Imperial College London

Dr Bhopal Pandeya

Faculty of Natural SciencesCentre for Environmental Policy

Visiting Researcher



+44 (0)20 7594 7347b.pandeya Website




02Weeks BuildingSouth Kensington Campus





Publication Type

13 results found

Pandeya B, Buytaert W, Potter C, 2021, Designing citizen science for water and ecosystem services management in data-poor regions: Challenges and opportunities, Current Research in Environmental Sustainability, Vol: 3, Pages: 1-11, ISSN: 2666-0490

While the citizen science approach has gained prominence in water and ecosystem services management, methodological limitations, insufficient resources invested in monitoring practices and a lack of effective mechanisms for integrating the approach into existing monitoring and decision making processes means that its full potential has yet to be realized. Nevertheless, the concept offers a real opportunity to address data gaps and assist decision makers operating under a wide range of socio-ecological and environmental uncertainties. In this paper, we report findings from a project in which low-cost sensors were deployed to collect hydrological data in two study locations in Nepal. We found evidence that the citizen science has potential to generate locally relevant data and knowledge which can enrich a much more polycentric governance of water ecosystem services management. However, some major challenges need to be overcome, in particular developing locally-tailored monitoring sensors, standardizing monitoring and data sharing practice, improving local capabilities to collect quality data and making the approach more sustainable and adaptive to emerging environmental threats and uncertainties. If sufficient attention can be given to these key challenges, citizen science looks set to play a significant future role in water and ecosystem services management.

Journal article

Pandeya B, Uprety M, Paul JD, Sharma RR, Dugar S, Buytaert Wet al., 2021, Mitigating flood risk using low-cost sensors and citizen science: A proof-of-concept study from western Nepal, Journal of Flood Risk Management, Vol: 14, Pages: 1-13, ISSN: 1753-318X

The generation of hydrological data for accurate flood predictions requires robust and, ideally, dense monitoring systems. This requirement is challenging in locations such as the Himalayas, which are characterised by unpredictable hydroclimatic behaviour with dramatic small‐scale spatial and temporal variability. River level monitoring sensors that are affordable and easy‐to‐operate could support flood risk management activities in the region. We therefore identify potential for a local participatory monitoring network that also serve to overcome existing data gaps, which represent the main bottleneck for establishing an effective community‐based flood early‐warning system. We have applied a citizen science‐based hydrological monitoring approach in which we tested low‐cost river level sensors. Initial results, collected over summer 2017 from two stations on the River Karnali, suggest that our system can successfully be operated by non‐scientists, producing river level data that match those obtained from an adjacent government‐operated high‐tech radar sensor. We discuss potential opportunities to integrate these low‐cost sensors into existing hydrological monitoring practice. Combined with an adaptive, community‐led approach to resilience building, we argue that our low‐cost sensing technology has the potential not only to increase spatial network coverage in data‐scarce regions, but also to empower and educate local stakeholders to build flood resilience.

Journal article

Pandeya B, Buytaert W, 2017, Citizen science and web-based modelling tools for managing freshwater

The use of low-cost hydrological sensors in Nepal allowed local stakeholders to generate useful data on freshwater resources in partnership with scientists, and to apply this data more effectively in participatory decision making.It is important to use the right mapping and modelling methods for ecosystem services (the benefits people obtain from ecosystems) so that information on service production, distribution and consumption is expressed at a spatial scale that is relevant to decision making. These methods are even more important in regions where limited data is available.The integration of appropriate citizen science practices as well as mapping and modelling tools into water and land resources based decision making could facilitate sustainable development activities, particularly in the Himalayan region.


Peh KS-H, Thapa I, Basnyat M, Balmford A, Bhattarai GP, Bradbury RB, Brown C, Butchart SHM, Dhakal M, Gurung H, Hughes FMR, Mulligan M, Pandeya B, Stattersfield AJ, Thomas DHL, Walpole M, Merriman JCet al., 2016, Synergies between biodiversity conservation and ecosystem service provision: Lessons on integrated ecosystem service valuation from a Himalayan protected area, Nepal, Ecosystem Services, Vol: 22, Pages: 359-369, ISSN: 2212-0416

We utilised a practical approach to integrated ecosystem service valuation to inform decision-making at Shivapuri-Nagarjun National Park in Nepal. The Toolkit for Ecosystem Service Site-based Assessment (TESSA) was used to compare ecosystem services between two alternative states of the site (protection or lack of protection with consequent changed land use) to estimate the net consequences of protection. We estimated that lack of protection would have substantially reduced the annual ecosystem service flow, including a 74% reduction in the value of greenhouse gas sequestration, 60% reduction in carbon storage, 94% reduction in nature-based recreation, and 88% reduction in water quality. The net monetary benefit of the park was estimated at $11 million year-1. We conclude that: (1) simplified cost-benefit analysis between alternative states can be usefully employed to determine the ecosystem service consequences of land-use change, but monetary benefits should be subject to additional sensitivity analysis; (2) both biophysical indicators and monetary values can be standardised using rose plots, to illustrate the magnitude of synergies and trade-offs among the services; and (3) continued biodiversity protection measures can preserve carbon stock, although the benefit of doing so remains virtual unless an effective governance option is established to realise the monetary values.

