Call for Applications
The Forum of Environmental Journalists in India (FEJI), in collaboration with the Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and Environment (ATREE), is pleased to invite applications for its third edition of the FEJI- ATREE Media Fellowships in Environmental Conservation, 2016.
FEJI will select FOUR applicants from English and/or national media, from Print media, TV/Radio and from Online Media The fellowship will help journalists of calibre to travel, explore, study and write/report on urban issues in solid waste; renewable energy; on biodiversity issues in ecosystem services; medicinal plant trade and monitoring vegetation and long-term change. More details to each topic/theme are outlined under ‘Fellowship Themes’.
Fellowship Criteria: Fellows must co-ordinate with ATREE for field visits/research and produce at least FIVE stories (1000 words each) on each Fellow’s selected them e or themes. Close interaction with FEJI will be needed through the fellowship period. Two short news items (500 words each) will constitute one story, Word length will be calculated on a per-story basis, not as a total count. The total number of equivalent stories to be produced by TV /Radio can be finalised after discussions with FEJI.
Eligibility: Professional journalists, including freelancers, in TV, Print and Online Media in English and any national language media, with at least six to eight years of demonstrated experience in journalism on environmental issues. National /Regional language Fellow will need to know English for communication.
Duration of Fellowship: Three months, during which Fellows must undertake at least one compulsory field visit and publish their stories. Attendance at an orientation workshop in Bangalore at the start of the Fellowship is mandatory. Failure to attend will result in the withdrawal of the Fellowship.
Bursary Amount: Rs. 1 lakh per Fellow, payable in three instalments based on the progress with the fellowship. This includes Rs 20,000 payable only on reimbursement of travel expenses on the submission of bills. For the Fellow selected for travel to Darjeeling, a higher travel reimbursement can be provided, based on discussions with FEJI. Travel and accommodation for the Orientationworkshop will be borne by FEJI.
- Online link or scanned copies of three published stories on environment or development. Scanned copies must have the publication title, date of publishing and byline.
- A letter of support, necessary for freelance journalists too, from an Editor that the Fellow’s work will be published.
- Regional language stories MUST be accompanied with a competent translation into English.
- One-page cover letter, outlining briefly why you have chosen your themes and what you intend to do with it.
- Curriculum Vitae
The deadline for submitting Applications is by 11.30 pm on the 21st November, 2016.
Selected applicants will be notified within 10 after the deadline for submissions. Tentative dates for the orientation in Bangalore are 6th – 8th December, 2016.
Send applications via email to: email@example.com, with a cc marked to firstname.lastname@example.org
Subject line must state “FEJI ATREE Fellowships 2016 Application”
To ensure that your application has reached us, wait for an acknowledgement within 48 hours of sending the same; if not, resend the application.
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Fellowship Themes: Applicants can choose one or a combination of the following themes for pursuing their fellowship:
Contact telephone for ATREE: +91 80 2363 5555 (Board)
Theme 1: Urban Systems
a) Urban Solid Waste – Contact person: Megha Shenoy
Many citizen-initiatives to manage solid waste/garbage are emerging as an alternative to conventional, centralised municipality-managed solid waste disposal. Through a combination of legislative and citizen initiatives, Bangalore city has emerged as one of the pioneers in communitybased garbage composting. Today, there are more than 450 residential complexes that are segregating waste at source.
One of ATREE’s projects aims to study community-based garbage segregation and composting initiatives in Bangalore city in order to identify socio-technical elements that are crucial to the performance of such systems, including their methods of treating wet waste. It also proposes to carry out a desk review of experiences elsewhere, to come up with recommendations for replication and scaling in different contexts. The Bangalore experience can provide valuable insights for other parts of the country that face garbage disposal challenges.
b) Energy – Contact person: Ulka Kelkar
India is facing increasing pressure to shift to renewable energy to fulfil the needs of its rapidly developing economy. ATREE recently concluded a pilot study to investigate factors determining household behaviour regarding the adoption of renewable energy and energy efficiency in a small city. The study, conducted around the town of Ramanagara (56 km from Bangalore, population 95,000), focuses on the implementation of two schemes: rooftop solar photo voltaic (RTPV) with net metering and the switch to LED lighting under the Domestic Efficient Lighting Programme (DELP).
