Vol 1:3
For private circulationonly
September 2003
Branches@ATREE(A Bimonthly Newsletter)

Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment

Bangalore Office
659 5th A Main, Hebbal
Bangalore 560 024
Tel: 080-353 3942, 353 0069
Fax: 353 0070

Delhi Office
B-80 Shivalik
New Delhi 110 017
Tel/Fax: 011-266 93299
266 93190

Eastern Himalayas Office
Bungalow No.2, Bhujiapani
Bagdogra 734 422
Tel/Fax:0353-255 1110
255 0093

Advisory Board
Dr. Kanchan Chopra
Dr. Anil K. Gupta
Dr. R.A. Mashelkar
Dr. Jagmohan Maini
Dr. Peter Raven

Executive Board
Dr. K.S. Bawa
Dr. K.N. Ganeshaiah
Dr. S.N. Rai
Dr. R. Shailaja
Dr. R. Uma Shaanker
Mr. Darshan Shankar
Dr. Gladwin Joseph

Executive Staff
Dr. Gladwin Joseph
Dr. Bibhab Talukdar
Mr. Manoj Dabas
Ms. Suparna Biswas


ATREE in collaboration with the Wildlife Heritage Trust (WHT) of Sri Lanka, the University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka, Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), and the University of Agricultural Sciences (UAS), is currently engaged in developing an ecosystem profile and five-year investment strategy for the Western Ghats-Sri Lanka hotspot for the CEPF. The profile preparation process is based on background research, primary data analysis, consultant reports and stakeholder workshops. Data on the distribution of biodiversity, threats, socio-economic factors, institutional context, and conservation investments are being compiled and synthesized. Several experts from both countries are participating in the preparation of the Western Ghats – Sri Lanka Ecosystem Profile. A stakeholder workshop was held in Colombo, Sri Lanka in June 2003 followed by another in Bangalore, India in August 2003 to allow broader input from the conservation community and to formulate and approve the niche and investment strategies proposed for CEPF in the region.
The Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund (CEPF) is a joint initiative of Conservation International (CI), the Global Environment Facility (GEF), the Government of Japan, the MacArthur Foundation, and the World Bank, designed to better safeguard the world's threatened biodiversity hotspots. A fundamental purpose of the CEPF is to engage civil society, such as community groups, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and private enterprises, in biodiversity conservation in the hotspots. To guarantee their success, these efforts must complement existing strategies and frameworks established by national governments in the region.
The final version of the profile is scheduled to be completed in October, following which the document will undergo an external review process before it is presented to the CEPF Donor Council in February 2004 for approval.

- Arundhati Das



The Western Ghats Forum (www.westernghatsforum.org), a consortium of several institutions and organizations working in the Western Ghats is organizing this conference in Bangalore from the 22nd –24th September 2003 at the National Institute of Advanced Sciences (NIAS). Participation to the Conference is by invitation only.

The Conference on Western Ghats Conservation and Human Welfare will mark a new era of conservation in the Western Ghats region. Institutes, Organizations and Individuals with a passion and commitment to conservation in the Western Ghats and concerned about the growing threats in the region, will come together at the conference to discuss, explore and create new strategies, programmes and activities that focus around enhancing conservation in the fragile biodiversity-hot spot. The Conference would also facilitate greater exchange and sharing of information between institutions, besides establishing a platform for future interaction.

Western Ghats Forum
The Western Ghats are amongst the world's biodiversity Hotspots. The various human-induced threats to the rich biodiversity and the large number of endemic species have been identified and highlighted by the recently completed National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan; Western Ghats Ecoregion. Of the various gaps identified, the need to have an "Advisory Body" that would guide research and
policy in the Western Ghats emerged as the most compelling one. As a follow-up to this process, several institutions that are committed to conservation of natural resources and human welfare in the Western Ghats have come together to create a 'Western Ghats Forum'. This forum is the fruit of an unprecedented multi-agency collaboration with a vision to bring a vast cross section of civil society together. The forum envisages fostering better exchange of information and cooperation between various stakeholders. The planned conference on 'Western Ghats: Conservation and Human Welfare' is the first step in an ongoing effort to balance the divergent demands of conservation and development for the Western Ghats as an entire bioregion.


