Team of international scientists to investigate new management approach for vulnerable coastal wetlands in India

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A TEAM of international scientists  led by two Scottish universities have been awarded research funding to investigate a new approach of vulnerable coastal wetland habitats in India.

The University of St Andrews are working in partnership with the University of Aberdeen and Ahmedabad University in India to investigate new approaches for the management of vulnerable coasts.

The funding was provided by the Royal Society of Edinburgh’s (RSE) Scottish Asia Partnerships Higher Education Research Fund (SAPHIRE) to the three  universities for the important environmental project.

The project, Sustainable Coastal Habitats, Blue Carbon and the Challenges of Net Zero, will focus on India’s coastal wetlands and mangrove forests as important blue carbon systems.

The Fund is a new grant scheme funded by the Scottish Government with the aim of enhancing the existing international research partnerships between Scottish universities and partners in India, Japan and Pakistan.

Professor Bill Austin in India
Professor Bill Austin in India (C) St Andrews University

The team will investigate nature-based solutions that point to sustainable futures for highly threatened coastal habitats in India and demonstrate their ability to contribute to the implementation of an emissions inventory for national greenhouse gases. The research will also deliver new opportunities for emerging climate change and green recovery plans in India.

The research conducted will seek to establish the basis to implement an emissions inventory for coastal wetlands across India.

The Mangrove forests are exploited in many of India’s unprotected coastal wetlands, due to factors including pressures from land use change and deforestation.

Lead researcher Professor Bill Austin at St Andrews, said: “Our project offers the opportunity to help meet the global health, wellbeing, social and other challenges caused by Covid-19.

“We will do this by focusing our project on the recent UN Secretary-General’s initiative to identify climate-related actions to shape the global Covid-19 recovery, which highlights a clean, green transition to economies built on green jobs and sustainable growth to empower societies and people, allowing them to be more resilient by incorporating climate risks and opportunities into the financial system as well as all aspects of public policy making and infrastructure.”

The SAPHIRE fund is open to universities to expand existing research partnerships, develop a practical application for the research; widen the scope of the existing partnership; and enable research to include a focus on economic and or social recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic where appropriate.

The project will involve new partnerships to be built with India’s national remote sensing (space) agency and national/state government departments that hold regional habitat data.