Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) Training Programme for 
Karnataka State Water Resource Engineers and Managers

ATREE in collaboration with Advanced Centre for Integrated Water Resources Management conducted a two-week Management Development Programme on IWRM for Karnataka State Water Resource Engineers and Managers at the School of Ancient Wisdom, Bangalore. The training programme organised in July 2019 aimed to enhance the capacities of engineers and managers in water-related departments of the state government to understand, analyse and address water resource management in an integrated and holistic manner.

An IWRM approach aims at bringing in multiple disciplines, multiple stakeholders, and transparent processes in water resources management. In India, most water resources departments are staffed by civil and mechanical engineers, who have minimal training on the technical aspects of water resources management. Hence, embracing IWRM requires significant capacity building in the relevant government departments. The programme helped engineers understand core concepts in social and ecological sciences. It helped them develop soft skills to communicate with diverse stakeholders and build new institutions for water management. Training in specific techniques such as hydrological monitoring, water quality, remote sensing and GIS was also imparted. 

They also developed an understanding of new tools in water resource modelling and irrigation system modernization. In all the modules, a combination of lectures, case study presentations, games and quizzes, videos, hands-on analysis and other activities were used to keep the process interactive and challenging. Resource persons included fellows from ATREE and other organisations who had a mix of field and academic experience to enrich the material delivered. The course involved a day of fieldwork where the participants learnt operational aspects of Manchanabele and Byramangala reservoirs and a full day module on change management that engaged the participants to the differences in values, beliefs and practices.
ATREE at the International Union of Geodesy and Geophysics
ATREE's Senior Fellow, Veena Srinivasan, delivered the union lecture on 'Bridging the Science-Policy Gap to address India's Water Crisis: Insights from Cauvery Basin research' at the 27th General Assembly of  the International Union of Geodesy and Geophysics. The lecture held on July 11th, 2019 at at the Palais des Congrès in Montréal, Québec, Canada highlighted the challenges associated with predicting water future availability in a country like India where inadequate data and human modifications to watersheds pose major problems to researchers.

Veena, through her research in the Cauvery basin, demonstrated that with the help of extensive primary data collected by an interdisciplinary research team and a multi-scale modeling approach, the history of the watershed could be reconstructed. The research findings were upscaled to the whole basin, to offer insights on the wider Cauvery river conflict and address the water resources modeling and prediction problem.

Veena then discussed how these results might translate to action on the ground, instead of being locked in academic publications and how science and innovation could play a role in addressing India's water crisis.
ATREE at the Journal of Peasant Studies Summer Writeshop 2019
ATREE PhD students Amit John Kurien and Venkat Ramanujam Ramani were among the 40 selected participants who attended the Journal of Peasant Studies (JPS) Annual Summer Writeshop-Workshop in Critical Agrarian Studies and Scholar-Activism from July 01-07, 2019 in Beijing, China.

The Writeshop was headed by the Journal of Peasant Studies, a leading academic journal in the fields of both Anthropology as well as Development Studies, and co-organized with the College of Humanities and Development Studies (COHD) of China Agricultural University, Beijing, PLAAS of the University of the Western Cape in South Africa, Future Agricultures Consortium (FAC), and Young African Researchers in Agriculture (YARA).
Amit and Venkat presented papers from their doctoral research at ATREE. Amit’s paper elaborated on the complex drivers and outcomes of shifting cultivation intensification and its fragmentation in the Garo Hills, Meghalaya. Venkat’s paper discussed agrarian change in a forest landscape inhabited by Baiga and Gond indigenous (Adivasi) communities in eastern Madhya Pradesh.
The Writeshop was aimed at creating a robust platform for scholar-activism by emphasising high-quality academic publishing with the intention of drawing attention to critical issues of social justice and development. Amit and Venkat were the only participants from India at the Writeshop.
ATREE at the International Association for the Study of the Commons (IASC) Conference
ATREE's Postdoctoral Fellow, Divya Gupta, and PhD student, Rashmi Mahajan, were part of the 17th Biennial IASC (The International Association for the Study of the Commons) Conference, titled ‘In Defense of the Commons: Challenges, Innovation, and Action’ held at the Catholic University of Lima, Peru from July 01- 05, 2019.
Rashmi presented her research paper,co-authored with ATREE Fellow, Bejoy K. Thomas titled ‘Everyday politics of management of water commons in Eastern Vidarbha, India’. She also presented a case-study on conflicts around Maji Malguzari tanks in Eastern Vidarbha in a multi-stakeholder dialogue workshop 'Negotiating our ways towards consilience in managing conflicts over commons'. The objective of the workshop was to establish a discussion on how to enhance negotiations and manage conflicts in a multi-stakeholder scenario in the commons. 

