IUP Contingent Studying Effects of Climate Change on Tea in India

Posted on 6/6/2017 2:16:15 PM

A group of seven students and two faculty members is in India this month studying the effects of climate change on tea production and local wetlands.

Led by Sudeshna Ghosh and Brian Okey, of the Department of Geography and Regional Planning, the group has teamed up with students and staff from the Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur’s Department of Architecture and Regional Planning.

The seven IUP students are: Emily Bergman, of Irwin; Christian Cochran, of Gibsonia; Shelagh Jackson, of Indiana; Nathaniel Kiehm, of Ellsworth, Maine; David Miller, of Mount Pleasant; Kristina Thomas, of Monroeville; and Andrea Viazanko, of Greensburg.

The groups will visit Makaibari Tea Estate and Darjeeling Tea Research and Development Centre at Kurseong, India, to do their study. The first part of the trip (10 nights) was in Kolkata; the final seven days will be spent in Darjeeling.

“Tea is something that the whole world can relate to, even Starbucks has introduced chai latte to their menu,” Ghosh said. “And when we talk about tea, it is the world-famous Darjeeling tea that comes to the mind. This research will focus on the socio-economic and geographic issues of tea plantations, and how they are impacted by climate change. Darjeeling has been selected as the test bed for this year. We will also have to collect weather-related data of the region over the past 50 years to understand the extent of climate change, the impact and whether it influences Darjeeling tea’s unique aroma.”

The students are scheduled to return June 19.