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Session14: Sustainable water resources management 
and water resources policy/Coastal Ecosystems 

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Chairman: Dr. Devashish Kar

Rapporteur: Sreekantha

An Experience from the School Level Biodiversity Register (SBR) Program on Status and Protection of Wetlands in Karnataka

Harish R. Bhat


The Centre for Ecological Sciences at the Indian Institute of Science served as the nodal agency at the Karnataka state level in the formulation of a strategy and an action plan to conserve, sustainable use and promote equitable sharing in benefits from the use of biological diversity resources as a part of the national effort co-ordinated by the Ministry of Environment and Forests, GoI. The Karnataka effort focused on six themes, namely. (a) Protected areas (b) medicinal plants (c) freshwater fish’ (d) wetlands (e) cultural traditions of conservation, and (f) land races of cultivated plants. As a part of this exercise, an effort was made to involve school students in this programme. 49 schools distributed through the length and breadth of the state were involved to prepare School Biodiversity Registers (SBR) that focused on 5 themes as enumerated above. The SBR exercise involved a background study to understand the school surroundings and one to five thematic studies. These were conducted as special high school student under the guidance of one of the schoolteachers. 

The thematic studies included ten modules, namely (1) Current Status (2) Ecological history (3) Forces driving ecological change (4) Knowledge and beliefs (5) Gainers and losers (6) Values (7) Scenarios (8) Aspirations (9) Strategies and (10) Action plans. Their coverage encompassed the entire area utilised by people residing within a radius of 3-4 kilometres from the High School. The thematic studies involved an element of field-oriented investigations in association with, as well as interviews of local knowledgeable individuals by the students and teachers.

 The theme on Wetlands was undertaken by 9 High schools and 5 P.U colleges from 8 districts of Karnataka, covering 45 wetlands which includes river, huge wells, tanks and water springs. Each team comprised of 5 to 10 students along with some local knowledgeable individuals headed by the schoolteacher. The teamwork yielded good result and a first hand experience for the students and teachers. The team had also mapped the wetland area and collected data on fauna and flora of the tank. The results got were amazing with concrete strategies and action plans made by the team in consultation with the villagers to conserve and sustainable use the water bodies of the study locality.

Address: Centre for Ecological Sciences,
Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore 560 012, Karnataka, India