Divya Gupta gave a talk at the conference titled  'Adapting to Contemporary Democratic Decentralization Reforms in the Forest Commons: A Case of Collective Action for Sustainable Rural Livelihoods in Central India' focussing on the emergence of collective action, networks and social capital in post-community forest rights recognition phase in the Vidarbha region of Maharashtra, India. This talk was part of the broader research on FRA implementation that Divya is conducting with ATREE's Sharachchandra Lele and Tata Institute of Social Sciences's Geetanjoy Sahu.
ATREE at the National Hydrology Project Workshop
ATREE Fellow, Priyanka Jamwal, was invited to give a talk in National Hydrology Project (NHP)  workshop “Design, organize and management of water quality monitoring” on July 10th, 2019 in Bangalore. This workshop was organized by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), Regional Directorate (South), Bangalore. Priyanka gave a talk on 'Water quality monitoring: data application and use'.

The three-day residential workshop intended to train officials from State Pollution Control Boards, NHP agencies and other stakeholders on the water quality network management. The workshop deliberated on the following broad themes- Design, organize and manage water quality network, hydrology aspects of designing water quality network, pollutant transport and water quality index.
This workshop was envisaged to impart knowledge to the participants to conceive and manage surface and groundwater quality networks with respect to site-specific hydrological considerations.
Summer School - Adapting to Climate Change: A Focus on Biodiversity in the Western Himalayas
The University of Kashmir (UoK) and ATREE organised a summer school -'Adapting to Climate Change: A Focus on Biodiversity in the Western Himalayas'. The programme was held at the University of Kashmir and is part of a series of training and capacity building programmes supported by the SPLICE Division, Department of Science and Technology, Government of India, through a grant to ATREE. The event concluded on July 6th, 2019.

The jointly organised programme had 12 fellows and staff from ATREE, 12 faculty from the University of Kashmir, as well as other experts such as the Regional Wildlife Warden, Rashid Naqash and the Joint Director of Tourism, Fayaz Banday. 26 participants representing Himachal Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir and Uttarakhand attended the programme. The first week comprised in-class lectures and skill-building sessions whereas the second week focused on group projects at Dachigam National Park and  Dal Lake. Throughout the programme, there were invited talks and discussions to engage participants in issues topical to climate change and biodiversity in this region. 
ATREE’s Wild Kidz Monsoon Camp
ATREE’s Agasthyamalai Community Conservation Centre (ACCC), Manimutharu in association with Tamil Nadu Forest Department organised the Wild Kidz ‘Monsoon Camp’, a three-day residential camp, held at Mundanthurai, Kalakad-Mundanthurai Tiger Reserve (KMTR). The camp introduced 13 boys, six girls and four teachers of Muthamil Public School, Muneerpallam, Tirunelveli to the marvels of nature through lectures on line-drawings, uniqueness of KMTR, morphology of plants and identification of Butterflies of KMTR.

The camp also included a forest hike, road-kill survey, Butterfly walk and a night watch, where they sighted animals including the Nilgiri Langur (Semnopithecus johnii), South Eastern Langur (Semnopithecus priam), Bonnet Macaque (Macaca radiata), Sambar Deer (Rusa unicolor), Spotted Deer (Axis axis), Wild Boar (Sus scrofa), and Asian Palm Civet (Paradoxurus hermaphroditus) among others.

