7

RESEARCH


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Environmental Research

The main objectives of the Environmental Research Programme (ERP) are is to develop strategies, database, technologies and methodologies to provide necessary inputs for conservation of nature and natural resources, restoration of degraded ecosystems and environment protection.

Research projects are funded in multidisciplinary aspects of environment management at various universities, research and development institutions and reputed non-governmental organizations of the country. These are supported under the following main schemes:

The MAB Programme is an inter-disciplinary programme of research, which emphasizes inter-relationship between man and the environment, and seeks to generate needed scientific knowledge to manage the natural resources in a sustainable manner. A coordinated Research Project on Ethnobiology, undertaken in the programme, is generating and documenting the multidimensional perspectives of tribal life, culture, traditions and their impact on environment. During the year, 14 new projects were sanctioned and 18 research projects were completed. Forty-four research projects remained operational.

The ERP covers chemical, bio-chemical and engineering investigations, technology development for waste minimization, waste recycling, resource recovery, effluent treatment and other environment management studies. During the year, 17 research projects were completed and 25 new ones have been launched. Forty-five ongoing projects continued to be serviced and monitored. A major Coordinated programme on Medicinal Plants is being formulated. The Action-oriented Research Programme for Eastern and Western Ghats addressed itself to location specific problems of country. The Eastern and Western Ghat regions are being given special focus in view of their fragility and over exploitation of natural resources. The main focus of this programme is on biological diversity, land-use, agriculture and environment including animal husbandry, impact of developmental activities on drinking water resources, human-nature interactions, tribal, rural and urban issues related to environment, carrying capacity and habitat fragmentation. Two co-ordinated programmes viz. one on Mapping Biological Diversity in Eastern and Western Ghats and the other on Tree- borne non-edible oil seeds have been formulated. Six new research projects have been sanctioned, ten were complete and sixteen on-going ones were reviewed.

Schemewise lists of research projects sanctioned and completed during 1998-99 are given in Annexures III & IV.

Thus, under the research programmes, a total of 45 projects were completed, 45 were started and 112 were serviced and monitored for their progress, during the year.

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Highlights of some Completed Projects

Man and Biosphere Programme

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Utilisation pattern of wild plants by tribals of India

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Environment Research Programme

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Research Programme on Eastern and Western Ghats

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World Bank Project

Under the Environment Management Capacity Building Technical Assistance Project funded by the World Bank and being implemented by the Ministry, a sub-component on Environmental Research is also included. The main objectives of the Environmental Research sub-component are as follows :

Major activities proposed to achieve these objectives are as follows :

An advisory Committee has been constituted to guide and monitor the activities of the sub- component. The equipments to be procured have been identified and are being procured. The consultants to review and prepare the Environment Research Management Plan have been short- listed.

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United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)

India is a party to the UNFCCC. The objective of this multilateral treaty is stabilisation of the greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at levels that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system. The convention enjoins upon the parties to implement commitments contained in the various provisions of the Convention. As per the existing commitments, India is not required to adopt any reduction and limitation of the greenhouse gas emissions.

During the year (1998-99) negotiations continued. The meetings of the Subsidiary Bodies of the Convention viz. Subsidiary Body on Implementation (SBI) and Subsidiary Body on Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA) were held in June 1998. The meetings were attended by officials of the Ministries of Environment and Forests and External Affairs.

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Fourth Conference of Parties

The Fourth Conference of Parties (COP) to the FCCC was held in Buenos Aires, Argentina during November 1998. A delegation to the Conference was led by Minister (E&F), in which Secretary (E & F) and officials of the Ministries of Environment and Forests and of External Affairs participated.

The Conference considered various issues relating to implementation of the commitments by the Parties under the UNFCCC and issues relating to the flexible mechanisms contained in the Kyoto Protocol to the FCCC. Among the salient issues under the FCCC were the issues relating to the review of adequacy of commitments by the developed countries. The developed countries insisted on participation of developing countries to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions. The developing countries, on the other hand, opposed any participation of developing countries in reduction commitments. Inclusion of an agenda item on voluntary commitments for the developing countries for discussion at the Conference had to be dropped in view of the opposition by a number of developing countries, including India.

