2010 TN Khoshoo Awards Champion Energy Efficiency and Ecological Restoration
The 7th T.N. Khoshoo Memorial Award recognized two outstanding individuals, one in policy advocacy in the energy sector and the other in ecological restoration. The awards ceremony, held in Delhi on 11 May 2010, honoured Joss Brooks, founder of the Pitchandikulam Bioresource Centre in Puducherry, for his work on ecological restoration projects in Tamil Nadu; and Girish Sant, as part of the Prayas (Energy Group), for its policy-influencing work in the energy sector. For more information on Prayas’ and Joss Brook’s work, please visit http://www.prayaspune.org/peg/energy_home.php and http://www.pitchandikulamforest.org/cms/
Dr. R.K. Pachauri, Director General of The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI), delivered this year’s TN Khoshoo Memorial Lecture on ‘The Scientific and Ethical Dimensions of Climate Change’.
In an effort to inspire environment thought and action in young impressionable minds, Mr. Raj Khoshoo, son of the late Dr. T.N. Khoshoo, launched the T.N. Khoshoo Ecology and Environment Award for Schools 2011. These awards will recognize creative, impactful conservation action by schools in context of their local environments. The awards will be organized by The Khoshoo Endowment Fund and ATREE, in partnership with The Teacher Foundation, Wipro, I-AIM-FRLHT (all in Bangalore) and Pravah (in Delhi).
This year, the awards are open to Delhi and Bangalore schools. More details are available at http://atree.org/tnk_schoolawards.
Monitoring Prey and Predator Populations in Manas National Park
The ATREE UNESCO’s World Heritage Biodiversity Project (WHBPI) in Assam is in its 3rd year. With the objective of estimating recovery and abundance of prey and predator populations in the Manas National Park, the research team has initiated field work here. A preliminary sign survey was started in one range of the park, documenting different types of signs like pug marks, scat, scrap marks, prey kills and direct sighting of animal species. This will help in the preparation of a spatial distribution map of signs for monitoring of large carnivores and prey species using passive infra-red camera trap units.
Integrated Ecosystem Modelling
“Rigor and complexity need not be sacrificed for simplistic needs of certainty in an ecosystem model that ought to communicate effectively to policymakers”, said Dr Gladwin Joseph to the experts gathered at the workshop to share methods and issues on integrated analysis of social, economic and ecological systems across time, space in developing countries. Indian Society for Ecological Economics (INSEE) members – Gopal Kadekodi, Deepak Malghan, Indira Devi, M Zulfiquar Ali Islam, Nandan Nawn, Narendra Nath Dalei, Rakesh Kumar Sharma, Saudamini Das, Yamini Gupt and Seema Purushothaman (organiser from ATREE), presented their work at the workshop that had other country participants from Tunisia, Bangladesh, Netherlands, Indonesia, Kenya, Brazil and Germany, also presenting their work on such models.
The presentations focused on exploring the possibilities of modelling the ecosystems in a descriptive manner, from both theoretical perspectives and applications. For a detailed report, please visit: http://atree.org/iem_rpt_2010. The workshop was organized by ATREE, Land Use Policies and Sustainable Development in Developing Countries (LUPIS) and INSEE at ATREE, Bangalore, on 23 – 24 June, 2010.
Controlling Uppilu in BRT
Soliga tribes in the Biligiri Rangaswamy Temple Wildlife Sanctuary (BRT WLS) earn a major portion of their income from amla, a Non-Timber Forest Produce (NTFP), of which they extract an average of 400 tonnes every year. This livelihood source is under serious threat as a result of hemiparasite infection. The hemiparasite, called Uppilu (Taxillus tomentosus) in local parlance, impacts almost 51% of the amla population resulting in low fruit production and reduction of fruit and seed weight. Plucking out uppilu offers temporary benefits; instead removal of uppilu by chopping infected branches is permanent and has additional benefits of reducing the risk of future infection and increasing productivity.
