Harini Nagendra has had over a decade to absorb the
worldview of the late Nobel laureate, Dr Elinor Ostrom, on
governance of commons. Commons are resources used by
all, owned by none -oceans, rivers, the air we breathe, fish
stocks, biodiversity, forests. For the longest time, commons
have been viewed from the economist's lens of individual
self-interest single-mindedly driving use and depletion,
even in the face of long-term unsustainability of resource.
This was referred to as the 'tragedy of the commons' (by
Garrett Hardin, ecologist), a tenet by which many top down
institutions that manage natural resources still orient
themselves when they write the rule book. Discovering
real world examples of user-managed resources that had
remained sustainable over decades, Ostrom (a political
scientist) applied the tools used to study complex systems
to understand conditions under which competitive users
of common property resources might cooperate for wise
use of such resources. Ostrom's contributions have had
direct implications for policy and governance of forests,
biodiversity, lakes and seas; and have changed the
way ownership of stakes is perceived for such spaces,
advocating choices other than centralized governance or
Harini Nagendra, Ramanujam Fellow
at ATREE, who started working with
Ostrom in 2000, was awarded the
Elinor Ostrom Award on Collective
Governance of the Commons in the
Senior Scholar category for applying
innovative interdisciplinary socialecological
approaches to understand
the role of commons in urban and peri urban
areas of Bengaluru-specifically
on the role of avenue trees and lakes
in the city. Bengaluru readers might
have come across her articles in local
newspapers; and researchers, in an
assortment of scientific journals.
According to Harini, “Urban commons
constitute a sadly neglected area in
Indian policy and research. This needs
to change, especially since so many of
the poor and vulnerable are dependent
on urban and peri-urban commons,
which are highly endangered as India
is rapidly urbanizing.” The award also
recognizes Harini's work on impacts of
forestry, joint forest management and
national parks on forest conservation
in Nepal, India and other parts of the
world such as east Africa and Latin
This is the first edition of the award,
instituted in the memory of Elinor
Ostrom, by a collective of 15 leading
institutions working on the commons.
These include the Resilience Alliance,
the International Association for
the Study of the Commons, and
UNESCO's Man and the Biosphere
Programme. Two Senior Scholars, two
Young Scholars and three practitioner
organizations also received the award,
given away on 5 June 2013, at the
XIV International Association for the
Study of the Commons (IASC) Global
Harini's student, Hita Unnikrishnan, a
doctoral student of the 2009 batch,
was selected for the Prof Elinor Ostrom
International Fellowship on Practice
and Policy on Commons, awarded by
the IASC and Foundation for Ecological
Security. Travelling on this grant, she
presented her paper, Privatization of
the commons: Impacts on traditional
users of provisioning and cultural
ecosystem services at 'The commons:
Commoners and changing commons:
Livelihoods, environmental security, and
shared knowledge' at IASC 2013. She
also participated in a panel discussion
on governance of water commons.
Unnikrishnan is doing her PhD on
The changing nature of ecological and
social vulnerabilities within the context
of an urban lake social-ecological
system in India.
Foods are part of culture-whether
they are festival foods, comfort foods,
ginger tea, or wild edible plants that are
part of the quotidian diet of the Soliga.
ATREE came across this undocumented
wild cultural heritage of India and
Karnataka in its work with the Soliga
community in Male Mahadeshwara
hills. The Soliga are an indigenous
tribal community of the Western Ghats
with remarkable knowledge of local
wild greens, fruits and tubers, of which
they gather more than 50 varieties
from forest and farmland. In most
Soliga households, the monsoons are
associated with a feast of green leafy
vegetables recipes. We share with you
a recipe from the Soliga kitchen.
Kaddisoppu (Jasminum trichotomum),
which belongs to the Oleaceae family,
is a shrub found abundantly after premonsoon
showers in MM hills. It is
bitter in taste, rich in iron, magnesium,
methanolic alkaloids and phytosterols.