Another issue which engaged the attention of the Conference related to devising a work programme on the Kyoto Protocol mechanisms namely Clean Development Mechanism (Article 12), Article 6 Projects and Emission Trading (Article 17). The controversy on the matter related to an early finalization of the work programme insisted upon by the developed countries. On the other hand the developing countries emphasized consideration of principles, rules and modalities besides methodological and technical matters as a prerequisite to identifying a work programme. The work programme on each of the Kyoto Protocol mechanisms at this stage consists of an inventory of subjects under the categories viz. Basic issues, methodological/technical issues, Process issues and institutional issues. The debate on the subject was inconclusive and the future COP would continue to deliberate on the same.

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Inter Governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)

The IPCC is an inter governmental scientific body set up by the United Nations Environment Programme and the World Meteorological Organisation to prepare periodic Scientific and Technical Assessments on various aspects of Climate Change such as its science, impacts, mitigation, adaptation and socio-economic issues. The fourteenth Session of the IPCC was held during October 1998 in Vienna. India participated in the meeting. The Session considered and adopted the scope and contents of the Third Assessment Report (TAR) to be brought out by the IPCC in the year 2001.

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Asia Least Cost, Greenhouse Gas Abatement Strategy (ALGAS) Project

India has participated in the ALGAS project, which was funded by the Global Environment Facility and implemented by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the UNDP. Besides India, 11 Asian Countries viz. Bangladesh, Indonesia, DPR of Korea, Republic of Korea, Mongolia, Myanmar, Pakistan, China, Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam also participated in the study.

The project has been completed in India. The work was undertaken by the Tata Energy Research Institute (TERI), New Delhi and the National Physical Laboratory (NPL), New Delhi. Under the project national greenhouse gas inventories (1990 levels) by sources and removals by sinks have been prepared for sectors such as power generation, transport, agriculture, forestry and land use change, industry, residential and commercial. The study has also identified potential mitigation options and chalked out a possible least cost abatement strategy.

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Working Group on UNFCCC

Two meetings of the Working Group on UNFCCC constituted by the Ministry were held on August 11, 1998 and October 26, 1998 to discuss the various Climate Change related issues and other substantive issues under UNFCCC. At these meetings, issues before the Conference of Parties to the UNFCCC and areas of work requiring further work inter alia Clean Development Mechanism, Emission Trading and Article 6 projects under the Kyoto Protocol to UNFCCC were discussed.

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A glass house and mist chamber at Kattarmal for control condition experiments

Task Group on Activities Implemented Jointly (AIJ)

The Ministry has constituted a Task Group of AIJ a mechanism under the UNFCCC in the pilot phase, which facilitates participation of both developed and developing countries to jointly undertake projects to meet the objective of stabilisation of greenhouse gases. The Task Group on AIJ met on December 22, 1997 and February 4, 1998 to consider and scrutinize the proposals received under the ambit of AIJ criteria. Following projects have been recommended by the Task Group:

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Tissue culture of Aconitum sp. - a medicinal plant of high value

G.B. Pant Institute of Himalayan Environment and Development

Established in 1988 as an autonomous Institute of the Ministry, G.B. Pant Institute of Himalayan Environment and Development (GBPIHED) has emerged as a focal agency to advance scientific knowledge, to evolve integrated management strategies, demonstrate their efficacy for conservation of natural resources and to ensure environmentally sound development in the entire Indian Himalayan Region (IHR).

The recently completed campus of the Headquarters at Kosi-Katarmal has become fully functional. Of its four Units (Sikkim, North East, Garhwal & Himachal), the campus infrastructure of Himachal Unit has been completed at Mohal, Kullu and work has started at Panthang for the Sikkim Unit. The 8th Pt. G.B. Pant Memorial Lecture was delivered by Prof. Vinod K. Gaur on Mitigating Disasters in the Himalaya: A Basic Agenda for Development during the Annual Day Function held on November 30, 1998 at Mohal, Himachal Pradesh.

