The initiative of IIT Jodhpur to conserve and restore the Thar Desert
New Delhi / Jodhpur, September 8 (IANS): The Indian Institute of Technology Jodhpur (IIT-J) has launched the Thar Desert Ecosystem Sciences Guided by Nature and Selection (DESIGNS), an initiative to conserve and restore the Thar Desert, its minerals and medicines, as well as its flora and fauna by carrying out phenomena of ecosystems through a transdisciplinary framework of medical sciences, engineering, environment and life.
The Thar is a hot desert unique to the Indian subcontinent and is characterized by a high maximum temperature with large diurnal variations, rare precipitation, extreme aridity and intense UV radiation.
The impact of the loss of natural deserts is immense as these habitats are rich in flora and fauna as well as minerals and medicines that nourish and sustain different forms of life on earth. Often considered wasteland, deserts are crucial for climate stabilization.
Any change in climate change or human activity can lead to poor adaptations for organisms that live at the ebb of physiological extremes, loss of diversity through disappearance and ultimately ecosystem collapse. This threatens the lives and livelihoods of the indigenous inhabitants.
“To solve this problem, the Jodhpur City Knowledge and Innovation Hub (JCKIC) has brought together organizations from the engineering, space research, medicine, agriculture sectors under one roof. , Zoology and Forestry who have made targeted efforts to tackle various aspects of the Thar Desert. This collaboration includes unique projects that address the complex and networked problems of the desert in an integrative framework, ”said a IIT-J press release.
Established in 2008 to promote technology education and research, IIT-J operates from its large, permanent 852-acre residential campus on National Highway 65, north-northwest of Jodhpur towards Nagaur. This campus is meticulously planned and designed to be the symbol of academics.
Speaking about Thar DESIGNS, Professor and Head of Department of Biosciences and Bioengineering, IIT-J, Mitali Mukerji, said: “Thar DESIGNS aims to disseminate knowledge and encourage participation through a citizen science approach and instill conceptual thinking throughout the collaborative network. “
As part of this initiative, researchers will use IOT-compatible devices and a Big Data analysis framework to aggregate source observations from the local ecosystem to the regional level, keeping the cultural context and traditional medicine knowledge in focus. perspective.
“Researchers would also integrate computer vision and machine learning as well as domain knowledge to infer links between environment, phenotype and genotype at geospatial timescales and identify Thar DESIGNS signatures for Early intervention strategies This generation of knowledge will result in the provision of a ‘Desert Ecosystem Knowledge Grid’ that could support the cycle of engineering-research-development-commercialization, “the statement said.