ATREE’s preliminary findings reveal that while there is a significant penetration of solar thermal technology, adoption of RTPV has been very low – due to regulatory uncertainty, high capital costs, and information barriers among households and government agencies. A concerted campaign to promote LED bulbs is under way but the consequent energy savings are relatively small as they replace compact fluorescent lights. The study aims to better understand household perceptions and biases and how households would respond to different framings of incentives.
Theme 2: Biodiversity, forests and livelihoods in times of change
a) Monitoring vegetation and long-term change – Contact person: R Ganesan
As climate change and other human-induced pressures continue to affect tropical forests, an accurate estimation of the health of these forests is imperative for developing conservation strategies effective enough to sustain rural livelihoods which are supported by non-timber forest produce. ATREE’s monitoring projects set up across Biligiriranga Hills, Karnataka, and the Kalakad Mundanthurai Tiger Reserve, Tamil Nadu, have been collecting data over a period of between 15-20 years so as to predict a tree species’ ability to survive in the context of changing rainfall and temperature. ATREE’s findings have revealed that non-endemic species die slowly with a 62% decrease in their hazard rate while species endemic to Western Ghats were found more robust with about 80% decrease in their hazard rates. This means that endemic species have a higher chance of regenerating in its native area than an alien species. The programme’s insights into the impacts of climate change on native species are also important for prioritizing conservation efforts of endemic species which inhabit fragile ecosystems.
b) Adulteration in the trade of medicinal plant species – Contact person: G Ravikanth
India, one of the mega biodiversity countries, is known for its rich diversity of medicinal plants and a long history of traditional medicinal practices. The Codified Indian System of Medicine recognizes the use of 2400 medicinal plants though about 6,000 higher plant species are used in the codified and several folk healthcare traditions in the country. An estimated 9,500 registered herbal industries along with a multitude of unregistered cottage-level industry depend on the continuous supply of medicinal plants for manufacturing herbal products. Barely 10 percent of this supply is met from the cultivated sources, the predominant supply coming from harvest of natural populations.
It is widely believed that there could be widespread species admixtures, inc luding, substitution and adulteration, in raw herbal trade. Such admixtures could potentially endanger the health and safety of the consumers and discredit, indigenous medical practices. Further, analysis of some of the market samples was carried out to assess the extent of adulteration in the herbal market. The market samples were collected from different locations in South India. Using the DNA barcode sequences of the BRM as the reference, the identities of the market samples were determined and the exte nt of species admixture, if any, was estimated. Our results revealed large-scale adulteration in the herbal markets. The species adulteration ranged from 25% to 100%.
c) Ecosystem services and human well-being in Sikkim-Darjeeling Himalayas–Contact person: Soubadra Devy
Maintaining ecological integrity through protection of biodiversity, habitats, and ecosystem functions is key for sustained flow of goods and services to human societies. At times there is an attempt to protect natural ecosystems by declaring them as no-go areas. This would mean that forest-based communities would need to trade off their ecosystem services totally. On the other hand, a free-for-all could result in the loss of ecological integrity through degradation of ecosystems. Often the latter isthrough misplaced policies, large scale forest clearing, monoculture plantations, etc. The SikkimDarjeeling Himalayas provide a unique opportunity to study communities dependent on ecosystem services from state-managed protected areas, with little or no access to community-owned forests.
ATREE has developed and applied a unique approach of social-ecological research to understand the impact of key ecosystem services such as hydrological processes, pollination, soil and biodiversity support. One such study examines the role of fragmented forests outside the protected area network in providing pollination services for orange orchards, the major cash crop in Sikkim. The study further assesses the impact of the findings for the thrust of the Sikkim Government to promote orange cultivation and organic farming.
Yet another study assesses the pollination services of rhododendrons, the state plant of Sikkim. The species is of great cultural value to Sikkimese. Apart from its use as food, local brew and incense sticks, the species has emerged as a money-earner for the state through rhododendron festivals that draws domestic and foreign tourists. This study unravels the complex interactions between various pollinators’ species and different rhododendron species and also speculates the likely impact of climate change on these key interactions.
[Due to funding limitations, the fellowship will be able to fund only one Fellow to travel to Sikkim/Darjeeling.]