Progress & Impact Report 2017-2018 Plans 2018-2019
Some of the pictures used are representatives
Picture Courtesy- Varsha Wadhwani
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS | 01
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS We are privileged to have received immense support in our journey towards building a Rural Future in the Eastern Himalayas.This journey has grown from the dream and passion of Founder Trustees of Balipara Foundation - Radhika Barthakur and Ranjit Barthakur to create harmonious models of community conservation in the Eastern Himalayas. Some of our supporters have worked with us for many years and believed in community conservation for sustainable development through our concept of Naturenomicsâ„˘. Balipara Foundation greatly acknowledges the contribution made by Atlanta Botanical Garden, ATREE, Cotton University, The Club of Rome, Dakshin Foundation, DIAGEO, Elephant Reintroduction Foundation, Globally Managed Services, HDFC Trusts, Himalayan, Indian National Association, India Water Portal, IUCN, Kunming Institute of Botany, Missouri Botanical Garden, Myanmar Matters, NE Focus, News Live, Niyomiya Barta, Pratidin Times, Rajiv Gandhi University, Sanctuary Nature Foundation, Tata Consultancy Service, Tata Motor Finance, Tata Trusts, Tezpur University, Wildlife Conservation Trust, Wildlife Trust of India, WWF, Wild Mahseer, Vivanta by Taj. We owe a special debt of gratitude to all the Nine Communities, the real decision makers and frontliners of our conservation efforts, for their constant support and best wishes. Adivasi, Assamese, Bengali, Bodo, Garo, Mishing, Nepali, Nyishi and Rajbongshi Communities. We are very grateful to the participants and panelists of the events held since 2013. Our sincere appreciation to the team, who has worked hard to make this joint report possible and for their invaluable help, guidance, and feedback throughout the review process.
Registered Office Balipara Foundation Navin Enclave, A1, 1st floor, Mother Teresa Road, Zoo Narengi, 781021, Assam, India. www.baliparafoundation.com
Editorial Team Karishma Ahmed Varsha Wadhwani
02 | INDEX
INDEX FOREWORD WHO WE ARE? WHERE WE ARE?
03 06 - 07
EASTERN HIMALAYAN BOTANIC ARK
EASTERN HIMALAYAN NATURENOMICSTM FORUM
COMMUNICATIONS AND DIGITAL
KNOWLEDGE & PUBLICATIONS
EASTERN HIMALAYAN NATURENOMICSTM FORUM 2018
TEAM BALIPARA FOUNDATION
FOREWORD | 03
INTERDEPENDENCE OF SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT, ECONOMIC INTEGRATION & ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION
Picture Courtesy- Saurav Malhotra
Understanding the need for exploring the ingredients of success in conservation and sustainable livelihoods, Eastern Himalayan NaturenomicsTM Forum was launched in 2013 to find solutions leading to important lessons for communities and others, at all levels, from local to global. Starting the dialogue with Asian Elephant Conservation to exploring the crucial role of Rural communities in the Eastern Himalayas, in conserving rural environments and at the same time supporting rural economies and livelihoods, at the 5th Eastern Himalayan NaturenomicsTM Forum, we have now introduced the concept of Rural Futures. Our goal is to make the communities in the region the stewards of the conservation agenda by creating economic & social mobility - Rural Futures. The Sustainable Development Goals towards eradicating poverty, quality education, gender equality, zero hunger, clean water and sanitation, good health and well- being ,all
have specific and critically important rural dimensions. Through Rural Futures our focus is on providing basic infrastructure such as water, education, healthcare to the rural
Created direct impacts in line with 14 Sustainable Development Goals & indirect impacts on all 17 communities and uplifting them, thereby, empowering them to preserve and strengthen our natural assets in the Eastern Himalayas. Rural societies, economies and areas face challenges and opportunities that can be qualitatively different from their urban analogues, including limited access to infrastructure, services and healthcare and other facilities. At the same time, many possible rural futures can be envisaged, which will have major implications for socioeconomic and environment impacts. Through our community conservation
initiatives, Rural Futures seeks to support the emergence of pathways that deliver both greater social mobility and sustainability for rural people and places, while recognizing the important interconnection between Nature and EconomicsNaturenomicsâ„˘. Self- Appraisal of Balipara Foundation Projects 2017 was a year for learning and experimentation for us. We are proud of the partnerships we have built with Governments, indigenous peoples and the local communities.
