Save the tiger! Save the Grasslands! Save the Water!

Indushree Banerjee, PhD

WP 1: Integrative water management approaches under conflicting views

I am currently involved in understanding the interrelationships between river dynamics, groundwater, landcover and land use, and tigers in the Bardia National Park (BNP) and its buffer zone (BZ). To this purpose, I develop agent-based models (ABM) to investigate spatial and temporal scales and rhythms of continuity and change in river dynamics and routines of animals and communities living in BNP and BZ. In work package 1, together with Dr Maurits Ertsen (WP lead), we focus on three main research questions:

Q1 . How can the conservation of the grasslands be combined with resource allocation for economic activities under sustainable integrated water resource management?

Q2. How can co-creative interactions between scientific, public, and societal stakeholders be optimized?

Q3. How can effective policies for tiger preservation be developed and stakeholder ownership be effectuated?

The BNP, its wildlife and the communities living in the BZ form a complex system with actors such as tigers, communities, river and grasslands that share water for multiple purposes. I am interested in understanding the relations between and ideas of nature conservationists and local dwellers in a region. This interest is translated in the conceptualization and implementation of these relations and ideas in an agent-based model. With my ABMs, I look forward to interacting with scientific, societal, and public stakeholders to understand their requirements and limitations concerning the contested space and resources. This interaction fits with my multidisciplinary approach towards designing and co-creating policies. To achieve this, in addition to consulting the technical literature on state of the art, I have already conducted interviews and gained a different perspective on the same issue with my visit to BNP and BZ.

I am trained as a multidisciplinary scientist, with a bachelor’s in computer science and engineering from the West Bengal University of Technology, India and a master’s in Networks and Distributed Systems from the University of St Andrews, Scotland. My expertise lies in the design of self-evolving, self-healing systems with a Value-sensitive design approach. For my PhD, I designed an autonomous and self-organizing mobile communication system that delivers the value of fairness, inclusion, and continuity in dynamic and disruptive environments.