Applying science to societal issues
ATREE invited friends, partners, key leaders, donors and academics to participate in a panel discussion on ‘Science in the Service of Society’ to provoke thoughtful discussion and debate on whether we are ready for the challenge. The discussion was led by Dr. M.S. Swaminathan of MSSRF, Chennai, Dr Amita Baviskar of the Institute of Economic Growth (IEG), New Delhi and Dr Vijay Raghavan, National Centre for Biological Sciences (NCBS), Bangalore and held at ATREE, Bangalore, on 24 March 2010.
Mentioning how ATREE was rooted in humanist tradition, Dr. Swaminathan spoke about the positive impacts of technology and the enriching experience for scientists working toward inclusive development of society. Dr. Vijay Raghavan traced differences in scientific practice in pre and post colonial times: how agricultural science flourished due to the political and scientific consensus on food security, while new generation of scientific institutions in India were more sensitive to environmental problems. Environmental sociologist, Dr. Amita Baviskar, approached the topic from a very different, and rarely heard social perspective, stressing that science is ‘shaped by society and scientists are affected by politics and values’. Today, the focus of science was on rational order and planning and knowledge was largely technocratic. Contemporary environmental issues, especially climate change, highlight uncertainty, she said.
ATREE also took this opportunity to thank its principal donors, the Sir Dorabiji Tata Trust, The Ford Foundation, Ms. Rohini Nilekani, Dr. and Mrs. Suri Sehgal. Dr. Kamal Bawa, founder trustee and President of ATREE moderated the panel discussion.
Appreciating the taxonomy imperative in advancing conservation
Top scientists and administrators of the country spoke about the relevance of taxonomy to conservation studies and the pressing need for reviving this neglected science in a one-day workshop on 23 February in Bangalore. The discussions resulted in a set of recommendations that have been shared with the Ministry of Environment and Forests, the Department of Science and Technology and the Human Resources Department, with the objective of influencing policies and decisions relating to investments in human capital and technology in taxonomy and systematics. Some of the key recommendations include removing bureaucratic restraints to collection of biological samples for study, and amending the Biological Diversity Act, 2002 to encourage critically required national and international collaborations in taxonomic research.
Key speakers at ‘Advancing the Science of Taxonomy in India for Biodiversity Conservation’ workshop were Professor Madhav Gadgil (Emeritus Professor, Agharkar Research Institute, Pune), Prof. N. Mohanram, Dr. P.L. Gautam (Chairman, National Biodiversity Authority), Dr. Ramakrishna (Director, Zoological Survey of India, Kolkata), Prof. C.A. Viraktamath (Emeritus Professor, University of Agricultural Sciences, Bangalore), Dr. K.N. Ganeshaiah (University of Agricultural Sciences, Bangalore), and Dr. K. Narayanan Nair (Scientist, National Botanical Research Institute, Lucknow).
The workshop oragnized in partnership with Indian Association for Angiosperm Taxonomy (IAAT), School of Ecology and Conservation, University of Agricultural Sciences (SEC – UAS), and the Western Ghats Invertebrate Research and Conservation Network (WGIRC) under the aegis of the National Biodiversity Authority. This workshop was supported by a grant from the Jamsetji Tata Trust to ATREE’s Academy for Conservation Science and Sustainability Studies.
Biodiversity festival: generating awareness among the young
ATREE is Regional Resource Agency to DBT’s Natural Resource Awareness – DNA Clubs, set up in five schools in Ankola, Sringeri,Ujire, Tumkur and Mysore. To mark the closing of their second year of activities, the students of all five schools put up a ‘Biodiversity Festival’ at Jaycees School, Sringeri, on 20 and 21 Feb, to showcase what they had learnt. Activities included a visit to the medicinal plants garden at Menase, bird watching around the school campus, exhibition and presentation of project work by students, cultural programmes themed on nature-related skits, songs and dances. In an interactive session, the DNA Club students expressed their opinion about the programme and its impact on them.
