Life on land


Forests cover nearly 31 % of our planet’s land area. The air we breathe, the water we drink, the food we eat, forests sustain us. Factors like deforestation, poaching, drought, forest fires, and soil erosion affect the balance widely. According to United Nations, life on land should protect, restore, and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, reverse degradation and halt biodiversity loss. Prominent organizations like universities play a significant role in facilitating the conservation of resources around us.

Nitte (DU) is committed to conserving and restoring terrestrial and freshwater systems, ending deforestation and restoring degraded forests, protecting biodiversity and natural habitats, identifying flora and fauna and increasing resources to conserve and use the ecosystem and biodiversity sustainably. The University has taken proactive steps by constituting a committee called the Nitte University Green Initiative Project (NUGIP) that oversees such activities on campus.

Nitte (DU) sustainable campus development project

Nitte University Green Initiative Project: The committee was constituted and the first meeting was conducted on 30 May 2017. The committee chairman is the Honourable Vice-Chancellor. Other members are the Registrar, HOIs, NSS officers, Purchase officer, Estate Manager, Faculty members from Constituent Institutions, and external experts such as Environmental Officers from the pollution control board and environmentalists. The Nitte University Green Initiative Project functions through a committee that forms NSS groups. The members collaborate with faculty and students to tirelessly work to preserve our sustainable ecosystem. Their mode of functioning includes creating awareness through outreach programmes, Vruksha Bhandhan, planting a tree on your birthday, Vanamahotsava, Swachh Bharath, awareness programs, nature camps, organizing field trips: Ayurveda, and tree adoption programs to name a few.

Plant a tree on your birthday

Planting a sapling on birthdays is like leaving something memorable for the campus community and one can enjoy that excitement whenever one visits the campus later in life. Birthdays can be made memorable, and we can improve the biodiversity of the university campus. Behalf of the Nitte University Green Initiative Project (NUGIP) started “Plant a Tree on Your Birthday” on the KSHEMA campus for the teaching staff. The first sapling shares its birthday with Prof. Dr Satheesh Kumar Bhandary, Dean, KSHEMA and Prof. Dr Sukanya Shetty, HOD, Biochemistry. Dr Jayaprakash Shetty, Registrar KSHEMA, Dr Smitha Hegde, NUGIP Co-ordinator; Dr Sumalatha Shetty, NSS Co- ordinator, Mr Shashi Kumar Shetty, NUGIP Green Officer (KSHEMA Campus), Dr Nanjesh and Dr Sachin, NSS Program Officer were present on the event.

Regular planting drives are conducted to maintain a clean green campus. Reference made by the committee is employed in the new developmental plans of the University. The University campus holds regular air and water quality testing to confirm the availability of healthy water and air. The tests are conducted by an independent agency and validated. All parameters tested are well within the permissible limits. Thus clean air and water supply are maintained on campus

Tree Adoption
The Students of Nitte University Centre for Science Education and Research practice tree adoption. Undergraduate student volunteers have adopted several trees on campus. They ensure proper watering and care during the dry months of summer. Weak saplings are preferred for adoption over healthy trees.

Kitchen and Garden Terrace

Nitte Institute of Architecture has developed a kitchen garden and a terrace garden to educate the students on the design of urban horticultural practices. The kitchen garden has several vegetable crops, and the terrace garden has over 50 fruit trees such as Figs, Jamoon, Chikoo, Guava, Mango, Lemon etc.

Indoor plants

The AB Shetty Memorial Institute of Dental Sciences is on the University Campus. Although this campus has little green cover compared to Paneer or Medical College campus, they have a good practice that targets improving indoor air quality. Every common room has indoor plants which are well tended and provide healthy oxygen-rich air and reduce the carbon-di-oxide released by the human occupants. The Institute has always supported the concept of Clean City Green City in college through various initiatives.

University Campus
Nitte University campus is spread over four sites, 150.49 acres. These beautiful campuses house diverse flora and fauna. Out of which, the 90 bird species recorded and surveys were submitted to maintained by The Cornell Lab of Ornithology, 159 Sapsucker Woods Rd. Ithaca, NY 14850. Nitte University campus has approximately 1605 herbal plants, woody shrubs, and trees. It has been the result of a continuous ongoing tree planting programme. A tree audit was conducted over six months. GIS tagging of the entire population of trees on campus is attempted. Local trees have a good representation on the campus.

1) University administration and hospital campus

It has a well-designed garden with several flowering trees, water fountains, and lawns. The quaint temple at the entrance also maintains a rose garden which adds cheer and colour to the hospital campus. The pathways are also offered with stone benches for resting under the floral canopy and enjoying the view of the water fountain.

