Volume 6:3
July - Sept 2009 


For private circulation only
Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment

ATREE brings in the Ryutaro Hashimoto APFED Gold Award

ATREE was awarded the Ryutaro Hashimoto APFED (Asia Pacific Forum for Environment and Development) Gold Award for the year 2009 for its programme on 'Promoting the ingenious use of a plant invasive, Lantana camara, to enhance the livelihoods of forest dwelling communities in India'. Dr. R. Uma Shaanker and Ramesh Kannan from University of Agricultural Science and ATREE respectively received this award on August 1, 2009 at the International Environmental Symposium in Noto, Japan.

The Ryutaro Hashimoto APFED Award, instituted in memory of the former Japanese Prime Minister, is given each year to projects that have innovatively addressed issues related to biodiversity and conservation. Emphasis is on projects that can be used as models for promoting similar programmes in the Asia-Pacific region. The award was given by Ms. Yoriko Kawaguchi, Chair of the APFED, in presence of Mr. Masanori Tanimoto, Governor, Ishikawa Prefecture, Japan and Mr. Kazuhiko Takemoto, Vice-Minister for Global Environment, Ministry of the Environment, Japan.


YETI - By students, for students

India's first student ecology conference - Young Ecologists Talk and Interact - YETI, was organised and put together from scratch by a spirited crew of Ph.D. students and researchers from Bangalore-based research institutes - Centre for Ecological Sciences (CES-IISc), National Centre for Biological Sciences (NCBS), National Institute for Advanced Studies (NIAS) and Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment (ATREE).

YETI 2009 was held from 24th to 26th September and recorded about 350 registered participants at its website (www.meetyeti.in) from 220 institutions across twenty states of the country. The three days saw plenary talks by some of the country's eminent scientists and ecologists, popular talks by ecology researchers and conservationists, workshop talk-presentations and numerous student presentations and posters on field and laboratory research in ecology. Students presented completed or ongoing M.Sc. or Ph.D. research in animal behaviour, evolutionary ecology, techniques in ecology, research in human-modified landscapes and human impacts on wildlife.

Making full use of the interactive possibilities of new media, YETI's 'Project Page' forum was placed on Facebook, where students across the country could register, feed in personal and work details and exchange ideas with fellow participants. Ecology resources for students and researchers have been placed on the YETI site at (http://www.meetyeti.in/ecology-resources).

YETI will continue to be run by students. Its purpose will be to link young ecology, evolution and conservation scientists across the country to facilitate high quality and collaborative research.

YETI organizers from ATREE


Expanding agri-students' outlook: Agasthyamalai

ATREE's Agasthyamalai Community-based Conservation Centre (CCC) got an opportunity to demonstrate, through a mix of lectures, hands-on activities and field visits, how agriculture should embrace practices that also sustain biodiversity, and not focus exclusively on productivity. As part of Rural Agricultural Works Experience (RAWE), students from Agricultural College and Research Institution of Tamil Nadu Agricultural University (TNAU), Killikulam, Tuticorin district, visited the Agasthyamalai CCC from 1 to 15 Sept 2009.

ATREE spoke to the students about ecosystem services, the importance of wetlands in the regions and their linkage with the forests of KMTR. This was followed by a visit to Vagaikulum, a bird roost colony, where the local community had taken the initiative (with a gentle nudge from the CCC), to protect the roost.

There was a lecture on owl perches revitalizing traditional eco-friendly rodent control practices in paddy fields. The students performed a skit with a local folk artist to show the ill-effects of pesticides on humans.

Relating the forests' role in providing hydrological services to the otherwise semi-arid landscape of their home towns - Trinunelveli and Tuticorin, ATREE organised a field trip to KMTR. The trip's objective was to emphasize that despite the name of the reserve, KMTR forests benefited more than just tigers.
This was the third batch of students coming to ATREE for exposure on ongoing programmes.

Mathivanan M


Theatre methods in wetland conservation

ATREE Vembanad team continues its Jalapaadom programme with school students. One-day workshops on puppetry and street plays were organised at the St. Joseph's GHS, Alappuzha on 1 Aug 2009 with the objective of effectively transferring the message of wetland conservation from Wetland Study Centres to school kids and local residents.

