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Environmental Research Programmes


The environmental research programme aims at developing strategies for sustainable resource management and creating facilities and trained manpower to conduct research in priority areas.

Research projects are supported under three main schemes: 
(a) Man and Biosphere Programme;
(b) Environment Research Programme; and 
(c) Action-oriented Research Programme for Eastern and Western Ghats. 

Many small, specific research projects are also being supported. Expert Committees and Expert Working Groups make recommendations for undertaking research in priority areas, scrutinise proposals, evaluate progress and recommend suitable mechanisms for implementation of research projects.

Priority areas of research have been identified in five fundamental elements, viz., land, water, air, space and energy. During the year, 45 new projects were sanctioned, 45 were completed and 112 projects were serviced. The entire research programme is being reviewed under a special project funded by the World Bank.

The Framework Convention in Climate Change ratified by 127 countries of the world was ratified by India during 1993.

India participated in the 3rd Conference of Parties to this Convention held in Kyoto, Japan in December 1997 during which a protocol was agreed upon which calls for an average cut in the greenhouse gas emission, of 5.2 per cent below the 1990 levels, to be achieved between 2008 and 2012 AD.

Specific research projects are being sponsored by the Ministry in the area of climate change for taking precautionary measures to anticipate, prevent and minimise the causes of climate change and mitigate its adverse effects.

The Asia Least Cost Green House Gas Abatement Strategy Project funded by the Global Environment Facility has been completed.

GB PANT INSTITUTE OF HIMALAYAN ENVIRONMENT AND DEVELOPMENT

The GB Pant Institute of Himalayan Environment, established in 1988, is an autonomous organisation of the Ministry of Environment and Forests for developing strategies, technologies and knowledge base for ecologically sound development of the Himalayan region. 

Besides undertaking actionoriented research projects, the Institute has also installed three weathermonitoring stations for collecting and analysing climatic data of the Himalayan region.

Units of the Institute are located in Uttar Pradesh, Sikkim, Nagaland and Himachal Pradesh.

The Ministry also sanctions specific research projects under various programmes such as Biosphere Reserves, Wetlands, Mangroves and Coral Reefs, etc. 

The research activities of the National River Action Plan focus on identifying economically viable and technically feasible solutions for controlling the microbial pollution in the rivers.

FORESTRY RESEARCH

Forestry research is the primary responsibility of the Indian Council of Forestry Research and Education located at Dehra Dun. 

The following forestry research institutes and centres under the Council are responsible for undertaking research in their respective eco-climatic zones:

(i) Forest Research Institute, Dehra Dun; 
(ii) Institute of Arid Zone Forestry Research, Jodhpur, 
(iii) Institute of Rain and Moist Deciduous Forests, Jorhat;
(iv) Institute of Wood Sciences and Technology, Bangalore;
(v) Tropical Forestry Research Institute, Jabalpur; 
(vi) Institute of Forest Genetics and Tree Breeding, Coimbatore; 
(vii) Temperate Forest Research Centre, Shimla;
(viii) Centre for Forest Productivity, Ranchi;
(ix) Institute of Social Forestry and Eco-rehabilitation, Allahabad; 
(x) Institute of Forestry Research and Human Resources Development, Chhindwara; and 
(xi) Advanced Centre for Bio-technology and Mangrove Forests, Hyderabad. 

In addition, the Indian Plywood Industries Research and Training Institute, Bangalore, has been transferred to the Ministry of Environment and Forests from the Ministry of Industry.

Besides forestry research in wood panel products, this Institute imparts training to workers in optimum utilisation of timber.

The Indian Institute of Forest Management, Bhopal, also undertakes education, training, research and consultancy in forest management.

WILDLIFE RESEARCH

Research programmes in wildlife are carried out by the Wildlife Institute of India, Dehra Dun, and the Salim Ali Centre for Ornithology and Natural History, Coimbatore. 

Several projects on habitat evolution, elephant movement, ecology of gharials and turtles, status of endangered species, behavioural ecology, bio-diversity, resource study conservation, ecology and management of specific animals, etc., are being carried out by both these Institutes.