A regional consultation on ‘Conservation and Community Enterprises’ was held at BIRD-K Gramodaya training centre, S. Lakkihally, Karnataka between 6-8th December 2002. In this joint workshop conducted by ATREE, CCD and BIRD K, the following three major issues were covered: (i). Conservation and land stewardship, (ii). Livelihoods and community enterprise based on natural resources, (iii). Institutional framework and support services. NGOs, CBOs, and representatives from rural communities in Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh participated in the meeting. The consultation was structured around farmer led case studies followed by thematic presentations from resource persons highlighting various aspects of the conservation and development interface. Field visits to project villages where BIRD K has been working for several years exposed participants to sustainable rural development activities that integrated various aspects such as land stewardship, watershed development, tree-based farming, livelihood and micro-enterprise development, and community seed banks. In the plenary that followed, views and insights of the participants were shared and exchanged. The key outcome of this consultation was the exchange of ideas and learning between conservation organizations and those involved in rural livelihoods, enterprise development and institution building. This was a big first step in the process of bridging the widening gulf between conservation and development practitioners. A common thread that binds all of us involved in conservation and development is the wise stewardship of the land and it’s resources to sustain rural livelihoods. The consultation provided a rare opportunity to spawn partnerships and forge ties across the southern states.


Held on June 9-11th 2003, at Bangalore
This workshop was jointly organized by the ATREE, University of Agricultural Sciences UAS), Bangalore and the University of Massachusetts (UMASS), Boston and was sponsored by Indo-US Science & Technology Forum.

This three day workshop was very unique and a first of its kind. Eco-informatics is a newly

emerging area that deals with the effective use of information technology in the areas of biodiversity, conservation ecology and Intellectual property rights. It specifically deals with the databases on the spatial distribution of biological systems from genes to organisms to ecosystems and links these data sets with other aspects of threats, conservation status, biology and ecology of the organisms. About 12 scientists from US and 25 scientists from India discussed the exchange of expertise in these areas. Training was also offered to about 30 young scientists and other participants on new tools, skills and concepts in the area of eco-informatics. The workshop also identified the gaps in the existing programs and helped to design a national proposal for developing eco-informatics in India.

The task of the workshop was set in three distinct objectives: 1. Explore new developments in methodology and concepts in eco-informatics,
2. Impart the skills in eco-informatics to the young groups in India, 3. Identify gaps and formulate national level programs in eco-informatics for the country.

The workshop was very successful in achieving the set objectives. Moreover the workshop could come up with a comprehensive plan of action in the area of eco-informatics whereby the road map was clearly brought out in the workshop recommendations. It was accepted that the Indian scientists would clearly benefit from the adoption of the latest concepts and techniques presented during the workshop, while the US scientists would benefit from the potential collaboration in a region of tremendous environmental, and economic importance.

G.S. Mohan


Honorary Senor Fellow: Dr. S M Nair was Director of National Museum of Natural History for more than 15 years working in conservation education and nature interpretation. Taking early retirement he joined WWF in the Education Department. He is head of CEE's Delhi office as Program Director since three years.

Honorary Fellow: Dr. Vasant Saberwal is the Director for Research with Moving Images, an independent organization making documentary films on development and the environment and also the Executive Editor of Conservation and Society. He has a Ph.D in Enviromental Studies from the School of Forestry and Envrionmental Studies, Yale University.


Dr.Ganesan Balachander, has resigned from the Board. He cannot serve on the board of a Ford grantee organization in his new position as the Representative, FORD Foundation, New Delhi. We deeply appreciate his support and active role as a member of the Board. We wish him well in his new appointment and look forward to working with him at the FORD Foundation.


Teachers Workshop, August 2, 2003

A teachers’ Workshop was organized by ATREE and The Hindu newspaper on problems and challenges in Environmental Education in schools and how to create opportunities for outdoor environment learning at the Bishop Cotton Girls High School. Thirty secondary and senior school teachers from various schools participated. Dr. Stella Samuel, Principal, Bishop Cotton Girls High School inaugurated the workshop. The teachers heard about innovative hands-on activities from resource teachers from Bangalore. Dr. Soubadra Devy of ATREE discussed the opportunity to develop butterfly gardens in schools integrated with practical learning modules. Ms. Ruma Chatterjee, a local EE teacher made an inspiring presentation on activities that work well in her school. Teachers were encouraged to hear from fellow teachers. The second session was organized into working groups so teachers could discuss challenges and opportunities in teaching EE in their schools. The structured discussion provided information that will go into a practical EE handbook containing a directory of human, material and institutional resources in the city along with a variety of teacher-friendly samples of syllabus and extra-curricular programs that can be used in schools.

Students visit to the ATREE GIS Lab: 25 students from Vidya Niketan School came to the GIS Lab on August 29, 2003 for an orientation on GIS and remote sensing. The objective of this session was to understand the techniques of using satellite imaging data and Geographical Information System (GIS) for quantitative analysis of real world problems in the management of natural resources. The presenation was made by Arundhati Das and use of the GPS demonstration was done by Bipin Charles and Mhd. Irfaan Ullah.

