Action outreach

ATREE interacts with local communities to contribute to change on the ground. ATREE has fostered long-term engagement with site-specific issues and stakeholders at.ATREE’s six Community-based Conservation Centres in Darjeeling, Kalakad Mundanthurai Tiger Reserve in Tamil Nadu western Ghats, Vembanad wetland, Kankapura, MM Hills and Biligiri Rangaswamy Temple in Karnataka. Apart from these formal long-term structures, ATREE has project related sites in Assam, Malaprabha catchment, and Odisha.

Community-based Conservation Centres (CCC), also called field academies, are a long-term investment to developing researcher-local community interfaces. ATREE envisioned the concept of CCCs to provide a two-way interface for local communities and local institutions to evolve practical strategies for sustainable governance and co-management of forests and other natural resources. The CCCs or field academies are integral to the reach, productivity and effectiveness of the ATREE Academy for Conservation Science and Sustainability Studies. These field facilities provide ATREE staff the needed field presence to generate rigorous ground-based knowledge relevant to addressing local problems. They provide pertinent information that shapes public policy and serve as field research stations, besides providing various stakeholders physical space for networking and training.

Examples of projects at these sites reflect the diversity of issues addressed in these areas:

  • At Community-based Conservation Centres
    • Conservation and livelihood project in Darjeeling CCC
    • Vembanad CERC's annual fish count, school wetland conservation programme—Jalapaadom, participatory resource mapping etc.
    • Agasthyamalai CCC's promotion of community conservation initiatives at Vagaaikulam, research on climate and frogs, new frog and plant species discoveries etc.
    • BRT CCC's counter-mapping exercise on producing maps as per Soliga perception of the landscape and cultural sites, for which the ATREE team provided technical support; capacity building on issues concerning implementation of Recognition for Forest Rights Act in BRT WLS.
    • Kanakapura CCC's newly published guide (2012) on farmland tree diversity in this part of Karnataka, the result of eight years of collaboration with the farming community of the area.
    • The MM Hills CCC's work on invasive weed management with local communities and the Forest Department, which covers research on impacts of lantana on biodiversity, role of fire in lantana management, traditional wisdom pertaining to invasives management, and a livelihood programme that works towards poverty alleviation through training on process, craft and design of equipment using lantana.

  • Project sites, such as in Malaprabha, Orissa and Assam
    ATREE is working with the Forest Department and civil society networks in Assam to strengthen effective management of UNESCO World Natural Heritage sites of Manas and Kaziranga as part of the World Heritage Biodiversity-India programme. One outcome was that UNESCO upgraded Manas from its 19-year status of World Heritage Sites in Danger, to World Natural Heritage Site, in 2011.
  • Conservation education, World Environment Day activities, Vacation Training Programmes: Appreciation courses on nature and ecology, as well as on the science of studying these subjects.
  • TN Khoshoo Award and Lecture, which are peer-level recognition for practitioners of conservation and sustainable development.