INR 8 lakh was generated through direct and indirect income for local communities We look forward to engaging more communities and the indigenous people in our work; we are ramping up our efforts to build a future for the Rural and future for our communities.
04 | FOREWORD
CONSERVATION- 8/10 Case Studies: ++ 70+ Case Studies documented of Balipara Foundation Award Winners and made available digitally ++ Documentation of ethnobotanical plants used by 7 communities of Sonitpur District of Assam ++ Documentation and Preservation of Herbarium Specimens and associated data at Eastern Himalayan Botanic Ark ++ Thought- provoking & compelling storytelling on Community Conservation and environment documented in the The HimalayanBalipara Foundation’s Publication Engagement With Communities: ++ Through Ethnobotany studies, Wild Mahseer and Elephant Country: Udalguri Landscape Mission projects and the development of the Human Centered Rural Futures framework the Foundation continues working extensively with communities and eco-champions in the region Platforms & Partnerships: ++ Partnered with local NGO MASK in Balipara, Assam to empower grassroots leader and rural development ++ Multiple partnerships were initiated and formalised in 2017, we hope that 2018 will see these partnerships translate into on-ground impact
TECHNOLOGY- 4/10 Technology For Empowerment: ++ The Elephant Country: Asian Elephant Secretariat is the Foundation’s foray into using technology for empowering the organisations and people residing besides Asian Elephants. Articles 2,820, Videos - 195, Categories - 128, Visitor Countries - 40 Sensitize Communities To Use Technology As A Conservation Tool: ++ Encouraging birders and communities to use E- bird application by conducting periodic bird events and projects; to put together and contribute towards e- bird portal on bird distribution and abundance in India that disseminates the information for public and scientific use Laws For Deployment Of Conservation Technology: ++ Partnered with local NGO MASK in Balipara, Assam to empower grassroots leader and rural development ++ Multiple partnerships were initiated and formalised in 2017, we hope that 2018 will see these partnerships translate into on-ground impact MEDIA- 7/10 Narrative Of Conservation: ++ The Himalayan- a Medium publication was launched to encourage sharing of perspectives on conservation and cross-pollination of ideas ++ Rural Futures – Effecting a meaningful dialogue on Rural Futures through collaborations and democratisation of information using social & mass media ++ Eastern Himalayan Botanic Ark – Fostering the wealth of nature capital & community conservation through experiential storytelling ++ Elephant Country – Education and awareness on Asian Elephant Conservation through digital collaboration
Partnerships & Promoting Positive Stories: ++ Supporting publications like Current Conservation, along with independent authors producing high quality work to promote positive action in conservation ++ Enlightened the story of the ‘Iron Lady of India’ and her engagement with nature, through the Book Discussion of the unconventional biography of Indira Gandhi- A Life in Nature authored by Jairam Ramesh ++ Supported in publishing Medicinal Plants and Mushrooms of India authored by Jatindra Sarma ELEPHANT COUNTRY: ASIAN ELEPHANT SECRETARIAT - 5/10 Objective Of Asian Elephant Secretariat: ++ A working prototype of the website is available for use online - http:// family.elephantcountry.org/ ++ The objective of the EC: AES is to provide verified data and real-time tools for collaborative conservation of Asian Elephants Create Nodal Offices In Elephant Country: ++ More study needs to be undertaken to define the role of nodal offices before approaching organisations to take on the responsibility ELEPHANT SCIENCE- 0/10 Knowledge Research Centre For Asian Elephants In Captivity: ++ Focus on application of animal science rather than conducting animal research ourselves ++ The Foundation will continue to support ongoing efforts in improving the welfare of Asian Elephants in captivity whenever required
FOREWORD | 05
