IUBS PROJECT

ENVIRONMENTAL EDUCATION AND CLIMATE CHANGE ADAPTATION: SCIENCE OF POLLUTIONTOLERANT AND CLIMATE RESILIENT PLANT


Field of research: Air pollution and climate change
Disciplines involved: Plant Ecology, Environmental Science, Eco-physiology and Botany.
Innovative activities: Develop educational modules for climate change adaptation based on science of pollution tolerant and climate resilient crops.
Impacts on education: Deeper understanding on climate change adaptation and air pollution mitigation

Duration: 2019-2022

Leader(s): 
India – S.K. Barik, N.Singh, R.D. Tripathi, V. Pandey, A. Raghvendra; Germany – S.Saha; Mexico- M.A.H. Campos; U.S.A. – T. Lumbsch, O.P. Dhankar; Nepal – N.K. Agarwal; Finland – E.Oksanen; China – X. Wei; Bangladesh –M. Hasanuzzaman, Spain – P.K. Diwakar; Ecuador – J.P.S. Chacòn.

Steering Committee:
LS Shashidhara(India), AMCL Casas (Spain), MM Khandaker (Bangladesh), Usha Vijayraghavan (India), PC Abhilash (India), Sudhakar Srivastava (India), Soumit K. Behera (India)

IUBS National Committees involved in the project:
A.S. Raghavendra (Indian National Science Academy (India); E Sharma (ICMOD, Kathmandu, ,Nepal); MA Herrera Campos (Consejo Nacional de Ciencia y Tecnologia, Mexico), X Wei (Chinese Academy of Science and Technoloogy, China)

IUBS Scientific Member Organisations involved in the project:
1. ISEB, Lucknow, India (Prof SK Barik, Drs Nandita Singh, RD Tripathi, Vivek Pandey)
2. International Association for Lichenology, USA (Prof Thorsten Lumbsch)
Links with international programmes or networks: IUCN, IUBS Taxonomic List Governance programme

Questions/ issues addressed by the project

1. Simplified methods for screening pollution tolerant and climate resilient crops.
2. Selection of pollution tolerant and climate resilient plants in different climatic and edaphic environments.
3. Understanding of science of pollution tolerant and climate resilient plant species.
4. Development of e-books and e-documentaries for environmental education.

Outcomes expected:

1. Capacity development for screening pollution tolerant and climate resilient plants for climate change adaptation at local level.
2. Utilization of local plant resources for air pollution mitigation.
3. Selection of region-specific climate resilient crop varieties for ensuring food security to meet the challenges of climate change.
4. Enhanced awareness on climate change adaptation strategies.

Relevance of the project for IUBS :

The proposed project would offer new tools and methods for climate change education targeting the science and selection of climate and pollution resilient/smart plants. This directly addresses the objectives of IUBS which include study of impact of climate change on biological systems and to initiate and facilitate research, education and capacitybuilding across nations. As such, addressing climate change and air pollution issues will also contribute towards the Sustainable Development Goals. The multinational project would contribute to SDG No. 13 i.e., “Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts” in nine countries viz., India, Nepal, Bangladesh, China, Mexico, USA, Germany, Spain and Finland spread over Asia, North America and Europe continents. The objectives of the proposed project conform to the ongoing and new initiatives of IUBS.

Project Introduction:

Climate change is bringing new uncertainties and adding new risks. One of the most effective ways to adapt to climate change would be to use crops resilient to climate change. Plant traits that enable the species to tolerate current and future climate change include, morphological and histological characters, physiological parameters, and attributes associated with life cycle events, often referred to as ‘plant functional traits’. Based on these morphological and functional traits climate smart crop varieties including medicinal and aromatic plants will be selected. Pollution resistant/ameliorating plant species will be screened based on the Air Pollution tolerance Index developed by CSIR-NBRI.

Education materials on the effect of air pollution on indicator lichen species will also be prepared. All these above activities will be undertaken for the college science teachers and researchers through adequate training. The project will not only raise awareness among the college teachers and researchers about the science of climate change and its consequences, but will also make them partners in mitigating the air pollution and climate change adaptation. Through the capacity building of the teachers, the project intends to achieve the quality environmental education for students on climate change science and action.

