TN Khoshoo Memorial Award conferred upon Dr. Rajeswari S. Raina
Dr. Rajeswari S. Raina, Professor at Shiv Nadar University’s School of Humanities and Social Sciences (SHSS) was awarded the TN Khoshoo Memorial Award, 2018 for her pioneering work in the field of sustainability on November 19th, 2018.
Instituted by ATREE, the award was presented to Dr. Raina in recognition of her work which uses interdisciplinary approach to agricultural research, bringing a scientific perspective to alternative, sustainable practices prevalent in the field. Through her research Dr. Raina has argued that agriculture exists in the environment and that without resilient and sustainable ecosystems, there can be no agriculture. Dr. Raina works primarily on science-society issues keeping both sustainability and equity as important concerns. 
The award ceremony was followed by a panel discussion on `Women and Sustainable Development’, moderated by Rohini Nilekani, Chairperson, Arghyam. The panel comprised women sustainability leaders from across sectors, including, Shruti Shibulal, CEO of Tamara Hotels, Pronita Saxena, Founder & CEO, Citizengage, Dr. Harini Nagendra, Professor of Sustainability, Azim Premji University and Dr. Jahnavi Phalkey, Founding Director of Science Gallery, Bengaluru.

The panel discussed why women are still under leveraged despite being critical to supporting the three pillars of sustainable development - economic, environmental and social. The panel highlighted the lack of  sustainability entrepreneurs and unanimously agreed on the need to empower more women to be key actors in sustainable economies and development.
ATREE's Indo-UK Workshop on Monitoring and Analysis Strategies for Anthropogenic Pollutants in Environmental and Waste Waters

ATREE, under the Researcher Links scheme offered within the Newton Fund, along with British Council and the Royal Society of Chemistry, organized a four day workshop on - 'Monitoring and Analysis Strategies for Anthropogenic Pollutants in Environmental and Waste Waters' between November 12th to November 15th, 2018 in Bengaluru.

The key objective of the workshop was to support both Indian and UK early careers researchers (ECRs) in leading the development of monitoring strategies for chemical parameters that could inform and support national regulatory and policy initiatives in India and UK. The ECRs interacted with a number of international experts and worked towards developing a national strategy for monitoring chemical parameters to build a national database of water quality data.

The workshop was coordinated by Dr. Richard Allan from the James Hutton Institute, UK, Dr. Priyanka Jamwal, Fellow, ATREE and Prof. Gary Fones from the University of Portsmouth, UK. It also saw contributions from leading researchers in UK and India.

ATREE  Organizes Plant-BES Workshop for School Students 
ATREE recently organized a workshop for ninth-eleventh standard school children to introduce them to plant bioelectrochemical systems (Plant-BES). The students explored the possibility of generating electricity using plant biochemical systems and microbial fuel cells. As part of the workshop they visited the water and soil lab at ATREE.

ATREE's Plant-BES project, is one of the third rounds of Frontiers of Engineering for Development seed funding projects, funded by the Royal Academy of Engineering. It hopes to build a working prototype  which uses plants to treat wastewater and generate electricity to power an environmental sensor for water quality monitoring.
ATREE-CERC Launches Social Innovation Lab
ATREE's Community Environmental Resource Centre launched a Social Innovation lab at its field office at Muhamma, Alappuzha, Kerala recently.The lab supports entrepreneurs from Alappuzha district to develop new products which are eco-friendly.The lab is currently bringing out upcycled products such as Milee-cloth bags and pouches.

This lab is supported by Antrix Corporation and is run in association with Muhamma Grama Panchayat, Sustera and Bhava.

  Students from Wildlife Institute of India visit ATREE's Agasthyamalai Community Conservation Centre (ACCC)

Twenty students pursuing their Masters in Wildlife Science at the Wildlife Institute of India (WII) visited ATREE’s Agasthyamalai Community Conservation Centre (ACCC) on November 21st, 2018. This visit was part of their field exposure training programme.

Mathivanan, Coordinator, ACCC gave an introductory talk .The talk was followed by a presentation  by Saravanan, Research Associate, ATREE on long term monitoring programme at Kalakkad Mundanthurai Tiger Reserve (KMTR).  A documentary on Vagaikulam heronry was screened. 

Thamizhazhagan, Senior Field Assistant demonstrated canopy tree climbing by using single-rope technique (SRT). The short visit served as a motivation to students to pursue research in the fields of wildlife conservation and environment protection.