A story called 'Rajeshinte swapnam' (Rajesh's dreams), about Rajesh's emotional attachment to a lake named Kingini Kayal was presented. 320 participants, representing 36 schools, attended the programme. Realizing the popularity and effectiveness of the play in communicating the message of wetland conservation, it was decided to present the street play and the puppet shows in all 36 schools.



Kaipuram, Pallikunnu and Anjuthaikkal in Kerala now boast of fish sanctuaries, or 'matsyathavalam'. These sanctuaries have been established to ensure the continued presence of fish-dependent species such as otters and cormorants, as well as benefit native fishermen.

The sanctuaries were set up by the Lake Protection Forum, with financial and technical aid from ATREE's Community Environment Resource Centre (CERC), Alappuzha. The sanctuaries were dedicated to the public on 25 July 2009 by K.C. Venugopal, MP, and will be used as a common property resource. A seminar on 'Responsible fishing' was also conducted on the occasion. For media coverage on the event, click on The Hindu, Mathrubhumi.

Krishnakumar K, CERC, Alappuzha


Plastic cleaning and anti-plastic campaigns
Pathiramanal island, Vembanad, 1 Aug 2009

Partners: Kayal Samrekshana Samithi and Vembanad Nature Club
Achieved: Volunteers collected plastic waste scattered all over the island and filled 3 deep pits. Cleaning up of these pits was entrusted to the Kayal Samrekshana Samithi.

The plastic cleaning event created awareness and was widely reported in the local press.


Punnamada region (Nehru boat race area), Vembanad, 27 August 2009

Partners: All Kerala House Boat Owners Association, Jalapaadom schools of Alapuzzha municipal area, tourism police and boat operators.

Achieved: Volunteers collected 35 gunny bags (600 kg) of plastic waste from a stretch of 5 km. It sent a clear message to those around, who watched and also joined in the cleaning campaign.
See press coverage in The Hindu, Indian Express, Madyamam, Matrubhumi


Male Mahadeshwara and Biligiri Rangaswamy Hills

Partners: Karnataka Forest Department, temple authorities, shopkeepers, local NGOs and civil society. Achieved: Awareness about the plastic menace brought about by religious tourism to these hills.

Rock bee monitoring and honey harvesting

ATREE discussed the monitoring of rock bees (Apis dorsata), improvement of harvest techniques and increase in income of local communities from honey harvest, in collaboration with Nagaland Beekeeping and Honey Mission (NBHM), in Saramati Range in Kiphire District of Nagaland. Training was conducted on importance of long term monitoring, methods of estimating density of bee colonies in different habitats before and after harvest. Advantages of creating awareness on prudent harvest techniques and experience on long term monitoring of bee colonies was shared. ATREE spoke to honey harvesters to understand their experience. Ecological monitoring and socio- economic parameters associated with extraction and use of non-timber forest products, with special reference to honey; participatory monitoring and importance of involving communities in conservation was discussed with NBHM staff.

Siddappa Setty, Nagaland



Dr. Kamal Bawa received the Society for Conservation Biology´s Distinguished Services Award. The award honours Dr. Bawa's extraordinary contributions to conservation in India by establishing ATREE and due to ATREE's activities. The Society for Conservation Biology, SCB (http://www.conbio.org) is an international professional organization dedicated to promote the scientific study of biological diversity. The award was presented to Dr Bawa in Beijing, China, 11-15 July 2009.

Dr. Harini Nagendra received a Ramanujan Fellowship for the period 2009-2014. The fellowship, instituted by the Department of Science and Technology, is meant for scientists and engineers from all over the world to take up scientific research positions in India, and work on a research project of their own conception. Dr. Nagendra's work will combine spatial analyses of landscape ecology and satellite remote sensing with biodiversity studies, institutional analyses and social interviews to develop a better understanding of the interface between forest conservation and human interactions, in contexts ranging from forested to urban landscapes.

The Karnataka State Council for Science and Technology (KSCST) has appointed ATREE member of its governing council and of its executive committee. The governing council, which is headed by the Chief Minister of Karnataka, consists of 42 members, while the executive committee is chaired by the Director of IISc and consists of 14 members. ATREE is the only NGO to be given this honour.

