The Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Jodhpur has launched Thar Desert Ecosystem Sciences Guided by Nature and Selection (Thar DESIGNS) — an initiative to conserve and restore the Thar desert.
Launched under the aegis of the Jodhpur City Knowledge and Innovation Cluster (JCKIC), the initiative aims to conserve the minerals and medicines, flora, and fauna found in the Thar desert by carrying out ecosystem phenomics through the transdisciplinary framework of medical, engineering, environmental, and life sciences.
“Thar DESIGNS aim to disseminate knowledge and encourage participation through a citizen science approach and inculcate design thinking across the entire collaborative network,” says Prof Mitali Mukerji, Professor, and Head, Department of Bioscience and Bioengineering.
“Thar is a hot desert, unique to the Indian subcontinent, and is characterised by high maximum temperature with large diurnal variations, scanty rainfall, extreme aridity, and intense UV radiations. This has been one of the largest natural laboratories for evolving innovative ‘designs’ that, ensure adaptation and survival of its constituent species, their interdependencies, and the conservation of the entire ecosystem,” explains IIT Jodhpur.