ATREE at the International Conference on Environmental Challenges and Sustainability and Rajiv Gandhi University
ATREE Fellow, Dr. G Ravikanth, gave a talk on ' Species Admixtures in Herbal Trade: Causes, Consequences, and Mitigation' at the International Conference on Environmental Challenges and Sustainability (ICECS) 2018, at Central University of Jharkhand, Ranchi on October 31st, 2018. The ICECS conference provides an opportunity to discuss current environmental challenges, technological innovations and promote greater collaboration amongst scientists, policymakers and activists.

Ravikanth also gave a talk on ' Biogeography of Eastern Himalayas' at Rajiv Gandhi University, Doimukh, Arunachal Pradesh, as part of the DST-SPLICE (Department of Science & Technology - Strategic Programs, Large Initiatives and Coordinated Action Enabler) Project. 
ATREE's involvement in India Rivers Week
ATREE's Jagdish Krishnaswamy, Tarun Nair, and Nachiket Kelkar participated in the India Rivers Week, 2018. The theme this year, 'Can India Rejuvenate River Ganga?' focused on the Ganga basin and deliberated on the challenges and opportunities to arrive at a feasible road map for Ganga rejuvenation. They also participated in deliberations about river ecosystem conservation, sediment management and ecological flows. They added to discussions on endangered biodiversity of rivers in the Gangetic basin.

ATREE Senior Fellow, Dr. Jagdish Krishnaswamy chaired the session, 'Demystifying Aviralta and the E-Flow Challenge' in which he introduced ecological flows. He was a panelist in a panel discussion on 'Readying the Ganga basin for climate change & State’s Response.'

Tarun Nair, a Research Associate at ATREE gave a presentation on the Banas River, and was a panelist in the discussion on 'Ecological Integrity of Ganga Basin & State’s Response'. Nachiket Kelkar, a PhD student at ATREE gave two presentations -  one on the impact of underwater noise from vessels on endangered Ganges river dolphins and the other on fishery conflicts in the Gangetic basin.
Workshop on NTFP Governance and Community Forest Management 
ATREE’s Forests and Governance programme and Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) have been organizing experience-sharing workshops for civil society organizations (CSOs) and Gram Sabha representatives in Maharashtra to enable practical learning and identification of policy issues. The second workshop in this series was held in Nagpur on November 21st and November 22nd, 2018. It included representatives from ten CSOs, six Gram Sabhas or their federations, seven researchers from TISS and ATREE, and an IAS probationer. The ex-Collector of Amaravati District also participated and shared his thoughts.

Maharashtra state leads in the implementation of the Community Forest Rights (CFR) component of the Forest Rights Act 2006, having granted almost 7,000 CFR rights till date. Many of the Gram Sabhas that have received CFR titles have begun to exercise these rights by harvesting and selling bamboo, tendu patta and other non-timber forest products (NTFPs). In doing so, Gram Sabhas face at least two kinds of challenges: how to market their NTFPs to maximise economic gains, and how to manage the forest to sustain NTFPs and other benefits over time.

On day one of the workshop, participants narrated their experiences in marketing tendu leaves, bamboo, and other products. Collusion amongst tendu patta contractors was a big challenge (especially in 2018). In the case of bamboo, contractors colluded with leaders of some villages to depress the auction prices. In Yavatmal, the administration forced the auctioning of tendu leaves only via the PESA Gram Panchayat mode, whereby villagers incurred major losses.

On day two of the workshop, participants shared methods used for Community Forest Rights management planning, including boundary demarcation, stock mapping, and planning of a large number of forest development and village development activities. The workshop concluded with the identification of main policy issues and  other aspects where cross-site research would be helpful.
Visit of Students from Forest Research Institute (FRI) 

A group of 39 students of the M.Sc. Environment Management programme from Forest Research Institute of India, visited ATREE on 14th November, 2018. They were accompanied by their programme coordinator, Dr. Mridula Negi.

They were introduced to ATREE as a think tank, research and academic institution by Dr. Siddhartha Krishnan.
The students visited the Ecoinformatics Lab and the Conservation and Genetics Lab to learn about the remote sensing and GIS support that ATREE provides to various projects. They were also introduced to ATREE's work in recording new species.

ATREE hosts IFS Probationers

ATREE hosted fifteen Indian Forest Service Probationers (2017-2019 batch) from the Indira Gandhi National Forest Academy, Dehradun at the ATREE Bangalore office and the Biligiri Rangaswamy Temple (BRT) Community Conservation Centre from October 29th to November 2nd, 2018.The five day programme was designed to help these future land managers get acquainted with ATREE's research and outreach work. The programme had a focus on invasive species management, human-wildlife conflict and forest rights of native forest communities.