ATREE shared its learning over many years of research on this issue in a one day training workshop organized by Karnataka Forest Department on removal of hemiparasite from amla trees in BRT on 3 June 2010. The training included information sharing, demonstration of removal of hemiparasites and monitoring amla trees after removal of uppilu. The outcome of this meeting was the decision of the Deputy Conservator of Forest, Mr. Biswajeeth Mishra to clear 20000 Amla trees of uppilu with involvement of the Soliga community. ATREE will assist in monitoring these trees to study the impact of such management actions.
Increasing Research Capacity through Collaborative Activity
In recognition of a shared interest and concern for the natural world, ATREE and the Natural History Museum (NHM), London, UK, signed a Memorandum of Understanding. The MoU seeks to promote understanding and conservation of the natural world, encouraging ATREE and NHM to develop collaborative activities in various ways, including; joint research and publications, collections department, joint fieldwork, specimen loans, information access and exchange, access to institutional resources, joint organization of conferences, courses and seminars.
Launching ‘Nesara’ - Newsletter of DBT’s Natural Resources Awareness (DNA) Club
A bilingual newsletter called 'Nesara' meaning ‘the rising sun’ that will serve as a platform for students and coordinators of DNA club to share stories, poems, art, concerns and observations related to bio-resources was launched recently by the DNA club. The first issue (Jan – Mar 2010) is available online at http://atree.org/sites/default/files/agasthya/news_ltr_mar.pdf
Introducing Young Minds to Conservation of Bioresources
Twenty one secondary school students attended the yearly bio-resource course which was held from 26 April to 15 May at ATREE, Bangalore. The objective of the course was to introduce students to research areas and issues pertaining to the use and conservation of natural bio-resources. Eminent scientists and experts lectured on biodiversity, urban wildlife, wildlife rehabilitation, waste management, sustainable agriculture, conservation, water quality monitoring, sustainable living and forest products, followed by assignments and group projects.
Field trips exposed students to the application of concepts, introducing them to the skills required for doing field work on bio-resources. This included visits to the Biligiri Rangaswamy Wildlife Sanctuary, Ramanagara Vulture Nesting area, Ranganthittu Bird Sanctuary, Butterfly Park in Bannerghatta National Park, and Navadarshanam - an eco ashram. Documentaries on wildlife, conservation and livelihoods introduced students to global perspectives on issues relating to the environment. Visits to ‘Natural Remedies’ and ‘Central Institute for Medicinal and Aromatic Plants’ provided opportunity to learn and get acquainted with institutional research. Tree climbing was a novel activity that allowed students to appreciate the canopies of forests. Map reading and navigation to orient them in a new landscape, sharpening observation skills by sketching birds for identification, identifying plants and insects, testing the quality of water, taking GPS points, were the other new activities introduced in this year’s course.
Students were awarded certificates and prizes at a valedictory function. Feedback from students and parents indicated that the course was very informative and well appreciated. The National Bioresource Development Board, Department of Biotechnology sponsored the course.
Encouraging Young Scholars and Raising Awareness about Heritage Sites
For the second year running in the World Heritage Biodiversity Programme for India (WHBPI) project in Assam, ATREE undertook a scholarship programme for young scholars from schools in the fringe villages of Manas and Kaziranga National Parks. The students are selected on the basis of means and merit and include primary and high school students. This is an outreach programme that targets teachers and parents as well as students, with the aim of raising awareness on the value of conserving the world heritage sites where they dwell.
Nature Talkies Launched
An effective way to convey the message of conservation to rural audiences is through skits and dramas woven into local concepts. On 5 June, World Environment Day, ATREE’s Community-based Conservation Center (CCC) at Singampatti launched a performance art group named Nature Talkies with 13 children from ATREE’s Green Brigade and 6 more from the nearby Mukkudal village. These youngsters were trained in Kalialattam, Kolattam and street dramas by well known folklore artists in the area, Mr. Elango, Mr. Kanagalingam and Ms. Merlin Gnana Jeeva. Staging dramas and skits revolving around protection of water resources and biodiversity, Nature Talkies performed at several villages in the presence of local leaders, educationists and environment officials. The kids not only won accolades for their talent but effectively conveyed the importance of environment conservation to rural folk.
