For private circulation only

       Branches@ATREE(A Bimonthly Newsletter)

Volume 4:3
October 2006

659 5th A Main, Hebbal
Bangalore 560 024
Tel: 080-23530069, 23533942
Fax: 080-2353 0070
Eastern Himalayas
Near Jubilee High School
Dr. B.L Dixit Road
PO Kalimpong
District Darjeeling
PIN 734301
Tel: 03552 257713
New Delhi
Chhatarpur Hill
New Delhi-110 074
Tel: 91-11- 2630 1044
Fax: 91-11-2630 1016
Advisory Board
Dr. R.A. Mashelkar
Dr. Jairam Ramesh
Dr. Anil K. Gupta
Dr. Peter Raven
Dr. Jagmohan Maini
Dr. Dan Martin
Executive Board
Dr. K. S. Bawa
Dr. K. N. Ganeshaiah
Dr. S. N. Rai
Dr. R. Uma Shaanker
Dr. Darshan Shankar
Mrs. Rohini Nilekani
Dr. Surinder M. Sehgal
Dr. Gladwin Joseph (ex-officio)
Executive Staff
Dr. Gladwin Joseph
Dr. Kartik Shanker
Mr. Suman Rai
Mr. Manoj Dabas


Dr. Soubadra Devy has been selected for the Lowell Thomas Award for 2006. The award is given out each year by the Explorers Club and Rolex USA to honor extraordinary individuals who have made unique contributions to a particular field of exploration. This year, the focus is forest canopies and their rich biodiversity. There are five awardees for 2006 and Soubadra is one among them. The award is in recognition of her work on the pollination of canopy trees.

The others awardees this year are: Francis Halle, field explorer who invented the Great Balloon for canopy research; Margaret Lowman, known as "Canopymeg" for her worldwide work in the rainforest canopy; Mark Moffett, scientist and journalist/ photographer for National Geographic; and, Brian Rosborough, visionary founder of Earthwatch, who has advocated the importance of entrepreneurial support for field research. The awards will be presented on Wednesday, 18 October 2006 at a special dinner hosted by The Explorers Club and Rolex, at the Cipriani Ballroom in New York City.


ATREE hosted an international workshop on Forest Canopies from 11 to 14 June 2006. It was funded by the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office Global Opportunities Fund and the United Nations Environment Programme, in collaboration with the Global Canopy Programme, a UK charity, to discuss climate change impacts on forests and to promote the sustainable use of forest canopies. Delegates from Brazil, Ghana, Madagascar, Malaysia, China and India exchanged expertise and discussed the sustainable use of forest canopy biodiversity, by supporting local livelihoods through environmentally sustainable canopy based enterprise. This also included canopy ecotourism, using modern canopy access technology such as a walkway. The delegates also discussed the social and economic values of forest canopy ecosystem services to humanity.

- Vivek R.


The Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund (CEPF) recently began an investment program in the Eastern Himalayas Region, covering Bhutan, northeastern India, and southern, central and eastern Nepal. In India the CEPF program will be coordinated by the Eastern Himalayas office of ATREE at Kalimpong.

A formal launch of the CEPF program was organized on 23 August 2006 at Gangtok, Sikkim. The program was launched by Shri. SB Subedi, Hon. Minister of Forests, Environment and Wildlife. Representatives from Department of Forests, Environment and Wildlife Government of Sikkim and Non-Government Organizations of Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Sikkim and West Bengal (Darjeeling district) were present. The launch was followed by a brief orientation on the CEPF program. An interaction session with the CEPF coordination team and civil society organizations followed.

A fundamental goal of CEPF is to engage civil society in biodiversity conservation. The Eastern Himalayas region is the newest of 16 hotspots currently being funded by CEPF. Mr. Suman Rai, Regional Director, ATREE Eastern Himalayas has been appointed the Country Coordinator for India and is based in ATREE-Eastern Himalaya Office in Kalimpong.