During their time at BRT, the probationers were keen on understanding ATREE's role in long-term interdisciplinary research monitoring and collaboration with local communities for conservation. Accompanied by Dr. Siddappa Setty, they visited one of our permanent plots at BRT and discussed the importance of such sites to study the impact of invasive species and NTFP harvest by local communities on natural biodiversity.

They also learnt about our long association with the Soligas in BRT, their cultural and ecological practices and NTFP as a major source of income for them. They visited a coffee plantation managed by the Soligas. The Soligas have recently started cultivating coffee owing to the minimal risk of damage by wildlife.

The probationers had a spirited discussion with the Soliga community during an interaction session at a podu and deliberated on finding a middle ground when it comes to co-existence of human beings and wildlife. Discussions were also held on the importance of community forest rights and impact of lantana invasion in BRT. 

Decentralised Waste Water Treatment System at Berambadi
ATREE in collaboration with Indian Institute of Science, James Hutton Institute and University of Glasgow developed a decentralised waste water treatment system at Berambadi Government School, Gundlupet recently. This Scottish funded project was inaugurated by Deputy First Minister of Scotland, John Swinney on November 28th, 2018.

The system contained a range of innovative technologies including grey water recycling, constructed wetland, solar energy, and incinerator. However the highlight of the system was the integration of component parts and engagement with the local community and students at every stage of the project. It also involved a youth internship programme where the local community was empowered to undertake the maintenance of the system to ensure long term sustainability of the system. 
Photo-stories from the Field
ATREE's Manjunatha G and Anu Karippal presented their 'Photo-stories from the Field' recently. Manjunatha, a field coordinator, who is part of the UPSCAPE project in the Cauvery basin, travelled to Tumkur, Ramanagara, Madikeri, Mandya, and Chamarajanagar in Karnataka. He also travelled to Karur, Selam and Dindugal districts in Tamil Nadu. He spoke about major findings of the project. He also gave insights regarding land use and land cover changes in this region in the past two decades, derived from interactions with farmers.
Anu Karippal, a Social Science Researcher, through her photo narrative, spoke about perspectives on human experiences of space and time, of children's geographies of water and sanitation and worlds of men and women at Berambadi, Gundlupet. Anu was part of the Decentralized Waste Water Treatment System (DWWTS) project, a pilot low-cost wastewater treatment system, in Berambadi primary school.
ATREE organizes Wild Camp-2018
In association with World Ecology Week, ATREE’s Agasthyamalai Community Conservation Centre (ACCC), Manimuthar, organized ‘The Wild Camp-2018’ for students and teachers of Corpus Christi School, Nagercoil, between November 1st to November 2nd, 2018.

A camp kit , a bag containing a printed camp t-shirt, a folder with activity sheets, nature bingo cards, pocket guides on frogs, amphibians, butterflies, toads and wetland birds, was distributed to the participants. The participants identified 41 species of butterflies, 20 morphotypes of moths and a host of other flora and fauna. The camp merged learning with fun and allowed students and teachers to acquire knowldge about the natural environment.
ATREE at the GIZ conference and National Conference in Memory of
Latha Anantha on Rivers 

ATREE Fellow, Veena Srinivasan was part of the conference 'Safeguarding Water Resources in Rural India' organized on behalf of the German Federal Government by Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH held in Delhi recently. The conference addressed the issue of water resource management in rural India through the interlinkages between water, environment – including biological diversity - and climate change. Veena was part of the session, ' Addressing Water Challenges through Policy and Governance'.

Veena Srinivasan gave a talk on 'Forests and Water' at the ' National Conference in Memory of Latha Anantha on Rivers' held at Thrissur, Kerala on November 15th and November 16th, 2018. The conference also included a national workshop on 'Learnings from Kerala Floods for River Rejuvenation and Management and Water Related Disasters in the Context of Climate Change.'
ATREE at the 4th Annual CECFEE Research & Policy Workshop and 12th Annual Meeting of  Environment for Development Initiative 

ATREE's Kartik Shanker and Shoibal Chakravarty were part of the 4th annual Centre for research on the Economics of Climate, Food, Energy and Environment (CECFEE), Research & Policy Workshop held in Goa between November 16th and November 17th, 2018.

