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Neelambari Phalkey

<p>Neelambari Phalkey</p>

Neelambari Phalkey


M.Sc. (Environmental Sciences, Policy and Management), Central European University, Budapest, Hungary and The University of Manchester, Manchester, UK: 2008
RTP (M.Phil.) Center for Studies in Social Sciences, Kolkata, India: 2006
M.A (Sociology) University of Mumbai, Mumbai, India: 2002
B.A (Sociology) Wilson College, University of Mumbai, Mumbai, India: 2000




School of Geography, Archaeology and Palaeoecology
Elmwood Avenue, Queen's University
Belfast BT7 1NN, United Kingdom


+44 (0)7703 641779

Current Research: Society, Space and Culture

Project title: Surviving the Sundarbans: Social and Ecological Resilience among Marginalized Communities in a Mangrove Ecosystem

Inscribed in the UNESCO World Heritage list in 1987, the Sundarbans form the largest mangrove delta complex (60 % of total Indian mangroves) in the estuarine zone of the Ganges, Brahmaputra and Meghna Rivers. It is a cluster of 102 islands, out of which 52 islands covering 3500 square kilometers is home to 430,000 people. This region is one of the most aggressivley challenged geographical area with a population density of more than 1100 persons per sq. km.

Mangrove ecosystems are highly vulnerable to sea-level rise induced by changing climate, which in turn will change the salinity distribution. A 1-m rise, for example, will completely inundate the Sundarbans. Loss of productivity, species, and ecosystem goods and services are, therefore, to be expected.

Given the uncertainty surrounding future climatic regimes, there is an urgent need for international and national communities to build adaptive capacities and adequate resilience to climate impacts on their communities. A focus on “impact of adverse climatic events” as opposed to the “climate change induced by human beings” is a pragmatic point of departure in practical assessment of impact on communities. Although fragmented efforts are in place to study the actual course of actions undertaken by the households during shocks, robust empirical studies are limited in developed as well as developing countries. There is a dearth of studies that accurately describe local level adaptive capacities and livelihoods options/alternatives for communities, that we anticipate, will confront adverse natural hazards.

Aims and Objectives of the study:

To address the need for locally specific micro-level studies for global issues such as climate change. This case study aims to identify and describe livelihood practices clustered around food, fodder and fuel in the Sundarban region. More specifically, I will study the livelihood related practices through their relationship to the mangrove ecosystem. This will assist in our understanding of what is at stake due to changing climate regimes and its distribution across the community. My study will look at how social capital organized at the community level will equip them to cope with shocks and intermittent changes from adverse climate events. Livelihoods in this region have been highly susceptible and vulnerable to changing climatic conditions, but no serious empirical data is available to map, predict and monitor the region.


Dr. M. Satish Kumar and Dr. Julian Orford 


Scholarships and Awards

2011: Erasmus Scholarship for Intensive Summer School Program, University of Cyprus, Cyprus.

2010-2011: 75th Anniversary Fieldwork Prize, School of Geography, Archaeology and Paleoecology, Queen's University, Belfast, Northern Ireland, U.K.

2011-2013: Phd Studentship award, School of Geography, Archaeology and Paleoecology, Queen's University, Belfast, Northern Ireland, U.K.

2008: SUN Scholarship for Summer University program, Central European University, Budapest, Hungary.

2006-2008: Erasmus Mundus Scholarship (European Union) for MESPOM Program.

2006: NORAD Scholarship for masters’ degree in Development Studies, University of Bergen, Norway. (Declined)

Work Experience

2008 – 2010: Senior Research Associate and Senior Program Officer, Center for Conservation Governance and Policy, Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment, (ATREE), Bangalore, India.

2004-05: Consultant for Research and Education activities with the WWF (World Wildlife Fund for Nature), Pune Division, Maharashtra, India.

2003-04: Lecturer, Sociology and Social Anthropology for Higher Secondary Certificate Examination Students, Galaxy Education System, Rajkot, Gujarat, India.

2002: Research Executive with Development and Research Services, New Delhi; work involved data compilation and analysis towards a study on the status of village/small scale industries in the Bombay region.

1997-98: Summer Internship with The Sanctuary MagazineWorld Wildlife Fund (WWF) and the Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS) on water and forest Conservation Campaigns entitled “Whose water is it anyways” and “Save the Borivali National Park” respectively.