The Soliga collect kaddisoppu from the
forest when gathering fuelwood or non
timber forest products, or when grazing
cattle, though it is also available in
farm lands. They have discovered
that kaddisoppu is particularly
efficacious against cold, cough, flu
and stomach infections (especially for
dysentery and stomach ache). A recent
pharmaceutical study, published in
International Journal of Research in
Ayurveda and Pharmacy, showed that
the methanolic extract of kaddisoppu
leaves significantly reduces pain, fever
and inflammation (Venkata Naresh
Babu Achuta et al. 2011), validating
Soliga use of kaddisoppu as a medicine
to cure fever, stomach infection, cold
ATREE started chronicling the use of
wild edible plant species in MM Hills
in 2009 when the Soliga returned
again and again to the subject of
disappearing useful species. Since
MM Hills is a reserve forest area,
communities have always had legal
access to forest land.
Kaddisoppu: One bowl of tender shoots
and green leaves
Garlic (crushed): 4-5 cloves
Onion (chopped): 1 medium
Green or dry chilly 2-3 or to taste
Salt: to taste
Oil: 2 tablespoons
Heat the pan with two tablespoons of
oil; add garlic and onion pieces and fry
until they become golden yellow. Add
spices. Rinse the kaddisoppu in water
and add to the pan. Add salt and stir
for a few minutes, until leaves become
a little crispy and seasoned. Now the
curry is ready. Serve hot. It can be
consumed with rice or ragi balls.
R. P. Harisha, MM Hills CCC
The issue of grazing has often been
seen as a controversial topic – the
apparent unsustainable practices
of pastoralists conflicting with
conservationists' attempts to curb
such destructive practices. However,
numerous scientific studies around the
world see the duality of the discourse
as an incomplete truth underlining the
perplexities involved in interactions
within a grazing ecosystem.
Studies now recognize pastoralists as
custodians of variable environments.
Grazing is considered to play a critical
role in maintaining species diversity
through direct consumption of
competitively dominant plant species.
Research finds that grazing facilitates
local colonization of species through
dispersion. Furthermore, herbivores
create spatial heterogeneity by digging,
trampling or through urine deposition,
resulting in soil heterogeneity
In 1998, the state government of
Sikkim enforced a ban on grazing in
most reserve forests, around water
sources and plantation areas, reflecting
acceptance of the view that grazing
is destructive and unsustainable.
However the ban was not enforced in
Lachen Valley, North Sikkim. This valley
is inhabited by two indigenous pastoral
communities, the transhumance agro-pastoral
Lachenpas and the nomadic
yak and sheep herders, the Dokpas. We
investigated the impacts of grazing on
species diversity and above ground net
primary productivity (ANPP) in the subalpine
and alpine pastures of Lachen
valley. Our results indicate higher
species diversity and ANPP in grazed
treatments as compared to ungrazed
treatments. Above ground net primary
productivity showed a difference of
about 63 percent between the two
treatments, with the least difference
seen at the highest elevations.
writing of environment related issues,
that were also possibly development
oriented, and importantly, reaching
the lay reader through Kannada press.
ATREE's role in this CDL-led exercise
was that of an award sponsor and
subject expert jury member in the
evaluation of shortlisted articles.
Other jury members were from the
fields of media, development, and one
representative from CDL.
This year's award went to a non-scribe,
Sanjay Gubbi, a researcher who writes
in various media on wildlife and
nature conservation. His article argued
the pros and cons of the decision to
declare the Western Ghats a UNESCO
World Natural Heritage site. Given
the misinformation circulating on this
issue post the Karnataka government's
opposition to the UNESCO recognition,
the article was seen as being
immediately informative to a variety of
readers, objective and topical.
April through June have been a
productive three months for the
CEPF RIT team, starting with the
disbursement of funds to the approved
grants of the fourth call for proposals by
ATREE and CEPF for the Western Ghats
Programme. Originally, the programme
was scheduled to end in April 2013,
but has been extended for a further
two years until the end of April 2015,
based on strong performance of the
grant portfolio. The programme has
got a fresh infusion of funds for this
CEPF and RIT undertook a Participatory
Assessment workshop from June 28th
to July 5th to assess the progress of the
past five years towards the goals set out
in the programme's Ecosystem Profile.
ATREE held three workshops-in
Kolhapur, Maharashtra (north Western
Ghats); Kotagiri, Tamil Nadu (central)
and Periyar Tiger Reserve, Kerala (south)
to engage with grantees, civil society
The results of our study signify the
useful function of grazing on the
biodiversity of the landscape and its
indispensable role in the ecosystem,
on which basis we recommend the
need to re-evaluate policy decisions
such as the ban on grazing.
