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Director’s Message

DirectorGujarat Institute of Desert Ecology (GUIDE) was established in Bhuj on 1st May 1995 in accordance with the administrative sanction by Forests and Environment Department of Government of Gujarat. This is based on a Memorandum of Understanding signed between Gujarat Ecology Commission (GEC) and Jacob Blaustein Institute of Desert Research (JBIDR), Israel in September 1993. The mission of GUIDE is to catalyse the process of ameliorating hardships to human beings in desert ecosystems of Gujarat, following sound ecological principles and carefully using scientific knowledge, imaginative technology and capital. Having entered into 21st year of its establishment, GUIDE has been striving to understand various ecological issues of drylands in Gujarat, and attempting to address them through holistic approach. GUIDE’s focus has been primarily taking science from laboratory to field/villages, wherein the primary stakeholders of dryland, i.e. the native community are involved in ameliorating degraded landscapes.

 

The specific mandates of this research institute are (i) focus on desert arid and semi-arid ecosystems of Gujarat, with special emphasis on Kachchh; (ii) develop benchmark database for ecosystems of Kachchh and thereafter undertake continuous monitoring and trend-analysis through specific research activities; (iii) identify problem areas and evolve appropriate solutions and management strategies through basic and applied research; (iv) formulate and implement relevant projects that would provide models for emulation; (v) disseminate ecological information and communicate action plans to suit local condition, through extension and other programmes; and (vi) provide consultancy and training to NGO’s, Government officials, corporate sectors and other natural resources managers, in the principles of ecology, integrated environmental management and sustainable development.

 

A multidisciplinary team of Scientists from diverse ecological background and having field experience and supporting Research Scholars/Assistants form the backbone of the institute. All the research activities are performed with inter-disciplinary approach through the co-ordination of the Director. Currently, the research and academic activities of the institute are based on the following core thematic areas:

  • Desertification: The Rann and Grassland
  • Wetlands: Freshwater (Inland) Wetlands, Rivers, Coastal Wetlands, Mangroves, Creeks and Estuaries, Mudflats and Intertidal Zones, and Marine Protected Areas
  • Biodiversity Conservation and Management
  • Environmental Contamination, Toxicology and Impact Assessment
  • Restoration Ecology: Bioremediation, Phytomining, Restoration of hyper saline areas and degraded landscapes
  • Climate Change: Evaluation, Vulnerability, Adaptation and Mitigation

These above listed thematic areas are being covered by faculty members of four functional divisions, (i) Terrestrial Ecology, (ii) Coastal and Marine Ecology, (iii) Environmental Impact Assessment, and (iv) Natural Resource Management. These four functional divisions are being supported by a state-of-the-art environmental-analytical Research Laboratory. Further, Gujarat Pollution Control Board, Gandhinagar has recognized GUIDE as “State Air Laboratory” and “State Water Laboratory”, and also as “Schedule-I Environmental Auditor”.

 

In addition, GUIDE has been recognized as an academic institution by KSKV Kachchh University, Bhuj. It is involved in conducting the Post Graduate Programme in Environmental Sciences of the university since 2008. Further, the institute also supports Masters, Pre-doctoral and Doctoral research students to undertake their research work with unfettered freedom. So far, this institute has hosted students of various colleges and universities from 10 different states in India. The faculty members of GUIDE supervise students from different disciplines, viz, Life Sciences (Botany, Zoology, Microbiology, Biotechnology), Ecology / Wildlife Biology / Forestry / Environmental Sciences / Environmental Management / Toxicology / Marine Science and Oceanography / Aquatic Biology, Chemistry / Sociology / Social Works / Spatial Tools (Remote Sensing and GIS). Further, through in-house capacity building discussion forum “Journal Club”, the scientific ambience in the institute is being boosted up, and this aids in keeping abreast of the latest developments in science and technology. The main goal of the club is to raise the level of science being practiced in the institute, and to boost the scientific capabilities of the research staff. The journal club discusses and deliberates on various research articles published in peer reviewed journals. An electronic newsletter “guide.net” is being published quarterly, which carries articles on different facets of dryland sciences, in-house news, etc.

 

In addition to the active collaboration with various national research institutes, GUIDE has also been involved in collaborative research with different international research institutions and organizations, viz., BIDR (Blaustein Institutes for Desert Research), Israel; Desert Research Monitoring Control Centre, Yobe State University, Nigeria; Institute of Development Studies, University of Sussex, Brighton, UK; The University of Greenwich, London, UK; Massey University, North Palmerston, New Zealand; and Norwegian University of Life Sciences, Norway. Further, GUIDE has been recognized as a member organization by the following international organizations:

  • International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN)
  • United Nation’s Educational, Social and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)
    • Ocean Expert, Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO
    • Member under International Hydrological Programme
  • Global Network of Dryland Research Institutes (GNDRI), Israel
  • International Society of Zoological Sciences (ISZS), China

With these above mentioned details, GUIDE aspires to be a national level research institution, specializing in dryland ecological issues by broadening its horizon to neighbouring dryland states, which has large habitat contiguity with Gujarat. With a team of 11 energetic and enthusiastic scientists from various disciplines of Ecological/Environmental Sciences, we look forward to have more integrated research programme cutting across disciplinary boundaries of Physical, Biological and Social Sciences to provide sustainable ecological solutions of arid and semi-arid areas in India.