Redrafting the Kerala Fishery Bill 2010
With the objective of combining the existing bills related to inland fisheries, the Government of Kerala has recently notified a draft Kerala Inland Fishery Bill, 2010. Fisheries experts and traditional fishermen of the inland fisheries sector are apprehensive that the Bill does not represent stakeholders. In this backdrop, ATREE’s Vembanad CERC organised a consultation workshop to create a common platform for the exchange of views between the experts, stakeholders and other NGOs at Alappuzha on 8 June 2010. After a detailed analysis of the draft bill, members at the workshop uncovered several gaps in the bill and decided to recommend redrafting the bill, adding ATREE's suggestions. The opinions were consolidated and submitted to Mr. S. Sharma, Hon. Minister for Fisheries, Kerala.
Draft Regulatory Framework for Wetlands Conservation - Comments by ATREE
The Ministry of Environment and Forests released a draft of the regulatory framework for wetland conservation - Wetlands Conservation and Management Rules (2009) for feedback from all stakeholders. The draft framework was prepared by a multi-disciplinary expert group, and final round of comments were invited till 21 June 2010. The Wetland conservation team of ATREE did a detailed analysis of the draft regulation and submitted pertinent concerns to the Ministry. The most significant observation is that the new framework continues to propose unjustifiable state control and interventions over the country's wetlands and livelihoods of people dependent on them.
World Environment Day Celebrations at ATREE
This year, ATREE, Bangalore celebrated World Environment Day with organized birding and plant and insect identification for neighbourhood schools and local residents. Eminent scientist and founder trustee of ATREE, R. Uma Shaanker, spoke about bioresources and engaged the young audience with hands-on experiments on plants and insects. The morning ended with the film by Yann Arthus-Bertrand, ‘Home: A documentary on Mother Earth’. Other activities included a vermi-composting demo (by organic farmer Ambareesh of Doddaballapur); volunteers had children create artwork using natural materials to express their thoughts about the environment.
It is always gratifying to see the astonishment that builds up on a bird watching walk around a residential area – sunbirds, prinias, kites, mynas, bushchats, babblers… ‘we did not know that there were so many birds’…is a commonly expressed response that ATREE volunteers have learnt to anticipate and feel pleased about. The event organisers were Ramesh Kannan, G. Madhavi, Hemalatha, Ramesh, Kavitha A. and Aravind N.A. with the active support of all the staff at ATREE.
2010 Vembanad Fish Count Reveals Fall in Number of Species
Scientists, naturalists, fishermen and students came together in the third participatory fishery resource inventory and monitoring of the Vembanad Lake on 26 and 27 May which was organized by CERC-ATREE. The count revealed a fall in population of various species. There were 52 species of fin fish as compared to 62 species found last year. However, the Kumarakom-Pathiramanal belt reported the highest species count, indicating that the area is still a biodiversity hot-spot. Citizen volunteers were shocked at the sight of several hundreds of fish trapped to death in plastic bags and diapers that lay on the lake-bed.
A CD produced by CERC-ATREE containing the detailed report of the fish count in 2009 was released by Prof. K. Jayachandran of Fisheries College Panangad. Dr. T.M. Thomas Isaac, the Honorable Minister of Finance, Kerala, received the survey teams and inaugurated the valedictory function. Collaborators with ATREE in the fish count were: Regional Agricultural Research Station (RARS) Kumarakom, Kerala State Biodiversity Board, School of Environmental Sciences - Mahatma Gandhi University Kottayam, School of Applied Life Sciences Pathanamthitta, St Albert's College Ernakulam, College of Fisheries Panangad, Vembanad Nature Club Muhamma and various Kayal Samrakshana Samithys (Lake Protection Forums) around Vembanad. The effort created mass awareness among the general public on conservation of Vembanad Lake through more sensible management practices.
