Talk List

Day Speaker Title Description
Day 1 Varun Kher Response of bird communities to contemporary land-use changes in the Thar Desert of Western India. The Indian Thar desert has seen massive loss of grassland habitat in the last few decades. The main driver of this habitat loss has been the large-scale expansion and intensification of agriculture over an erstwhile pastoral socio-ecological system. In this setting, my study compares community structure of birds across different land-uses, with an overarching aim of understanding how birds are affected by change in land-use patterns. My results suggest that intensified grazing and non-irrigated agriculture change bird community structure only marginally, whereas irrigated-agriculture changes it drastically. Insectivorous birds, however, show disproportionately lower densities in all modified land-use types.
Jina Talj Terraces of the Lebanese Coast – Evolution and Recovery Assessment In Lebanon, like other parts of the world, urbanization and coastal development are leading to a degradation of natural marine ecosystems and the diminishing of their ecosystem services. The effects of such development on vermetid platforms of the Mediterranean Sea, which are a hotspot for biodiversity, are not well studied. This paper aims to assess the evolution of the state of vermetid platforms in Lebanon over five decades through the analysis of relevant satellite and aerial imagery. It also aims to assess the impact of installed coastal defenses on the vermetid platforms of the Lebanese coast through observing their consequences on the density of Dendropoma petraeum, vermetus triquetrus and the species richness of associated macroalgae. Causal relations were not derived due to the complexity of the interactions involved. An ecosystem-focused engineering intervention to coastal defenses that can promote both the safety of marine life and people is wanting.
Manasi Anand Inculcating Subjectivity in a Degraded Landscape: A Case Study of the Junglescapes model in the Lokkere Reserve Forest Engaging community members in ‘village based alternative livelihoods’ do not necessarily create positive outcomes for conservation in degraded landscapes and fail to produce ‘subjects’ who act positively towards the environment. This paper proves that environmental subjects are shaped by engaging individuals in active occupations in the forest. This is demonstrated by conducting ethnographic research of the work conducted by Junglescapes in the Lokkere Reserve Forest; and by deploying the frameworks of ‘environmentality’ and ‘governmentality’ respectively. Results suggest that ecosystem conditions have improved due to subject formation, having implications for how forest landscapes are governed in an inclusive and holistic manner.
Abir Jain Impact of Habitat Fragmentation on Plant-Frugivore Interactions in Lowland Tropical Forests of Upper Assam, North-East India. The last remaining lowland tropical forests of Upper Assam in north-east India has undergone severe fragmentation in the past century. I investigated the changes in plant-seed disperser networks due to habitat fragmentation. I documented plant-frugivore interactions using a network of trails in four fragments of varying in sizes and compared them with a contiguous forest site. Spot censuses of frugivores were carried out to record interactions on fruiting plants was a total of 590 interactions between 63 plant species and 44 avian frugivore species were recorded. I used unweighted bipartite interaction networks to compare network properties across fragmented and contiguous to understand the influence of fragmentation on interaction composition. This study highlights that fragments can hold unique assemblages of plant-seed disperser interactions but are compositionally different from the contiguous forests.
Iyesha Madhushani Regeneration potential of a tropical rainforest fragment in sri lanka Seed rain and seed banks play a vital role in tropical rainforest regeneration. Regeneration potential of a tropical lowland rainforest fragment in central Sri Lanka was investigated by assessing seed dynamics in forest edge, interior and riverine habitats. The highest seed and seedling densities in the seed rain and in the seed bank were recorded in forest edge, respectively. Species diversity and evenness were lowest in more disturbed forest edge in both seed rain and soil seed bank. Management of invasive species is a priority to conserve the biodiversity of this forest fragment.
Day 2 Aparajita Singh Understanding mammalian diversity and their response to anthropogenic threats in Indo-Bhutan Barnadi-Jomotsangkha forest complex The study identified conservation potential in Jomotshangkha-Barnadi forest complex (1070 sq.km) located within the Transboundary Manas Conservation Area (TraMCA) (6500sq.km) spreading over India and Bhutan. The region was badly affected by two decades (1980-2003) of ethno-political conflict in Indian counterpart results complete cease of protection mechanism which further led to huge poaching. We did camera trapping to document the mammalian diversity and their response to the human access in the forest complex. We documented the current patterns of human access within the forest complex which affects the temporal behaviour of mammalian guild.
Vijay Karthick Frogs in the fragments: Understanding the impact of rainforest fragmentation on anuran diversity in the Anamalai Hills, Western Ghats Habitat fragmentation is recognized as one of the most important threats to species diversity, particularly in the tropics. Amphibians in general are undergoing a global conservation crisis with nearly 40% of the species threatened with extinction. In a fragmented and threatened biodiversity hotspot such as the Western Ghats, understanding the role of fragment size in maintaining the anuran diversity can be critical for amphibian conservation in human-dominated
landscapes. In this study we try to understand the influence of fragment patch size on anuran diversity. To understand the fragmentation effect, anuran diversity was analyzed in contiguous forest and in 10 rainforest fragments in the Anamalai Hills.