Talks and presentations by the DNA Club Programme Coordinator, ATREE, T Ganesh, and Manjunath Chauhan, DFO of Koppa marked the celebrations. Students were awarded for quizzes, debates, project work, and scientific models. The best school and the best DNA Club coordinators were also awarded.
Helping teachers relate local biodiversity to environment education
The ATREE field academy of MM hills held a workshop to expose local teachers to the importance of conserving local natural resources, as capacity strengthening in relevant environment education. This was a field workshop, with a visit to a sacred grove in Kommudikki village and the Lantana Craft Centre in Hanne Hola. Giby and Harisha led a bird watching trip at Kokkubare, explaining the importance of birds and their place in nature. ‘Home’, a video documentary produced by Yann Arthus-Bertrand showed a fascinating aerial view of life on earth and how the ecological balance is altered due to human interventions. Dr. Veerabadhra Nayaka identified trees and animals and mapped the forest and forest resources in and around a school. He used the activity modules from Vanasanjeevini, a handbook for environment education in schools.
The workshop also featured talks by Sheela, President of the Divya Joythi Federation, MM Hills. Mr. Mohamed Attaulla Khan, Principal of K.K High School Varthur, Prof. K.N Ganeshaiah, and Dr. Siddappa, Fellow from ATREE. This workshop, which was held on 26 – 27 Feb 2010, covered 34 teachers of 30 schools in MM Hills, in the districts of Kollegal and Chamrajanagara, Karnataka.
Getting Forest Rights Act stakeholders talking to each other
Under the umbrella of an ATREE-organized workshop, ‘Collaborative management of Protected Areas and Forests’, the forest department, community organizations and civil society organizations came together to discuss and debate contentious issues on the RFRA with the objective of bringing clarity for better and more effective implementation. This workshop was held at Mysore on 22 and 23 Feb.
The spotlight was on how to reconcile livelihood and conservation goals. Issues on rehabilitation, development, ecotourism and institutions were discussed. Working group discussions revolved around the issues of determination of community forest rights, the determination process, the role of gram sabha and the role of government agencies and the state government in supporting the determination process. In an effort to resolve major hurdles in the implementation of the forest rights, 22 recommendations and a four-point action plan was made.
Ritual and ceremony in local conservation: Vembanad ‘lake salute’
Lake salute was a novel event, organized by CERC-ATREE in collaboration with the Vembanad Nature Club and Vembanad Lake Protection Forums, on the banks of Vembanad lake at Shrayithodu in Muhamma Panchayath. The fishermen of the Lake Protection Forums pledged to protect their lake by all possible means.
Sri K.V. Dayal, CERC, Sri. Ravindranath, Ward member and Standing Committee Chairman of Muhamma Grama panchayth and Krishna Kumar, Program Officer, ATREE were the officiating members. The participants discussed the conservation and management of Lake Vembanad and setting up of fish sanctuaries.
Community in Community Conservation Reserve
ATREE-KMTR team, supported by International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), is trying to create a Community Conservation Reserve (CCR) in the Vaagaikulam wetland, a birder’s delight. Vaagaikulam has a heronry with more than 5000 birds belonging to 83 species. As part of its ongoing effort to bend local support towards its conservation, the ATREE-KMTR team conducted street plays in Nanalkulam, Veerasamuthiram and Malik Nagar, villages which surround the wetland. These programmes were covered by the local media, and Ms. Ramana Saraswathi, Deputy Collector of Tirunelveli District who visited the Vaagaikulam tank on behalf of the District Collector assured support for the CCR.
ATREE and the villagers around Vaagaikulam tank celebrated World Wetlands Day on 2 Feb 2010. Children with bird masks, highlighting the rich biodiversity that the heronry supports, walked around the lake. The walk was flagged off by the Block Development Officer and the village panchayat members.