While ATREE Director, Kartik Shanker spoke about balancing environmental and human needs, ATREE Fellow, Shoibal Chakravarty's talk, ' A Model of Demographic Transitions' proposed the  'Parental investment' hypothesis to try and  understand the growth of families with two or fewer children. Shoibal also proposed that India's population in 2050 could be 150-200 million less than the corresponding UNDP projection of 2017.

Shoibal Chakravarty was also part of the 12th Annual Meeting of  EfD (Environment for Development) Initiative held in Hanoi, Vietnam between November 1st to November 5th, 2018. He gave a talk at the meeting, asserting that there was no economic case for new coal plants in India. 

This talk, based on a collaboration with E. Somanathan from Indian Statistical Institute, Delhi, calculates the true cost of electricity from coal and renewables in India. Shoibal claimed that when we include the cost of health impacts of air pollution and the integration costs of variable renewables, electricity from renewables is cheaper than most coal plants in the country. Shoibal maintained that by mid-2020s, electricity from renewables with storage will be comparable in cost to new coal plants. 
ATREE at the second Himalayan Researchers Consortium
ATREE's Urbashi Pradhan and Anirban Datta Roy won best oral presentation in 'Biological Sciences' and 'Livelihood Options and Employment Generation' sessions of the second Himalayan Researchers Consortium at Gangtok (Sikkim) organised by the National Mission for Himalayan Studies (NMHS).
ATREE at the Advanced Field Ecology Course (AFEC - 2018) in XTBG

ATREE's Madhushri Mudke completed a six-week long, Advanced Field Ecology Course (AFEC - 2018) in Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden (XTBG) of the Chinese Academy of Sciences held in Yunnan,China recently.

As part of the course, Madhushri had to do independent projects and teamed up with three other girls - Iresha from Sri Lanka, May from Thailand and Chean from Malaysia. The project involved identifying  hyperdiverse, high conservation priority areas in Peninsular Malaysia using a multi-taxa approach. They performed species modelling using MaxEnt for 22 species of carnivores and 600 species of birds. They also performed a hotspot analysis to see whether protected areas (PAs) and reserved forests (RFs) in Peninsular Malaysia cover important hotspots of carnivores and birds.

Through their analysis they found that only 27% of the hyperdiverse areas were covered by the existing PAs and RFs. They also showed that the current PAs and RFs did not fully cover hyperdiverse areas and that the hyperdiverse areas for birds and carnivores didn't show an overlap. The findings indicated that a multi-taxa approach to identify hyperdiverse areas is a better option than using indicator species to identify high priority conservation areas. 

Madhushri's team stood second amongst eight other teams and Madhushri was one amongst 30 researchers from Asia, provided the opportunity to be part of this course.
ATREE at the Water and Health Conference
ATREE Fellow, Durba Biswas presented her paper -‘Gendering Psychosocial Stress: Open Defecation among Slum Households in Peri-urban Bangalore’ at the 2018 Water and Health conference at University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, USA recently.

Durba's exploratory work indicates that women and men experience sanitation related psychosocial stress differently. She claimed that women are not only responsible for their own safe sanitation but also for the safety of young children and others who depend on them.
ATREE at the Sustainability and Development Conference and a High level Networking reception

ATREE's Postdoctoral Fellow, Shikha Lakhanpal, attended the 'Sustainability and Development Conference: SDG 2030 Agenda', organized by the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor from November 9th to November 11th, 2018. Shikha presented her research paper titled 'Water-Energy-Food nexus in the Indian Himalayas: Reconciling Renewable Energy and Local Livelihoods'. In this paper, Shikha analyzes multiple dimensions of the Water-Energy-Food nexus in the Indian Himalayas and a local rights' based approach to sustainable development and climate change mitigation. 
Shikha Lakhanpal also attended a High level Networking reception organized by Scottish Development International and the British Deputy High Commissioner in Bangalore on November, 27th, 2018. Shikha was invited to engage with the Deputy First Minister of Scotland, John Swinney, to explore new partnerships and collaborations between India and Scotland. 
Upcoming Events
Training Workshop on Open Data Kit
ATREE is conducting a three day training workshop from December 12th to December 14th, 2018, on Open Data Kit (ODK) to introduce field researchers to principles and structure of the ODK platform, form design, customization and server configuration. This workshop will support field researchers and help them collect and manage field data.
In the News

Copyright © 2017 Ashoka Trust for research in ecology and the Environment, All rights reserved.

Shoots and Leaves is free! Subscribe to our newsletter by writing to us at

Want to change how you receive these emails?
You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list.