Aravind Madhyastha N.A. has been selected member of the Board of Studies (BoS), Dept of Post Graduate Studies in Wildlife Management, Kuvempu University, Shimoga for three years.


Honorary Faculty

We are honoured to have two eminent persons join ATREE. Padmashri, Zafar Futehally joins us as Honorary Senior Fellow. He is a well known ornithologist and has over 60 years of distinguished service in the cause of conservation. He was the founder trustee of World Wildlife Fund- India and an Honorary secretary of BNHS from 1962-1973. He was conferred the Padmashri in 1971 by the GoI. He remains active in urban environmental issues in Bangalore as a trustee of the Bangalore Environment Trust.

Professor Armin Rosencranz, Senior Visiting Fellow for a period of 2 months. Armin Rosencranz, is a lawyer and political scientist, He comes from Stanford, where he taught a suite of environmental policy courses from 1995 to 2006. Prof. Armin has worked for several years on Indian environmental law and governance, and has a strong interest in energy and climate change policy. During his visit, he will give public talks, a few introductory lectures on environmental law and governance to the PhD students.


New Staff

Research and Programme Staff

  • Aravind Madhyastha N.A, Fellow (April 2009) and Academy Coordinator for The Academy for Conservation Science and Sustainability Studies
  • Arvind T.A., Research Associate
  • Devisree Raha, Intern
  • Madhavi Latha, Asst. Coordinator
  • Raghavan Rajeev, Visiting Fellow
  • Richa, Research Associate
  • Siddappa Setty, Fellow (April 2009)
  • Suchismita Das, Research Associate

Support Staff

  • Anand S, Administration and Grants Manager
  • Ganesh T.K, Asst. Office Manager
  • Lakshmikanthaiah, Office Executive
  • Obaiah B, Librarian
  • Philip Peter, Communications Executive
  • Ramesh, Office and Facilities Manager


Ravi, R., and D.R. Priyadarsanan. 2009. Ground insect community responses to habitat restoration efforts in the Attappady hills, Western Ghats, India. Current Science 97 (6): 935-941.

Mohanty A, Chrungu B, Verma N, Shivanna K.R. 2009. Broadening the genetic base of crop brassicas by production of new intergeneric hybrid. Czech J. Genet. Plant Breed. 45: 117-122.

Krishnakumar, K., Rajeev Raghavan and Benno Pereira. 2009. Protected on papers, hunted in wetlands: exploitation and trade of freshwater turtles (Melanochelys trijuga coronata and Lissemys punctata punctata) in Punnamada, Kerala, India. Tropical Conservation Science Vol.2 (3):363-373.

Krishnakumar, K., Rajeev Raghavan, G. Prasad, A. Bijukumar, Mini Sekharan, Benno Pereira and Anvar Ali. 2009. When pets become pests - exotic aquarium fishes and biological invasions in Kerala, India. Current Science Vol. 97(4):474-476.

Priti, V., B. T. Ramesha, Shweta Singh, G. Ravikanth, K. N. Ganeshaiah, T. S. Suryanarayanan and R. Uma Shaanker. 2009. How promising are endophytic fungi as alternative sources of plant secondary metabolites? Current Science Vol 97 (4): 477-478.

H. Nagendra, S. Pareeth, S. Paul and S. Dutt (2009). Landscapes of protection: forest change and fragmentation in northern West Bengal, India. Environmental Management 44(5): 853-864.

D. Rocchini, H. Nagendra, R. Ghate and B. Cade (2009). Spectral distance decay: assessing species beta-diversity by quantile regression. Photogrammetric Engineering and Remote Sensing 75(10): 1225-1230.

R. Ghate, D. Mehra and H. Nagendra (2009). Local institutions as mediators of the impact of markets on non-timber forest product extraction in central India. Environmental Conservation 36(1): 51-61.

Popular Press
R., Vivek. 'A Bird's Eye view', August 2009, Sanctuary Asia.