Participatory Resource Monitoring of Rock Bees in Nagaland
ATREE is working with honey harvesters of Naga tribes in Saramati Range in Kiphire District, Nagaland on rock bee resource monitoring and prudent methods of honey harvest through the Nagaland Beekeeping and Honey Mission (NBHM). Initially, in 2009, ATREE conducted workshops to build capacity of NBHM staff on improved methods of honey harvest and monitoring bee colonies in the wild (see Branches Vol 6.3). More recently, in March 2010, ATREE conducted pre-harvest meetings with honey harvester communities.
The outcome? Impact on local people about the importance of resource monitoring, estimation of bee colonies (recorded on a map), understanding extraction levels by local community, recording observations, follow-up procedures, harvesting of honey without killing bees, and safe methods of honey harvest and marketing. The project ‘Intervention Initiatives on Rock Bee Honey Hunting in Saramati Range in Kiphire District of Nagaland State’ is funded by Navajbai Ratan Tata Trust.
Health tip from Nagaland! Honey has age-old medicinal value in Naga culture. Diseases like pneumonia, throat infection are being cured with honey. Boil honey and mix with roasted Soyabean or Maize seed powder to prepare sweets. Use as a lozenge.
CEPF-ATREE Western Ghats Programme Activities
The second round of CEPF-ATREE Western Ghats Small Grants call for applications in February generated 73 applications that were then screened for eligibility, and prepared for review. The three applications for Large Grants cleared for the second stage, were sent out to internal and external reviewers for comments, and the responses conveyed to CEPF Secretariat. Project sites of current small and large grantees of the CEPF-ATREE Western Ghats Programme are available at http://maps.atree.org/cepf_sites.php. Find more programme details at: http://www.atree.org/CEPF_WGhats/
RECOGNITION AND HONOURS
Sharachchandra Lele, Senior Fellow and Convenor - The Centre for Environment and Development and Programme Leader - Forest and Governance, was awarded the Charles Wallace Trust for India Visiting Fellowship, Centre for South Asian Studies, Cambridge University, Lent 2011; Yusuf E Hamied Visiting Lecturer, Cambridge-India Partnership, Cambridge University, Summer 2010.
He has also been appointed as Member, MoEF-MoTA Joint Committee on Implementation of Forest Rights Act.
Ms. Emma S. Karki. She will be working under the supervision of Dr. Srinivas Badiger from 3 June to 31 July 2010.
Allwin Jesudasan, Sr. Research Associate
Sophia, Museum and Lab Assistant
Skanda, Coordinator - T.N. Khoshoo Ecology and Environment Awards for Schools 2011
Saravanan A., Research Associate
Veena P.G., Research Associate
Sabah Rubina, Research Associate
Dr. Subhrajit Saha, Fellow, Ph D in Forest Resources and Conservation from University of Florida, Gainesville, FL, USA
Dr. Swati Shresth, Fellow, Ph D in History, from Department of History, Duke University, Durham, UK
Dr. H.N. Kumar, Research Associate, National Institute of Advanced Studies, Bangalore, (November 2009 – December 2010).
Anitha, K., S. Joseph, R.J. Chandran, E.V. Ramasamy, S. Narendra Prasad. 2010. Tree species diversity and community composition in a human-dominated tropical forest of Western Ghats biodiversity hotspot, India. Elsevier B.V. Ecological Complexity, Volume 7, Issue 2, June 2010, Pages 217-224.
Ariza-Montobbio, P., S. Lele. 2010. Jatropha plantations for biodiesel in Tamil Nadu, India: Viability, livelihood trade-offs, and latent conflict, Ecological Economics, j.ecolecon.2010.05.011. In press.
Bolin, B., M. Seetharam, B. Pompeii. 2010. Water resources, climate change, and urban vulnerability: a case study of Phoenix, Arizona. Local Environment, Volume 15: 3, 261 — 279.
