Issue 17                                                                                                                                                                September 2017

Workshop on ecophysiology of plants

ATREE conducted a workshop on plant eco-physiology, titled, ‘Plastic Plants’, instructed by Sonali Saha and Ankila Hiremath. The two-day workshop involved classroom lectures and practical demonstrations in understanding the physiology of plants under various environmental stressors. Participants discussed various trade-offs plants make, to survive in unfavourable environmental conditions. The course instructor, Sonali Saha is the first visiting scholar to ATREE to be supported by the Bawa Family Fund.

Norwegian students visit CERC, Vembanad

Community Environmental Resource Centre (CERC) conducted a course on ‘State and civil societies in development and environmental governance in Vembanad, Kerala, India’ for the post-graduate students of Department of International Environment and Development Studies (Noragric), Norwegian University of Life Sciences (NMBU). This year, 16 students participated in the programme and engaged in a range of lectures, group discussions, and field activities. The students made fish sanctuaries with the members of the lake protection forum.

North East Butterfly Meet- 2017

ATREE supported the three-day national meet on butterfly conservation, called North East Butterfly Meet-2017 in Dzongu, North Sikkim. The event was organised by Butterflies and Moths of Sikkim–Nature Conservation Society (BAMOS-NCS) in collaboration with Butterflies of North Eastern India group. The event was participated by government and forest officials, practitioners, academicians and students. The participants were given lectures on field study, identification of butterflies and documented 163 species of butterflies, few of which were rare species.

Annual Butterfly Meet in Ziro

ATREE supported the 4th Ziro Butterfly Meet in Talle Wildlife Sanctuary, Arunachal Pradesh. The meet aimed to attract local enthusiasts in butterfly conservation and was participated by 40 students from the region. The event documented more than 70 species of butterflies, including the rediscovery of a butterfly species called Giant Hopper (Aposticopterus fuliginosus), which is assumed to be the first live photograph in India and the first to be recorded from Arunachal Pradesh.  Read more.

Workshop on quantitative data analysis and statistics

ATREE hosted the alumni of Conservation Leadership Programme for a five-day workshop on biostatistics using the statistical platform- R. The participants were introduced to the basics of R programming and guided on choosing appropriate statistical tools for different research questions.

Re-laying of black clams in Vembanad lake

ATREE’s Community Environmental Resource Centre (CERC) in Vembanad, in collaboration with five black-clam co-operative societies, Federation of Vembanad Lake Protection Forums, Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute, Department of Fisheries in Alappuzha and World Wildlife Fund initiated the project of relaying of black-clams in the southern side of Thanneermukkom Bund of Vembanad Lake. ATREE’s research found that pollution and indiscriminate harvesting of black clams have drastically reduced the population of black-clams. Read more.
River conservation and river science

The approach to river conservation needs to be informed by social and ecological sciences. ATREE's Veena Srinivasan, Sharachchandra Lele, Jagdish Krishnaswamy and Priyanka Jamwal write about the solutions which are scientifically nuanced and can help conserving the rivers in the long-run.

In the News

Rally for River Science

The campaign, 'Rally for Rivers' by Isha Foundation has brought the much-needed dialogue of river-conservation to the forefront. However, the movement overlooks the primary drivers that continue to threaten the rivers of India. The proposed solutions would have little impact on the complex problems of the river systems. The article highlights ATREE's perspective on why rally for rivers needs to be backed by sound science. 
'Rally for Rivers' also proposes planting fruiting trees in the 1Km buffer along the rivers. ATREE's researcher, Veena Srinivasan, highlights the loopholes in such blanket solutions toward river conservation. Socially, this move is disruptive as farmers would have to wait for a long time before these trees are economically beneficial. Ecologically, the solution is unjustified as these trees need huge quantities of water, thereby straining the already stressed aquifers. 

Forests and climate change

The natural forests of the Western Ghats improve the seasonal flow in the streams and rivers. These forests, in turn, strengthen the climate resilience of the people living in the hills and also downstream in peninsular India. ATREE's researcher, Jagdish Krishnaswamy's research in the Nilgiris in Tamil Nadu and Aghnashini Basin in Karnataka on the response of forests to extreme rainfall events, proves that natural forests can strengthen infiltration and flow into streams and rivers.

Water and urban landscapes

ATREE's researcher, Veena Srinivasan, along with researchers from Indian Institute of Sciences, Bangalore, Norwegian Embassy in New Delhi and Oracle is creating a sustainable model of lake system in Bengaluru, which can prevent flooding and address water needs of the city in future. Her team has initiated hydrological and water quality studies in Jakkur, Rachanahalli and Kaikondrahalli lakes. 
Even though Bengaluru city experienced 800 mm of rainfall, the river Arkavathi remains dry. ATREE's senior researcher, Sharachchandra Lele opines that the river has dried due to agriculture-related activities, in particular, the check-dams that divert water to the eucalyptus plantations. ATREE's researcher, Veena Srinivasan draws insights from her study in Arkavathi watershed which shows that rapid urbanisation does not allow water to seep into the ground. 

From physiotherapy to studying frogs

ATREE's research scholar Madhushri Mudke talks about her passion for being in the wilderness. Madhushri is a physiotherapist by training and found her interest in studying biodiversity, particularly frogs, while she was in Manipal University. In August 2016, she launched a campaign on frog conservation, #NotJustFrogs and authored a book on the frogs of Manipal.

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