ATREE Work Seminar 2017 (2nd – 4th August)

ATREE will be holding the Annual Work Seminar from 2-4 August. The event allows ATREE faculty, students, research associates and representatives of ATREE’s community conservation centres to discuss research, policy and outreach activities, results, and proposals. Dissemination to, and feedback from, the entire ATREE community are the two objectives of the AWS.

The Annual Work Seminar (AWS) began in 2012 when the organisation felt the need for a platform where young researchers and practitioners within ATREE would get to communicate their work, interact and share insights and feedback. Since then, AWS has been organised twice in the years 2013 and 2015 making AWS 2017 the third edition.

AWS 2017
AWS 2017 is going to be a 5-day event with the first two days set aside for workshops.

Plenary Talks
The plenary talks broadly cover the natural and social sciences and will be given by resource persons/practitioners outside ATREE.

This year, plenary lectures will be delivered by Dr. Rohit Naniwadekar (Scientist, NCF), and Dr.Aparna Sundar (Visiting Professor, APU).

Contributory talks
The contributory talks will include presentations from different research groups and CCCs within ATREE, which be broadly categorised into themes. This year, the presentations are grouped under three overarching themes— Eastern and Western Ghats (Day 1), Social environment and development (Day 2) and Himalayas and Grasslands & Semi-Arid Landscapes (Day 3).

The event will also feature three-minute speed-talks, which will be spread across the three days of AWS.

Focal theme- Long Term Monitoring research
ATREE has been a part of several Long-Term Monitoring Research projects. Faculty members and researchers working on these projects will be invited to share their experiences in planning and executing LTM based research.

Long term monitoring of ecosystems
Monitoring is essential to understand the effects of various natural and anthropogenic drivers on ecosystem functioning. Several biophysical parameters are monitored including species, populations, community interactions, nutrient cycling and energy flow. Many of these factors can change subtly over time or show dramatic perturbations due to stochastic events often linked to climate anomalies. This can happen over several years or decades and systematic monitoring is essential for decoding the ecosystem processes.

ATREE has been conducting long-term ecological monitoring at two forest sites in the Western Ghats for over 20y, and for over 10y in the wetland site at Vembanad. The focus of monitoring has been on how land degradation, NTFP harvest and tree phenology influence vegetation (KMTR and BRT) and how long-term engagement with local communities helps to determine water quality, fish and bird numbers in brackish and fresh water lakes (Vembanad, KMTR). More recently ATREE work has spanned to other areas and ecosystems to understand the dynamics of invasive species, small carnivores and pastoralists in the Banni grasslands, and how fine scale measurements of rainfall can help understand effects of climate and other global drivers of change on the hydrology in the river basins of Aghnashini and Upper Bhavani of the Western Ghats.

ATREE monitoring has attempted to encompass a socioecological monitoring framework in more recent initiatives while the earlier ones were largely related to ecological processes that relate to changes in the timing and synchrony of important biological, ecological, and climatic events. The long-term monitoring session will cover the work in the above-mentioned areas with 9 talks and few posters.

Panel discussion

Panel discussion: Interrogating Environment and Development: Research, Training and Scientific Careers in India

Date & Time: 3rd August, 4:20-5:30 pm

There is a need more than ever before to have researchers and training programmes that examine issues that lie at the interface of environment and development. However, doing research of this nature and undertaking interdisciplinary work come with academic as well as practical challenges for both senior as well as younger researchers, especially in a country like India that is slow in accepting the need for such research and training.

The panel discussion attempts to advance a conversation with researchers who have engaged with and are currently engaging in issues on environment and development about some of the key challenges they face, as well as to examine the challenge of adopting an interdisciplinary pedagogic and research model to examine environment and development issues in the context of a democracy like India. The discussion attempts to also examine personal challenges faced by individuals as well as within institutions that undertake such work in the Indian context. It will also attempt an exploration into the requirement and the complexities of making 'problem-oriented' and ‘applied’ research and training more into the mainstream Indian higher education system and some of the challenges that lie ahead for researchers and teachers in the next few decades in this country.

Abi Tamin Vanak (Fellow, ATREE), Bejoy Thomas (Fellow, ATREE), Hita Unnikrishnan (ATREE PhD alumna), Madhura Niphadkar (ATREE PhD alumna), Rajkamal Goswami (ATREE PhD alumnus), Veena Srinivasan (Fellow, ATREE)

Discussant: Amita Baviskar (Prof. Sociology, Institute of Economic Growth)

Moderator: Shikha Lakhanpal (Post-doc, ATREE)