Tenzing Ingty, Sikkim
ATREE's Academy for Conservation
Science and Sustainability Studies
appointed Dr Nitin Rai as the new
Academy Convenor in April 2013. Nitin
has been a Fellow in ATREE since 2004.
He will oversee the active efforts
underway in improving the quality and
structure of a programme that is aimed
at integrating the natural and social
sciences. The main thrust in the coming
year is to provide interdisciplinary
coursework for students in the areas
of conservation and development.
Course work for PhD students will
begin on the 12th of August 2013.
We received 112 applications in
response to the advertisement
for applications to the doctoral
programme in Conservation Science
and Sustainability Studies. ATREE
would like to welcome the final twelve
who made it to the list: Soumyajit Bhar,
Annesha Chowdhury, Hussain Ebrahim,
Yamini Virginia John, Nachiket Kelkar,
Rashmi Mahajan, Rahul Muralidharan,
Ramya Ravi, Ranjeet Kumar Sahani,
Sahiti Sanaka, Roshmi Rekha Sharma,
and Sony R K. Staff, students and
faculty look forward to having you
around in ATREE.
In 2011, ATREE became a sponsor for
the Communications for Development
and Learning (CDL)-organized Charkha
Awards for Excellence in Development
Journalism, for articles written on
the environment in Kannada. ATREE,
which has an outreach objective, was
interested in promoting quality in the
Janhavi Rajan is a new addition to the
CEPF Regional Implementation Team
as Communication Assistant.
Indrani Ravi is the new welcoming
receptionist at ATREE, Bengaluru.
Venkataraju tends to the campus
Lele, S., V. Srinivasan, P. Jamwal, B.K.
Thomas, M. Eswar & T. Md. Zuhail.
2013. Water management in Arkavathy
basin: A situation analysis. Environment
and Development Discussion Paper 1,
Peer reviewed articles
Agarwal, S., L. S. Vailshery,
M. Jaganmohan and H. Nagendra.
2013. Mapping urban tree species
using very high resolution satellite
imagery: comparing pixel-based and
object-based approaches. International
Journal of Geo-Information 2(1): 220-
Anand, M., M. Leithead, L. C. R. Silva,
C. Wagner, M. W. Ashiq, J. Cecile, I.
Drobyshev, Y. Bergeron, A. Das, C.
Bulger. 2013. The scientific value of the
largest remaining old-growth red pine
forests in North America. Biodiversity
and Conservation 22(8):1847-1861.
Balachander, M., O. K. Remadevi and
T. O. Sasidharan. 2013. Dissemination
of Metarhizium anisopliae infection
among the population of Odontotermes
obesus (Isoptera: Termitidae) by
augmenting the fungal conidia with
attractants. Journal of Asia-Pacific
Entomology 16(30): 199-208.
Kannan, R., C. M. Shackleton, R. U.
Shaanker. 2013. Reconstructing the
history of introduction and spread
of the invasive species, Lantana, at
three spatial scales in India. Biological
Invasions 15: 1287-1302.
groups and like-minded individuals
in biodiversity conservation. The
workshops helped strengthen cross-linkages
between grantees, share
experiences, identify synergies with
other donor investments, evaluate
gaps in the CEPF portfolio, as well as
develop the agenda for the two years
of the extended period.
The experiences and feedback
resulting from this interaction,
especially knowledge of the issues and
players involved, will be reworked into
the programme, portfolio, progress,
priorities, and future plans in the Ghats.
B. Acharya, CEPF RIT
>The Department of Scientific and
Industrial Research (DSIR), Ministry of
Science and Technology, Government
of India has renewed its recognition
of ATREE as a Scientific and Industrial
Research Organization (SIRO) for the
period April 2013 to March 2016.
Three faculty have been invited
to serve on the editorial boards of
prestigious scientific journals. Harini
Nagendra will serve as Associate Editor
on the board of Animal Conservation.
