Centre for Ecological Sciences


The Centre for Ecological Sciences (CES) was set up as a Centre of Excellence in 1983 at the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) with a mandate of research and extension activities in the Western Ghats. CES is thus committed to documenting and preserving the plant wealth of this region. Towards this end, CES has been actively involved in several field conservation projects including the design of the country’s first biosphere reserve, the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve, the establishment of several permanent plots in the Nilgiris and in Uttara Kannada district for long-term ecological studies, the promotion of People’s Biodiversity registers, and contribution to the National Biodiversity Policy. Managing the existing natural heritage of plant species and their ecosystems is being given highest priority.

In the process, CES has not ignored the necessity for a solid taxonomic base and a bio-resource repository, the herbarium. Activities are underway for its augmentation. In this endeavor, one major objective is to upgrade the herbarium infrastructure and the information therein, which would strengthen CES’ efforts to improving herbarium JCB and its services, and also to help to meet the needs of a new generation of tropical botanists in the region. Further, efforts would be made to foster care preservation, improvement of the collections through periodical field trips, and enhance the information load on the herbarium collections

Scientist-in-Charge of the Herbarium, Dr. K. Sankara Rao, a retired Professor from Indian Institute of Science is a trained taxonomist and a colleague of Dr. C. J. Saldanha at St. Joseph’s College, Bangalore between 1964-1980. During this period he was closely associated with Dr. Saldanha’s floristic work and has fair knowledge of the collections in the herbarium JCB. He has also had postdoctoral training in plant taxonomy at the University of Waterloo, Canada under taxonomists, Prof. J. K. Morton and Prof. J. C. Semple. Post-retirement, Prof. Rao has been with the Herbarium JCB at the Center for Ecological Sciences and his association has been valuable for the development of the Herbarium into a modern facility.