NATIONAL NATURAL RESOURCES MANAGEMENT SYSTEM

The basic objective of the Natural Resources Management System (NRMS) is the utilisation of Remote Sensing Technology with the conventional methods for optimal use and management of the natural resources of the country.

A Standing Committee on Bio-resources and Environment advises the Ministry on various aspects relating to the implementation of this scheme.

Specific research projects are also supported under this scheme. Two Sub-committees, the Technical and Financial Sub-Committee and the Forest Sub-committees, help the Standing Committee in its task.

EDUCATION, AWARENESS AND INFORMATION

Priority is accorded by the Ministry of Environment and Forests to promote environmental education, create environmental awareness among various age-groups and to disseminate information through Environmental Information System (ENVIS) network to all concerned. 

A major initiative to include environment education as a separate and compulsory subject in the educational curricula has been taken by the Ministry at all levels of formal education, i.e., secondary, senior secondary and tertiary levels. 

A discussion paper prepared on strengthening environment education was presented by the Minister for Environment and Forests at the State Education Ministers’ Conference held from 22 to 24 October 1998. The paper was adopted by the Conference. 

The Chief Ministers were urged to introduce environment education in the school curricula from the 1999-2000 academic session.

Maharashtra is the first State to introduce the subject in the school curriculum. 

Special emphasis is given to non-formal environmental education through seminars/symposia/workshops, training programmes, eco-camps, audiovisual shows, etc. The Ministry has been organising a National Environmental Awareness Campaign (NEAC) since July 1986. 

As a part of this campaign, 19 November to 18 December every year is observed as the National Environment Month. The main theme for the 1998 campaign was ‘Keep Our Water Resources Clean’. 

A large number of organisations have been granted financial assistance by the Ministry to organise various activities for creating environmental awareness. The Ministry also provides financial assistance for setting up eco-clubs in schools.

A new scheme, Paryavaran Vahini, was launched in 1992-93 to create environmental awareness and to ensure active public participation by involving the local people in activities relating to environmental protection.

Paryavaran Vahinis are proposed to be constituted in 194 selected districts all over the country which have a high incidence of pollution and density of tribal and forest population.

The Vahinis also play a watch-dog role by reporting instances of environmental pollution, deforestation, poaching, etc. They function under the charge of District Collectors, with the active cooperation of the State/Union Territory governments. This scheme is entirely financed by the Ministry of Environment and Forests.

Seven Centres of Excellence have been set up by the Ministry to strengthen awareness, research and training in priority areas of Environmental Science and Management. These are:
  • Centre for Ecological Sciences, Bangalore;
  • Centre for Mining Environment, Dhanbad; 
  • Centre for Environmental Education, Ahmedabad; 
  • CPR Environmental Education Centre, Chennai;
  • Salim Ali Centre for Ornithology and Natural History, Coimbatore; 
  • The Centre for Environmental Management of Degraded Ecosystems, Delhi, and
  • The Tropical Botanical Garden and Research Institute, Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala.
  • The National Museum of Natural History (NMNH) set up in New Delhi in 1978,is concerned with the promotion of non-formal education in the area of environment and conservation.
  • Three Regional Museums of Natural History have been established at Mysore, Bhopal and Bhubaneswar. 
  • The Indian Council for Forestry Research and Education is the focal point for forestry education and extension development in the country.
  • The Indira Gandhi National Forest Academy, Dehra Dun, imparts in-service professional training to Indian Forest Service (IFS) professionals. State forest service colleges provide training to the officers of the State Forest Service (SFS).
  • The Indian Plywood Industries Research and Training Institute, Bangalore, organises short-term courses in the area of wood science.
  • The Indian Institute of Forest Management, Bhopal, also provides training in forest management and allied subjects to persons from the Indian Forest Service, forest development corporations, and forest-related industries to develop forestry programmes. 
  • The Wildlife Institute of India, Dehradun, provides in-service training to forest officers, wildlife ecologists and other professionals for conservation and management of the wildlife resources of the country.


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