Abi Tamim Vanak has been accepted
on the editorial board of Conservation
Biology; he has also been serving
as Associate Editor for Animal
Conservation. Jagdish Krishnaswamy
has been invited onto the editorial
board of Biological Conservation.
Sarala Khaling, Regional Director,
Eastern Himalayas Programme has
been appointed to the Core Group of
the IUCN Commission on Ecosystem
Management (CEM) for South Asia.
CEM is one of IUCN's six scientific
Commissions and is a global network
of volunteer experts working on
ecosystem management related issues.
Veena Srinivasan has joined as
Fellow in the Land, Water Livelihoods
programme in Bengaluru. The
programme has recruited two post
doc Fellows in Fellow track, Durba
Biswas and Nutan Maurya. Karthik
Madhyastha and Kiruba Haran also
join the Land, Water and Livelihoods
team- as Research Associate
and Senior Research Associate,
respectively. Praveen Urs has joined
the recently set up Water Quality Lab
as Lab Analyst.
Kannan, R., C. M. Shackelton, R. U.
Shaanker. 2013. Playing with the
forest: invasive alien plants, policy
and protected areas in India. Current
Science 104 (9): 1159-1165.
Lele, S. and V. Srinivasan. 2013.
Disaggregated economic impact
analysis incorporating ecological
and social trade-offs and technoinstitutional
context: A case from the
Western Ghats of India. Ecological
Economics 91: 98-112.
Lyngdoh, N., G. Joshi, G. Ravikanth,
R. Vasudeva and R. U. Shaanker.
2013. Changes in genetic diversity
parameters in unimproved and
improved populations of teak (Tectona
grandis L.f.) in Karnataka state, India.
Journal of Genetics 92 (1):141-145.
Mairota, P., B. Cafarelli, L. Boccaccio,
V. Leronni, R. Labadessa, V. Kosmidou,
H. Nagendra. 2013. Using landscape
structure to develop quantitative
baselines for protected area
monitoring. Ecological Indicators 33:
Nagendra, H, R. Lucas, J. P. Honrado, R.
H. G. Jongman, C. Tarantino, M. Adamo,
P. Mairota. 2013. Remote sensing for
conservation monitoring: Assessing
protected areas, habitat extent, habitat
condition, species diversity and
threats. Ecological Indicators 33: 45-59.
Nagendra, H., B. Reyers and S. Lavorel.
2013. Impacts of land change on
biodiversity: Making the link to
ecosystem services. Current Opinions
in Environmental Sustainability DOI
Nagendra, H., R. Ghate and J. Rao. 2013.
Governing the commons. Seminar India
Rai, N. D. and K. S. Bawa. 2013. Inserting
politics and history in conservation.
Conservation Biology 27(2): 425-428.
Ramesha, B. T., H. K. Suma, U.
Senthilkumar, V. Priti, G. Ravikanth,
R. Vasudeva, T. R. Santhosh Kumar, K.
N. Ganeshaiah, R. U. Shaanker. 2013.
New plant sources of the anti-cancer
alkaloid, camptothecin from the
Icacinaceae taxa, India. Phytomedicine
20: 521– 527.
Singh, S., B. R. Gurumurthy, G.
Ravikanth, R. U. Shaanker and M. B.
Shivanna. 2013. Endophytic fungi from
Miquelia dentata Bedd., produce the
anti-cancer alkaloid, Camptothecin.
Phytomedicine 20: 337– 342.
Smitha, S. G., T. O. Sasidharan, O. K.
Remadevi and J. Bhattacharya. 2013.
Microsporidian infection in wild and
captive-bred populations of butterflies
in South India. Biosystematica 6(2): 39-
Tomaselli, V., P. Dimopoulos, C.
Marangi, A. S. Kallimanis, M. Adamo,
C. Tarantino, M. Panitsa, M. Terzi, G.
Veronico, F. Lovergine, H. Nagendra,
R. Lucas, P. Mairota, S. Mücher and P.
Blonda. 2013. Translating land cover/
land use classifications to habitat
taxonomies for landscape monitoring: A
Mediterranean assessment. Landscape
Ecology DOI 10.1007/s10980-013-
Vailshery, L. S., M. Jaganmohan and
H. Nagendra. 2013. Effect of street
trees on microclimate and air pollution
in a tropical city. Urban Forestry
and Urban Greening DOI 10.1016/j.