Journal article

Pandeya B, Buytaert W, Zulkafli Z, Karpouzoglou T, Mao F, Hannah DMet al., 2016, A comparative analysis of ecosystem services valuation approaches for application at the local scale and in data scarce regions, Ecosystem Services, Vol: 22, Pages: 250-259, ISSN: 2212-0416

Despite significant advances in the development of the ecosystem services concept across the science and policy arenas, the valuation of ecosystem services to guide sustainable development remains challenging, especially at a local scale and in data scarce regions. In this paper, we review and compare major past and current valuation approaches and discuss their key strengths and weaknesses for guiding policy decisions. To deal with the complexity of methods used in different valuation approaches, our review uses multiple entry points: data vs simulation, habitat vs system vs place-based, specific vs entire portfolio, local vs regional scale, and monetary vs non-monetary. We find that although most valuation approaches are useful to explain ecosystem services at a macro/system level, an application of locally relevant valuation approaches, which allows for a more integrated valuation relevant to decision making is still hindered by data-scarcity. The advent of spatially explicit policy support systems shows particular promise to make the best use of available data and simulations. Data collection remains crucial for the local scale and in data scarce regions. Leveraging citizen science-based data and knowledge co-generation may support the integrated valuation, while at the same time making the valuation process more inclusive, replicable and policy-oriented.

Journal article

Bhusal JK, Chapagain PS, Regmi S, Gurung P, Zulkafli Z, Karpouzoglo T, Pandeya B, Buytaert W, Clark Jet al., 2016, Mountains under pressure: Evaluating ecosystem services and livelihoods in the Upper Himalayan Region of Nepal, International Journal of Ecology and Environmental Sciences, ISSN: 0377-015X

Journal article

Buytaert W, Zulkafli Z, Grainger S, Acosta L, Bastiaensen J, De Bièvre B, Bhusal J, Chanie T, Clark J, Dewulf A, Foggin M, Hannah DM, Hergarten C, Isaeva A, Karpouzoglou T, Pandey B, Paudel D, Sharma K, Steenhuis T, Tilahun S, Van Hecken G, Zhumanova Met al., 2014, Citizen science in hydrology and water resources: opportunities for knowledge generation, ecosystem service management, and sustainable development, Frontiers in Earth Science, Vol: 2, ISSN: 2296-6463

The participation of the general public in the research design, data collection and interpretation process together with scientists is often referred to as citizen science. While citizen science itself has existed since the start of scientific practice, developments in sensing technology, data processing and visualization, and communication of ideas and results, are creating a wide range of new opportunities for public participation in scientific research. This paper reviews the state of citizen science in a hydrological context and explores the potential of citizen science to complement more traditional ways of scientific data collection and knowledge generation for hydrological sciences and water resources management. Although hydrological data collection often involves advanced technology, the advent of robust, cheap, and low-maintenance sensing equipment provides unprecedented opportunities for data collection in a citizen science context. These data have a significant potential to create new hydrological knowledge, especially in relation to the characterization of process heterogeneity, remote regions, and human impacts on the water cycle. However, the nature and quality of data collected in citizen science experiments is potentially very different from those of traditional monitoring networks. This poses challenges in terms of their processing, interpretation, and use, especially with regard to assimilation of traditional knowledge, the quantification of uncertainties, and their role in decision support. It also requires care in designing citizen science projects such that the generated data complement optimally other available knowledge. Lastly, using 4 case studies from remote mountain regions we reflect on the challenges and opportunities in the integration of hydrologically-oriented citizen science in water resources management, the role of scientific knowledge in the decision-making process, and the potential contestation to established community institut

Journal article

Birch JC, Thapa I, Balmford A, Bradbury RB, Brown C, Butchart SHM, Gurung H, Hughes FMR, Mulligan M, Pandeya B, Peh KS-H, Stattersfield AJ, Walpole M, Thomas DHLet al., 2014, What benefits do community forests provide, and to whom? A rapid assessment of ecosystem services from a Himalayan forest, Nepal, Ecosystem Services, Vol: 8, Pages: 118-127, ISSN: 2212-0416

Journal article

Pandeya B, Mulligan M, 2013, Modelling crop evapotranspiration and potential impacts on future water availability in the Indo-Gangetic Basin, Agricultural Water Management, Vol: 129, Pages: 163-172, ISSN: 0378-3774

Journal article

Peh KS-H, Balmford A, Bradbury RB, Brown C, Butchart SHM, Hughes FMR, Stattersfield A, Thomas DHL, Walpole M, Bayliss J, Gowing D, Jones JPG, Lewis SL, Mulligan M, Pandeya B, Stratford C, Thompson JR, Turner K, Vira B, Willcock S, Birch JCet al., 2013, TESSA: A toolkit for rapid assessment of ecosystem services at sites of biodiversity conservation importance, Ecosystem Services, Vol: 5, Pages: 51-57, ISSN: 2212-0416

Journal article

Mulligan M, Saenz Cruz LL, Pena-Arancibia J, Pandey B, Mahé G, Fisher Met al., 2011, Water availability and use across the Challenge Program on Water and Food (CPWF) basins, Water International, Vol: 36, Pages: 17-41, ISSN: 0250-8060

Journal article

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