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Hydrology and Watershed Services in the Western Ghats of India: Effects of land use and land cover change


The Western Ghats of India - a mountainous forested region running parallel to the west coast of the Indian peninsula - is one of the 25 global hotspots of biodiversity. These mountains are the sites of some of the heaviest rainfall in India - the runoff from which generates most of the hydropower and provides water to about 245 million people. This region contains more than 30% of all plant, bird, and mammal species found in India. These forest ecosystems also generate significant benefits to local communities, such as fuelwood, grazing, fodder, timber, leaf manure, food and medicines, and commercial non-timber forest products. These forest and grassland ecosystems have undergone extensive conversion to non-forest land-cover and the remnant areas are subject to intensive human-use with major negative impacts on biodiversity and ecosystem services.

The papers in this book represent a first attempt to capture the entire range of on-going hydrologic and socio-economic research on the effects of land-cover change on watershed services in the Western Ghats. This book is an attempt to summarize what we know and whatwe don't know about hydrology in the Western Ghats. It will server as a baseline for future research, policy discussions and conservation activities. It will be of high reference value to the scientific community, government, policy makers, environmental activists and students of hydrology, biodiversity and ecology.

Editor Profiles

Jagdish Krishnaswamy is Fellow, Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and Environment (ATREE), Bangalore and Research Fellow, Centre for Wildlife Studies (CWS), Bangalore. He has a B.Tech in Civil Engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT-Bombay), an M.S. in Statistics and a Ph.D in Environmental Science, Duke University, North Carolina. Jagdish's research and teaching interests are diverse and include watershed hydrology, applications of remote sensing in landscape analyses, applied landscape ecology and statistics.

Sharachchandra Lélé is Senior Fellow and Coordinator, Centre for Interdisciplinary Studies in Environment and Development, Bangalore. He has a B.Tech. in Electrical Engineering, IIT Bombay, an M.S. in Systems Science from the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, and a Ph.D. in Energy and Resources from the University of California, Berkeley. Sharachchandra Lélé's research interests include analyses of institutional, economic, ecological and technological issues in forest, energy and water resource management.

R.Jayakumar Programme Specialist for Science, Technology and Environment, UNESCO, Beijing, has a B.Sc. from the University of Madras, an M.Sc. in Geology from Annamalai University, Tamil Nadu and a Ph.D. in Hydrogeology from Bharathidasan University, Tamil Nadu. His research and science administration interests include hydrogeology, water resource management and irrigation water management. He has contributed significantly in the capacity building of many research institutions in India through various UNESCO initiatives.


For copies of this book, please get in touch with  T.K.Ganesha (cised@isec.ac.in)