Chat Archives
Chat on "Role of Citizens in Scientific Research" dated September 20, 2013
  • Prashant: Hi. This is Prashant Mahajan
  • Prashant: I am part of Earthwatch Institute, an international NGO. We bring individuals from all walks of life together with world-class scientists to work for the good of the planet.
  • Prashant: Since 1971, Earthwatch has implemented 1,300 research projects in 120 countries engaging 81,000 people
  • Susan Sharma: Hi Prashant
  • Prashant: Hi Susan
  • Susan Sharma: What is the position in India, Prashant?
  • Prashant: In India, we worked on impac of climate change on forests in western ghats. Over 500 volunteers comprising employees of various companies helped us carry out this research
  • Prashant: Currently we are working on role of ecosystems in sustainable agriculture with special emphasis on pollinators. This is going on at Kullu, Almora and Sikkim
  • Susan Sharma: Are the results of your studies shared with the public/Government of India?
  • Susan Sharma: What are the recommendations based on your research?
  • Prashant: Yes. The research on climate change was used by Government India (Ministry of Envt & Forest) for its National Commincation for United Nations Fremwork Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC)
  • Susan Sharma: Why do you say theses researches are part of "Citizen science"?
  • Prashant: The results from climate change research indicates likely changes in vegetation and what should be the mangement strategy in view of changing vegetation
  • Susan Sharma: Hi Pradeep
  • Prashant: The Scientist and non-scientists work togater. They come from different walks of life: youth, teachers, corporate emplyees
  • Susan Sharma: Where are you from Pradeep?
  • Pradeep Saxena: I m in Lucknow
  • Prashant: Hi Pradeep. Welcome
  • Pradeep Saxena: sorry susan ji, i m in phone, i will come again on chat
  • Susan Sharma: The results of the climate change effects-did they differ from research done in other parts of the world?
  • Prashant: As scientist are assisted by citizens to collect data on field, hence the term Citizen Scientist
  • Prashant: They show similar trend. Especially in the tropical countries. The forest types are changing. The evergreen species are gradually replaced by temperature loving species
  • Prashant: The climate change research was carried out in India, China, Brazil, US and UK
  • Susan Sharma: Wow! With vast amounts of data, the trend studies would be really accurate.
  • Prashant: That is a beauty of citizen science!
  • Susan Sharma: There is something called "Season Watch" online citizen science program. Are you associated?
  • Prashant: If a small team of scientists were to carry out the research, it would have taken a long time. But with over 2200 voulnteers helping us in 4 years we were able to collect a lot of data in short span of time
  • Susan Sharma: Volunteers working under scientists supervision do make a lot of sense.
  • Prashant: Earthwatch has Urban Tree watch programme started in US and Hong Kong. where we are monitoring behaviour of trees (phenology)
  • Prashant: Season watch is a similar in nature
  • Susan Sharma: Urban tree watch is an online program?
  • Prashant: Yes. It has both on field and on line componant
  • Prashant: There are fixed urban trails where trees are being monitored regularly
  • Prashant: And citizens can select trees close to their residence/work and monitor it periodically
  • Susan Sharma: If you start any online citizen science program in India, IWC would be glad to make a user fiendly platform for it.
  • Susan Sharma: I mean user-friendly
  • Susan Sharma: There are times when I feel environment changes are so rapid, only digital tech. can help us to keep track.
  • Prashant: That will be great!
  • Prashant: Yes Susan. I completely agree. The use of mobile & internet technology and willing volunteers can play very important role in research and action
  • Susan Sharma: I love growing my own vegetables and so do a lot of my other friends. But the changes in seeds, plants, flowers and fruits year on year are baffling.
  • Prashant: Yes. These changes are too sudden. Plants and animals cant cope with it
  • Susan Sharma: Considering the number of bloggers in the kitchen garden space in India, if you start a program to see effects of temperature on say growing vegetables, there should be a good response
  • Prashant: Thats a great idea!
  • Prashant: We could do a research on behaviour of plants in kitchen garden
  • Susan Sharma: The structure can be made by you in a scientific manner so that the results can be of use to the agriculturists .
  • Prashant: Yes. This will prove to be a good reference.
  • Susan Sharma: Even a sort space as three years can get you enough data on what the vagaries of climate change can do to traditional agriculture.
  • Prashant: productivity of most cereals would decrease due to increase in temperature and CO2, and the decrease in water availability. There will be a projected loss of 10-40% in crop production by 2100 if no adaptation measures are taken.
  • Prashant: A one degree Celsius increase in temperature may reduce yields of major food crops by 3-7%.
  • Susan Sharma: The predictions are alarming.
  • Prashant: But the data from citizen scientists can help us get locale specific information and trends
  • Susan Sharma: The pollinator project is very important esply since pollinators are being driven to extinction by pesticides.
  • Prashant: Absolutely
  • Prashant: The lack of pollinators could be a major threat to the food security!
  • Susan Sharma: I once saw a Krishi Darshan program where someone talked about a village in Haryana where the agriculturists attend a "keeda Pathashala"
  • Prashant: We have already witnessed fall in food productivity due to lack of pollinator insects such as honey bees and bumble bees
  • Prashant: In Himachal, farmers are paying for pollinators services!
  • Susan Sharma: They are taught about insect lifecycle along with plant lifecycle. How if we do not interfere, the non veg insects will take care of the harmful insects multiplying and thereby let the plant grow.
  • Prashant: I hope more and more citizens including farmers realise importance of ecosystem services & biodiversity in sustaining us
  • Susan Sharma: That is interesting. Who is selling pollinator services in Himachal?