2) Paneer Campus

It is away from the hustle and bustle of traffic. It has the Nitte Gulabi Shetty Memorial Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Nitte University Centre for Science Education and Research, Nitte Institute of Architecture, Nitte Institute of Communication, and Nitte Usha Institute of Nursing Sciences. New buildings have sky- lit open spaces inside the building for availing natural light. A football ground-sized playground with a lawn is maintained to support student sports activities on campus. The campus also has two well-maintained herbal gardens with a rich representation of native medicinal plants. This campus also houses the Girl’s hostel of the University, a centralized kitchen, and a Sewage Treatment Plant (STP). 24% of the Paneer campus has a green cover that houses 725 trees and woody shrubs.

3) KSHEMA Campus and Hostels
This campus has the K.S. Hegde Medical Academy, Nitte Institute of Physiotherapy, a well-equipped gymnasium, and separate hostels for boys and girls. The Medical Academy building has large inner spaces. This internal quadrangle space provides fresh air and light. It even accommodates quaint indoor gardens, which enhances the ambience. The students avail themselves of a well-maintained football ground facility on the campus for their everyday recreational and sports activities. The avenues are lined with native flowering trees which support the bird and butterfly populations of the region. The campus also has a medicinal plants garden with trees and herbs used in plant-based medicines. The green cover extends to 24.3% of the campus, with 939 trees and woody shrubs.

4) New NU Campus

India has pledged in the Paris Agreement 2015 to reduce emissions by 30-35% below the 2005 emission intensity of GDP by 2030. Hence aligning with the eight missions identified under National Action Plan for Climate Change, the following fundamental concepts have been considered in the campus master planning process: Micro Climate Modifications, Efficient Water Cycle; Clean Energy; Ecological and Biodiversity Enhancement. All the strategies mentioned above are planned to work within a fabric of dedicated ecological niches, namely the bio-conservation island, forest corridors, riparian edges, and deeper water ecosystem. These niches aim to protect, enhance and develop a rich and self-sustaining ecosystem that plays a small but crucial role in regional and global carbon sequestration.

NITTE (DU) Green Audit
The Nitte University campus was assessed for the biodiversity of birds, trees, amphibians, and butterflies, and the findings are as follows. Ninety-three species of birds were spotted and recorded on surveys conducted in 2020. A book of birds was published in 2020 that carries the QR codes for the audio sounds of the birds.

Butterflies are indicators of balanced habitat. The presence of plants and shrubs has encouraged an excellent butterfly population on campus. These plants not only play a role in their diet but also are responsible for the completion of

the life cycle of many of the detected species of butterflies. Nine were well documented.

Nitte University campus is home to nine species of frogs: They are found in moist, vegetation-rich, undistributed regions of the campus. A more detailed study is needed to identify and screen the amphibian campus population.

Nitte University campus has approximately 1932 herbal plants, woody shrubs, and trees. Local trees have a good representation on the campus. The plantation drive ensures that flowering trees are planted along the roads and avenues while fruit trees are planted along the boundary and behind the buildings.

Programmes Conducted
1. Bird enthusiasts and students spot 86 species on the Nitte University campus between 12th and 15th February 2021.

Nitte (Deemed to be University) participated actively in the national event of Campus Bird Count – 2021, organized by Bird Count India in collaboration with eBird (The Cornell Lab of Ornithology).

The event was conducted with enthusiasm and passion from 12th to 15th February 2021. During the four-day bird count, bird enthusiasts and Nitte University students & faculty conducted a systematic survey at Paneer and K S Hegde Medical Academy campus. Besides

the resident and frequently observed birds, some delightful migratory winter visitors such as Purple sunbird, Long-billed sunbird, Blyth’s reed warbler, Booted eagle, Ashy Drongo and Indian Pitta were sighted. Night birding was fruitful in spotting a few nocturnal birds, such as Barn Owls and Indian Nightjar. This year’s annual event records sighting 86 species of birds on campus, which is a progressive improvement compared to 56 species in 2020. The birding was open to the public. Prof. (Dr) Sateesh Kumar Bhandary, Vice Chancellor, Nitte DU and expert birders from NUCSER, NUINS led the birdwatchers from other Nitte institutions consisting of doctors, PhD, PG & UG students and several nature enthusiasts from Mangalore city.

2) NUCSER Students Visited Animal Care Centre on 16 February 2021.
About 40 NSS volunteers participated in this event, accompanied by Dr Rama Adiga, NSS Coordinator of the Institute. It was an excellent experience for the volunteers to have a first-hand experience of how the staff at the Centre looks after the sick and injured animals and how their selfless acts bring them back to life. Many of the animals are given by the Trust free of cost to people who are willing to adopt pets. The shelter is also actively involved with the Government in implementing animal birth control programs and vaccination of community animals.

