Dr. Shonil Bhagwat
Shonil Bhagwat has D.Phil. in Tropical Forest Diversity and Conservation (1998-2002) and MSc in Forestry and its Relation to Land Use (1997-1998) from the University of Oxford; MSc in Plant Ecology (1994-1996) and BSc in Botany (1991-1994) from University of Pune, India.
As Senior Research Fellow at the School, Shonil's research interests focus on three areas of investigation, each addressing a number of questions:
Conservation beyond protected-area boundaries: How can we, as humans, continue to share this planet equitably with other species? Can we create and maintain landscapes where species can persist alongside humans? What future strategies can we develop to conserve species in human-dominated landscapes?
Cultural and spiritual values in conservation: What is the role of traditional practises in main-stream conservation? How much of the earth's surface do sites of cultural and spiritual significance cover and which species and habitats do they protect? How has the landscape in and around these sites changed over time?
Climate change and conservation: Which ecological traits make species fit for surviving climate change? How will changes in species composition affect vegetation communities? How will local peoples' livelihoods be affected by climate change and what adaptation strategies can these communities develop?
In collaboration with the University of Kent (Canterbury) and the School of Oriental and African Studies (London) and along with Professor Kathy Willis and Dr Tom Thornton, Shonil is co-ordinating a project that examines Human Adaptation to Biodiversity Change. This project is funded by the UK Research Councils' interdisciplinary programme on Ecosystem Services for Poverty Alleviation. This project aims to kickstart the development of appropriate conceptual frameworks, methods and integrated models for understanding human adaptation to biodiversity change. It explores how the change in related ecosystem services can eventually be used to predict outcomes for biodiversity, and human well-being in highly biodiversity dependent societies. The project also aims to provide evidence for the utility of these outputs with a view to form a new network of researchers and policy makers.
Shonil has recently completed a Leverhulme-Trust funded project, 'Legacies of human management of a cultural landscape in the Western Ghats of India'. This project aims to reconstruct vegetation history of an agricultural landscape in South India. One of the key objectives is to use the understanding and knowledge about long-term vegetation changes to inform conservation management of the present-day landscape. This project uses palaeoecological methods to reconstruct landscape history.
In collaboration with Professor Jan Salick of Missouri Botanical Garden, he is co-ordinating a project in high-mountain Himalaya to understand the effect of climate change on alpine flora. Three sites in the north-eastern Himalayas have been identified for this project. Using plant survey methods developed by GLORIA, based at the University of Vienna, this project will document the alpine plant diversity in the Himalayas. The botanical surveys, in conjunction with information from local people, will be used to determine the threat status of medicinally-important species.
Shonil is President of the Society for Conservation Biology's Working Group on Religion and Conservation Biology, a Steering Committee member of the Task Force on Cultural and Spiritual Values of Protected Areas (part of The World Conservation Union's [IUCN] World Commission on Protected Areas) and Scientific Advisor to Kodagu Model Forest Trust, India.
Dudley, N., Bhagwat, S., Higgins-Zogib, L., Lassen, B., Verschuuren, B. and Wild, R. (2010) Conservation of biodiversity in sacred natural sites in Asia and Africa: a review of the scientific literature. Chapter 2, in Verschuuren, B., Wild, R., McNeely, J. and G. Oviedo (eds.) Sacred Natural Sites: conserving nature and culture. Earthscan, pp. 19-32. ISBN: 9781849711678.
Ormsby, A.A. and Bhagwat S.A. (2010) Sacred forests of India: a strong tradition of community-based natural resource management. Environmental Conservation, 37(1): 1-7.
Willis, K.J., Bailey R.M., Bhagwat S.A. and Birks H.J.B. (2010) Biodiversity baselines, thresholds and resilience: testing predictions and assumptions using palaeoecological data. Trends in Ecology and Evolution, 25(10): 583-591.
Willis, K.J. and Bhagwat, S.A. (2010) Questions of importance to the conservation of global biological diversity: answers from the past. Climate of the Past, 6: 1139-1162.
Willis, K.J., Bennett, K.D., Bhagwat, S.A. and Birks, H.J.B. (2010) 4°C and beyond: what did this mean for biodiversity in the past? Systematics and Biodiversity, 8(1): 3-9.