Prazual Gurung Distribution, hunting & trade of Chinese Pangolin The study focuses on determining the distribution, hunting pattern and trade of Chinese Pangolin in Ukhrul and Tamenglong districts of Manipur. The relative density of burrow was found to be 0.22/hectare (n = 116), with most burrows recorded between 930m to 1941m. Despite stringent law enforcement in India recent changes in the hunting patterns and illegal commercial trade jeopardizes conservation of an already critically endangered species. Source of income is a relatively new driver for hunting in the region. There is a need for local participation based conservation efforts in the region which integrates both traditional and conservation aspects.
Ramya Nair The Social Institution of Waghoba: Big Cat-Human Relationships and Conservation from a Sociocultural Lens Our study examines the social institution of Waghoba, a big cat deity worshiped by several tribal communities in north-western Maharashtra. The ethnography reveals narratives that indicate an institution born out of a history of interactions between big cats and people in shared spaces. Often a negotiation, there is a widespread belief among people of this community that holding annual sacrificial rituals for the deity renders them safe from big cats, natural calamities and diseases. Our study suggests that socio-cultural institutions such as Waghoba play a role in defining human-leopard relationships and aiding social tolerance towards big cats in the landscape.
Sayan Banerjee Factors Affecting Local Community Participation in Wildlife Conservation Projects in Northeast India Although drivers of community participation in conservation have been studied, the contextual processes which produce participation have been understudied. Here, I bridge this gap by studying three wildlife conservation projects in Northeast India. I conducted five key informant interviews and thirty in-depth interviews of community members selected through snowball sampling. Ten overlapping contextual factors were found to be critical for participation which emerged from interaction among conservation actors. They are: facilitation by external actors, a crisis narrative, effective entry stage activities, income opportunity, mediating voices in local community, intra-community dynamics, tangible results, capability development of locals, funding, availability of information
Day 3 Vinay Sagar Melanism in tigers: Genetics, evolution and contributing factors The melanistic tigers of Similipal Tiger Reserve (STR), Odisha, display a blotchy coat pattern that might confer a selective advantage in the dark understory of STR. However, in small populations, drift is the dominant evolutionary force and can counter the effect of selection. In this study, we investigate the genetic basis of melanism in tigers, the role of selection versus drift in the evolution and maintenance of melanistic phenotype, and the harmful effects of small population size like inbreeding in the Similipal tiger population.
Chandranshu Tiwari Lost Child in the concrete jungle: Estimating Environmental awareness in urban school children As result of urbanization green spaces in the cities are shrinking rapidly in number and sizes.With reduced access to nature and environment younger generations are successively losing connection with it. Over long period of time this loss of connection can result into apathy towards nature and its importance for human survival. As cities become centre of population growth gaining public attention and support becomes critical for effective conservation efforts. In this study we investigated the familiarity of secondary school children with their
environment. We checked the possible effect of age, gender and education level on participant’s knowledge.
Therangika Ashani Effects of environmental factors and land use patterns on vulnerable endemic fish species in Kala Oya River Basin, Sri Lanka Understanding interrelations of environmental factors, land use patterns and species abundance is critical to implement conservation management efforts towards fish species. Hence present study focuses on endemic, vulnerable fish species Garra ceylonensis, Laubuca lankensis and Pethia melanomaculata in Kala oya river basin, Sri Lanka which is a degrading, uniquely valued environmental sensitive area. Species abundance data, microhabitat utilization and general physicochemical parameters of habitats were obtained using standard ecological methods. Study reveals better adaptability of L.lankensis, possible reduction in abundance of P.melanomaculata with increasing chemical factors and absence of significant correlations for G.ceylonensis for the measured factors. Study outcomes can be employed for habitat management thus support conservation of these species.
Nadhirah Syafiqah Sand type influences swimming performance of sea turtle hatchlings Nest substrate such as particle size is hypothesized to influence hatchling fitness by affecting the energy reserve in the residual yolk after nest escape. The eggs from each nest were split into two and incubated in the chambers filled with fine and coarse sand. After hatched, the morphological characteristics and self-righting ability of hatchlings were measured then placed inside the glass aquarium to test the swimming performance for 18 hours. We found that hatchlings from both treatments having equal fitness at the beginning of the experiment. We also found that green sea turtle hatchlings from the coarse sand with particles size of 0.5 mm to 1 mm had significantly greater locomotor performance than fine sand. We suggest that using coarse sand may be a better strategy to produce fitter hatchlings with high locomotor performance.
Harini Pillai Nature conservation challenges in peri-urban areas: the case of ramadevarabetta vulture sanctuary in bengaluru metropolitan region This study highlights the livelihood and conservation impacts of a conservation project in the periphery of Bengaluru. Main focus is on how the change in legal status of the protected area (PA) for conserving endangered vultures, along with urbanization pressures have reconfigured nature- society interactions around the area. Ecosystem services (ESS) framework was used to understand the transformations in societal preferences. The study reveals a shift in use of ESS: Provisioning services have declined, while cultural services are actively promoted. Local livelihood dependency has shifted to urbanization induced opportunities. Landuse change analysis shows significant increase horticulture plantations to cater to urban demand. The study highlights the necessity of evolving participatory governance paradigms recognizing social-ecological interactions and feedbacks