An inventory of Indian Himalayan medicinal plant species has resulted in the identification of 1748 species belonging to angiosperms (1685 spp), gymnosperms (12 spp) and pteridophytes (51 spp). The identified plants have been analyzed for diversity, distribution and utilization patterns. The available secondary data has been analysed for setting up conservation priorities in the timberline zone of west Himalaya. Peoples participation programme in biodiversity conservation has been reoriented as per response of target groups. The Sikkim biodiversity & ecotourism project has focused on environmentally sound practices for generating economic incentives to conserve biological diversity. The efficacy of resource use & economic returns for biosphere management has been tested through cultivation of medicinal plants in buffer zone villages of Nanda Devi Biosphere Reserve.

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Inside view of a glass house for cultivation of medicinal plants

Based on the primary survey and existing information, the Institute has formulated and demonstrated an eco-friendly alternative landuse model in order to accomplish optimal land utilization and sustainability. Training, interaction & demonstrations of eco-friendly techniques, eg., biocomposting, polypits, polyponds, protected cultivation and use of hedge rows, etc., have enhanced awareness of the farmers and helped enhance their economy.

The study of high altitude transhumance in a number of Himalayan states has helped in the documentation of indigenous knowledge and practices of cattle breeding and livestock management strategies and ethnobotanical uses.

The Institute has taken a modest initiative in Mountain Risk Engineering (MRE) using locally available resources and biological/simple low cost physical measures. Various demonstration sites have been developed in villages and a workshop held to address the issues of hill slope instabilities. In view of the declining water sources, the Institute has promoted spring sanctuary development , as an approach and initiatives taken in a remote watershed in Garhwal have resulted in increased summer water discharge in nearly extinct streams.

A detailed study on the Rajis or Van-Rawats, a socially and economically under-developed tribal community with continuously dwindling population in the Central Himalaya region has helped understand the ethnological, socio-economic and demographic behaviour of the tribe. The study assumes importante as it covers the entire tribe, i.e., all families and populations.

Microbial inoculates developed and demonstrated for yield improvement in selected crops have been tested in other species and potentially useful microbes have been identified. Studies are continuing on rhizosphere microbiology of Himalayan plants for isolation, purification, maintenance and screening of cultures of the Himalayan region. Large scale propagation or selected plants using conventional and biotechnological techniques was continued and in vitro propagation protocols have been established for tea, malu, maggar, ringal, butter tree and some medicinal plants. Hardening and acclimatization of in vitro propagated plants has been improved plant growth cabinets and a glass house facility.

Under Integrated Eco-development Research Programme, GBPIHED funded projects to various organizations located in the Indian Himalayan Region and the results of completed projects have been widely disseminated.

The Institute has utilized the strengths of Geographical Information System and Remote Sensing technology for the assessment of biodiversity, analysis of landuse, land cover changes and resources management under different programmes. A Global Positioning System (GPS) has been established (in collaboration with Indian Institute of Astrophysics and Centre for Mathematical Modelling, Bangalore) in the Katarmal Campus; it aims at quantifying the rate of ground movement across the various tectonic boundaries in Kumaon Himalaya.

A number of training programmes, workshops and seminars were organized during the year, viz., Peoples participation in Mountain Risk Engineering; a three day on-site programme on nursery development, plantation techniques and natural resources conservation and management in Chessa, Arunachal Pradesh; PARDYP mid-term workshop for participants from China, Nepal, Pakistan and India; workshop planning & development in North-East at Itanagar; Farmers field school cum-training to provide simple and low-cost technologies for the development of rural ecosystem; Summer Programme for students from Canadian Universities; workshop on Himalayan medicinal plants: potential and prospects; training workshop on peoples participation in Himalayan biodiversity conservation and farmer to farmer training on medicinal plant cultivation in a remote buffer zone village of Nanda Devi Bioisphere Reserve. This year the World Environment Day was celebrated as a day with the students and the students from schools and colleges were familiarized with the Institute activities.

The Scientists of the Institute participated in the Panchachuli multi-dimensional expedition and Directorate of UP Tourism Hills, Dehradun and O.S.D. Adventure Tourism Hills, Almora, U.P., on-site exposure on bio-engineering in Nepal; Temperate Asia pasture & fodder network/working group meeting at Nepal and also presented findings in many national and international symposia/conferences.

