Deploying student power to monitor India's lifescape

Gadgil, Madhav (1996) Deploying student power to monitor India's lifescape Current Science, 71 . pp. 688-697. ISSN 0011-3891

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Along with his many scientific contributions, Sdlim Ali will be remembered for a whole series of superbly written and illustrated books on Indian birds, books that played a key role in stimulating popular interest in India's rich living heritage. In honour of this great naturalist the Indian Academy of Sciences will launch on the occasion of his birth centenary a project called 'Lifescape' as a part of its initiative to enhance the quality of science education. This project aims to publish illustrated accounts of 2500 to 5000 Indian species of microorganisms, plants and animals. These accounts would help high school, college and postgraduate students and teachers of biology to reliably identify these species, and thereby constitute a basis for field exercises and projects focusing on first hand observations of living organisms. The information thus generated could feed into a countrywide system of monitoring ongoing changes in India's lifescape to support efforts at conservation of biological diversity, as well as control of weeds, pests, vectors and diseases. These accounts would also help create popular interest in the broader spectrum of India's biological wealth, much as Sdlim All's books have done for birdlife over the last fifty years.

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