Dr Elinor Ostrom

2009 Nobel Laureate in Economic Sciences
Distinguished Professor, Indiana University, Bloomington
Founder Director, Center for the Study of Institutional Diversity
Arizona State University

Public talk on Reflections on Future Developments in Social-Ecological systems

Date and time: February 4, 2012 at 12, noon
Venue: Auditorium, ATREE

Dr Elinor Ostrom

2009 Nobel Laureate in Economic Sciences
Distinguished Professor, Indiana University, Bloomington
Founder Director, Center for the Study of Institutional Diversity
Arizona State University

TN Khoshoo Memorial Lecture on Challenges for Achieving Conservation and Development

Date and Time: February 3, 2012 at 5.30 pm, tea at 5 pm
Venue: National Institute of Advanced Studies
IISc Campus (Behind MS Ramaiah Institute of Technology)
Mathikere, Bangalore

Dr Uma Ramakrishnan

Assistant Professor
National Centre for Biological Sciences (NCBS)

Title: Why increasing tiger numbers may not be enough: A genetic perspective on tiger conservation

Date: February 1, 2012
Time: 4:00 pm
Venue: Auditorium, ATREE

I present recent research that we have conducted on tiger conservation genetics. Specifically, I present results on (1) population decline for tigers in the Indian subcontinent, reconstructed using genetic data (2) population differentiation of current and historical populations (using museum skins) and (3) connectivity in modern tiger populations. Our results reveal a potentially human-induced, 90% decline around 200 years ago, and that modern genetic differentiation between populations is much higher than it was in the past. Results on connectivity indicate that all protected areas are not the same, some are sources of migrants while others remain isolated. Finally, I try to synthesize these data by presenting results on simulations that model the genetic future of tigers. I attempt to answer whether this species has a future, given current conservation strategies. I will also spend a little time talking about the other ongoing research in my laboratory.

Dr Ramanatha Rao

Honorary Research Fellow, Biodiversity International, Rome
Senior Adjunct Fellow, ATREE

Title: Valuation of Plant Genetic Resources

Date: January 11, 2012
Time: 4:00 pm
Venue: Auditorium, ATREE

Plant genetic resources refers to the biological diversity of crops and their wild relatives, encompassing both phenotypic and genotypic variation, including cultivars or varieties recognised as agro-morphologically distinct by farmers and genetically distinct by crop improvement scientists. The value of plant genetic resources is as per the people who depend on it. However, as the costs of conservation mount, it seems to be true that every conservation action needs to be supported with argument that shows tangible and measurable benefits from such action to get the funding needed. In this paper the value of plant genetic resources is briefly discussed, along with the cost of plant genetic resources conserved in gene banks and on farms. This is followed by brief review of literature on economic valuation of plant genetic resources/biodiversity and some issues in such valuation efforts. Some studies on valuation plant genetic resources from different perspectives are discussed. The paper is concluded with a question as to the need for economic valuation of plant genetic resources on which it is difficult to place a value.

Dr Rob Hope

Senior Research Fellow
Course Director, MSc in Water Science, Policy and Management
School of Geography and the Environment, Oxford University
Member of the Transformations: Economy, Society and Place research cluster

Title: Smart Rivers for Water Security in Kenya

Date: January 12, 2012
Time: 4:00 pm
Venue: Auditorium, ATREE

Water security aims to provide safe, reliable, affordable and sufficient water for people, agriculture, industry and ecosystems, subject to societal choices across related trade-offs and risks. Managing resource risks, delivering effective governance, promoting financial sustainability and achieving social equity are central to achieving water security. We explore how innovations in mobile communications have created an inclusive, secure and low cost architecture for financial and data flows to reduce risk and enhance water security. In Africa, water security challenges associated with climate extremes and population growth outstripping improved water services’ access are juxtaposed with its global lead in mobile commerce innovations, including mobile water payments. The confluence of rapid mobile network expansion, mobile phone ownership, mobile water payments and smart metering technologies offer new policy pathways to water security. We present the Smart Rivers project in Kenya and discuss wider policy implications.