3) World Environment Day, 5 June 2021:

Prof (Dr) Smitha Hegde, Member Secretary, NUGIP, organized the event. On this occasion, Prof (Dr) Shastry C S, Principal, NGSM Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences; Prof (Dr) Fatima D’Silva, Principal, Nitte Usha Institute of Nursing Sciences; Prof. Vinod Aranha, Director, Nitte Institute of Architecture and Prof (Dr) Anirban Chakraborty, Director, Nitte University Centre for Science Education & Research planted trees in Paneer campus.

4) NIPT and NISH celebrated World Environment Day on 5 June 2021.
World Environment Day was celebrated at the Nitte Institute of Physiotherapy (NIPT) on 5 June 2021 at the Institute premises.

The theme for 2021 is ‘Restoration of Ecosystem - Reimagine. Recreate. Restore’ events such as installing the Pot Compost Unit and Bird Feeder Units were held.

Dr Dhanesh Kumar K U, Principal, NIPT, installed the ‘Pot Compost Unit’ and Dr Saumya Srivastava, IQAC Coordinator, NIPT, explained the methods of segregating, recycling, and composting organic waste.

Following this, Bird Feeder Units were placed adjacent to the college building. All the teaching and non-teaching faculty of NIPT were present. Ms Shilna Rani P, Assistant Professor, coordinated the event.

5) Farmers Day Celebration, 27 December 2021.
The NSS UNIT AND Nitte University Green Initiative Project (NUGIP) unit of ABShetty Memorial Institute of Dental sciences celebrated NATIONAL FARMERS DAY 2021 (23.12.2021) by planting six saplings at KSHEMA Garden Campus on 27.12.2021. Pro Vice-Chancellor Prof (Dr.) M.S Moodithaya, Nitte DU, was the chief guest for the occasion. Mr Madhav Ullal was the guest of honour. Principal and Dean Prof (Dr) U.S Krishna Nayak, Vice Principal Prof (Dr) Mithra N Hegde and NSS Programme officers and Volunteers were present.

Outreach Programme
Prof.Dr. Smitha Hegde was the Moderator of the National webinar on “Western Ghats: Past, Present and Future. “Prof Dr Madhav Gadgil spoke on the topic organized by the Department of Political Science, St. Aloysius College, Mangalore, on 28 October 2021. Was the guest speaker at the Kudremukh wildlife division: Shola Forest Festival Workshop on 17 November 2021 and spoke on the topic of “Ferns and forest fires”.

Research Publications
  • Pukar Khanal, Taaza Duyu, B. M. Patil, Yadu Nandan Dey, Ismail Pasha, Rohini S. Kavalapure, Sharad Chand, Shailendra Gurav. Screening of JAK-STAT modulators from the antiviral plants of Indian traditional system of medicine with the potential to inhibit 2019 novel coronavirus using network pharmacology.. 3 Biotech. 2021 Mar; 11(3): 119. Published online 2021 Feb 8. DOI: 10.1007/s13205-021-02664-4
  • Shaiesh Morajkar, Smitha Hegde. DNA Barcoding Identifies a Potential New Ecotype of Chinese Brake Fern, Pteris vittata L. Nano. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, India, Section B: biological sciences 2021 v.91 no.2 pp. 335-341.
  • Roshni Pulukkunadu Thekkeveedu & Smitha Hegde (2021), In vitro spore germination and phytoremediation of Hg and Pb using gametophytes of Pityrogramma calomelanos, International Journal of Phytoremediation, 23:3, 307-315, DOI: 10.1080/15226514.2020.1813075
  • Shaiesh Morajkar, Smitha Hegde. Biodiversity, richness and spatial distribution of extant Pteridophytes in Kudremukh National Park, Western Ghats, India. Plant science today, 2021, Vol 8(4): 848-858. DOI:10.14719/ pst.2021.8.4.1057

PhD Awarded 2021
  • Investigation and development of Centella asiatica with nano vasicular systems for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease – Mr Srinivas Hebbar, guided by Dr Akhilesh Dubey
  • Combined effects of E. Jambolana and C. zeylanicum extract in insulin resistance associated structural and functional hepatic changes in high fructose-fed rats -Dr. MHRK Gupatha Bayya, guided by Dr Sachidananda Adiga M N
  • Pharmacognostic & phytochemical investigation of Exacum bicolor roxb and screening of some biological activities - Dr Rajisha K, guided by Dr Jennifer Fernandes