S, Hemmilä, P.M. Kumara, G. Ravikanth, S. Gustafsson, R. Vasudeva, K.N. Ganeshaiah, R. Uma Shaanker, and M. Lascoux.. 2010. Development of eleven microsatellite markers in the red-listed tree species Myristica malabarica. Conservation Genetic Resources, doi: 10.1007/s12686-010-9212-7.
Joseph, S., and P.P. Ouseph. 2010. Assessment of nutrients using multivariate statistical techniques in estuarine systems and its management implications: a case study from Cochin Estuary, India, Water and Environment Journal, Volume 24, Issue 2, pages 126–132, June 2010.
Bawa, Kamaljit S., Lian Pin Koh, Tien Ming Lee, Jianguo Liu, P.S. Ramakrishnan, Douglas W. Yu, Ya-ping Zhang, Peter H. Raven. 2010. China, India, and the Environment. Science, March 2010: Volume 327. no. 5972, pp. 1457 – 1459.
Lele, S., P.R. Wilshusen, D. Brockington, R. Seidler and K.S. Bawa, 2010. Beyond exclusion: alternative approaches to biodiversity conservation in the developing tropics, Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability, Volume 2(1-7): 94-100.
Kelkar, N., J. Krishnaswamy, S. Choudhary, D. Sutaria. 2010. Coexistence of Fisheries with River Dolphin Conservation. Conservation Biology. Volume 24, Issue 4, pages 1130–1140, August 2010.
Gurudatt, P.S., V. Priti, S. Shweta, B.T. Ramesha, G. Ravikanth, R. Vasudeva, T. Amna, S. Deepika, K.N. Ganeshaiah, R. Uma Shaanker, S. Puri and N. Qazi. 2010. Attenuation of camptothecin production and negative relation between hyphal biomass and camptothecin content in endophytic fungal strains isolated from Nothapodytes nimmoniana Grahm (Icacinaceae). Current Science Volume 98 (8): 1006-1009.
Purushothaman, S., Seema S. Hegde, S. Patil, and S. Kashyap. 2009. People’s Perception on Benefits from a Protected Catchment: A case study of Gundal command in Karnataka. Indian Journal of Agricultural Economics. Volume: 64 Issue: 4, pp: 573-584
Srirama, R., U. Senthilkumar, G. Ravikanth, N. Sreejayan, B.R. Gurumurthy, M.B. Shivanna, M. Sanjappa, K.N. Ganeshaiah and R. Uma Shaanker. 2010. Assessing species admixtures in raw drug trade of Phyllanthus, a hepato-protective plant using molecular tools. Journal of Ethnopharmacology. Volume 130, Issue 2, 20 July 2010, Pages 208-215.
Ravikanth, G., R. Vasudeva, K.N. Ganeshaiah and R. Uma Shaanker. 2010. Garcinia Forest Gene Banks: an alternative approach for the conservation of Garcinia Genetic Resources of the Western Ghats. In: Proceedings of the National Symposium on Garcinia Genetic Resources: Linking Diversity, Livelihood and Management. Vasudeva, R., B.S. Janagoudar, B.M.C. Reddy, S. Bhuwon and H.P. Singh (eds), Published by College of Forestry, Sirsi, India.
Tandon, R., 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. (eds), , Part 2, pp 177-195. Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg.
Kumar, A.B., K. Krishnakumar, K.M. Abraham. 2010. River Fish Monitoring Programme: Manual of methodology. Published by Kerala State Biodiversity Board, Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala.
Harini Nagendra, ‘Whither giant trees?’ Deccan Herald, 6 June, 2010.
Harini Nagendra, ‘Biodiversity must be priority of this decade’, DNA Civic, Friday 6 June 2010.
Elinor Ostrom and Harini Nagendra, ‘Be diverse’, Our Planet, May 2010. Magazine of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).
Latha Bhaskar, ‘Make tourism sustainable in Vembanad backwaters’, Events Standard, April-May 2010.
