Butterflies and Bees in the Indian Himalayas

Climate Change

Butterflies and Bees in the Indian Himalayas

What does climate change hold for the Himalayas? Help find out by examining pollinators and the crops that need them.

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The facts

Why the research is important

Why the research is important

Data from these three locations will form the basis of a regional plan for managing sustainable agriculture in a changing climate.

Your observations of bees and butterflies will help provide key information about the effect of declining plant diversity on crop pollinators.

Because of its remarkable plant diversity, the Himalayan region is one of 34 official Global Biodiversity hotspots. The Kullu Valley, a major agricultural center, is located in this hotspot. Agriculture in the region is largely sustainable, but its success depends upon the pollination of crop plants by animals such as bees and butterflies.

Few studies have focused on the plant species of the region or on the effect of declining Himalayan plant biodiversity on pollinators. This lack of knowledge limits the ability of the Indian government to make meaningful policy decisions relative to sustainable agriculture and farming practices.

This Earthwatch project is part of a larger study of pollinators in the Indian Himalayas. Two additional studies in the Sikkim and Uttarakhand areas will explore the status of pollinators of cucumbers, mustard, and cardamom, which are major sustainable crops in the region. Data from these three locations will form the basis of a regional plan for managing sustainable agriculture in a changing climate.

Bee pollinating flower

Assess biodiversity in the Kullu Valley, with a focus on “bee flora”.

As an Earthwatch participant, you'll assess bees and butterflies in apple orchards. You’ll also record diversity of tree, shrub and herb; flowering, leafing and fruiting on marked apple trees; and identify and record bee flora to create a floral calendar for the region. In the lab, you’ll analyze soil samples and record and input data.

About the research area

Kullu, Himachal Pradesh, India, Asia

Daily life in the field


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The Scientists


Director, Govind Ballabh Pant Institute of Himalayan and Environment Development

ABOUT P.P. Dhyani

Dr. Dhyani studies the relationship between plants and their environment, and his work has helped develop practices for restoring and conserving natural landscapes. He has three decades of experience researching plants in the Himalayas.


Accommodations and Food

Accommodations and Food


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