Orientation for Young Children
With a view to exposing very young children to environmental education in our program, an audio visual presentation was given to 160 underprivileged students of Christel House Learning Centre on August 20, 2003 on ‘Conservation and You’ by Joyeeta Das and M. Srinivasan.


ATREE-EHP is to assist Peace Corps (a US agency) in Nepal to reduce human-elephant conflict in Jhapa district in Eastern Nepal, bordering with North Bengal of India. Ms. Elizabeth Lapp, a volunteer of PEACE CORPS requested Dr. Bibhab Kumar Talukdar, Regional Director of ATREE-EHP to assist them to address the problem which is creating severe problem to local livelihood in the Indo-Nepal border, specially in Hatimara and Bhoundhagi in Eastern Himalayas. ATREE-EHP will help PEACE CORPS to train local NGOs and CBOs in these two villages to take holistic steps


to reduce human-elephant conflict and offer other livelihood options to mitigate the crop damage by elephants. Dr. Talukdar of ATREE-EHP attended a meeting at Kakarbhita (Nepal) on 1st September 2003 with the PEACE CORPS representative in this matter.


Annual meeting of the Association for Tropical Biology and Conservation, Aberdeen, 7-10 July, 2003:

Ewel, J. J. and Hiremath, A.J. Shifts in plant -plant interactions: implications for eco-system functioning. [Presented by A. Hiremath on behalf of J.J. Ewel]

Hiremath, A.J. Nutrient use efficiency in model tropical ecosystems.

Priyadarsanan D. R., Sinu, P.A. & Lele, S. Do ants surrogate the rest? A comparison of ant and general insect diversity through a landuse trajectory

P.A. Sinu, Hisham, J.T. and Priyadarsanan, D.R. Impact of an invasive species Lantana camara L. on ground insect diversity in moist and dry deciduous forests of BRT wildlife sanctuary, India. [Presented by D.R. Priyandarsan on behalf of P.A. Sinu]
Ganesh, T. and Devy, M.S. Disturbance and compensatory pollination: do bats matter?-A case study from India.
Devy, M.S. and Ganesh, T. Why does Helicteres isora L. (Sterculiaceae) flowers get attractive with age: to draw pollinators or cheat the pollen robbers ?
Purushothaman, S. ‘Economics of Land Use options in a Degraded Dry Deciduous Area’ at the research and training workshop of South Asian Network for Development and Environmental Economics (SANDEE). 8-15, June 2003. Waikkal. Sri Lanka.

Purushothaman, S. "Economic Value of Bio diversity: A rural perspective for sustainable realisation" at the Asia Pacific Regional Workshop on ‘Forests for Poverty Reduction: Opportunities with CDM, Environmental Services and Biodiversity’ on 27-29 August 2003, Seoul, South Korea

Barve, N. ‘Use of GIS/RS in prioritizing the conservation sites’ at the Conservation Biology Workshop. 20, June 2003. Bangalore, Karnataka


Young Scientist scheme (SERC Fast Track, DST) for the project “Studies on the impacts of land use change on insect community taking ants (Hymenoptera : Formicidae) and dung beetles (Coleoptera : Scarabaeine) as probe taxa

Strengthening Conservation and Society. Funding by: Winrock International India (WII), New Delhi for Rs. 90,000 (Rupees Ninety thousand only

Correction on Branches Vol.1: 2. Workshop on Policies, Management, Utilisation and Conservation of Non-Timber Forest Products funded by FAO. PI should read Drs. R. Uma Shaanker and A. Hiremath.


Srinivasan, K. and Ramesh Kannan (2003), ‘A weed in need’, Deccan Herald, June 22.

Kelsey, R.G. and Joseph, G. (2003). ‘Ethanol in ponderosa pine as an indicator of physiological injury from fire and its relationship to secondary beetles’, Canadian Journal of Forest Research, 33:870-884.

T.C. Narendran and P.A. Sinu. (2003). A new genus and a new species of Eulophidae (Hymenoptera: Chalcidoidea) from India, Zoos’ Print Journal 18 (3): 1031-1033.

T.C. Narendran, Mohammed Hayat and P.A.Sinu (2003). A new species and a new record of genus Australomymar Girault (Hymenoptera: Mymaridae) from the Oriental Region, Zoos’ Print Journal 18 (4): 1059-1060.


Dr. Harini Nagendra, adjunct fellow has been selected as an associate member of the Indian Academy of Sciences – 2003-2008.