In addition to regular publications namely Hima Paryavaran & Envis Bulletin (both biannually) and Annual Report, four important publications viz., Medicinal Plants of India Himalaya: Diversity Distribution Potential Values, Perspectives for Planning & Development in North-East India, Research for Mountain Development: Some Initiatives & Accomplishments and Biosphere Reserves & Management in India.

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Sea cucumber from Gulf of Mannar

Research on Biosphere Reserves, Wetlands and Mangroves

Biosphere Reserves

Research activities under the Biosphere Reserves Programme are overseen by a Specific Advisory Committee. During the year several new research projects have been sanctioned. The list of sanctioned projects is given in Annexure III.

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Details of Research Activities under NRCP

The thrust of the research activities under the National River Conservation Plan (NRCP) is on scheme specific and site specific research which could be directly utilised in the implementation and assessment of the efficacy of the schemes taken up under the action plan or result in improvement in water quality of river.

A cost effective sewage treatment technology through aquaculture has been developed at the Central Institute for Fresh Water Aquaculture (CIFA), Bhubaneshwar. The technology requires no/low energy components and yields rich resource recovery besides requiring lesser land as compared to various versions of pond system of sewage treatment. This technology has been developed in field scale by utilising the sewage of Cuttack (Bhubaneshwar). In order to standardise the technology for different agro-climatic conditions, it is proposed to set up a treatment facility using this technology at Phillaur (Punjab) at least one town each of NRCP states.

The stretch-wise research projects undertaken for bio-conservation and bio-monitoring of the river Ganga using indicator species approach were completed during the year. The findings of these projects are being compiled and synthesized for necessary follow-up action by the concerned State Governments and institutions. A manuscript for publication of results is under preparation.

Based on the recommendations on the studies on optimisation of bio-gas production, conducted in collaboration with the Ministry of Non-Conventional Energy Sources, the State Government of Uttar Pradesh is negotiating co-funding of biogas packages in the sewage treatment plants, which are currently under construction at Kanpur and Allahabad.

To identify economically viable and technically feasible solutions for controlling the microbial pollution, experimental work has been completed in the research projects using UV Radiation, Gamma Radiation and Chlorination. The experimental work on biological control using rotifer for reducing the bacterial load in the treated sewage, is still continuing. On completion of these research projects, the results would be evaluated to find cost effective and feasible solutions for controlling the microbial pollution.

The Central Pollution Control Board in collaboration with the pollution control boards of the coastal States has initiated surveys and studies to assess the actual pollution load in the 26 medium and minor rivers in the States of Goa, Tamil Nadu, Gujarat, Kerala, Orissa and Karnataka. While the studies for the States of Kerala and Goa have been completed, the others are still to submit their reports. Similar proposals from Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra are likely to be taken up shortly.

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Effect of seed moisture content on the germination in S. cumini

Forestry Research

Indian Council of Forestry Research and Education (ICFRE), Dehradun

Indian Council of Forestry Research and Education (ICFRE) has been created to formulate, organize, direct and manage forestry research, transfer the technologies developed to States and other user agencies; and impart forestry education. The objectives of the Council are :

The council has eight research institutes and three advanced centres in various parts of the country to cater to the research needs of different biogeographical regions of the nation. These are located at Dehra Dun, Shimla, Allahabad, Ranchi, Jorhat, Jabalpur, Chhindwara, Jodhpur, Hyderabad, Bangalore, and Coimbatore.

Highlights of the research activities undertaken and research findings made by the Council and its Institute during the year are as follows :

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Pholiota sp. - a mushroom growing on rotton wood

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Didymocarpus repens Bedd - an endemic herb in evergreen forests

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Externally Aided Projects of ICFRE

UNDP-ICFRE Project on Strengthening and Development of ICFRE

The State forest departments have been provided technical know-how through closer interaction between ICFRE scientists and the implementing field agencies in maintaining 10,000 hectare of seed production areas of various multipurpose tree species and 50000 plus trees identified in different forest types distributed all over the country. Demonstration trainings in collection of quality seeds from seed production areas and superior planting material production by improved methods of biotechnology have been provided to state forest departments. During the year, 116 foresters, NGOs and farmers have been given training in identification and inoculation of VAM and Rhizobia. Similarly, 978 foresters, 373 NGOs and 1172 farmers have been trained in Seed Technology and Plantation Management.