Garcia, C.A., Bhagwat, S.A., Ghazoul, G., Nath, C.D., Nanaya, K.M., Kushalappa, C.G., Raghuramulu, Y., Nasi, R. and Vaast, P. (2010) Biodiversity Conservation in Agricultural Landscapes: Challenges and Opportunities of Coffee Agroforests in the Western Ghats, India. Conservation Biology, 24(2): 479-488.
Khan, M.S. and Bhagwat, S.A. (2010) Protected Areas: A Resource or Constraint for Local People? A Study at Chitral Gol National Park, North-West Frontier Province, Pakistan. Mountain Research and Development, 30(1): 14-24.
Willis, K.J. and Bhagwat, S.A. (2009) Biodiversity and Climate Change. Science, 326(5954): 806-807.
Bhagwat, S.A. (2009) Ecosystem Services and Sacred Natural Sites: Reconciling Material and Non-material Values in Nature Conservation. Environmental Values, 18: 417-427.
Bhagwat, S. and Palmer, M. (2009) Conservation: the world's religions can help. Nature, 461(7260): 37.
Binney, H.A., Willis, K.J., Edwards, M.E., Bhagwat, S.A. et al. (2009) The distribution of late-Quaternary woody taxa in northern Eurasia: evidence from a new macrofossil database. Quaternary Science Reviews, 28(23-24): 2445-2464.
Bhagwat, S.A. and Willis, K.J. (2009) Conservation in Oil-Palm Landscapes. Conservation Biology, EarlyView.
Bhagwat, S.A. and Willis, K.J. (2008) Agroforestry as a Solution to the Oil-Palm Debate. Conservation Biology, 22(6): 1368-1369.
Bhagwat, S.A., Willis, K.J., Birks, H.J.B. and Whittaker, R.J. (2008) Agroforestry: A refuge for tropical biodiversity? Trends in Ecology & Evolution, 23(5): 261-267.
Bhagwat, S.A. and Willis, K.J. (2008) Species persistence in northerly glacial refugia of Europe: a matter of chance or biogeographical traits? Journal of Biogeography, 35(3): 464-482.
Bhagwat, S.A. (2007) Church forests in Ethiopia: the author replies. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, 5(2): 66-67.
Bhagwat, S.A. and C. Rutte (2006) Sacred groves: potential for biodiversity managment. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, 4(10): 519-524.
Brown, N.D., S.A. Bhagwat, S.C. Watkinson (2006) Macrofungal diversity in fragmented and disturbed forests of the Western Ghats of India. Journal of Applied Ecology, 43: 11-17.
Bhagwat, S.A., C.G. Kushalappa P.H. Williams & N.D. Brown (2005b) A landscape approach to biodiversity conservation of sacred groves in the Western Ghats of India. Conservation Biology, 19(6): 1853-1862.
Bhagwat, S.A., C.G. Kushalappa P.H. Williams & N.D. Brown (2005a) The role of informal protected areas in maintaining biodiversity in the Western Ghats of India. Ecology and Society, 10(1): 8.
Jones, A.C., R.J. White, W.A. Gray, F.A. Bisby, N. Caithness, N. Pittas, X.B. Xu, T. Sutton, N.J. Fiddian, A. Culham, M. Scoble, P. Williams, O. Bromley, P. Brewer, C. Yesson, and S. Bhagwat (2005) Building a Biodiversity GRID. Lecture Notes in Computer Science, 3370: 140-151.
Bhagwat, S.A. and C.G. Kushalappa (2004) Sacred groves of Kodagu, Western Ghats: need for landscape approaches in conservation management. Sahyadri E-News Issue 8.
Boraiah, K.T., Vasudeva, R., Bhagwat, S.A., Kushalappa, C.G. (2003) Do informally managed sacred groves have higher richness and regeneration of medicinal plants than state-managed reserve forests? Current Science, 84(6): 804-808.
Boraiah, K.T., Bhagwat, S., Kushalappa, C.G., Vasudeva, R. (2002) Regeneration of threatened flora among the sacred groves of Kodagu, Karnataka, South India. Myforest, 38: 123-128.
Bhagwat, S., N. Brown, T. Evans, S. Jennings, P. Savill (2001) Parks and factors in their success. Science, 293: 1045-1047.