Eliza Little

Fulbright Research Scholar, ATREE

Title: Urbanization and Mosquito Borne Diseases

Date: January 18, 2012
Time: 4:00 pm
Venue: Auditorium, ATREE

Part 1: Report on past research
Aedes aegypti is implicated in dengue transmission in tropical and subtropical urban areas around the world. A. aegypti populations are controlled through integrative vector management. However the efficacy of vector control may be undermined by the presence of alternative, competent species. In Puerto Rico, a native mosquito, Ae. mediovittatus, is a competent dengue vector in laboratory settings and spatially overlaps with Ae. aegypti. It has been proposed that Ae. mediovittatus may act as a dengue reservoir during inter-epidemic periods, perpetuating endemic dengue transmission in rural Puerto Rico. Dengue transmission dynamics may therefore be influenced by the spatial overlap of Ae mediovittatus, Ae. aegypti, dengue viruses, and humans. Taking a landscape epidemiology approach we examined the association between landscape composition and configuration and the distribution of each of these Aedes species and their co-occurrence. We used remotely-sensed imagery from a newly launched satellite to map landscape features at very high spatial resolution. This analysis provides evidence that landscape composition and configuration is a surrogate for mosquito community composition, and suggests that mapping landscape structure can be used to inform vector control efforts as well as to inform urban planning.

Part 2: Current research interests
Environmental stressors and the continued growth of cities widen the deficit between the supply and demand of potable water. Due to the inexistence, costs or uncertainty of piped water, urban households increasingly store water in domestic vessels, providing habitat for the mosquitoes that transmit dengue fever and chikungunya. This part of the seminar explores the links between urbanization, climate change and the emergence of urban mosquito borne diseases.

Dr. Claire Kremen

Associate Professor and Chair, Graduate Program Committee
Environmental Sciences Policy and Management
University of California
Berkeley, CA

Title:"A bee’s eye view on food, farming and our common future"

Date: January 2, 2012
Time: 4:00 pm
Venue: Auditorium, ATREE


Today’s farming systems produce more than enough to feed the world, but cause enormous environmental damage. Moreover, billions of people still are hungry or under-nourished. In this talk, looking through the lense of pollinators and crop pollination services, I will ask the question, how can we get our agricultural system on a more sustainable and food-secure track, in time to face the challenge of feeding 9 billion people by 2050? I will present research both from my research group and from several global collaborations in which I’ve participated, about how intensive agriculture affects pollinators, and how we can restore pollinator communities and the services they provide to crops.

Dr. Seema.P

ATREE, Bangalore

Title: " Policies and social-ecological changes in agrarian Karnataka- an empirical assessment"

Date: December 28, 2011
Time: 4:00 pm
Venue: Auditorium, ATREE


Despite a fast growing economy and a notable budgetary allocation, the agricultural sector in Karnataka is on the decline, reflected in the vulnerable livelihood status of small farm families and land degradation. Karnataka reported the second highest number of farmer suicides in India in the last decade. As part of a larger consortium project – concluded in March 2011-, we assessed the changes in small farms based on selected criteria in the context of a gradually evolving policy thrust. The study used a mix of methods and provides insights for sustainability assessment in production landscapes. The presentation will discuss some results from the study.

Dr. Margaret D. Lowman

Schedule and Venue
Date: January 28, 2011
Time: 4 pm
Venue: ATREE Auditorium

UN Year of the Forest – inspiring new stakeholders to reverse deforestation

Rates of tropical deforestation continue to accelerate, and yet the United Nations has declared 2011 as the International Year of the Forest. Our conventional mechanisms of conservation have not been effective over the past several decades, so new and innovative solutions to reverse forest degradation are required. As a canopy biologist with over 30 years of experience, I discuss ways to leverage research and education outreach for conservation purposes. First, partnerships with non-traditional stakeholders are an emerging mechanism for success i.e., religious leaders, corporate and business partners, and engaging women in science are illustrated by case studies. Second, the inclusion of education and broader science communication as an essential component of my research – in particular the involvement of children as future stakeholders and increasing use of social media – have proven effective. The field of canopy science, with its creative toolkit of walkways and ropes that also foster ecotourism, can enhance forest conservation through the integration of economics and ecology to a growing diversity of stakeholders.

