Plenaries 2017


                                                                                   Amanda Vincent                                    Prof. S.P. Singh                                  Sanjeeva Pandey            


                                                                                       Diogo Verissimo                            Madhu Ramnath                                       Bahar Dutt                          


Morning Sessions : Technical Plenaries

[For registered participants only]


Amanda Vincent is a marine biologist and conservationist, one of the world's leading experts on seahorses and their relatives. She holds the Canada Research Chair in Marine Conservation at the UBC Fisheries Centre at the University of British Columbia, Canada. Vincent co-founded and directs Project Seahorse, an interdisciplinary and international organisation committed to conservation and sustainable use of the world's coastal marine ecosystems.

Technical Plenary Talk : CITES and seahorses: an epic adventure of trade winds and trade offs
21 Sep (Thu), 9:20 am - 10:20 am
ABSTRACT : In conservation, we need to be bold, grabbing opportunities to deploy whatever we know to effect change.  Our choice is imperfect advice or none at all.  I’m going to tell a story of how our pioneering work with quirky fishes is helping to change global policy.  What started as basic ecological studies has morphed into work on global trade policy, achieving some real milestones along the way.  The main ingredients have been courage, tenacity, and collaboration.  Plus a diverse outlook and a capacity to keep focused.  Of course, there have been some mis-steps along the way…


Prof. S. P. SINGH

S. P. Singh is a Senior Scientist at the Indian National Science Academy, Delhi. His research career spans over many decades on the ecology of the Himalayas, focusing on forests and trees. His current research is on ecosystem services and climate in relation to biological systems of Himalayas with particular reference to tree lines are of current research interest.

Technical Plenary Talk : Climate change in relation to Himalayas - An overview
22 Sep (Fri), 9:00 am - 10:00 am
ABSTRACT : This presentation touches upon various aspects of Climate Change in Himalayas: the rate and pattern of warming in Himalayas, variations in glacier melt across the Himalayan Arc, water related issues\and disasters, species responses to Climate Change, issues of black carbon, poverty and women drudgery and changes in agriculture in particular reference to apple cultivation. Himalayas are warming 2-3 times more than global average rate and there is an elevation dependent amplification of warming. This presentation highlights that managing water is possibly the biggest issue of Climate Change and Adaptation. Himalayas are highly heterogeneous, not only because of large variations in altitude but also from east-west because of changes in rainfall pattern, vegetation and cultural practices. Therefore, it calls for multisite long term studies to make adequate generalisations. From climate justice point of view, it may be noted that this region of unusually low per capita CO 2 emissions has a share of high climate change impact.



As a member of the Indian Forest Service, Sanjeeva has worked for wildlife management, wildlife research and wildlife training for more than 20 years. His main expertise is in in situ and ex situ management of Endangered Species, of Western Himalayas, and management of Endangered Medicinal Plants populations through their field surveys, strict protection and Long Term Ecological Monitoring (LTEM).

Technical Plenary Talk : Alternative livelihood development as a strategy for long term conservation of biodiversity at Great Himalayan National Park, India
24 Sep (Sun), 9:00 am - 10:00 am
ABSTRACT : In the developing world, the concept of Protected Areas (PAs) is at crossroads. While the current impetus for the creation of such areas is very strong, past experiences have led to increasing resistance from both local communities and governments to expand the existing PA network. Managing Great Himalayan National Park (GHNP), or for that matter any other PA in our country, is like a juggling act. It is very difficult to manage habitat for the wild animals and plants if the local people continuously keep on using it. Hence in GHNP, we started working with the local people so that the animals and plants could remain safe from their interference. We realized that the village poor women (who are 50% of the local population), also work with the natural resources that we try to conserve (i.e. water, fodder, fuelwood), but they remain alienated from the process of the nature conservation. At the same time the men have become used to the subsidy culture (an offshoot of the “lop-sided development”). So, we initiated our work in the GHNP ecozone by organizing the women of the poor households or (HHs) who depended upon the Park resources.