The campers also learnt to monitor tree phenology, trap moths, and scan the behaviour of Bonnet Macaques, which helped increase their observational skills and provided hands-on training.  Interviews with Forest Department staff enhanced their understanding of conservation and helped them raise meaningful questions.

Games designed to introduce participants to common biological phenomenon raised environmental awareness and helped them understand prey and predator relationships and identify common biotic and abiotic factors related to KMTR.

ACCC also conducted a similar three-day Wild Kidz Monsoon Camp at Kanyakumari Wildlife Sanctuary recently. Ten boys, ten girls and two teachers of Pushpalata Vidya Mandir, Tirunelveli participated in the camp. The students were introduced to the ecology and natural environment of the Kanyakumari Wildlife Sancturay through lectures on the design of trees, the morphology of plants and identification of Butterflies. They were also taught how to use equipment like camera traps and GPS to monitor and record the presence of biodiversity. 

World Snake Day Celebrations 
On July 16th, 2019 to mark the occasion of World Snakes Day, ATREE-Agasthyamalai Community Conservation Centre (ACCC), Madras Crocodile Bank Trust in association with District Science Centre, Tirunelveli conducted a public lecture, documentary screening, and exhibition of snake specimens. As part of the event, a poster on common snakes of Tamil Nadu (42 snakes) was presented to teachers from Sri Sarada Group of Institutions, Tirunelveli and Sri Jayendra Group of Institutions, Tirunelveli.

Snake specimens from the Department of Zoology, St.John’s College,Tirunelveli were exhibited and each specimen was introduced by Maria Antony, Nature educator, ATREE-ACCC. The event aimed to raise awareness about snakes and inform participants about snakebite mitigation. Around 150 students from Sri Sarada Group of Institutions and Sri Jayendra Group of Institutions participated in the event.
ATREE's Wetland Rovers Programme
ATREE Agasthyamalai Community Conservation Centre (ACCC) is implementing an exclusive year-long education programme - ' Wetland Rovers of Tamirabarani' in Tirunelveli district. This programme initiated with the support of Brakes India and Sundaram Finance will allow registered students to explore the types of wetlands and biodiversity of Tamirabarani river basin.

Along with classroom sessions, students will also be taken on field visits where they will conduct field experiments. Students, through video conferencing and in-person sessions, will get the opportunity to interact with scientists working on wetlands. A model mini-wetland will be installed in the schools of the participants where they will grow native plants and fish species obtained during their field trips.

As a pilot project, it will be implemented in Sri Paramakalyani Higher Secondary School, Alwarkurichi, Muthamil Public School, Muneerpallam and Puspalata Vidya Mandir, Tirunelveli during this academic year. The progaramme will be extended to other schools in the coming years. The inauguration of the programme was held at District Science Centre, Tirunelveli on July, 24th 2019.

60 students and six teachers were inducted into the programme and will be part of it for one year.  This programme will induce an understanding of the Tamirabarani Wetlands and help highlight the conservation issues pertaining to this region.
ATREE Table Tennis Championship 

The annual Table Tennis Championship was recently organized by ATREE students and staff. It saw enthusiastic participation from all and helped develop a spirit of camaraderie and good cheer.  

ATREE's Nitin Rai and Kamal Bawa question the motives behind the continued labelling of forest dwellers as forest destroyers even as evidence mounts that they have actively managed forests. Read More...
ATREE's Sharachchandra Lele and NCF's MD Madhusudan assert that there is little evidence to show that the Forest Rights Act (FRA) is leading to large-scale deforestation. Read More...
ATREE's Veena Srinivasan argues that due to silos between stakeholders, the people with the expertise on particular problems are often not the ones implementing solutions. Read More...
ATREE PhD student, Madhushri Mudke, talks about the Kottigehar Dancing Frog and her journey in conservation so far in the ZSL Edge of Existence Podcast. She is an EDGE fellow and aims to understand the ecological niche requirements and threats to the critically endangered Kottigehar Dancing Frog, Micrixalus kottigeharensis. The EDGE of Existence programme is the only global conservation initiative to focus specifically on threatened species that represent a significant amount of unique evolutionary history.
In the News

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