Dr. Lowman is the Director of the Nature Research Centre at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences and Professor at North Carolina State University Raleigh, NC. She also serves as Vice President of The Explorers Club; Vice President of the Ecological Society of America; Executive Director of Florida's TREE Foundation; and Cluster Chair for the Sarasota Economic Development Corporation.
More on and

Professor C.N.R. Rao, F.R.S

Schedule and venue:
Date: 17 January 2011
Time: 2 pm
Venue: ATREE Auditorium

Science in the Future of India

Professor C.N.R. Rao, F.R.S, National Research Professor as well as Honorary President and Linus Pauling Research Professor, Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research, Bangalore.

Jesse Ribot and Kanchan Chopra

Schedule and Venue:
Date: 7 January 2011
Jesse Ribot: 10 am
Kanchan Chopra: 11.30 am
Lunch: 1.00 – 2.00 pm
Movie and discussion: 2.00 pm
Venue: ATREE Auditorium

Talk by Jesse Ribot: 10 am
Extraction Vulnerability in a Climate of Inequality: Forest Management and Marginality in Senegal

Jesse Ribot is Associate Professor of geography, and Director of the Social Dimensions of Environmental Policy Initiative at the University of Illinois.


Vulnerability is a condition that is created. In Eastern Senegal, a forested dryland farming area, villagers are excluded from forestry markets. They are relegated to usufruct rights and forestry labor opportunities but are only allowed to sell a small portion of their products in the cities. They are forced to sell their wood for low prices to licensed urban merchants. While forestry laws enable urban merchants to help themselves to the wealth of the forests, forest management programs proclaim they are bolstering rural livelihoods through sustainable pro-poor forestry. In the face of extraction and forest management, vulnerability is maintained and deepened. This double-edged discourse of forestry – of sustainability and pro-poor action in the face of elite extractive practice – is business as usual in the global system of rotational forestry that has been passed down from Europe over the last century.

Talk by Kanchan Chopra: 11.30 am
Managing transformational change: can a systems’ perspective provide insights?
Kanchan Chopra is Former Director at the Institute of Economic Growth, Delhi


In the present scenario, more so in India, there exists a disconnect between the development of the natural, social sciences and the design of policy. There is a partial acceptance by policy of some ideas from scientific research but with a lag of ten or twelve years. This happens in a piece-meal fashion with very little of an analytical framework to define it. Solving one conflict after another in the context of environment vs development in a marginalistic fashion is all we can do. However, a longer run perspective is vital. The character of the change underlying visible short term phenomenon needs to be understood and addressed. The crying need of the moment is to understand ‘change’, kinds of change that the systems can absorb, ‘good’ change and distinguish it from ‘abrupt’ change that the system cannot cope with. We also need to understand how to increase, and sustain the capability of people, economies and nature to deal with change. The argument in this paper is going to be that a systems approach using guiding from resilience theory will provide pointers towards how this can happen.

Movie screening: 2 pm

Semmiñ Ñaari Boor (Double Bladed Axe)

Wolof and French with English Subtitles
50 minutes
Co-directed by Pape Faye and Jesse Ribot
Based on Research and Script by Jesse Ribot

Dr. Geoff Hyde, NCBS

1 September 2010
Topic: Popular Science Writing

Dr. Udayalakshmi Vepakomma, Post doctoral Fellow at University of Toronto

4 August 2010
Topic: Disturbance dynamics and forest canopy responses - an exploration through multi-temporal data

Suresh Chauhan, TERI University, Delhi

19 July 2010
Topic: Forestry CDM Project Development

Ashish Agarwal, TERI University, Delhi

19 July 2010
Topic: Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD) plus: Issues and Opportunities