EDUCATION- 6/10 Partnership With Global Universities: ++ Formalised partnerships with Kunming Institute of Botany and Missouri Botanical Gardens ++ Collaborated with Assam Valley School, Tezpur University to enhance participation at Eastern Himalayan NaturenomicsTM School Interactive Applications, Games, Etc.: ++ Focused on building partnerships to expand Asian Elephant Secretariat ++ With the Plant Identification Application, plants, trees and flowers can be identified with a detailed description ++ The foundation has been actively using the E-Bird Application as a tool which educates birders and visitors at the Ark to keep track and record of birds as they encounter them while birding ELEPHANT COUNTRY- 7/10 Elephant Insurance Schemes: ++ Formalised partnerships with Kunming Institute of Botany and Missouri Botanical Gardens ++ Collaborated with Assam Valley School, Tezpur University to enhance participation at Eastern Himalayan NaturenomicsTM School Community Conservation Models To Promote Sustainable Conservation: ++ The human centred Rural Futures framework was formulated and launched to promote communityconservation through social and economic development Elephant Country Products: ++ Elephant Country products are launched to raise awareness for the cause of Asian Elephant Conservation, and provide alternative source of revenue generation and therefore, livelihood to the many forest- fringe communities. Canvas bags dyed with tea - Cotton caps dyed with tea - EC Tea. Stonewashed effect t-shirt dyed organically with tea. Bookmarks & Postcards with Flora & Fauna and Biodiversity of Eastern Himalayas
DIGITAL PLATFORMS- 2/10 Functionality Of Asian Elephant Secretariat: ++ The focus of Asian Elephant Secretariat was on building partnerships essential to the success of the platform and understanding their needs before expanding functionality Digtal Platforms For Biodiversity Education: ++ Building the “offline” education modules before exploring the online RESEARCH & EXPERIMENTS- 6/10 Herbarium Of Eastern Himalayan Flora: ++ The Herbarium was launched at the Eastern Himalayan Botanic Ark and is currently being populated by the Balipara Foundation team with extensive research and documentation at the Ark FUNDRAISING- 5/10 Alternative Funding Opportunities For Conservation: ++ The initial exploration of alternative financing models like the Rural Futures Impact Bond has already begun This Progress and Impact Report will showcase the efforts put in by the Balipara Foundation teams on all these initiatives and our promises for the coming year as we work with our partners to create social, economic and ecological impact at a large scale by combining traditional and modern knowledge.
PATHWAY TO THE FUTURE: 2018 Our Rural Futures model focuses on community welfare and development which is shifting the current conservation paradigm from focussing on environment and wildlife conservation to community conservation. If we look at a model for planning for rural areas in 30 years, villages in Assam like Tongla & Udalguri, we need to look at a holistic plan that factors state of art hospitals, effective waste management systems, education institutions along with preserving the rich and diverse cultural heritage of the region. In 2018, our prime focus will be on – ++ Access to Water- Building peoplecentric solutions and traditional knowledge based systems to provision access to water ++ Human- Centred Innovation, community development and Livelihood Generation through ‘Natural and Social Asset Creation’ , to restore parts of prime Human & Large Mammal habitat and to lead towards socio-economic mobility of the forest-fringe communities in Elephant Country which will naturally attract a downstream value chain enhancing social infrastructure services such as healthcare & education ++ Knowledge Building in partnership with 12 local communities and conducting programmes and workshops for capacity building and enhancing skills ++ Conservation Tourism through Elephant Country Camps Ranjit Barthakur Founder Trustee, Balipara Foundation
06 | WHO WE ARE
WHO WE ARE Balipara Foundation focuses on creating community-based conservation models in the Eastern Himalayas, using a proprietary approach, NaturenomicsTM . Our goal is to make the communities in the region the stewards of the conservation agenda by creating economic and social mobility. We achieve this through a series of community-based conservation programmes anchored in our conservation centre at the Eastern Himalayan Botanic Ark, nestled in the foothills of the Eastern Himalayas, Balipara, Assam, India. These programmes are human-centric and realised through iterative prototypes to adapt to rapidly evolving human needs and landscapes. Our hidden treasures are the case studies we publish and the publications we support to inspire collaborative exploration, dialogue and innovation. Our objectives are realised through an interdisciplinary team of 50+ people, ably supported by a network of community, knowledge, investment and technology partners who have passionately contributed to building this organization since 2007. At Balipara Foundation, we donâ€™t aspire to â€œsave forestsâ€?, instead we seek to learn from them. We envisage a future where conservation is a part of the human fabric and technological innovation reinforces the principles of NaturenomicsTM in human development. The bio-culturally rich Eastern Himalayas serve as our inspiration and provide a backdrop for inspiring innovation in conservation globally.