Background:

Climate change is a reality today and air pollution has been a human health hazard for decades. We need to prepare the next generation to take care of our planet through appropriate climate actions and air pollution mitigation measures. Climate action should include both mitigation and adaptation strategies. Development of climate resilient crops is an important strategy for ensuring food security for growing population. Air pollution mitigation measures include prevention at source as well as amelioration methods. Plant- based air pollution amelioration is an effective strategy. Environmental education helps people understand and address the adverse impacts of climate change and air pollution. Education and awareness-raising enable informed decision-making, and play an important role in increasing adaptation and mitigation capacities of communities, and empower women and men to adopt sustainable lifestyles. ISEB and CSIR-NBRI have been applying various methods to screen plants for pollution resistance and climate resilience for more than two decades.

Based on this, 72 plants have been selected for specific pollutant resistance (Khan et al, 1989; Shukla et al, 1990; Singh et al, 1995) and at least 10 crop varieties have been identified for climate resilience (Pandey et al, 2015, 2019). The simplest methods with minimal equipment support have been chosen for developing appropriate indices to screen the plant species/crop varieties for different edaphic-climatic environments. Utilizing this knowledge base, e-text as well as e-documentaries will be produced under the project for worldwide environmental education at college level that would lead to screening / selection of plants at local level for climate change adaptation and pollution amelioration.

Action Plan:

Under the proposed project, the focus would be on two themes for effective climate change education:

1) Making climate change information available to learners.
2) Engaging learners in activities and interventions addressing pollution mitigation and climate change adaptation using appropriate plant/crops.

The climate change is bringing new uncertainties and adding new risks. One of the most effective ways to adapt to climate change is to use crops resilient to climate change. Plant traits that enable the species to tolerate current and future climate change include, morphological and histological characters, physiological parameters, and attributes associated with life cycle events often referred to as ‘plant functional traits'. Based on these morphological and functional traits, climate smart crop varieties including medicinal and aromatic plants may be selected. Pollution resilient plant species will be screened based on the Air Pollution Index developed by CSIR-NBRI. Education materials to assess the impact of air pollution on indicator lichen species will also be prepared. All these activities will be undertaken by the college science teachers and researchers after adequate training.

Methodology:

  1. Initiation Workshop for finalizing educational materials (e-books and e-documentaries): Within the first quarter of the sanction of the project, a 3-days workshop involving all the partners would be organized for finalizing the training modules and contents. This will be organised by ISEB at CSIR-NBRI, Lucknow, India. In this workshop, e-books and e- video documentaries on the two themes will be finalized. The complete road map of future project activities with time line will be discussed and finalized.
  2. Capacity building and Action Training workshops: Each implementing organization will organize one country-level workshop (2-days duration) involving science teachers and researchers of the respective country to raise awareness on the climate change , air pollution and their consequences. The stakeholders will be educated about the objectives of IUBS project and their role in its implementation. The identified college teachers/researchers will be imparted intensive training for undertaking action research on the following:
    1. Module 1: Pollution resistant plant selection (based on Air Pollution Index)
    2. Module 2: Selection of climate smart crop varieties (based on functional and morphological traits)
    3. Module 3: Selection of forest tree species for climate change mitigation (based on their carbon sequestration potential)
    4. Module 4: Use of plants/lichens as pollution indicators (taking air pollutants such as SOx as an example)
  3. Mid-term Workshop (through Video Conference): In the beginning of the second year, a mid-term workshop will be organized involving all the participating countries to assess the progress of work as well as learning by the teachers and researchers. Through this workshop, the compilation of research output at country level would also be undertaken. Any mid-term correction required will also be suggested.
  4. International Conference: Before the closure of the project, an international conference of 2- days duration will be organized to highlight the achievements, compile research data generated and learning outcome, and work out the exit strategy/future strategy for sustainability of the activities initiated under the project. In this conference, most of the stakeholders across the participating countries and experts will take part.

Project Activities

Initiation Workshop December 28, 2020
International Union of Biological Sciences (IUBS)

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