodiversity.

In addition, there are various citizen science programs such as e-Bird and SeasonWatch run by Nature Conservation Foundation (NCF); observation modules of the IBP and Biodiversity Atlas-India; the Foldscope program for microscopic life of the DBT; India Nature Watch run by citizen groups; Google Groups like the efloraofindia; various social network sites focusing on nature; and many others. Numerous teaching institutions across the country, running programs in botany and zoology, maintain teaching collections of biodiversity specimens. Finally, there are many international systems and platforms available that are relevant to the design and functioning of the CML system, such as iNaturalist, Silviaterra and Landscapeportal. Cataloguing and mapping biodiversity on a single platform will provide a mechanism to collate and publish such valuable information and bring together these numerous sources of data. The CML will build applications for integration of biodiversity information with other sectors including agriculture, food production and livelihoods; landscape restoration; ecosystem services stabilization; building climate change resilience; and facilitating movement toward evidence-driven planning for sustainable development in India. As ‘big data’ on the spatial, temporal and taxonomic characteristics of biodiversity become increasingly available, our understanding of biodiversity and its relation to human well-being in the densely populated landscapes of India will be strengthened and refined. Thus, the CML can become a global leader in biodiversity science, and in the sustainable integration of biodiversity, with human well-being.