- Suman Rai


The National Capacity Needs Self-Assessment (NCSA) workshop was held at Shillong, Meghalaya on 26 August. It was organized by ATREE under the aegis of the Ministry of Environment and Forests supported by the United Nation Development Programme/ Global Environment Facility (GEF). The participants included senior forest officers of Assam, Meghalaya, Arunachal Pradesh, Sikkim and Tripura, Director of the State Biotechnology Department, Tripura, faculty members from NEHU, Officers and Scientists from Ministry of Environment and Forests, Regional Office, Shillong, Scientists from Botanical Survey of India, Zoological Survey of India, National Bureau of Plant Genetic Resources, Rain Forest Research Institute, Jorhat and North-East Space Application Centre, Shillong. Several NGOs working in the field of biodiversity conservation also participated. This consultation was part of a process to assess capacities for fulfilling India's mandate towards implementation of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) to which it is a signatory. The objectives: to identify strengths and gaps related to biodiversity conservation in India; and, to prepare a thematic profile to facilitate prioritization of areas for GEF support for capacity building in the country.

- Neha A.


A workshop on environmental education was organized on 10 of June at the SKM Higher Secondary School, Kumarakom. The objective was to get insights from teachers on the proposed environmental education programme which ATREE is initiating in the area for the conservation of Vembanad Lake. In all, 24 teachers from various schools of Kottayam district attended the workshop.

The Wetland Project Office at Vembanad also organized a programme to mark World Environment Day on 5 June at St. Josephs College. After an interaction a documentary in Malayalam on environmental problems of Vembanad ('Oru jalaparappinte vilapam') was screened.

- Jojo T.D


The Union Minister for Environment and Forests, Thiru A. Raja released the book "Marine Turtles of the Indian Sub-continent" in New Delhi. The editors of the book are Kartik Shanker and B.C. Choudhury (Wildlife Institute of India). Kartik Shanker has also produced a book for children titled 'Turtle Story' in collaboration with Pratham Books. It has been printed in English, Telugu, Kannada, Tamil, Marathi, Hindi and Oriya and is being distributed to various project partners and community groups along the coast.

The Coastal and Marine Programme is involved in the execution of the environmental assessments component of the UN Post-Tsunami Recovery Framework along with Citizen, consumer and Civic Action Group and Nature Conservation Foundation (for details on UNDP Post-Tsunami Environment Assessments see Data collection on the social, ecological and policy components are underway currently.

Members of the coastal programme have participated in meetings of the Orissa Marine Resources Conservation Consortium ( held in June to take stock of activities of OMRCC members and to discuss their position on the sea turtle and fisheries legislations in the State. Team members also assisted in organizing a meeting of the OMRCC with the trawler association of the Nuagad harbour to introduce the OMRCC and to build on the collaborative approach of the group towards marine conservation.

- Aarthi Sridhar


Dr. SN Rai and Dr. KD Singh (Hon Senior Fellow) have been nominated to the Consultative Group on Forestry Matters for International Negotiations. The group functions under the Chairmanship of Secretary (Environment & Forests), Government of India and will look into the implications of various international conventions/ multilateral agreements like UNFF, WTO, ITTO, ITTA, Asia Pacific Forestry Commission and SFM to evolve a strategy for action conforming to international obligations.

- Kalpana P.


Robert Chandran has joined ATREE as Fellow, Conservation Science. He holds a Doctorate in Tropical Forest Ecology from the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore. He has worked at the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore; Asian Elephant Research and Conservation Centre, Bangalore; and, at the Centre for Tropical Forest Science, U.S.A. He worked as Post-Doctoral Associate in Department of Plant Biology, University of Illinois, U.S.A. prior to joining to ATREE.

Nikhil Lele has joined the Ecoinformatics Centre as a Senior Research Associate. He has a Master's Degree in Botany (specializing in plant ecology), from the University of Pune and has worked on the 'Forest Cover Dynamics in North East India and its effects on Erosion Processes' as part of his doctoral dissertation at IIRS, Dehradun.


Aravind N.A., K.P. Rajshekhar and N.A. Madhaystha. 2006. Land snails of Western Ghats: Diversity, Distribution and Endemicity. Sahyadri E News. (

Aravind, N. A., Dinesh Rao, G. Vanaraj, K. N. Ganeshaiah, R. Uma Shaanker, and J. G. Poulsen. 2006. Impact of Lantana camara on plant communities at Malé Mahadeshwara reserve forest, South India. In: Rai, L. C. and J. P. Gaur (eds), Invasive alien species and biodiversity in India, pp. 1-12. Banarus Hindu University, Banarus.

Irfan-Ullah, M., and Davande, S. 2006. Effectiveness of 'Genetic Algorithm for Rule-set Prediction (GARP)' based modeling in predicting Prosopis juliflora invasion - A Case Study. pp. 125-153 in L. C. Rai, and J. P. Gaur (eds), Invasive alien species and biodiversity in India. Department of Botany, Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi.