Lele, S. 2013. Buying our way out of
environmental problems? Current
Conservation 6(1): 9-13
Jesudasan, A. and R. Goswami. Invasion
of tiger reserve. Down to Earth. 15 July
Datta-Roy, Anirban. Death in the hills.
The Indian Express. 8 June 2013.
Goswami, Rajkamal. Hills of despair
and hope. Down to Earth. 30 April 2013.
Seshadri, K. S. The vanishing voices of
our cities. Sanctuary Asia. April 2013.
Nagendra, H. Human-nature
interactions: towards sustainability
in urban and rural settings. In Being
Social: An Interdisciplinary Conference
on Social Behavior, Indian Institute of
Science, Bengaluru. 26 June 2013.
Nagendra, H. Multi-level governance
and adaptation to climate change
and urbanization: lake commons
in Bengaluru, India. International
Association for Study of the Commons,
Mount Fuji, Japan. 4 June 2013.
Nagendra, H., P. Blonda, P. Mairota,
C. Marangi, D. Torri, R. Lucas, P.
Dimopolous, J. P. Honrado, M.
Niphadkar, S. Mücher, V. Tomaselli.
Using remote sensing for identification
and monitoring of anthropic pressures
on habitats and biodiversity in protected
areas: A multi-nation study. Association
of American Geographers annual
meeting 2013, Los Angeles. 12 April
Setty, S. Long-term monitoring of Apis
dorsata colonies. National conference
on beekeeping and honey industry,
Guwahati. 22 May 2013.
Unnikrishnan, H. A choice between
the cultural consumptive and the
recreational: The impacts of privatization
on lake systems in Bangalore City. Water
in the Anthropocene Conference,
Bonn, Germany. The conference
focused on access to freshwater in the
current age that is dominated by the
human presence, hence dubbed the
Anthropocene. The scholarship was
provided by the Global Water System
Unnikrishnan, H. Privatization of the
commons: Impacts on traditional users
of provisioning and cultural ecosystem
services. The commons: Commoners
and changing commons: Livelihoods,
environmental security, and shared
knowledge, IASC 2013. Organized by
the International Association for the
Study of the Commons. 3-7 June 2013.
Lele, S. Keynote and presidential
address. How should a mining company
think about 'Sustainable Development'?
Training programme on Sustainable
Development. Royal Dutch Shell.
Bengaluru, 9 April 2013.
Lele, S. Ambhari: Panel discussion on
elephant conservation. TV9 (Kannada).
30th June 2013.
Lele, S. Interview on elephant
conservation. News9 (English). 30th
Nagendra, H. and H. Unnikrishnan.
Heterogeneity in access to benefits: Fine
scale challenges for ecosystem service
valuation and prioritization. Diversitas
EcoServices Meeting, Paris, France. 28
Nagendra, H. Collective action:
Innovation in the context of
conservation. Fidelity India, Bengaluru,
4 and 5 February 2013.
Nagendra, H. Education and
conservation. Keynote address,
National Conference on Green Wealth
– A Strategy for Health, Mount Carmel
College, Bengaluru, 27 February 2013.
Nagendra, H. Human-nature
interactions: drivers and outcomes
of land change in India. Macalester
College, Saint Paul, Minnesota, 3 April
Nagendra, H. Human-Nature
interactions: Impact on sustainability
in cities and forests. Azim Premji
University, Bengaluru, 26 April 2013.
Nagendra, H. Mapping and community
efforts in saving lakes. Save Bengaluru's
Lakes - The Alternative and Korkai,
Bengaluru, 10 May 2013.
Nagendra, H. The challenge of collective
action: Ecological restoration by people
in forests and cities. Nehru Memorial
Museum and Library, Delhi, 24 May
Setty, S. Three talks on environment
protection to Panchayat Secretary,
Presidents and Panchayat
Development Officers at Mahatma
Gandhi Institute of Rural Energy and
Development, Bengaluru in June 2013.
Thomas, B. Problem oriented
development research: illustrations
and learnings from Southern India.
National Institute of Advanced Studies,
Bengaluru. 8 May 2013.
