Forest Canopies as Indicators for Global Change: Workshop to initiate a South Asian Regional Program

Date: 20-21 November 2010, Venue: Royal Orchid Hotel, Yelahanka, Bangalore

Support: Department of Science and Technology, GOI, SAARC programme

Convenors: M. Soubadra Devy and T. Ganesh

Andrew Mitchell, of the Global Canopy Program has rightly said that “To reach into the rainforest roof is not an easy task, either for man or the giant trees which give birth to small offspring”. Considered as the next biotic frontier, forest canopies are among the most species rich and highly threatened terrestrial habitats remaining. Many important forest–atmosphere interactions such as photosynthesis, respiration, carbon flux, and water and nutrient cycling mainly take place in this region. Countless insects playing critical roles in canopy processes await discovery in the forest canopies. South- Asian forest canopies remain unexplored and there is an urgent need to draw the attention of the scientific community to this unique habitat.

Accessing forest canopies require special skills, techniques and equipments, and also needs special training. However, there has been a tremendous progress in this area in other parts of the world with infrastructures such as cranes while it is still in its nascent stage in south Asian region. ATREE has spear headed the canopy program in India and has successfully organized an International Canopy conference, with participation from 33 countries. The focus now is on developing a canopy network in the South Asian region to promote research and monitoring for better management of its forests. In his regard, ATREE is organizing a 2-day workshop on 20-21st November 2010, at Royal Orchid Hotel, Yelahanka, Bangalore, which is supported by the Department of Science and Technology, GOI, SAARC programme. The workshop will be inaugurated by Mr. B.K.Singh, Chief Wildlife Warden, Karnataka State, and special guests include Dr. R. Sukumar, Chair of the Center for Ecological Sciences, IISc and Mr. V.N. Singh, CCF-Research, Tamil Nadu state. We will have participants from fellow SAARC countries such as Sri Lanka, Bhutan, and Bangladesh and from multiple institutions across India.

Workshop will include sessions on progress in canopy science globally, and in the Asian region, with a focus on the specific tools required to advance canopy science with respect to critical biodiversity loss, climate change, and human utilization. It will provide a forum to discuss the latest techniques to study canopy processes such as herbivory, phenology and pollination. The workshop will also identify priority areas for future collaborative research between SAARC country partner institutions.