WHERE WE ARE | 07
WHERE WE ARE
3 of 34 global biodiversity hotspots, Rich flora & fauna, Diverse cultures, Varying terrains, Iconic species, Rivers & Landscapes
Eastern Himalayas: Eastern Nepal, North Bengal, Bhutan, North East Indian states, Bangladesh
Social Challenges: Social Challenges: Rapid human development, Political conflicts, Disappearing cultures, Multiple geographical boundaries
Economic Challenges: Rising Income disparity, Damages to life and property due to natural calamities, decreasing livelihoods opportunities
Environmental Challenges: Degradation of soil, fluoride & arsenic contamination of water sources, increased pollution, declining biodiversity, reducing green cover
Balipara Foundationâ€™s wide-spread reach Eastern Nepal, North Bengal, Bhutan, North East Indian states, Bangladesh
08 | IMPACTS 2017-18
IMPACTS 2017-18 Elephant Country Under Elephant Country: Udalguri Landscape Mission, five workshops have been conducted for the communities which focussed on techniques of Nursery Management, seed sowing techniques, sapling stocking procedures etc. towards capacity building and enhancing their skills Knowledge Partners like WWF-India, WTI, Sanctuary Nature Foundation, Nature Wildlife Association, Elephant Reintroduction Foundation, etc., have generated resource support through the Asian Elephant Secretariat Through Elephant Country: Udalguri Landscape Mission INR 8 Lakh has been generated through direct and indirect income for local communities Direct income, consisting of wages and salaries, amounted to INR 3.57 Lakhs. 1400 Man days of employment generated A line of Elephant Country Products has been launched to provide alternate sources of revenue generation and livelihood to many forest – fringe communities At Udalguri, an on-site project nursery has been established on 20th February 2017 A total of 66861 plants has been planted till January under Elephant Country: Udalguri Landscape Mission A total of 1.6 Lakh saplings of 24 species were raised in these nurseries during the year 2017
Eastern Himalayan Botanic Ark Environmental awareness to 405 participants Education and Awareness through the Naturenomics™ School to students of local schools, community people, house wives, Army Jawans, tourists, teachers etc. Total 16 organizations including colleges, institutes, NGOs and forest officials from Sonitpur and Biswanath Districts of Assam covered for biodiversity documentation workshop Training on different ways of Eco-tourism to ethnic communities of the Eastern Himalayas- Adivasi, Nepali, Bodo, Assamese, Garo, Nyishi and Mishing community Guided and supported Baligaon Mishing Village to achieve a gold medal for Assam’s first Green village Empowerment of local grassroots leaders and gender inclusion by donating Solar Bulbs to rural women from MASK Livelihood generation in villages through Eco tourism initiative 100+ tourists hosted by the village Ecotourism development committee Through NaturenomicsTM Bazar promoting the ethnic handloom products and jewellery and empowering village women Habitat maintenance in the form of Eastern Himalayan Botanic Ark, which is hosting 100,000+ plant individuals of 300 species, 75+ butterfly species, 70+ bird species, 13+ snake species and 50+ insect species 2000+ endemic sapling plantation at EHBA Collection of 67 different endemic species for propagation
Collection of 171 different seed variety
Total of 7000 saplings donated on World Environment Day, 2017 for plantation in forest restoration sites
Fostering sustainable living through meaningful interaction and community village visits to nearby Mishing, Garo, Bodo & Nyishi Communities
IMPACTS 2017-18 | 09
