This blog is set-up to follow the adventures of those engaged in the project: Enhancing the relationship between people and pollinators in Eastern India. It’s a personal blog for family and friends.
The aim is to improve national and local understanding of the status of native pollinators, their ecology and their management for the benefit of local farming communities and the protection of the agro-ecosystem in partnership with Calcutta University, local government and local civil society organisations.
Pollination is a vital component of ecosystem services, the value of which contributes to biodiversity and local livelihoods. India is still predominantly an agrarian country with large numbers of small and marginal farming communities whose food security depends on the sustained availability and quality of local crops, particularly legumes and vegetables such as gourds, pumpkins, and brinjals. These crops are pollinator-dependent and so these communities rely on a healthy ecosystem to provide pollinators, which are largely wild insects. Indian farming is becoming increasingly intensive however, which threatens the natural vegetation that provides wild pollinators, yet subsistence farming remains important. Recent research reveals a declining yield in pollinator-dependent crops in India, which is likely due to adverse impacts on the natural pollinator populations (Basu and Bhattacharya, Unpublished; http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-11418033).
It is vital to avoid a pollination crisis for Indian subsistence farmers. Recent legislation has given land tenure and resource rights to tribal people (Recognition of Forest Rights 2006). Hence, there is an urgent need to empower communities like these to sustain their livelihoods. Moreover, Indian government policy requires a focus on the Conservation and Management of Pollinators for Sustainable Agriculture Development (4th Report to the CBD). Specific targets have been identified by the government as: Development of a knowledge base; Extension and promotion of pollinator friendly management practices; Capacity building; Public awareness, mainstreaming and information sharing. Through an established link with our Indian counterparts this demand driven project will address these key priorities.