Western Ghats-CEPF grants update
In its third year of implementation of the US$4.5 million Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund (CEPF) investment strategy for the Western Ghats, the ATREE Regional Implementation Team played host to a supervision mission from the CEPF Secretariat between 4 and 24 February 2010. The CEPF team of Jack Tordoff (Grant Director) and Kristina Razon (Grant Coordinator), accompanied by CEPF donor representatives Kathy MacKinnon (Biodiversity Expert World Bank), Varun Singh (Sociologist, World Bank), and RIT Coordinator, Bhaskar Acharya and RIT Project Assistant Liza Pinto, conducted field site and office visits to CEPF-funded projects, and attended regional review workshops for grantees in Uttara Kannada, Satyamangalam, Anamalais, and the Nilgiris.
The 2nd round of CEPF-ATREE Western Ghats Small Grants launched in Feb 2010, attracted 73 grant applications. The team is currently processing and screening these applications, and preparing for their review.
RIT-ATREE Fellows were also involved in a review of initial Letters of Inquiry (LoI) submitted in December 2009. To this end, a review meeting was held at ATREE to decide on the LoIs for the 2nd round of Western Ghats Large Grants, and subsequently response letters were sent to applicants. For more details on the program: http://www.atree.org/CEPF_WGhats/
RECOGNITIONS & HONOURS
Dr. Kamal Bawa has been requested to serve on the newly formed Global Advisory Network Group in Environmental Science (GANGES) to the Minister of State for Environment and Forests. The aim of the group is to advise the Government of India on the Environmental Sciences Agenda.
Aravind N.A. was elected Fellow, Linnean Society of London
Aravind N.A. Member, IUCN Mollusc Specialist Group
K.R Shivanna was elected President, Indian Botanical Society for 2010
Dr. Ganesan Balachander, Executive Board member of ATREE, has been appointed as one of the eight Consortium Directors of the CGIAR (Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research) in Feb. 2010. The CGIAR provides leadership for the work of 17 international agricultural research centers in different parts of the world.
Professor Charlie Shackleton of the Department of Environmental Science, Rhodes University, Grahamstown, South Africa, is a Senior Visiting Fellow for the period of January -July 2010. Prof. Shakleton is working with Dr. Uma Shaanker and his team, as well as participating in ATREE’s research activities in MM Hills and other field academies.
We are proud to have Professor Madhav Gadgil, doyen of ecology in India and founder of Centre for Ecological Sciences (CES), join us as Honorary Senior Fellow.
Dhavamani - Fellowship
Revathy Rugmini - Consultant
Deepthi N - Consultant
Laxmi - Consultant
Yassir Arafat - Research Associate
S. Adith - Consultant
Usha M. - Consultant
Skanda S, for the duration of 4 months (Feb 1- June 1) under the guidance of Ms. A. Kavitha and Gladwin Joseph. During this duration he will be working on an action-research project in Kanakapura site on conservation education as partial requirements for his M.Sc Environmental Science degree at Bangalore university.
Thomas, Bejoy K., Roldan Muradian, Gerard de Groot and Arie de Ruijter, 2010, ‘Confronting or Complementing? A Case Study on NGO-State Relations from Kerala, India’, Voluntas: International Journal of Voluntary and Nonprofit Organizations, published online on 20 March 2010, DOI: 10.1007/s11266-010-9129-5.
Jain, Manjari., Giby Kuriakose and Rohini Balakrishnan, 2010. ‘Evaluation of methods to estimate foliage density in the understorey of a tropical evergreen forest’. Current Science, Vol. 98, No. 4, 25 February 2010.
Lele, Sharachchandra., Navroz K Dubash, Shantanu Dixit. 2010. ‘A Structure for Environment Governance: A Perspective’. EPW February 6, 2010 vol xlv no 6.
Lele, Nikhil., Harini Nagendra, and Jane Southworth. 2010. Accessibility, Demography and Protection: Drivers of Forest Stability and Change at Multiple Scales in the Cauvery Basin, India. Remote Sensing. 2010, 2, 306-332; doi:10.3390/rs2010306.