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ICFRE-NABARD Project for Development of Agroforestry Models in Various Agro-Ecological Regions of India

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World Bank Assisted Forestry Research, Education and Extension (FREE) Project

During the year the following achievements have been made :

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ICFRE-IDRC Research Project on Himalaya Ecorehabilitation

The assessment of the extent of degradation through GIS technique, review of policy issues in the participating countries and preparation of socio-economic profile of the study area were done in some parts of the Himalaya. Studies in mined lands, particularly in Himachal Pradesh, were given higher priority. Socio-economically viable technology packages were tested for rehabilitation and integrated development and sustainable management projects in the mine affected mini-watershed of Mussoorie were implemented.

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IDRC/INBAR Project on Bamboo Agroforestry Technology For Degraded Lands

The major activities during the year were raising of agricultural intercrops both in Rabi and Kharif besides maintaining the rapidly growing bamboos through watering, weeding, soil mounding etc. Soil samples were collected and analysed for various properties. Infection of VAM on soil spores and roots of bamboos were also studied and analysed. Bamboo-niger, bamboo-soyabean, Bamboo-mustard, Bamboo-wheat, bamboo-urad, and bamboo-arhar models were developed. Major thrust has been on assessment of impact of these models on the ecological and socio-economic conditions.

These models have attracted local farmers, Bansods (bamboo craftsmen) and people in general. The technology developed was appreciated by land owners for large scale adoption of the bamboo agroforestry system on degraded agricultural lands.

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IDRC Project on Survey, Cultivation and Extension of Some Rare Medicinal Plants of North-Western Himalaya

Under this project, survey work for natural distribution of Taxus baccata, Picrorrhiza kurroa, and Nardostachya jatamansi was carried out in Garhwal region of U.P. Collection of germplasm was carried out in Garhwal region of U.P. and some localities of J&K and H.P. Propagation trials of Nardostachys jatamansi and Picrorrhiza kurroa were also carried out simultaneously in the laboratory. Extraction of Kutkin and essential oil from Picrorrhiza kurroa and Nardostachya jatamansi from Garhwal Hills was also done.

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International Neem Network Project

In India, International Neem provenance trials were laid under the project in 1996 by Arid Forest Research Institute (AFRI), Jodhpur, Tropical Forest Research Institute (TFRI), Jabalpur & Institute of Forest Genetics and Tree Breeding (IFGTB), Coimbatore. During the year, the internationally adopted guidelines and reporting formats were used by the three ICFRE Institutes to record and analyse the information of the trials.

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Conservation of Indigenous Poplars in India

Extensive surveys on the occurrence of Populus ciliata, and P. gamblei were undertaken in Arunachal Pradesh. Surveys have been carried out in areas of Uttarkashi Forest Division, Pithoragarh, Almora and Nainital Forest Division in U.P. hills during the year. A proposal for continuing the activity for further five years is being prepared.

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ICFRE Ford Foundation Project on Productivity Enhancement Management for People's Participation

The project is being implemented by TFRI, Jabalpur and Forest Research Institute (FRI), Dehra Dun. Three site identified for studies are located at Jabalpur in M.P., Sambalpur in Orissa, and Yamuna Nagar in Haryana. Socio-economic studies of the villages identified under the project have been completed using Participatory Rural Appraisal (PRA) and Rapid Rural Appraisal (RRA) techniques.

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Indian Institute of Forest Management (IIFM), Bhopal

Established in 1982, the IIFM is an autonomous organisation of the Ministry. The activities of the IIFM are of four fold: education, training, research and consultancy related to forest management. During the year, thirteen research projects were taken up by the IIFM. The activities carried out under the FAO sponsored Forest, Trees, and People Programme (FTPP) are case studies related to self initiative for bio diversity conservation and utilisation, community initiative for village development, collaborative forest fire management as well as collaborative research.

