Realizing the importance of Environmental Information, the Government of India, in December, 1982, established an Environmental Information System (ENVIS) as a plan programme. The focus of ENVIS since its inception has been on providing environmental information to decision makers, policy planners, scientists and engineers, research workers, etc. all over the country. Since environment is a broad-ranging, multi-disciplinary subject, a comprehensive information system on environment would necessarily involve effective participation of concerned institutions/ organizations in the country that are actively engaged in work relating to different subject areas of environment. ENVIS has, therefore, developed itself with a network of such participating institutions/organizations for the programme to be meaningful.
The Focal Point of the present 76 ENVIS centres in India is at the Ministry of Environment and Forests, New Delhi. This ENVIS Focal Point is acting as a regional service centre to INFOTERRA (International Information System on Environment) set up by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), to cater to environmental information needs in the South Asian Region, since 1985. As mentioned earlier, the Centre at the BNHS has been assigned the responsibility of being the focal point for information on ‘Avian Ecology’.
Inauguration of the ENVIS Centre on Avian Ecology and Inland Wetlands, BNHS
The Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS) was selected as an Environmental Information System (ENVIS) Centre for avian ecology and inland wetlands by the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF), Government of India during the year of Sàlim Ali centenary year celebration. Inauguration of the ENVIS Centre was done at BNHS by Mr. N.R. Krishnan, Secretary, Ministry of Environment and Forests on June 18, 1996. The choice of BNHS for such a centre is understandable, as it has been related in one way or another with studies on ornithology, natural history and conservation and Dr. Sàlim Ali, India’s father of ornithology.
Objectives of the ENVIS Centre on Avian Ecology
- To create a bibliographic database of published literature related to avian ecology study. This calls for accessing information from scientific papers, notes, project reports, theses, books, bulletins and popular publications, internet & other authenticated sources.
- Publish and distribute BUCEROS newsletter on avian ecology to its members.
- To create and upload databases on avian ecology on ENVIS website.
- To reply to queries on the subject area.
Publications (BUCEROS Newsletter)
The ENVIS newsletter of BNHS was named BUCEROS. To those unfamiliar, BUCEROS is the genus under which the Great Hornbill Buceros bicornis (Great Pied Hornbill) is classified. The Great Hornbill is the logo of the BNHS and also adopted as a mascot. The BUCEROS newsletter is being distributed among institutes, organizations, researchers and interested individuals on the basis of the request. Right from the inaugural issue, BUCEROS gained popularity among the scientific community.
- Volume 1, No. 1, 1996: Inaugural issue.
- Volume 2, No. 1, 1997: It was decided that BUCEROS newsletter will be published thrice in a year and this is the first issue after the inaugural issue, brought out in September 1996.
- Volume 2, No. 2, 1997: In this issue, information was provided on Allan Octavian Hume, one of the founders of the Indian National Congress (INC) who, as probably very few laymen know, was also an ornithologist of repute, with a journal “Stray Feathers”, to his credit.
- Volume 2, No. 3, 1997: Data on Ramsar Sites with information on one of the most well-known bird sanctuaries in the world, the Keoladeo National Park at Bharatpur (formerly known as the Bharatpur Ghana Bird Sanctuary), was published.
- Volume 2, No. 4, 1997: Common name changes of the birds of the Indian Subcontinent
- Volume 3, No.1, 1998: Vernacular names of the Birds of the Indian Subcontinent.
- Volume 3, No.2, 1998: Standardized English names of the Birds of the Indian Subcontinent - A Proposal.
- Volume 3, No.3, 1998: Bibliography of Papers on wetlands from the Journal of Bombay Natural History Society (JBNHS), Volumes 1-40.
- Volume 4, No.1, 1999: Point Calimere Wildlife and Bird Sanctuary.
- Volume 4, No.2, 1999: The History of Indian Ornithology - This is a compilation of papers that pertain to the history of Indian ornithology.
- Volume 4, No.3, 1999: Wetlands of Tamil Nadu Chengalpattu, Ramanathapuram and Kanyakumari districts. In an effort to document the lesser known wetlands of our country, the ENVIS Centre at the BNHS commissioned a survey to collect baseline data on some of these wetlands. As a beginning, we conducted a pilot survey of the wetlands of three districts of Tamil Nadu during 1997-1998.
- Volume 5, No.1, 2000: Bibliography of papers on wetlands from the JBNHS: Volumes 41-70.
- Volume 5, No.2, 2000: Bibliography of Papers on wetlands from the JBNHS, Volumes 71-95.
- Volume 5, No.3, 2000: Information on projects of the U.S. Fish and wildlife services - BNHS partnership for wildlife research and conservations in India.