T, Karthik., Ankila J. Hiremath, and Devcharan Jathanna. 2010. Patterns of seed rain and seedling regeneration in abandoned agricultural clearings in a seasonally dry tropical forest in India. Journal of Tropical Ecology (2010) 26:25–33. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2009 doi:10.1017/S0266467409990344.
Nagendra, H., Divya Gopal. 2010. Street trees in Bangalore: Density, diversity, composition and distribution. Elsevier (2010), doi:10.1016/j.ufug.2009.12.005.
Sapna Bai, N., T.O Sasidharan, O.K Remadevi, P.D. Rajan & M. Balachander. 2010. Virulence of Metarhiziumisolates against the polyphagous defoliator pest, Spilarctia obliqua (Lepidoptera: Arctiidae). Journal of Tropical Forest Science 22(1): 74–80 (2010).
Lele, Nikhil., Harini Nagendra and Jane Southworth. Accessibility, Demography and Protection: Drivers of Forest Stability and Change at Multiple Scales in the Cauvery Basin, India. 2010, 2, 306-332; doi:10.3390/rs2010306
Thomas, Bejoy K., ‘Participation in the Knowledge Society: the Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) Movement Compared with Participatory Development’, 2010, Development in Practice, 20(2): 270-6, DOI: 10.1080/09614520903566509.
Thomas, Bejoy K., Roldan Muradian, Gerard de Groot and Arie de Ruijter, ‘Resilient and Resourceful? A Case Study on How the Poor Cope in Kerala, India’, 2010, Journal of Asian and African Studies, 45(1): 29-45, DOI: 10.1177/0021909610353580.
Lele, Sharachchandra., Navroz K Dubash, Shantanu Dixit. 2010. ‘A Structure for Environment Governance: A Perspective’. Economic and Political Weekly, vol. XLV, no. 6, pp.13-16, February 6, 2010.
Bawa, Kamaljit S., 2010. Cataloguing life in India: the taxonomic imperative. Current Science, Vol. 98, No. 2, 25 January 2010.
Badiger, S and Reshmidevi, T.V. 2010. Ecosystems and Livelihoods at Crossroads: Modelling Land-use Change Impacts on Water Regimes and Downstream Users. ASCE - EWRI's 3rd Developing Nations Conference: India 2010 - An International Perspective on Current & Future State of Water Resources & the Environment, 05-07 January, 2010, Chennai.
Neelambari Phalkey and Seema Purushothaman. 'The tourist does leave a footprint', DTE. Feb 2010
Seema Purushothaman and Seema Hegde. Benefits of forests, direct and indirect , Deccan Herald.
Purushothaman Seema, Fringe benefits taxed, online edition of Down To Earth magazine
Priyadarsanan Dharma Rajan and D Prathapan. Let the genes cross borders, DTE . Jan 2010.
Nagendra, Harini; Southworth, Jane (Eds.) Reforesting Landscapes Linking Pattern and Process Series: Landscape Series, Vol. 10 2010, VIII, 396 p. 15 illus. in color. Hardcover ISBN: 978-1-4020-9655-6.
S.Lele, Manoj Pattanaik & Nitin Rai. NTFPs in India: Rhetoric and reality. In: Wild Product Governance: Finding Policies that Work for Non-Timber Forest Products. (Eds.) Sarah A. Laird, Robert McLain and Rachel P. Wynberg. Earthscan, London. 2010, pp.85-112.
Rajesh Tandon, K.R. Shivanna and H.Y. Mohan Ram 2010. Reproductive biology of some gum producing Indian desert plants. In: Desert Plants: Biology and Biotechnology, Ramawat K.G. (Ed), Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg, pp 178-195.
Aravind N. A. and N. A. Madhyastha. 2009. Of shells and slimes. Hornbill, July-September: 26-29.
Bolin, B., M. Seetharam, B. Pompeii. March 2010. Water resources, climate change, and urban vulnerability: A case study of Phoenix, Arizona. Local Environment 15 (3): 261-279.