Eastern Himalayan NaturenomicsTM Forum A multidisciplinary dialogue between participants from 14 countries Launched Rural Futures – Holistic Model for Human- Centric Community- based Conservation Balipara Foundation Award winners creating impact by successfully standing in bringing a change in the mindset of the people and through unique education and awareness models Balipara Foundation Awardees continue to mould future Green leaders to contribute to community and biodiversity conservation Balipara Foundation winners have created numerous opportunities for sustainable livelihoods, skill development programs and successful eco- tourism models The Forum served as a multi-disciplinary platform and engaged in innovative discussions thereby leading to the outcome to be more Human Centric and design community- based programmes which are also localized to meet community needs Balipara Foundation Awardees initiative has led to creating the biggest Large Adjutant breeding colony in the world and a procedure for rescuing nest fall bird has been established with Assam State Zoo
NaturenomicsTM Publications Published Balipara Foundation 2016-17 Progress & Impact Report and Published The Himalayan, our endeavour to create a wealth of engaging and thought-provoking content on Rural Futures in the Eastern Himalayas Supported in Publishing Medicinal Plants and Mushrooms of India authored by Jatindra Sarma
Digital & Social Media WEBSITE: Balipara Foundation Page Views- 69,257 (up from 39,435) Mins / Session- 03:11 (down from 03:57) Bounce Rate- 63.9 % (down from 55.17 %) Users- 19K (up from 7,646)
Elephant Country Page Views- 12,265 (down from 17,854)
TOTAL FOLLOWERS: Balipara Foundation Twitter- 2,213 Facebook- 11,340 Instagram- 219 YT- 35
Mins / Session- 01:56 (down from 22:44) Bounce Rate- 64.08 % (down from 24.82 %) Users- 4,866 (up from 388)
Wild Mahseer Page Views- 18,316 Mins / Session- 01:41 Bounce Rate- 64.34 % Users- 6,913
Wild Mahseer Twitter- 113 Facebook- 3,538 Instagram- 149
Elephant Country Facebook- 311 Instagram- 32
SOCIAL MEDIA INSIGHTS DURING EASTERN HIMALAYAN EASTERN NATURENOMICS™ FORUM: Twitter- 36.4K Impressions Facebook- Paid reach of 87.9K and organic of 5.3K during Eastern Himalayan Naturenomics™ Forum promotions Website- 10.1K Page views compared 6.8k in 2016 55.44% users more than in 2016 52.23% sessions more than in 2016 1.63% new sessions 11.67% more bounce rate
XX | PLANS 2018-2019
Plans 2018-19 Picture Courtesy- Nitu Kumar Kalita
PLANS 2018-2019 | 11
Rural Futures ++ Habitat Restoration – Khalingduar Reserve Forest ++ Habitat Restoration – Balipara Reserve Forest ++ Water 24x7 Project – Research Phase & launch of a customised solution in Udalguri ++ Education – Human-Centric Innovation for Landscape Scale Conservation at Eastern Himalayan Naturenomics™ School ++ Energy – Research Phase – Is Solar really the best option? ++ Capacity Building & enhancing local artisan skills through Naturenomics™ Workshops and empowering grassroots leaders
Eastern Himalayan NaturenomicsTM School ++ Build education and awareness programmes, interactive courses, curate study material in partnership with 24 new local schools, NGOs, etc. ++ Knowledge building in partnership with 12 local communities and conducting programmes and workshops for capacity building and enhancing skills ++ Engage 240-360 participants across different age groups in programmes at the Eastern Himalayan Naturenomics™ School ++ Digitize course material for 240-360 participants
Conversations with Nature- Eastern Himalayan Botanic Trail ++ Design permanent trails to best explore the gardens ++ Enhance the natural experience by placing boards with key messaging and interesting quotes, history and significance of important plants at different points ++ Develop bird bath and resting shades for attraction
Eastern Himalayan Nursery ++ Endemic Sapling target: 1.5 L of 14 varieties ++ Donation to the communities and plantations in the Eastern Himalayas: 1.05 L ++ Community Involvement: 11 communities with population covering 30 K ++ Workshops & Trainings: 20 Workshops to be conducted for the Communities and students ++ Create Awareness: Eastern Himalayan NaturenomicsTM Forum 2018 and Pakke Paga Festival through display at NaturenomicsTM Store
Elephant Country: Udalguri Landscape Mission ++ Plant 4 Lakh Saplings of at least 18 species between April to Sept 18 to complete Phase 1 ++ Prepare Plan & Proposal for Phase 2 for the period January 2019 to December 2020 ++ Integrate “enterprise driven” activity through a selection from tourism, black pepper, bio-degradable plates, handlooms, memorabilia ++ Integrate activities on education, health and sports programs ++ Produce Project Documentary 2018
