The Centre for Pollination Studies: An interdisciplinary participatory research centre at the heart of sustainable farming in India

 

The aim of the project is to create an interdisciplinary participatory research centre at Calcutta University as a flexible model that can be adapted and implemented in other regions.The structure of the project is illustrated in the schematic below.

The Centre for Pollination Studies (CPS) focusses on pollination systems with an expectation that as the CPS  grows the research will extend into other areas of research that contribute the development of sustainable farming.

There are three principle aims:

  • To increase understanding of native pollinators
  • To improve the management of pollinators and the wider agro-ecosystem
  • To improve the livelihood of subsistence farmers and contributing to a healthy agro-ecosystem through the above routes

The CPS is located in the department of Zoology and the foundation researchis a combination of fundamental and applied pollination biology. Targeted PhD programmes and long-term monitoring will increase the understanding of native pollinator distribution and ecology. The CPS aims to be a hub for researchers, building resources and expertise to support those working in the field of agro-ecology.

The project is inherently participatory.  Working together as scientists and farmers is key to solving the puzzle of best management practice.  In order to develop good management for pollinators the work must be carried out in partnership with those who will ultimately implement the management, that is, farmers and villagers.  We have begun working in two regions of NE India and in each we have established regional field study and advice centres.  Although these have started life as field research stations, they will become the CPS regional centres where farmers can gather to exchange information with scientists and also with their peers.  ‘Farmer festivals’ are being held across the regions.  Through a combination of farmer surveys and trialling management with farmers on their farms we will arrive at a collective understanding farming needs and improve management approaches for pollinators and the agro-ecosystem.

The project centre also aims to be interdisciplinary.  While initiated by biologists there are clear socio-economic aspects to the research and development.  Our aim is not to have the biology, farming and economics running alongside each other but to integrate these elements to bring about true interdisciplinarity.

We are always open to collaboration, if you have ideas and would like to work with us please contact us via the contact page.