Talks by ATREE staff
Ankila Hiremath. Invited speaker, ‘Fires in Indian Forests: An Ecological Perspective’ at a meeting on forest fires organized by the Himachal Pradesh Forest Department in Bilaspur on 22 March, 2010.
Aravind N.A. Keynote address on Impact of Climate change on species and communities at Bioscience Symposium on Global Warming and Sustainability of Civilization held at CRM Institute of Management Studies, Bangalore, 13 March 2010.
Aravind N.A. Ecological Census Techniques at National Workshop on Quantitative Assessment of Biodiversity held at SRTM University, Nanded, Maharastra, 26-27 Feb 2010.
K.R. Shivanna, Key Note address and talk on ‘Reproductive ecology and conceptual advances in taxonomy’ in the Inaugural function. National Training Program cum workshop on Traditional and Modern Approaches in Plant Taxonomy organized at the Department of Biotechnology, Sir M. Visvesraya Institute of Technology, Feb 15-26, 2010.
Sharachanchdra Lele, ‘From People's Participation to Democratic Environmental Governance’, at a workshop on Scientists’ Meet cum Consultation Workshop on “Linking research inputs with the conservation programmes of the govt. in Western Ghats in Karnataka : Challenges & opportunities”, Western Ghats Task Force and Karnataka Forest Department. 28 Jan 2010, Bangalore.
K.R Shivanna, Inaugural address, and lectures on ‘Pollen and pistil biology’, ‘Pollination biology’, ‘Pollen-pistil interaction’ and ‘Pollination ecology of Adhatoda vasica’, at the workshop on pollination ecology at the University of Calicut, 11-16 January, 2010.
M. Seetharam, ’Vulnerability, Adaptation, and Development Linkages’. Seminar on Disasters, Development, and People: a critical review of experiences from India. Centre for Regional Studies, University of Hyderabad, March 31, 2010.
M. Seetharam, ’Geographical determinants of food security and well-being in Karnataka state’. National Seminar on Food Security in India during the era of Globalisation. Department of Economics, University Of Hyderabad, March 29-30, 2010.
Urban Ecology Public Seminar, on Saturday 30th January 2010, organised by ATREE
K. Krishnakumar 2010. ‘Aliens in wonderland: exotic fish invasion in Western Ghats Biodiversity Hotspot, India’. Student Congress in Conservation Science, Department of Zoology, Cambridge, United Kingdom, 23 - 25 March 2010.
Badiger, S. 2010. ‘Integrated Basin Modeling Framework for Assessing Impacts of Changes in Land-use and Climate Conditions on Hydrologic Regimes and Water Distribution’. Presentation at the National Workshop on ‘Economics of Climate Change Adaptation: Issues, Methodologies and Estimates for India’. Organised by SANDEE, MSE, MSSRF at Madras School of Economics, Chennai, 12-13 February 2010.
‘Environment Education for the School Teachers’, MM hills, Malai Mahadeshwara Hills, Kollegal, Chamrajanagara, Karnataka, 26-27 February, 2010.
‘Collaborative management of Protected Areas & Forests’, Mysore, 22-23 Feb 2010.
‘Science in the Service of Society’ a panel discussion, ATREE, Bangalore, 24 March 2010.
‘Sexual harassment at the workplace’. ATREE, Bangalore, 25 March, 2010.
‘Advancing the Science of Taxonomy in India for Biodiversity Conservation’, ATREE, Bangalore, 23 February 2010.
State level DBT's Natural Resource Awareness club competition was conducted at Aversa, Ankola, Karnataka on 18 January, 2010.
Aravind N.A. conducted hands on training on use of PAST software for analysing Biodiversity Data during the national Workshop on Quantitative Assessment of Biodiversity held at SRTM University, Nanded, Maharastra, 26-27 Feb, 2010.
5 students from SDM Institute for Management Development, Mysore, visited ATREE from 8 - 18 March 2010 to complete their socially relevant project.
Talks at ATREE
Prof. Charlie Shackleton, ‘The contribution of natural biological resources (NTFPs) to rural livelihoods and poverty prevention in southern Africa’, 26 Mar, 2010.