  • Prashant: There are bee keepers who keep their boxes for a fortnight during flowering season. The current hiring charges are Rs. 500 per box
  • Susan Sharma: We are opening the chat room after a gap of nearly six months. But I thoroughly enjoyed talking with you.
  • Susan Sharma: That is an additional revenue model for bee keepers!
  • Susan Sharma: As they say in NDTV, last few words to you, Prashant.
  • Susan Sharma: After your concluding remarks, we will close the chat room.
  • Prashant: The citizens have a huge role to play in science and we need more of them. With scientic information we can take decisions that are helpful for sustainable environment. I commend the work by Indian Wildlife Club in developing supprt of Citzens
  • Prashant: and looking forward to working closely with members of the IWC!
  • Prashant: Thanks for having me on the chat
  • Prashant: Good night!
  • Susan Sharma: Good Night! and Thank You.
Chat Archive
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Online Courses on the study of birds - July, 2015
Rewilding degraded Land- practical experiences - June, 2015
Why are vultures important for Swachh Bharat? - May, 2015
Green Living - March, 2015
Restoring degraded lands for wildlife - January, 2015
Insect Tourism - November, 2014
Use of GIS and Remote Sensing for Biodiversity Conservation - October, 2014
Why celebrate wildlife week? - September, 2014
Wildlife Film making - July, 2014
Wildlife Film making - June, 2014
Sharing of Experiences by our wilderness volunteers - May, 2014
Online Environmental Courses - March, 2014
Decreasing tolerance of backyard wildife - February, 2014
Frogs of India - January, 2014
Sustainable Development: The Right Approach - December, 2013
Tiger Cyclowalk- an Interview with Sunil Joshi - December, 2013
Tiger Cyclowalk - Highlands to Ocean - November, 2013
Volunteering at Melghat Tiger Reserve - October, 2013
Role of Citizens in Scientific Research - September, 2013
Ranthambore Adventure - January, 2013
Bats-The Night Warriors - October, 2012
Man vs Tiger-Can Science help? - July, 2012
Human Elephant Conflict - June, 2012
Saving the one horned rhino - May, 2012
"Man-Leopard Conflict - how we can deal with it" - April, 2012
Environment and Wildlife Film making - March, 2012
"Rainforest Wildlife-Unique adaptations" - February, 2012
Conserving wildlife in fragmented landscapes - January, 2012
Urban Biodiversity - September, 2011
Green Hiking in the Himalayas - August, 2011
Role of Zoos in Conservation - July, 2011
Reduce, Recycle and Reuse - June, 2011
Black Necked Cranes - symbol of the rising Green Consciousness - May, 2011
Wildlife Issues in the North -East of India - April, 2011
Trekking in the Himalaya - March, 2011
Conservation of Marine Diversity in India - February, 2011
Plant native trees this monsoon - January, 2011
Human Elephant Conflict - December, 2010
Conservation and Development in Emerging India - November, 2010
Responsible Tourism- Way forward to conservation? - September, 2010
Vulture Conservation in India - August, 2010
Plant a tree (trees) this monsoon - June, 2010
Role of Urban Birds - April, 2008
"Role of Urban Birds" - April, 2008
GM Foods and Bio-diversity - March, 2008
Taking Responsibility for One's Carbon Emissions - February, 2008
Ecological Security - January, 2008
The Himalayan Musk Deer - November, 2007
Urban Wildlife - October, 2007
Disappearing Tigers: Taking Stock - August, 2007
Garbage littered on our Streets - July, 2007
Bear Conservation nad Protection - June, 2007
Role of Captive Elephants in wildlife conservation - May, 2007
Endangered Animals of Sikkim - April, 2007
Citizen Participation in Environmental Issues - March, 2007
Vulture crisis in India - January, 2007
City Parks and Biodiversity - December, 2006
Why is bird census important? - November, 2006
Shooting Wildlife with a Camera - October, 2006
Rain Harvesting - September, 2006
Environmental Education - July, 2006
Tribal Bill - June, 2006
Trekking in the Himalaya Region - May, 2006
Trekking in the Himalayas - May, 2006
Coastal Wildlife - April, 2006
MARINE BIOLOGY - March, 2006
Atmospheric Brown Cloud - February, 2006
Tiger Census - January, 2006
Tiger Task Force Report - December, 2005
Marine Ecosystems Chat dated 18 November 2005 - November, 2005
Coral Reefs - October, 2005
Global Warming - September, 2005
Tourism and Wildlife - August, 2005
Environment Education - July, 2005
Wild Elephants - May, 2005
Tiger Census - April, 2005
Enforcement of Wildlife Act and the Common Man - January, 2005
Crane Migration - November, 2004
Migratory birds of India - October, 2004
Offences Against Wildlife - September, 2004
Man Animal Conflict - August, 2004
Recent Amendments to the Wildlife Act - July, 2004
Is there a case for keeping large mammals in zoos? - June, 2004
Captive elephant management - May, 2004
Conservation of seaturtles - April, 2004
Asiatic Lion - March, 2004
Plight of lesser animals - February, 2004
Mangroves of India - January, 2004
DEER AND ANTELOPE - November, 2003
PHEASANTS - October, 2003
Amphibians - September, 2003
Chat on Butterflies - Our Natural Gardeners - April, 2003
Chat on Asian Elephant - January, 2003
Chat on Migratory Birds - December, 2002
Chat on Snakes - November, 2002
Chat on Rare Birds - August, 2002
Chat on Environmental Issues - July, 2002

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