(More details on IIFM are given in Chapter-8)

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Indian Plywood Industries Research and Training Institute (IPIRTI), Bangalore

Indian Plywood Industries Research and Training Institute, (IPIRTI) an autonomous Research and Development Organisation of the Ministry is a premier Institution engaged in pursuing R & D on plywood and training activities on Mechanical Wood Industries Technology. The Institute has excellent facilities for carrying out research as well as imparting training to the aspirants, thereby generating trained human resource for wood based panel industry. IPIRTI plays a catalytic role on the effective utilization of research results to maximize productivity and keeping the industry informed about latest development that are taking place. IPIRTI conducts Seminars, Workshops and brings Industries to a common platform to share the knowledge and their experience. IPIRTI also undertakes consultancy projects. At present there are six consultancy projects under progress. A national seminar on Processing and Utilization of Plantation Timbers and Bamboos was held during July 23-24, 1998.

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Bamboo mat corrugated sheet

The R and D activities of IPIRTI focussed on the following areas :

(Details of training and expension activities of IPIRTI are given in Chapter-8)

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Male weaver bird on nest

Wildlife Research

Wildlife Institute of India (WII), Dehradun

WII conducts research on the ecological, biological, socio-economic and managerial aspects of wildlife conservation in various parts of the country. The research projects generate valuable scientific data, help evolve study techniques relevant to the Indian ground condition, and also create a group of trained field biologists, socio-economist and wildlife managers. The scientific information generated is utilised for management of protected areas. A Training Research and Academic Council (TRAC) consisting of 23 members was set up in 1996 and this Council examines and approves project proposals to ensure that these conform to the national conservation priorities.

The following research projects are on-going:

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Collaborative Project with US Forest Service

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Collaborative project with Institute of Terrestrial Ecology

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Consultancy Projects

Forestry Research Education and Extension Project (FREEP) at Great Himalayan National Park (GHNP)

The ongoing research project of WII at GHNP is a part of FREEP being funded by World Bank. This project was initiated in 1994 by Himachal Pradesh Department of Forest Farming and Conservaxtion (HPDFFC). A research proposal entitled An Ecological Study of the conservation for Biodiversity and Biotic Pressures in GHNP was drafted by the Institute through discussions amongst inhouse faculty, researchers, consultants, park management, NGOs and the local communities. Considering that the ecodevelopment for biodiversity conservation is an ongoing and dynamic process, several research studies have been initiated simultaneously. The results from different tasks being pursued by saven researchers duly supervised by concerned faculty have made a significant headway.

As per the request of park management, a number of programmes have been initiated during this year. These include Training Workshops for Capacity Building (Workshops on Ecodevelopment Microplanning and Biological Monitoring for Frontline Staff and Ecodevelopment volunteers already conducted and three such programmes for staff and other stakeholders proposed during this year), building training materials to support inhouse trainers of GHNP and firming up of additional projects on survey of lower plants and animals, ecotourism and community organisation.

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Madhya Pradesh Forestry Project (MPFP) Curriculum Design for Frontline Staff in Protected Areas of MPFP

A team of faculty members drawn from wildlife Management, Wildlife Extension and Ecodevelopment Planning Cell took up this assignment. This assignment which is seen as a critical step in building strengthen inhouse competence within the frontline staff of MPFD, carried out the need assessment, evolved competencies from a comprehensive need assessment and carried out the development of performance standards and development of course structure and learning resources to help the trainees achieve competence against the agreed standards. The implementation of the curriculum with the help of inhouse trainers under the technical guidance of WII has already started at Bandhavgarh as a pilot programme. WII faculty provides inputs in different training modules.

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India-Ecodevelopment Project under GEF

In the background of the work carried out during last 2 years, through a series of workshops in different sites as well as at Dehradun, final reports on (i) Strategy for Updating Management Plans for India Ecodevelopment Project Sites (ii) Research Strategy for Protected Area Management and (iii) EIA of four GEF Project sites were prepared and submitted to the Government of India.