Dr. Lucy Rist, ‘Using Traditional Knowledge in Forest Management’, 12 Mar, 2010.
Ms. Monica Picot Manuel, ‘Ecological Restoration of the Sacred Groves in the Western Ghats with help of Tribal Gifted Students of the Tribal Residential School, Maval, Pune’, 25 Feb, 2010.
Dr. Reyes Tirado, ‘Greenhouse gas emissions and mitigation potential from fertiliser manufacture and application in India’, 11 Feb, 2010.
Dr. Chris Kettle, ‘Ecological considerations for using Dipterocarps for restoration of lowland rainforest in Southeast Asia’, 10 Feb, 2010.
Dr. Michael Bonell, ‘The Impacts of Climate Change in the Humid Tropics: Selected Hydrological Issues linked with Forest-Land Management’, 3 Feb, 2010.
Dr. Alison Ormsby, ‘Sacred forests of the Meghalaya region in northeastern India and previous research on two sacred groves in Ghana’, 2 Feb, 2010.
Dr. Varun Swamy, ‘Fruit to sapling: an ontogenetically integrated study of tree recruitment dynamics in lowland rainforests of Western Amazonia’, 21 Jan, 2010.
Dr. John Seed, ‘Deep Ecology and the Conservation of Nature and How the Australian Rainforests were Saved - the Influence of Gandhi’, 13 Jan, 2010.
Dr. Madhav Gadgil, ‘On the Trail of the Lesser Florican’, 7 Jan, 2010.
Swati Dandekar, A documentary film about Bangalore’s relationship with water, 9 Mar 2010.
Shristi Kamal, ‘Regional Training on Biodiversity Management and Climate Change’ organized by International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD). Topics: protected area management, role of gender in biodiversity, biodiversity assessment, socio-economic aspects of biodiversity, policy instruments at international and national level. Kathmandu, 23 - 31 March 2010.
Badiger, S. 2010. Leapfrogging Water Governance in India - Issues for Equitable and Sustainable Water Resources Management. Presentation at the National Workshop on Water Conservation and Water Quality Challenges: Towards Adaptive Strategies"; World Water Day Celebration. Organised by TERI, UNICEF and HUL. 22 March 2010. TERI, New Delhi.
Aravind N.A. IUCN's Eastern Himalayan Freshwater Biodiversity Assessment Review Workshop at Kolkata, 22-26 March 2010.
Samuel Thomas, CEPF Grantees Sharing Workshop organized by WWF Nepal at Ilam, Nepal, 19 March 2010.
Mohan Seetharam, Siddappa Setty and Kamal Bawa, International conference on, ‘Biodiversity in Relation to Food and Human Security in a Warming Planet’, at M. S. Swaminathan Research Foundation, Chennai, India. February 15-17, 2010.
Siddappa Setty. ‘International Conference on Biodiversity in relation to food and human security in a warming planet’, at M S Swaminathan Research Foundation, Chennai, India,15 to 17 February, 2010.
Badiger, S. Building Climate Change Resilience through Watershed Development. Workshop on Climate Change and India. Organised by Mahatma Gandhi Institute of Rural Energy and Development, (MGIRED), Bangalore. 25 January 2010.
Aravind N.A. IUCN's Western Ghats Freshwater Biodiversity Assessment training Workshop at Coimbatore, 11-15 January 2010.
Badiger, S and Reshmidevi, T.V. Ecosystems and Livelihoods at Crossroads: Modelling Land-use Change Impacts on Water Regimes and Downstream Users. ASCE - EWRI's 3rd Developing Nations Conference: India 2010 - An International Perspective on Current & Future State of Water Resources & the Environment, Chennai, 5-7 January, 2010.
Samuel Thomas, ATREE-NORAGRIC small grant for a study on 'Understanding Climate Change Impacts on Pastoral Livelihoods in the Kanchenjunga-Singalila Landscape'.