Other Publications
Soubadra Devy M, Vivek R and Ganesh T., 'Unexplored Indian Forest Canopies: Are we dealing with an eclipsed view of our biodiversity?' Sahaydri E-News, Issue XXXI, WGBIS, CES, IISc.


Talks by ATREE staff

Sharachchandra Lele, on 'Climate Change and Bangalore: Science, Politics and Action', at Bangalore Platform on Climate Change. 3 July, 2009, Bangalore.

Ravikanth G. delivered a talk on Conservation of Forest Genetic Resources in the Western Ghats at the Lecture Workshop on 'Plant Genetic Resources: Mapping, Utilization and Conservation' Organized by School of Biotechnology, Chemical and Biomedical Engineering, VIT University. 23 to 25 July, 2009, Vellore.

Sharachchandra Lele gave the keynote address at workshop on, 'Understanding Sustainable Development at the 10th Partners' Forum', organised by WIPRO Applying Thought in Schools, 16 September 2009, Bangalore.

Sharachchandra Lele gave the keynote address titled, 'Climate Change and Sustainable and Equitable Development in India, at workshop, 'Towards an alternative Indian Climate Policy: Copenhagen and beyond', organised by Delhi Science Forum and Tata Institute of Social Sciences. 18 September 2009, Delhi.

Aravind Madhyastha N.A. gave a talk on 'Butterfly Monitoring for Conservation' at Urban Lake Monitoring & Management. At Centre for infrastructure, Sustainable Transportation and Urban Planning (CiSTUP), IISc, 24 September 09, Bangalore.

Aravind Madhyastha N.A. gave a talk on 'Biodiversity and its conservation' for class 12 students at Himamshu Pre University College, Malleshwaram, Bangalore on 29th August, 2009.



Sharachchandra Lele presented a seminar on 'Ethical Breadth of Environmentalism, Centre for Study of Culture and Society'. 27 August 2009. Bangalore.



Giby Kuriakose presented a paper on 'Shift in major pollinators and variation in productive traits of cardamom (Elettaria cardamomum) during domestication in the Western Ghats, India'. Co-authored with Palatty Allesh Sinu and K. R. Shivanna in 5th International Symposium on the family 'Zingiberaceae' in Xishuangbanna Tropical Botabical Garden, China held from 6 to 9 July, 2009.

Sharachchandra Lele presented a paper titled, 'Long-term impact of watershed development in Karnataka at the micro-level' (co-authored by Shrinivas Badiger, Madhavi Latha, G S Praveen, A. Vidya, Ananda Vadivelu, Rajeev Kumar, P. Praveen, A. Veeresha, N. Girishayya). At the Impacts of Watershed Development: Final Dissemination Workshop organised by FoRWaRD (SOPPECOM, CISED/ATREE & Gujarat Institute of Development Research). 24 July 2009, Hyderabad.

Sharachchandra Lele presented a paper titled, 'Climate Change and Sustainable Development' in the workshop, 'Breaking the Climate Deadlock: Towards a New Climate Policy for India' organised by Tata Institute for Social Sciences and All-India People's Science Network. 31 July to 1 August 2009, Mumbai

Siddappa Setty R made a presentation at the 2nd World Congress of Agroforestry, Nairobi, Kenya on enhancing diversity of trees on farms proximal to a wildlife sanctuary: 'Lessons from working with small farmers'.

Rajkamal Goswami presented a paper titled 'Hunting: Poverty-Cultural Linkages - A Case Study of South Garo Hills, Meghalaya' in the workshop on 'Studying the linkages between ecosystem services and poverty: Building networks in South Asia', organised by the Northeastern Hill University, Shillong, from 8 to 9 September 2009.

Rajkamal Goswami made a presentation titled 'Monitoring of tiger and its prey in Manas National Park, Assam' in the YETI conference held in Bangalore from 24 to 26 September 2009.

Paramesha Mallegowda presented a poster entitled 'Regeneration dynamics of Amla (Indian gooseberry) trees in Biligiri Rangaswamy Temple (BRT) Wildlife Sanctuary, Western Ghats, India' at the YETI Conference 2009 (Young Ecologists Talk and Interact 2009) held at IISc, Bangalore from 24 to 26 September 2009.

