Dr. Ramesh Kannan Hari Krishnan passed away in his sleep in the early hours of November 3, 2013. In his 11 years at ATREE, Kannan worked closely with Dr. R. Uma Shaankar, Dr. Gladwin Joseph, and Dr. Nitin Rai, as senior researcher, field coordinator, and outreach programmer. He was best associated with the Male Mahadeshwara Hills (MM Hills) region, where he initiated the Lantana Crafts Programme as a strategy for invasive plant management, studied patterns of rural transformation, and worked actively to implement collaborative management approaches.
Kannan will be remembered for many reasons, but possibly most of all for his innate courtesy, immense generosity, and unflappable demeanor. He joined ATREE as Programme Associate in 2002 after completing a Master's degree in NGO management from Madurai Kamaraj University. He started life at ATREE with library database maintenance and web-based outreach activities, before taking charge of the livelihoods and conservation programme at MM Hills. He was deeply driven by a desire to learn, both, from conceptual literature and his own immersion in the field amongst local communities. It says much of his resolve and purpose that on April 5, 2013, he received his Doctorate of Philosophy in Environmental Science from Rhodes University, South Africa, under the guidance of Prof. Charlie Shackleton. At this time, he was also serving at ATREE as Senior Research Associate and MM Hills Field Coordinator. At the time of his death, Kannan was involved in several projects that included assessing the feasibility of dye extraction from Eupatorium sp. in Sikkim, studying socio-economic changes in arid landscapes that were impacted by invasive species, and most recently had started work as a post doctoral researcher on a collaborative project with Monash University, Australia, on local perceptions and uses of invasive species.
It is unimaginable that Kannan will not be around to organize the next World Environment Day, to not see his tall figure striding down the corridor, or cycling to ATREE on the Royal Enclave road. Kannan is survived by his wife, Vijaylakshmi, and two children, Madhavan and Sridevi. Kannan was just 37 years old.
We are meeting to honour his memory on the 26th of November at 5 pm at ATREE.
To know more about Dr. Ramesh Kannan and his work, please visit his home page.