Raj's Himalaya Lab
                       Department of Environmental Studies, University of Delhi, India

About Us

The Himalaya Lab is a research, teaching and training initiative to focus attention of students, academics, NGOs, policy planners and general public toward the importance of Himalayan ecosystems in generating natural resources varying from hydrological to genetic. The ecosystems functions of Himalaya have been strained due to land use changes in the past which continued on large-scale during the British rule and have continued ever since. Also, linked to the natural resources of Himalaya are the people whose livelihoods have depended on land, water and biodiversity of the young and fragile mountain region.

The thrust on rapid economic development has ushered an era of extensive exploitation of water resources for hydro-power generation in Himalaya. We follow an inter-disciplinary approach in carrying out researches in impacts of developmental activities on Himalayan ecosystems and biodiversity including advising a number of state and private institutions on the consequences of hydro-power development.

We employ carrying capacity based developmental planning as a strategic tool to build sustainable development scenarios in Himalayan river basins. A vast geo-informatics data base has been developed in the lab that could be used by the state and central government agencies for ecologically sound planning.

Studies on species endangerment and invasion carried out in the lab have yielded new hypothesis and paved a novel path of research into genetic and genomic traits as being the key to the conservation status of plant species. The endeavor is to build a frontline area of research in “eco-genomics”.

To understand the biological response of Himalayan species to climatic warming, we initiated researches in the Eastern Himalayan biodiversity hot spot. Initial results clearly point to species’ range shifts to north, ingression of woody elements into herb-dominated habitats and increased species richness at mountain summits compared to the known historical records.

For over two decades we have concentrated on Himalayan rivers and river basins to under broad ecological processes and patterns in the aquatic and terrestrial habitats. Regular monitoring of rivers for physico-chemical and biological attributes has enabled us to come up with a new micro-invertebrate based biotic index for water quality which is more universal and ecologically safe.


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