'Vidyadhar Atkore, made a presentation on 'Conservation of some of the threatened fishes of the Western Himalaya, Uttarakhand', in the YETI Conference, IISc, Bangalore. 24-26 September, 2009.'


Workshops Organised

Siddappa Setty R and group organised one day workshops in both MM Hills and BRT Hills field sites on antiplastic campaign and spoke about strategies to control plastics in the forest and temple areas.


Talks at ATREE

Visiting Fellow Dr Raja Sengupta, from McGill University, Canada on 'Integrated Spatial Modelling and Geoinformatics: Emerging and Essential tool for Understanding Complex Environmental Dynamics'. 1 July, 2009.

Dr Pytrik Reidsma on 'Adaptation to climate change and climate variability in European agriculture: The importance of farm level responses'. 10 July 2009.

Eminent Wildlife Biologist, Dr. A.J.T. Johnsingh, NCF, Mysore and WWF-India, on 'An overview of India's wilderness'. 30 July, 2009.

Terilyn D. Allendorf on 'Interdisciplinary education: Training graduate students to understand sustainable development and biodiversity conservation over a landscape in northwest Yunnan, China'. 31 July 2009.


Workshops Attended

Aravind Madhyastha N.A. attended IUCN's freshwater Assessment workshop, organised by IUCN, UK, at Kathmandu, Nepal from 22 to 26 July 2009.

Nitin Rai, C. Madegowda and Sushmita Mandal attended a workshop on the RFRA in New Delhi organised by the Future of Conservation (FoC) network in WWF New Delhi, titled: 2nd National Consultation on Critical Wildlife Habitats & Community Forest Rights.

The deliberations were regarding the implementation of RFRA and the status of granting community forest rights and ascertaining of critical wildlife habitats. 17 to 19 August 2009, New Delhi.

Sharachchandra Lele attended a workshop on, 'Emerging Water Regulatory Frameworks and Related Reforms in Water Governance in Karnataka', organised by Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment and PRAYAS, Pune. 2 September 2009, Bangalore.



Siddappa Setty R gave two days training to the organization called ECONET at Bhimashankar wildlife sanctuary on ecological monitoring of Terminalia chebula. July 2009.

Siddappa Setty R gave two days training to the Nagaland Beekeeping and Honey Mission (NBHM) in Kohima, Nagaland on Rock bee monitoring and harvest. August 2009.

Grants received

DST has sanctioned a research project entitled 'Reproductive ecology and plant-animal interactions in some endemic endangered species of Syzygium in Western Ghats' to K.R. Shivanna and P.A. Sinu.


Bangalore: Royal Enclave, Sriramapura, Jakkur Post, Bangalore 560 064, Tel: +91-80-23635555, Fax: +91-80-23530070

Eastern Himalayas: E2, Second Floor, Golden Heights, Gandhi Road, Darjeeling 734 101, West Bengal, Tel: +91-354-2259297

New Delhi: 2nd Floor, 1, K Commercial Complex, Birbal Road, Jangpura Extension, New Delhi 110014, Tel: +91-11-2432 3133

Governing Board

Advisory Board: Dr. R.A. Mashelkar, Dr. Peter Raven, Dr. Dan Martin, Dr. Jagmohan Maini

Executive Board: Dr. K. S. Bawa, Dr. R. Uma Shaanker, Dr. K. N. Ganeshaiah, Dr. Darshan Shankar, Dr. S. N. Rai, Dr. Surinder M. Sehgal, Ms. Rohini Nilekani, Dr. Jeta Sankrityayana, Ms. Seema Paul, Mrs. Pheroza Godrej, Dr. K.S. Jagadish, Dr. Nandini Sundar, Mr. A.N. Singh, Dr. Ganesan Balachander, Dr. Gladwin Joseph (ex-officio)

Executive Committee: Dr. Gladwin Joseph (Director), Mr. Suman Rai (Regional Director - Eastern Himalayas), Dr. Ankila Hiremath, Dr. Priyadarsanan Dharma Rajan, Dr. Nitin Rai, Dr. Soubadra Devy, Dr. R. Ganesan, Dr. Robert Chandran

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