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Deterioration of World Heritage Cave Monument of Ajanta, India: Insights to Important Biological Agents and Environment Friendly Solutions

National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (CSIR-NEERI), Nehru Marg, Nagpur 440020, India
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Heritage 2019, 2(3), 2545-2554; https://doi.org/10.3390/heritage2030156
Received: 1 July 2019 / Revised: 15 August 2019 / Accepted: 20 August 2019 / Published: 30 August 2019
Heritage monuments across the world are affected by a variety of physical and biological stresses. Damage to heritage monuments due to insects and pests is growing with increasing anthropogenic pressure and changing climatic conditions. Cave monuments are habitats to microbes, algae, fungi, and insects, and are unique biodiversity sites due to their low temperature, little to no sunlight, and high moisture conditions. This study takes stock of available information on important factors that facilitate the growth of insect pests and degrade heritage monuments. Ajanta Caves, a UNESCO world heritage site in India, is a human marvel, important archaeological and heritage site of immense cultural and historic values. The present paper is an attempt to understand a variety of stresses and factors with a focus on insect pests that have substantially affected Ajanta cave paintings in the last few decades. The study also provides information on available approaches for damage control including the need for an integrated insect pest management for protecting cave monuments against rapid degradation across the country in general and Ajanta caves in particular. A light-based approach is the key highlight of the study that can be used as an effective and efficient approach to protect archaeological sites especially cave paintings from insect pests without disturbing the pollinator diversity and surrounding environment. View Full-Text
Keywords: heritage monuments; Ajanta caves; light-based control; heritage; pollinators; pest control heritage monuments; Ajanta caves; light-based control; heritage; pollinators; pest control
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Singh, S.; Dhyani, S.; Kokate, P.; Chakraborty, S.; Nimsadkar, S. Deterioration of World Heritage Cave Monument of Ajanta, India: Insights to Important Biological Agents and Environment Friendly Solutions. Heritage 2019, 2, 2545-2554.

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