Avik Ray. DST grant on Population
genetics of few species of Rhododendron
with varied distributional regimes to
elucidate their colonization, historical
demography and diversification. He has
joined as a Post doc with G. Ravikanth.
Ravikanth G and Siddappa Setty
received a $ 4000 grant from Chicago
Botanic Garden to work on Diversity
and Origins of Jackfruit (Artocarpus
heterophyllus, Lam.) in the Western of
Ghats of India.
Ravikanth, G. Research and
development of an herbal product
authentication service using DNA
barcoding. Funded by Department
of Biotechnology (DBT) New Delhi. 2
Years 2013-2015 Amount Rs. 24.12
Sasidharan, T. O. Project sanctioned:
Occurrence and diversity of the
entomopathogenic fungus, Metarhizium
in the soils of varied eco-climatic forest
habitats of South India. Funded by Dept.
of Biotechnology. Total grant received:
Rs. 30.76 lakh Date of initiation: 01-
Siddappa Setty received a $ 4000
grant from GE to undertake a study on
impact of restoration at Lokkere forest
near Bandipur national park.
Siddappa Setty coordinated an ATREE
team which offered a 6-week study
abroad programme to students from
the University of Kansas (Rs.16.8 Lakhs)
This newsletter has been put together from reports by ATREE folk. Design and lay out is by Salil Sakhalkar. Editing by Samuel Thomas, Ganesan Balachander and Meetu Desai.
Royal Enclave, Sriramapura
Jakkur Post, Bangalore 560 064
Tel: +91-3592-206 403
2nd Floor, 1, K Commercial Complex
Birbal Road, Jangpura Extension
New Delhi 110014
Tel: +91-11-2432 3133
Dr. Kamaljit S. Bawa (Chairman
Dr. K. N. Ganeshaiah
Dr. R. Uma Shaanker
Mr. Darshan Shankar
Ms. Rohini Nilekani
Dr. Surinder M. Sehgal
Ms. Seema Paul
Ms. Pheroza J. Godrej
Dr. K. S. Jagadish
Mr. A. N. Singh
Dr. Ganesan Balachander (ex-officio)
Dr. Priyadarsanan Dharma Rajan(faculty)
Dr. Ganesan Balachander (Chair
Dr. Bejoy Thomas
Dr. Siddhartha Krishnan
Dr. Siddappa Setty
Mr. Ramesh N
Dr. Priyadarsanan Dharma Rajan
Dr. Sarala Khaling (ex officio
Mr. Sridhar R Iyengar (ex officio
Pl note: * will also serve on the Faculty Advisory Committee
* Dr. Vijay Raghavan, Director, National Centre for Biological Sciences, Bengaluru
Dr. Raghavendra Gadagkar, INSA SN Bose Research Professor and JC Bose National Fellow, Centre for Ecological Sciences, Bengaluru
* Dr. Amita Baviskar, Associate Professor, Institute of Economic Growth, Delhi
* Dr. Navroz K. Dubash, Senior Fellow, Centre for Policy Research, New Delhi
* Dr. Gita Sen, Professor, Centre for Public Policy, Indian Institute of Management, Bengaluru
Mr. Raj Khoshoo, Senior Vice President, Siemens PLM, CA, USA
Ms. Kalpana Sharma, independent journalist, Mumbai
Dr. Ravi Chopra, Director, People's Science Institute, Dehradun, Uttarakhand
* Dr. S. P. Singh, Former Vice Chancellor, Advisor, State Planning Commission, Government of Uttarakhand, Dehradun, Uttarakhand
Dr. Ramesh Singh, Director, Learning, Monitoring and Evaluation, Office of the Director of Programs, Open Society Institute, New York
Convenors and Programme Leaders
Dr. Jagdish Krishnaswamy,
Ecosystem Services and Human Well-being and Convenor, Suri Sehgal Centre for Biodiversity and Conservation
Dr. Sharachchandra Lele,
Forests and Governance and Convenor, Centre for Environment and Development
Dr. Priyadarsanan Dharma Rajan and Dr. Ankila Hiremath,
Ecosystems and Global Change
Dr. Shrinivas Badiger
i>Land Water and Livelihoods
Dr. Nitin Rai,
Convenor, Academy for Conservation
Science and Sustainability Studies