For private circulation only
Branches@ATREE (A Bimonthly Newsletter)
Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment
Volume 3:1
February 2005

ATREE Offices
Bangalore Office
659 5th A Main, Hebbal
Bangalore 560 024
Tel: 080-2353 3942,
2353 0069
Fax: 080-2353 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
North East Office
C/o. “Evergreen” Samanway Path (Survey)
P.O. Belatola
Guwahati – 781 028
Tel.: 0361-226 6087

Advisory Board
Dr. R.A. Mashelkar
Dr. Anil K. Gupta
Dr. Peter Raven
Dr. Suri Sehgal
Dr. Jagmohan Maini
Dr. Jairam Ramesh

Executive Board

Dr. K.S. Bawa
Dr. K.N. Ganeshaiah Dr. R. UmaShaanker
Dr. S. N. Rai
Dr. R. Shailaja
Mr. Darshan Shankar
Ms. Rohini Nilekani
Dr. Gladwin Joseph

Executive Staff
Dr. Gladwin Joseph
Dr. Bibhab Talukdar
Mr. Manoj Dabas

Mr. Suman Rai


ATREE awarded this year’s Dr. T. N. Khoshoo Memorial Award to Ms Nafisa Barot and Dr. Anil Prakash Joshi for their contribution towards the conservation and sustainable use of natural resources.

Dr. K. S. Bawa, Dr Montek Singh Ahluwalia, Dr. Sam Pitroda, , Dr Prodito Ghosh on the dais. (left to right)
Ms. Nafisa is involved in a number of water management activities such as drought proofing, rain-water harvesting and desiltation. Her organization, ‘Utthan’ in Gujarat, participates in women credit groups, community health programmes, afforestation and education.

Dr. Nafisa Barot.
Dr. Anil P. Joshi helps to promote sustainable livelihoods in the Himalayas. He has been instrumental in developing participatory approaches to natural resource conservation and is credited with implementing a variety of ingenious schemes related to water supply, economical lighting, agriculture, employment opportunities, earthquake-resistant housing and alternative uses of weeds. Dr. Joshi and his colleagues founded the Himalayan Environmental Studies and Conservation Organisation (HESCO) to address the basic needs of rural communities and to help them conserve natural resources.

Dr. R. Umashaankar, Dr. Montek Singh Ahluwalia and Dr. Anil Joshi at the award ceremony.
The Khoshoo Memorial Endowment Fund was set up by ATREE to honour the memory of the great scientist and visionary Dr. T.N. Khoshoo, former Secretary, Ministry of Environment and Forests.
This event was sponsored by ATREE, the Sehgal Family Foundation and the Ford Foundation, New Delhi, all of whom have contributed to the Dr. Khoshoo Memorial Endowment Fund.
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D. K. N. Ganeshaiah, Dr. P. J. Dilipkumar, Dr. K. Prabhakara Setty, Dr. S. N. Rai,
Dr. R. Uma Shaankar, Dr. Gladwin Joseph at the book release. (left to right)
Under the chairmanship of the Principal Chief Conservator of Forests, Govt. of Karnataka, Dr. S. N. Rai, an interaction meeting was organized to discuss the operational and technical details of a recent project on “Mapping and Quantitative Assessment of Geographic Distribution and the Population Status of Plant Resources of Western Ghats”, funded by the Department of Biotechnology, New Delhi. The meeting held at Aranya Bhavan, Malleshwaram, Bangalore on December 23, 2004 was jointly organized by the Karnataka Forest Department (KFD), ATREE, and the University of Agricultural Sciences (UAS), Bangalore.
The Chief Guest, Dr. Prabhakara Shetty, Director - Research (UAS), inaugurated the meeting by releasing the Book and CD ROM on “Bamboos and Rattans of the Western Ghats”. He appreciated the efforts of the authors and ATREE and applauded ATREE’s initiatives in the area of biodiversity informatics and biodiversity conservation. Dr. R. Uma Shaanker, of UAS and ATREE, introduced the contents of the book to the audience.
The Project Coordinator, Dr. K. N. Ganeshaiah, of UAS and ATREE, Bangalore five principal investigators from other states viz., Kerala, Maharashtra and Karnataka, four officials from the department of forests of different states and members of the plant database group at ATREE participated in the meeting. The objectives of the meeting were to:
  • Comprehensively discuss issues and methodologies for easy implementation of the project.
  • Seek inputs from the concerned forest officials involved in forest conservation in the Western Ghats region.
  • Encourage the active support of all participants to accomplish the goals of the project.
--- Dr. G.S. Mohan
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Volunteers at ATREE collected contributions from employees and others, which were sent to Tsunami hit areas through the Environmental Services Group (ESG) network. Contributions in the form of clothes; food items; and medicines for adults and children, tents, blankets, utensils and plastic bottles were collected. These were first checked for quality and practical useworthiness then packed and labeled in English and in Tamil. These efforts were well appreciated by the volunteers at ESG- particularly because the packages were well sorted out and labeled. A second consignment, sent a little later, included new utensils exchanged for discarded clothes. Monetary collections by ATREE employees were matched by the ATREE Executive Board amounting to a total of Rs. 1.16 lakhs. This money will be used in a targeted fashion towards the rehabilitation of ravaged livelihoods.

