"Conservation biology is the interdisciplinary study of the conservation of biodiversity. In this axis we have two central goals: (1) evaluating both human positive and negative impacts on biodiversity; (2) developing practical approaches to explore with land users and decision-makers the best means to protect, restore and/or manage species and ecosystems from South India."

Because humans are numerous and our needs are insatiable, we have a very strong imprint on the environment. Aiming to understand the impacts of the “human component” on other ecosystem components and processes (fauna, flora, water, soil, etc.), we develop multidisciplinary studies that include both ecological and social sciences with spatial analysis. How to propose more sustainable management of our environment? How to preserve species and ecosystems while continuing to use them? How to benefit from the natural resources provided by our ecosystems without jeopardizing their existence? The projects in this research area of the department of Ecology explores the conditions for sustainable management of biodiversity in human-dominated landscapes in South India.

The main axis’ objectives are:

  1. To develop a new interdisciplinary approach focusing on the conservation of the Coromandel Coast biodiversity, especially wetlands and the endangered tropical dry evergreen forest. We aim to improve our understanding of the impacts of global change on the past-present-future social-ecological interactions and to produce environmental management and planning scenarios on the coastal area of Tamil Nadu by mixing historical ecology, conservation ecology, political ecology and participatory modelling experiments;
  2. To reinforce our involvement in threat assessment, conservation planning and management in both Eastern and Western Ghats by strengthening our existing partnership with regional and local authorities and especially with forest services and ecology scientists from Bangalore and Chennai;
  3. To map functional diversity and ecosystem services. This research is intended to appraise the functioning of individual organisms, populations, communities and ecosystems, and to develop the approach for better understanding of the current spatial extent of forested landscapes, condition of ecosystem health and their functioning and response in the context of changing climate. We explore the following questions: (1) How do environment and human activities influence taxonomic/functional diversity of various communities at different scales in a target landscape? (2) What are the quality, quantity, and spatial distribution of ecosystem services (viz., the resources and flows of water, carbon and nutrients) provided by the different types of land cover or land use in the landscape? (3) How is taxonomic/functional diversity of the plant communities linked to and regulate the ecosystem services in the landscape and how will the system respond to the climate change?;
  4. To pursue our efforts of software and smartphone apps development on flora identification and citizen science promotion in strong collaboration with the GeoSmit

Contact: Dr. Raphaël Mathevet, Head of Department