Keynote Lecture by Sir Andy Haines on Planetary Health
ATREE in partnership with the Indian Academy of Sciences organized a keynote lecture by Sir Andy Haines on ‘Planetary Health: Linkages between global environmental change and human health’ at the British Council on March 22nd, 2019. The lecture was organized to commemorate World Water Day and the International Day of Forests. The talk highlighted the need for recognizing the role of the changing environment in impacting human health.

In his lecture, Sir Andy Haines, Professor of Environmental Change and Public Health at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine said, “Human societies are having pervasive and increasingly dominant effects on natural systems worldwide leading to climate change, declining freshwater availability, deforestation, land use change, ocean acidification, pollution of air, water and soil, and biodiversity loss.”

He further added, “These environmental trends pose major challenges to sustaining the biosphere in a state that can support our health and they can adversely affect a range of health outcomes including: water-related and vector-borne diseases; impacts of increased frequency and intensity of extreme events, such as floods, droughts, and heat waves; and food security and undernutrition.”

He also stressed on the need for modern medicine systems to focus on broader linkages between environment and patient health rather than an individualistic focus on patient care.“There is the effect on vector-borne diseases, such as dengue, and of course on nutrition, because of declining crop yields in tropical and subtropical climates. These effects can and should play a huge role in motivating policy change,” he added.

The lecture was followed by a panel discussion. Darshan Shankar, Vice Chancellor of University of Trans Disciplinary Health Sciences and Technology (TDU), Veena Srinivasan, Fellow, ATREE and Vijay Chandru, Chairman of Strand Life Sciences, apart from Sir Andy Haines participated in the discussion. ATREE, Fellow, Abi T Vanak, moderated the panel discussion.The panellists discussed the way forward towards finding socially and environmentally sustainable and equitable solutions.
Workshop on Molecular Taxonomy
ATREE in collaboration with Institute of Life Sciences (ILS), Bhubaneswar organised a five-day workshop on ‘Molecular Taxonomy’ from March 11th to March 15th, 2019 at ILS. The workshop was conducted under the Department of Biotechnology sponsored network program 'Bioresource and sustainable livelihoods in North East India'. The workshop was attended by 25 research scholars (component I and II of the project) from various institutes of Northeast and ILS. 

The five day workshop had a series of lectures and provided hands-on training conducted by various experts from the field of molecular phylogeny. The main focus of the workshop was to introduce participants to the basics of molecular techniques, phylogenetic concepts and bioinformatics tools used in the field of molecular taxonomy. 

The participants received hands-on training in DNA extraction, amplification and sequencing protocols besides being taught the use of phylogenetic tree construction software and techniques. The lectures exposed the scholars to various related topics like DNA barcoding, molecular markers, next generation sequencing techniques, phylogenetic analysis, species concept, integrative taxonomy and biogeography. The workshop helped participants understand how molecular phylogeny could be used in their respective research area.
Biodiversity Walk at Jakkur Lake

A biodiversity walk at Jakkur Lake was organised by ATREE in collaboration with Biome Environmental Trust, on March 30th, 2019, as part of the Citizen Lakes Dashboard project. Over 55 people participated in the event. The main highlight of the event was a guided walk by Aswathy Joseph. Aswathy through fascinating stories introduced participants to commonly occurring plants around the lake. The theme of the stories was the interdependence between plants and various insects, birds and animals. The participants also learnt about the critical role played by bees and other pollinators.

After the walk, a demonstration of low-cost water quality testing kits was given by the Foundation for Environmental Monitoring, a partner in the project. Three volunteers from the Jakkur Lake group - Jalaposhan were trained and enabled to test Jakkur lake water on a regular basis. The event ended with a 'pollinators' walk led by ATREE staff. Participants identified several pollinators during the walk.

ATREE at a Workshop on Himalayan Timberline and Prospects of Conservation and Development in Sikkim Himalaya
ATREE's, Nirmalya Chatterjee and Sunita Pradhan were part of a two-day workshop on  'Himalayan Timberline and Prospects of Conservation and Development in Sikkim Himalaya' at Gangtok recently.

The workshop was organised by G. B. Pant National Institute of Himalayan Environment and Sustainable Development (GBPNIHESD), Sikkim Regional Centre, Gangtok. One of the key objectives of the workshop was to highlight the findings of Indian Himalayan Timberline project and generate a wider debate among domain experts across the country.

ATREE Fellow, Nirmalya Chatterjee, was a panellist contributing to the panel discussion on potential management response and research areas of the Himalayan timberline, as pertaining to the Sikkim Himalayas. His contributions were on the expected effects of climate change on soils at the timberline due to rising temperatures and more extreme precipitation regimes - especially on soil erosion, soil moisture levels and soil warming and its effect on timberline migrations. ATREE's Sunita Pradhan was a panellist on day two of the workshop.
Student Visit from Madras Christian College

A group of 27 students from the IPG Plant Biology and Plant Biotechnology course of Madras Christian College visited ATREE recently. They were introduced to ATREE by Milind Bunyan, Coordinator, Academy for Conservation Science and Sustainability Studies.