Evening Sessions : Popular Plenaries

[Open to public]



Diogo Verissimo is a biologist turned social marketer who is working on the human side of the biodiversity conservation equation. His PhD research explored the use of flagship species to market conservation ideas. Also a David H. Smith Research Fellow, Diogo’s current work focuses on using social return on investment to evaluate and improve conservation outreach.  

Popular Open Plenary : Behaviour change for biodiversity conservation - Science or sweet talk?
21 Sep (Thu), 6:00 pm - 7:00 pm
ABSTRACT : All threats to biodiversity are driven by human behaviour. In the face of his inescapable reality, conservation science has in the last decades abandoned its sole focus on natural sciences to include increasingly the social sciences. It is thus common to see conservation projects that include a human dimensions component, often aimed at changing the behaviour of those groups of people that interact directly with natural resources and biodiversity. Yet, these project components are often seen as mere add-ons to the natural sciences or even placed outside the realm of the scientific method. This is evidenced by the lack of robustness of many behaviour change campaigns when compared to the average natural science study. This lack of robustness makes it often unclear what, if anything, is actually being achieved and how we can improve our future changes of success. I will present the results of a large scale systematic review that examined the quality of the evidence around human behaviour change interventions for biodiversity conservation. I will then use the illegal wildlife trade and demand reduction initiatives as a case study for what we know thus far in terms of our ability to change the decisions we make every day. I will end by reflecting on the ethical implications of designing behaviour change interventions and presenting ways forward for more meaningful behaviour change interventions.



Madhu Ramnath is a botanist, anthropologist and writer who describes himself as being schooled in Delhi and subsequently de-schooled in the Bastar forests where he spent thirty years with the Durwa adivasis. Ramnath has routinely written on the life of the adivasis and their engagements with often-hostile state machinery. He likens his experience of living among the Durwas, in the forests, as remaining “outside a country I knew and with which I was familiar: the scent of sal hinting at something more refreshing than the goals to which India aspired.” In 2015, he published this account in a book, "Woodsmoke and Leafcups: Autobiographical Footnotes to the Anthropology of the Durwa People"

Popular Open Plenary : Sleepwalking into conservation
22 Sep (Fri), 6:00 pm - 7:00 pm
ABSTRACT : This is an attempt to share a journey that had no initial 'goals' but which, over 2 decades, opened up new ways of looking at forests and the way of life of the Durwa and Koitoor communities I lived with. It is an endeavor to look at conservation as a part of a lifestyle instead of removed from it, and to approach it from different angles such as first fruit ceremonies, fishing techniques, and even stalking. The journey also reflects the role of the state, especially the forest department, and the peoples' unending confrontation with it's laws, all leading up to the present larger conflict between the state and the people that encompasses all of central India.



Bahar Dutt is an Indian television journalist and environmental editor and columnist for CNN-IBN. Before turning to journalism, Dutt worked on her own conservation projects. She spent seven years with the Bahelias, or snake charmers, across Haryana and Rajasthan in northern India. She was hired in 2005 to be an environmental journalist by Rajdeep Sardesai. For CNN-IBN she is the Environment Editor, she has done undercover investigations, news reports. Her reportage has influenced policy and led to the stoppage of many illegal projects coming up on wetlands and forests. Bahar recently released her book, Green Wars. The book draws on Dutt's experience as a conservationist to look at how the tension between a modernising economy and saving the planet can be resolved.

Popular Open Plenary : How to tell stories - the power of story-telling to save the planet
24 Sep (Sun), 6:00 pm - 7:00 pm
ABSTRACT : Should you do research, publish more papers or do something grand like stop extinction? Should conservation biologists just practice science and not advocacy? Is there a way of telling your story that could also help save a species or a habitat? In this Plenary talk, conservation biologist and environment journalist Bahar Dutt walks you through real life examples of some of the biggest environment stories of our times , how they can be reported and what our conservation messaging should be for impactful earth journalism.