Suri Sehgal Centre for Biodiversity and Conservation

In South Asia, most ecosystems services are historically exploited by human beings for their own existence. In many cases, this has decimated biodiversity, and degraded the ability of these ecosystems to sustain critical ecosystem functions and support components of biodiversity. In other cases, limited human-use has been found to be compatible with the conservation of biodiversity. Accompanying this scenario is the state managed, top-down management system that is considered unviable for conservation of ecosystems such as rivers, marine areas, large wetlands and coastal areas. However, although strictly protected areas and areas with limited human-use and access managed by the state will continue to play a major role in conserving biodiversity, alternative models of conservation are essential to protect large areas such as forests, agro-ecosystems, wetlands, coastal and marine ecosystems, which lie outside protected areas.

Maintenance of biodiversity, ecosystem functions and associated ecosystem services in a changing environment is a challenging issue, as is identifying the scale and intensity of human use compatible with conservation of biodiversity and ecosystem services. It is imperative to develop governance models that enable participatory management and a more equitable, just and sustainable approach to conservation. However, our understanding of the complex web of social, political, economic and environmental change, the forces underlying these changes and the impact of these changes on biodiversity, local communities and humanity at large remains poorly understood.

The goal of this Centre is to build a critical body of knowledge about India's biodiversity, ecosystem functions and ecosystem services of natural and managed ecosystems in the context of global, regional and local change and challenges. Understanding the role of biodiversity in sustaining human welfare is crucial to galvanizing conservation awareness and eliciting civil society support for conservation. Recognizing the structure, function, and value of biodiversity will enable us to prioritize outreach activities and natural resource management initiatives.

Centre for Environment and Development

The Centre for Environment and Development at ATREE addresses critical issues at the interface of environment and development, particularly related to forests (SDG#15), water and sanitation (SDG#6), and climate change (SDG#13).

The Centre seeks to

a) Influence the forest policy discourse in South Asia through research and action that incorporates forest ecology, human wellbeing, the changing socio-economic contexts, the historically-situated and locally nuanced forest rights arrangements, and the trade-offs and synergies between local and global stakeholders.

b) Generate policy insights into various uses of water in domestic, agriculture, and industries, the underlying causes of inequity of access to water, sanitation, unsustainable extraction of groundwater, water pollution and the vulnerability of water resources and carry out capacity building to help identify social, technological and governance solutions to India’s water and sanitation problems across rural, urban, and peri-urban areas.

c) Carry out research on the links between developmental goals, local environmental goals, and the mitigation of GHG emissions, including the trade-offs and synergies between biodiversity, local livelihoods and renewable energy/carbon sequestration policies.

Centre For Social &  Environmental Innovation

ATREE’s new Centre for Social and Environmental Innovation (CSEI), was established Septemeber 2019. The Center is designed to capitalize on the organisation’s deep domain knowledge in ecology, environment and development, in order to innovate solutions that tackle socio-environmental problems at scale. The Centre's mission is to catalyse social innovation and foster collaboration by connecting consumers, social entrepreneurs and communities, and providing them with programming such as societal platforms, workshops, competitions and mentorship opportunities to accelerate their impact.

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Centre for Policy Design (CPD)

The Centre for Policy Design at ATREE aims to recommend balanced policy alternatives for solving problems related to conservation and restoration of ecosystems and human systems. The CPD employs forward thinking approaches such as legal solutions, institutional design, scenario simulations, and financial modeling to help create enabling policy approaches toward sustainability.