K.R. Shivanna 2006. Challenges in sustainable utilization of some of our gum and gum-resin yielding species. In: BioresourceBiotech2006 (Bioresource and biotechnology in sustainable development) Workshop, CEMDE, Delhi University (3 Feb 06) Workshop Manual. Pp 26-28.

P.K. Joshi, Lele N., and S.P. Agarwal 2006. Entropy as an indicator of fragmented landscape - Northeast India case study. Current Science (91) 3: 276-278

Sinu, P.A. Nasser, M. and Rajan P.D. 2006 Feeding Fauna and Foraging Habits of Tiger Beetles Found in Agro-ecosystems in Western Ghats, India. Biotropica 38: 500 - 507.

Sridhar A. 2006. A shift in conservation approach from Orissa, India, July 2006 IOSEA website.

Sridhar, A., R. Arthur, D. Goenka, B. Jairaj, T. Mohan, S. Rodriguez and K. Shanker. 2006. Review of the Swaminathan Committee Report on the CRZ Notification, UNDP, New Delhi.


Aarthi Sridhar and members of the UNDP Post-Tsunami Environment Assessments team made presentations on the CRZ Notification and implications of the newly proposed coastal legislation at a workshop in Chennai organized by the Coastal Action Network on 20 May 2006. A similar presentation was made at a workshop organised by the International Collective in Support of Fishworkers and the National Fishworkers' Forum on 6 June in Bhubaneshwar, Orissa. She also made a presentation titled 'Appropriate marine conservation approaches - MPAs versus community conservation' at the above mentioned ICSF meeting on 6 June in Bhubaneshwar, Orissa.

Aravind, N. A. 2006. "ATREE, Western Ghats and Snails" at Biology Department, Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok.

Anupam Mishra of Gandhi Peace Foundation delivered a talk titled "Traditional Water Harvesting Sytems of Rajasthan" at the second ATREE Monthly Thematic Discussion held 28 July 2006.

Pushpam Kumar of Institute of Economic Growth, Delhi University delivered a talk titled "Valuation and Accounting of Ecosystem Services and Environmental Damages" at the third ATREE Monthly Thematic Discussion held on 25 August 2006 at ATREE Delhi office.

Faiz Hayat delivered a talk titled "Convention on Bio-diversity: CoP 8 and its implications for India" at the first thematic lecture series held on 30 June.

Irfan-Ullah, M. 2006. Participatory Natural Resource Management Planning - A GIS & RS based approach. Water Summit, 16-18 June. India Development Coalition of America, Illinois, USA.

Irfan-Ullah, M. and Gupta, P. 2006. Landslides: Geologic and Geomorphic Controls. Symposium-Workshop on Landslide Ecology - A Perspective from Tropical Mountainscapes. Association for Tropical Biology and Conservation (ATBC),18-21 July. Xinhua Tropical Botanical Gardens, Kunming, China.

Irfan-Ullah, M., Davande, S. and Sharma 2005. Predicting the spread of Prosopis juliflora using Ecological Niche Modeling. Workshop on Exotic Woody Species, Punjab Agricultural University, Ludhiyana.


Ankila Hiremath has been invited to be a visiting faculty member at the Department of Environmental Biology, Delhi University, which houses the Center for Environmental Management of Degraded Ecosystems.

Aravind, N.A. "Capacity building in taxonomy of land snails in south and south-east Asia" Darwin Initiative Grant from British Government.

Uma Shaanker "Conservation by Substitution: An innovative approach to enhance livelihood of tribal communities using an invasive weed" Rainforest Concern, United Kingdom

Sinu P.A. received his PhD degree from the University of Calicut; has received a 3 year research grant through the Young Scientist Award program of Department of Science and Technology, New Delhi; and, was invited by George August-University, Germany to write a collaborative research proposal for German landscapes in July 2006. He also has a research grant from National Geographic Society, USA for an 18 month project.

Ravikanth G. "Out breeding Depression in Plants: Implications for the conservation of critically endangered tree species". Department of Science and Technology (DST) New Delhi. Project Sanctioned for three years. Also, "Species Recovery Plan for Semecarpus kathalekanensis". Department of Biotechnology (DBT) New Delhi. Project sanctioned for three years.

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