ATREE Fellow, R Ganesan, delivered a lecture highlighting practices that support biodiversity conservation. They also visited the Conservation Genetics lab and the Ecoinformatics lab to understand their contribution towards studying conservation.

ATREE part of Environmental Auditing Training Programme for Auditors

ATREE Fellow, Priyanka Jamwal, gave a lecture on water quality management as part of the Environmental Auditing Training Programme for Auditors.

The event was organised by the regional training centre, Indian Audit & Accounts Department, Karnataka on March 7th, 2019. The lecture was attended by 128 participants from the cadres of Senior Audit Officers, Audit Officers and Assistant Audit Officers.

Workshop on Conservation priorities for Asian tree species and their genetic resources

ATREE Fellow, G Ravikanth was part of a workshop on 'Conservation priorities for Asian tree species and their genetic resources' held in Colombo, Sri Lanka between March 18th to March 21st, 2019.

The workshop organized by the Asia Pacific Forest Genetic Resources Programme (APFORGEN), Bioversity International, Forest Department of Sri Lanka and the Asia Pacific Association of Forestry Research Institutions (APAFRI) aimed to establish an Information System for conserving native tree species and their genetic resources in the Asia-Pacific region.

The workshop was instrumental in producing up-to-date maps and also modelled distributions of over 50 native Asian tree species. The maps were based on information provided by more than 40 organizations and researchers from 12 Asian countries.

At the workshop, the participants also reviewed and validated the distribution and threat maps for a species, identified regional priorities for conserving the species and their genetic diversity. They also agreed on a shared definition for genetic conservation units, building on existing approaches in Asian countries.

 Decentralized NTFP Processing Unit at BRT launches Adavi Coffee Powder

ATREE's Decentralized NTFP Processing Unit at BRT recently launched a coffee powder under the Adavi brand. The coffee powder was launched in collaboration with Karnataka state coffee board. Priyanaka M. Kharge, Social welfare minister, Government of Karnataka and others local MLA’s from Chamarajanagara district were part of the inauguration ceremony.

The processing unit, created under a USAID project has been marketing honey, pickle and other products. ATREE facilitated the launch with the aim of encouraging the indigenous community and incentivising the cultivation of coffee in a forest friendly way by keeping both pollinators and soil health in mind.

Workshop on Promotion of Eco-tourism in Jaintia Hills
A two-day workshop on 'Promotion of community-based Eco-tourism' with an emphasis on biodiversity conservation was organised by ATREE and Jaintia Hills Wildlife Division at Mukhaialong village, West Jaintia Hills district, Meghalaya on March 22nd and March 23rd, 2019

Sixty participants from nine villages attended the workshop where they learnt about hospitality etiquette and conservation values of Pnar (Jaintia) culture. ATREE's R Ganesan and Rajkamal Goswami spoke about the potential of Jaintia Hills to emerge as a wildlife-based ecotourism hotspot in Meghalaya, given the presence of highly diverse and unique plant, bird, and butterfly communities.

On both days participants were exposed to field-based training which placed emphasis on the use of information about endemic plants and bird species to engage eco-tourists.

Additionally, a representative from the District Industries Centre and Tourism Department of West Jaintia Hills, offered a glimpse of the schemes available for promoting local handicrafts and improving ecotourism infrastructure.
PREP Talk by Kalyan Varma

For the second PREP Talk, reputed wildlife photographer, Kalyan Varma anchored a discussion on ethics in photography. Kalyan emphasized on the welfare of the subject to be of paramount importance and discussed the guidelines to ethical wildlife photography as laid out by Conservation India. The talk was followed by a discussion on bringing out a balanced perspective in photography.

PREP Talk is a bi-monthly talk series organized by the Academy for Conservation Science and Sustainability Studies, ATREE. These talks are anchored by experienced resource persons from within and outside ATREE to help PhD students gain novel and implementable insights and knowledge.

ATREE at the Mahatma Gandhi Institute of Rural Energy and Development

ATREE Fellow, Siddappa Setty, gave a talk on 'Water and Forest Conservation' to commemorate World Water Day and International Day of Forests at the Mahatma Gandhi Institute of Rural Energy and Development on March 22nd, 2019.  Several college students, Panchayat Presidents and Secretaries attended the talk which raised awareness about the importance of water and forest conservation.

ATREE's Sharachchandra Lele asks why the court didn't rule on the basic question - if the Forest Rights Act (FRA) was constitutionally valid or not? Before ordering the eviction of forest dwellers. Read More...

Also in 'The Bastion' in a debate, he asserts, how misguided foresters, fearing loss of their power, have fought to prevent FRA implementation, especially with regards to the granting of community rights. Read More...
ATREE's Anuja Date writes about the Forest Rights Act and the need to uphold it.Read More...
ATREE's Veena Srinivasan writes about the need for a paradigm shift in thinking to help attain SDG6 ( Water and Sanitation) in India. Read More...
ATREE Impact
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