Talks by ATREE Staff
Sharachchandra Lele, public talk on ‘Forest Governance in a Globalizing World: Some insights from India’ at the ‘Yusuf E Hamied Visiting Lecture’, organized by Cambridge-India Partnership, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK, 9 June 2010.
Subhrajit Saha, invited speaker on ‘Conceptual and methodological challenges to assessing the carbon sequestration and storage in different land-use systems’, at the ‘Sensitization workshop on carbon sequestration and carbon trading’, organised by the National Afforestation and Eco-development Board (NAEB), held on 13-14 May, 2010, Namakkal, Tamil Nadu.
G. Ravikanth on ‘Garcinia Forest Gene Banks: an Alternative Approach for the Conservation of Garcinia Genetic Resources of the Western Ghats’, at the National Symposium on Garcinia Genetic Resources: Linking Diversity, Livelihood and Management, organized by Forestry College, Sirsi on 8 May, 2010.
G. Ravikanth on ‘GM Crops: How long will they be sustainable?’, at the Consultative meeting cum workshop on Bt Brinjal/Bt crops, organised by the Karnataka Biodiversity Board at Aranya Bhavan, Malleswaram, Bangalore on 26 May, 2010.
Sharachchandra Lele, panelist at, ‘Technology and Development: Silver Jubilee Workshop of CTARA’ at Centre for Technology Applications for Rural Areas (CTARA), IIT Bombay, 29-30 April 2010, Bombay.
‘Integrated Ecosystem Modelling’, a workshop to share methods and issues on integrated analysis of social, economic and ecological systems across time, space in developing countries. Organized by ATREE, Land Use Policies and Sustainable Development in Developing Countries (LUPIS) and Indian Society for Ecological Economics (INSEE) at ATREE, Bangalore, on 23 – 24 June, 2010.
CEPF-ATREE RIT Coordinator Bhaskar Acharya conducted review workshops for four grantees and field site visits to CEPF-funded Small Grants projects in the Dandeli region of the Sahyadri-Konkan landscape of the Western Ghats, on 7-8 May 2010.
ATREE organised a workshop with community members at the BRT Field station on 16 April 2010 on eliciting their plans on usingthe Sacred Sites Poster that has been designed and printed for dissemination. Participants suggested that the poster must be displayed and discussed at public offices, schools and forums, including hamlets. The Soliga Abivrudhi Sangha (SAS) took responsibility to get it disseminated.
Talks at ATREE
Dr. Jyoti Prakash Tamang, ‘Diversity of Ethnic Fermented Foods in the Himalayas’, 22 June, 2010.
Prof. Sheona Shackleton, Department of Environmental Science, Rhodes University, South Africa. 'Linking livelihood and ecosystem vulnerability in Southern Africa: Consequences for conservation and development', 14 June, 2010.
Mr. Manuel Vargas, Informatics Development Department, INBIO, Costa Rica. 'International Tools and Standards for Biodiversity Information Exchange: The InBIO Experience', 7 May, 2010.
Sushmita Mandal, ‘Community Forest Rights’ to assess the status of community forest rights across the country, look at successful strategies issues of post rights claim scenarios and the nature of institutional arrangements that community institutions might embark upon to make community forest rights a right. Organized by Vrikshamitra on 23 - 25 April, Mendha Lekha, Gadchiroli district, Maharashtra.
Bhaskar Acharya participated in the workshop titled, ‘Where and how to apply for funds for your conservation research’ held at IISc, Bangalore from 16 - 18 June, 2010.
CEPF-ATREE Western Ghats Small Grants Program presented a poster in the 'Who's Who in Conservation’ section at the Students Conference on Conservation Science held at IISc, Bangalore from 16 - 18 June, 2010.
Ravikanth G. received a grant of Rs. 56.64 lakhs towards a project on ‘Biotechnological interventions for conservation and utilization of forest resources’ from the Department of Biotechnology (DBT), New Delhi.