- Volume 6, No. 1, 2001: Standardized common and scientific names of the birds of the Indian subcontinent. The dire need for a standardized list of the birds of the Indian region was felt during past many years due to the extensive changes in the common and scientific names of birds. The ENVIS Centre, after some deliberation on the subject (see BUCEROS Vol. 2, No. 4 and Vol. 3, No. 2), on the recommendation of Dr. Asad Rahmani, Project Coordinator, ENVIS Centre & Director, BNHS, brought out this standardized non-annotated checklist of the birds of the Indian subcontinent. All Indian governmental departments and nongovernmental organizations concerned with avian research and conservation were requested to follow this list and help standardize the common and scientific names of Indian birds.
- Volume 6, No. 2, 2001: This issue includes the Important Bird Areas (IBA) programme in India, tracing its history, developments and future plans.
- Volume 6, No. 3, 2001: Summaries and a review of the Ph.D. theses on birds.
- Volume 7, No. 1&2, 2002: Threatened birds of India. Information of all the important threatened bird species of India listed in the Red Data Book of International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN)/BirdLife International was compiled with the help of IBA, BirdLife & Royal Society for Protection of Birds (RSPB).
- Volume 7, No. 3, 2002: A BNHS review of the avifaunal list of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972.
- Volume 8, No. 1, 2003: Checklist of Indian water birds. The issue deals with the status, population and conservation of Indian water birds in form of a checklist.
- Volume 8, No. 2 & 3, 2003: Annotated checklist of the Birds of Western Maharashtra - compiled by Anand Prasad.
- Volume 9, No. 1, 2004: Report of the “International South Asian Vulture Recover Plan Workshop”. This issue deal with the workshop on recovery plan for the declining vultures held during 12-14 February 2004 in Parwanoo, Haryana, India to bring national and international attention in the conservation of vultures.
- Volume 9, No. 2, 2004: ‘A dictionary of scientific bird names originating from the Indian region’.
- Volume 9, No. 3, 2004: Bibliography of the Anatidae of South Asia. Anatidae family includes bird groups such as ducks, geese and swans.
- Volume 10, No. 1, 2005: Annotated avifauna of the upper Nilgiris, Western Ghats, Tamil Nadu, India.
- Volume 10, No. 2 & 3, 2005: Bibliography of the birds of South India.
- Volume 11, No. 1, 2006: Bibliography of the birds of North India
- Volume 11, No. 2&3, 2006: Endemic birds of India.
The new format (since BUCEROS Vol. 12) includes subject area news (national, international, organisational and ENVIS Centre), articles and abstracts. The scientific content of the articles as well as the language has been maintained such that it would keep the interest of the layman as well as update the readers with current development in the field of ornithology.
Recent Issues of BUCEROS
Vol. No. 1
Vol. No. 2
Vol. No. 3
Abbr. used: CSIR: Council of Science and Industrial Research; ICAR: Indian Council of Agricultural Research;SCST: State Council for Science & Technology; SPCB: State Pollution Control Board
Databases of the Centre
|Sr. No.||Databases||Type of Data/Information||Entries|
|1.||Bibliography of Avian Ecology||Bibliography (Fields include author, year, title of publication, name of journal/magazine/book, species, subject, region, state, availability in BNHS library||15,032|
|2.||Threatened Birds of India||Threatened categories specified by IUCN, criteria, General information of the each threatened species||156|
|3.||Important Bird Areas (IBAs)||State-wise list of IBAs, IBA code, Site name, Province, Districts, Area, IBA Status, Habitat type||466|
|4.||State/UT wide bird list||State-wise list of birds||26|
|5.||Endemic birds of India||List of endemic birds found in India, General information on each species||79|
|6.||Vernacular names of birds of Indian subcontinent||List of names of Indian birds in most of the regional Indian languages||1241|
|7.||Indian water birds checklist||List, Status, abundance, Schedule as per WPA (1972),South Asia Population Estimates (CITES Appendix and SAPE)||302|
|8.||Migratory birds of India||List, Occurrence, Migratory status, Distribution||371|
|9.||List of birds of the Indian subcontinent||List of birds||1418|
|10.||List of birds of the Indian subcontinent with changed nomenclature||List (with previous and current nomenclature of birds)||435|
|11.||List of birds in trade (Northern India)||List of commonly traded birds in North India with their type of usage||243|
|12.||Marine birds of India||List of birds, IUCN status, WPA schedule||69|
|13.||ENVIS Newsletters (BUCEROS)||Newsletter issues published from 1996||43|
|14.||Power point Presentations on Indian Ornithology||Informative presentations on birds||10|
|15.||Basic information of birds||Basic facts on birds explained||-|
|16.||News||Latest news on avian ecology + archived news||91|
|17.||Bustard Forum||Information on six bustard species found in India||6|
|18.||Glossary||Ornithology terms simplified||63|
All the BUCEROS issues and databases developed by ENVIS Centre are available on ENVIS website in easily accessible format.
ENVIS Team at the BNHS
- Project Coordinator : Dr. Asad R. Rahmani, M. Sc., Ph.D.
- Scientist-In-charge : Mrs. Divya Warrier, M.Sc.
- Information Officer : Ms. Nita Shashidharan, M.Sc.
- Data Operating Assistant : Ms. Tejashree Nakashe, B.Sc.