---- Vishakha Das

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Mr. Romulus Earl Whitaker, an eminent wildlife specialist and a renowned wildlife film maker, has been nominated as an Honorary Senior Fellow at ATREE. He is a recipient of prestigious awards like the Award for Conservation Merit, World Wide fund for Nature (International), Rolex Award for Enterprise (Switzerland), Order of the Golden Ark (Netherlands), Peter Scott Award (U.K), Ashoka Foundation Fellowship (India/USA), Emmy Award (News & Documentaries) for Outstanding Program Achievement. He also has a host of books, critical consultancy reports, chapters, publications to his credit.
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Mr. Aditya Singh has joined the Ecoinformatics Center at ATREE as Senior Research Associate (GIS & RS). Aditya has his academic grounding in Architecture and Planning from CEPT, Ahmedabad and his training from IIRS, Dehradun in Applications of Geoinformatics in Disaster Management and Forestry and Ecology.

Ms. Bansuri Taneja has joined ATREE as a Programme Officer in the Conservation and Livelihoods Program. She brings a wealth of experience gained at institutions such as the International Institute of Environment and Development, National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan, Kalpavriksh and the Indian Institute of Public Administration. She obtained her Masters in Geography from Rutgers University, and a certificate in Biological Sciences from Birkbeck College, London.

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Priyadarsanan Dharma Rajan attended the Joint International Workshop on Biodiversity Informatics: an INDO-US. Initiative (7-9 December 2004) at National Chemical Laboratory, Pune and;
* Presented a paper titled ‘Pipilika; An identification and information system for the ant fauna of south India’ by Merry Zacharias and Priyadarsanan Dharma Rajan
* Raporteured a session on:
Digitizing Biological Collections

Priyadarsanan Dharma Rajan attended the annual meeting of the Association for Angiosperm Taxonomy and Seminar on Recent trends in Plant Taxonomy' (28-31, Dec.2004) and presented a paper on the ‘Red list for habitats and Green lists for species: a top down strategy for conserving the lesser known.’

Priyadarsanan Dharma Rajan attended the Animal Taxonomy workshop (13-14 Jan 2005) at Sacred Heart College, Ernakulam.and presented two papers:
* Taxonomy for the twenty-first century: The challenges and obstacles for Indian taxonomists
* Pipilika: An identification and information system for the ant fauna of South India by Merry Zacharias and Priyadarsanan Dharma Rajan.

Priyadarsanan Dharma Rajan attended the National Symposium on ‘Biodiversity and insect pest management' (3-4 February) at Entomology Research Institute, Loyola College, Chennai, and delivered a speech on the importance of farm- biodiversity in pest control.

Sinu, P.A presented a paper at the 29th Conference of Ethological Society of India, held at Bangalore University on 23-24 February, 2005 on ‘Forging strategies for Cicindela whithilli and Cicindela flavomaculata in rice paddy agro-ecosystems’ by Sinu, P.A., Nasser, M., and Priyadarsanan Dharma Rajan (2005).
Sinu, P.A, also rapporteured for the Scientific session: Learning and Communication, at the same conference

Sinu P.A., presented a paper at the National Symposium on Biodiversity and Insect Pest Management held on 3-4 February at Entomology Research Institute, Loyola College, Chennai, on ‘Feeding ecology of two tiger beetle species in rice paddy agro-ecosystems in central Western Ghats’ with a pilot study on their bio-control potentials by Sinu, P.A., Nasser, M., and Priyadarsanan Dharma Rajan (2005).

Sinu, P.A., presented a paper at the Animal Taxonomy Workshop held on 13-14 Jan 2005 at Sacred Heart College, Ernakulam on ‘SINSORTER, a novel method to sort all arthropod samples from pitfall traps.

Shanker, K. was invited to give a talk on: Olive Ridley Turtles (Lepidochelys Olivacea) in Orissa, India: A review of status and conservation at the 25th annual symposium on sea turtle biology and conservation, Savannah, Georgia, USA, January 19-21, 2005.

Sridhar, A., Tripathy , B. & Shanker, K. presented a paper at the same conference on ‘Turtle conservation and livelihoods: Experiences with conflict resolution on the Orissa coast.