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Impact Zone Assessment Around Panna National Park

This project given to WII by MPFD under MPEP is aimed at identifying the impact zone of the park including quantification of various impacts and suggest strategies to mitigate these impacts. The project is also supposed to suggest strategies of linking developmental programmes of other departments with the ecodevelopment initiatives of the park. Making use of the inhouse capabilities of the frontline staff village survey work has been carried out using this human resource after their capacity building through training workshops. The project is likely to be completed by April 1999.

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Collaborative Projects

GOI-UNDP Project- Strengthening Wildlife Management and Ecodevelopment Planning Capabilities

Based on the experiences of intial project, and following recommendations of evaluation mission of UNDP, (November 1996), a preparatory assistance mission was fielded to develop a proposal for implemenetation of one or two model plans. The Mission prepared a Sub- Programme Support Document on Wildlife Protected Area Management after field consultations. It was approved in principle by project steering committee of UNDP in March 1998. The UNDP assistance under the sub-pogramme is being sought for funding certain key activities as part of one model PA plan implementation. To support the processes that strongly contribute over all effectiveness for conservation within the State Wildlife agencies, yet another proposal under GEF assistance has been put up which is under consideration.

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A group of roaming tigers

Project on Building Partnership for Biodiversity Conservation in Rajaji National Park

The project is based on the premise that given a complex situation in Rajaji National Park, a pragmatic approach to biodiversity conservation would require an enabling environment amongst key stakeholders based on mutual trust and confidence to help them solve the problems affecting both habitat and local communities. It is in this environment along that the precepts of ecodevelopment can have lasting impact on problem solving. Built around this premise, the project envisages capacity enhancement of key partners i.e. of local community and the park personnel in various competencies so that they are able to forge effective partnership. Other project outputs include model microplans from identified village clusters, short term research to bridge information gap and process documentaiton. Role of institute is essentially of a facilitator helping the key partners in sharing the common platform and moving towards an institutionalised coordination mechanism, capacity building and resource mobilisation. The project has been funded by the FORD Foundation and would continue till March, 2000.

Under this project, during this year, the sepearhead team members of Rajaji followed by field visit to South India were undertaken. The spearhead team, which can be seen as a pool of potential trainers not only for this park but for whole of the state, has organised a number of training programmes for the frontline staff and villagers thereby initiating the process of microplanning in few of the village clusters around the park.

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An Ecological Expedition to Panchchuli Group of Peaks

WII participated in a multi-disciplinary expedition to Panchchuli group of peaks organised by the Sapper Adventure Foundation, Corps of Engineers, Indian Army during May-June, 1998. The panchchuli peaks (five peaks above 6200 m) are located in the north of Askot Wildlife Sanctuary in Kumaun Himalaya. Two scientists from WII participated in the expedition and collected valuable information on the mammals, birds and their habitats from the region. The findings of the survey have been published in the form of a report.

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Salim Ali Centre for Ornithology and Natural History (SACON), Coimbatore

This centre, linked to the Bombay Natural History Society was established in 1990 with the major objectives of conducting research and extension activities relating to various aspects of ornithology and natural history. A permanent building for the Centre has been completed and other infrastructural facilities are also expected to be in place shortly. The Centre has already started functioning from its new campus with effect from May 98. During the year, SACON completed a number of ongoing research projects and has also initiated several new projects. Some important achievements of SACON include studies on conservation of swiftlet, megapode and Andaman Teal; resolution of human-animal conflict through appropriately designed eco-development programmes in Nilgiri, management of forest corridors, bird mediated disposal of tree seeds, etc.

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Indian purple sunbird

National Natural Resources Management System (NNRMS)

The National Natural Resources Management System (NNRMS) is envisaged to be a management system for monitoring the use of natural resources. The main objective of NNRMS is utilisation of remote sensing technology with conventional methods in monitoring of natural resources such as land, water, forests, minerals, oceans etc. for attaining sustainable development by addressing the following aspects:

A standing committee on Bio-resources and Environment (SC-B) constituted by the Planning Commission advises the Ministry on the methods of using remote sensing technology for optimal use and management of natural resources of the country.

During the year, 6 projects have been sanctioned and the progress of 23 ongoing projects have been monitored.

The list of sanctioned/ ongoing projects are given in Annexure V.

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