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Uma Shaanker R, Ganeshaiah K N, Srinivasan K., Ramanatha Rao V. and Hong, L.T. (2004). ‘Bamboo and Rattans of the Western Ghats: Population biology, Socio-economics and Conservation strategies’, ATREE, IPGRI and UAS, Bangalore.

Uma Shaanker R, Ganeshaiah K N, Nageswara Rao M and Aravind N A (2004). ‘Ecological consequences of forest use-from genes to ecosystem: A case study at the Biligiri Ranganswamy Temple Wildlife Sanctuary, south India’, Conservation and Society, 2: 347-364.

Uma Shaanker R, Ganeshaiah K N, Smitha Krishnan, Ramya R, Meera C, Aravind N A, Arvind Kumar, Dinesh Rao, Vanaraj G, Ramachandra J, Remi Gauthier, Jaboury Ghazoul, Nigel Poole and Chinnappa Reddy B V (2004). ‘Livelihood gains and ecological costs of non timber forest product dependence: Assessing the roles of dependence, ecological knowledge and market structure in three contrasting human and ecological settings in south India’, Environmental Conservation, 31: 242–253.

Aravind N A, Manjunath J, Dinesh Rao, Ganeshaiah K N, Uma Shaanker R and Vanaraj G (2005). ‘Are Red Listed species threatened? - A comparative analysis of Red Listed and Non-Red Listed plant species in the Western Ghats, India’. Current Science, 88: 258-265.

Barve N, Kiran M C, Vanaraj G, Aravind N A, Dinesh Rao, Uma Shaanker R, Ganeshaiah K N and Poulsen J G (2005). ‘Measuring and mapping threats to a wildlife sanctuary in south India’. Conservation Biology, 19: 122-130.

Tambat B, Rajanikanth G, Ravikanth G, Uma Shaanker R, Ganeshaiah K N and Kushalappa C G (2005). ‘Seedling mortality in two vulnerable tree species in the sacred groves of Western Ghats, south India’. Current Science, 88: 350-352.

Hiremath A J (ed.) 2004. Special Section on ‘Non-timber forest products’. Conservation and Society.

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Dr. Kartik Shaker visited the satellite telemetry of leatherback turtles in West Papua, Indonesia with WWF Indonesia and National Marine Fisheries Service, USA.
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Dr. Kartik Shanker, Board of Directors, International Sea Turtle Society, 2006 – 2010

Elachertus sinui Nar. is a new species of parasitic wasp named after Sinu, P.A by Prof. Dr. T.C. Narendran, University of Calicut.

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Kamaljit S. Bawa, Jagdish Krishnaswamy, Mohammad Irfan Ullah, Arundhati Das. ‘To support specific Indo-US bilateral activities in the Eco-informatics Centre at ATREE, Bangalore’. A grant from Indo-US Science and Technology Forum.

Gladwin Joseph, D. Joseph Bagayaraj, and Ms. Ramamani Y. S. ‘Restoring forest-fringe areas along the Western Ghats using appropriate models of diversity-rich agroforestry’ A grant from Department of Biotechnology, Govt. of India.

Bhaskar Sinha, Manoj Dabas and Kamaljit S Bawa. ‘Sustaining critical natural resources through enhancement of agricultural productivity’. A grant from Department of Science and Technology, Govt. of India.

Soubadra Devy. ‘Impact of forest degradation on pollination and dispersal of tree species in the wet evergreen forests of Western Ghats’ A grant from Department of Science and Technology's Young Scientists' Progam.

Ankila Hiremath. ‘Invasive species in Indian Dry tropical forests: Experiments in restoring native biodiversity’. A grant from Department of Science and Technology's Young Scientists' Progamme.

Ravikanth G. ‘Measuring the extent of and studying the genetic basis of, outbreeding depression in critically endangered tree species: Implications for conservation’. A grant from Department of Science and Technology, Govt. of India.

Chaithra G. N. ‘How good are sacred grove forests in maintaining the population genetic diversity of critically endangered and economically important tree species in the Western Ghats, India?.’ A grant from International Foundation for Science (IFS).

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Retreat 2005 focused on how best to strengthen ATREE’s organisational and management structures. ATREE is committed to structures that promote ownership, responsibility, transparency and that ensure accountability. In addition, we at ATREE firmly believe that structures should also promote interdisciplinarity, facilitate cooperation across regions, promote individual initiative, should be simple to understand and implement, and be scalable to enable opportunity for the growth of the organisation. The two days of rich and often intense discussions were facilitated by Mr. Gopakumar Menon who heads a corporate training company called Navgati, and runs a wildlife conservation organization called Nityata Foundation and is an honorary Fellow at ATREE. Manoj Dabas kept us entertained in the evening with his endless repertoire of jokes. At the end of the eventful two days, Dr. Bawa concluded with the assurance of his committment to a bottoms-up approach towards evolving the best governance structures for ATREE.
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