12 | PLANS 2018-2019
Elephant Country: Asian Elephant Secretariat
Eastern Himalayan NaturenomicsTM Forum
++ Create more tools for the platform to identify the need gaps in Asian Elephant Conservation
++ The Forum will continue to grow and serve as a multi-disciplinary platform to drive continuous collaboration and action across industries to promote unique models of conservation
++ Evolve the Asian Elephant Secretariat platform in an iterative manner to ensure that it is robust enough to evolve with its users ++ Engage deeper with partners and technology giants to enhance the Asian Elephant Secretariat as a viable platform for all
Elephant Country Products ++ Explore and launch more Elephant Country products ++ A further list of Elephant Country will include both wild food as well as other edibles that endemically grow in Elephant Country with the aim to provide alternative sources of revenue generation and therefore, livelihood to the many forestfringe communities
Wild Mahseer ++ Create a unique eco- tourism model which allows visitors to experience the true wealth of Eastern Himalayas ++ Focus on making Wild Mahseer the hub of Mindful Tourism, to scale up the impact and attract attention to the region through a premiere hospitality experience
++ The Forum will expand the conversation with grassroots stakeholders through the institution of Regional NaturenomicsTM Forums to seek deeper representation of communities, governments, businesses and NGOs ++ Balipara Foundation Awards will continue to find the hidden gems in the world of conservation, highlight their stories and encourage their success in the Eastern Himalayas
NaturenomicsTM Publications ++ Publish Rural Futures booklet defining the aims of each RuFu Vertical ++ Constantly publish thoughtleadership articles and position papers to encourage dialogue and introduce new perspectives in conservation
NatuenomicsTM Store ++ Expand the products line at Naturenomicsâ„˘ Store to include more local artisans and products from the rich heritage of the Eastern Himalayas with a view towards livelihood integration and preservation of our natural assets
PLANS 2018-2019 | XX
Picture Courtesy- Sangita Deka
RURAL FUTURES | 15
Rural Futures (RuFu) A human-centred approach towards innovation in conservation Objective: Upward socio-economic mobility through habitat-restoration and other ecosystem services in forest-fringe communities of the Eastern Himalayas Location: This project is currently underway in the villages around the Khalingduar Reserve Forest in the Udalguri district of Assam. The aim would be to replicate and upscale this model across the Indo-Bhutan transboundary conservation landscape, and further across the Eastern Himalayas. We think that RuFu will serve as a blueprint for conservation efforts world-over. Rationale: A decade of experimentation in various aspects of conservation has led to the following key learnings. For successful Landscape-Scale Conservation, it is essential to: ++ Increase Community Participation ++ Employment through Ecosystembased services ++ Develop Stewardship Behaviour within the forest-fringe communities ++ Propagate the value of indigenous knowledge Funds allocated toward SocioEconomic & Environmental causes could first and foremost be used to hire a community workforce that is dedicated to restoring degraded habitats through scientific afforestation. This initial economic impetus, through the first in a series of ecosystem-related services, generates upward socio-economic mobility which is leading motivation for the forest-fringe communities. This, in turn, leads to: a) Improvement of habitats b) Propagation of sustainable community-managed forestry which would become a source of revenue and food over time.
The funds generated through this process, alongside the funds raised based on this direct measurement of social impact, could further be appropriated towards development of social assets such as education, healthcare, water access and more, in these areas. The urgency of social issues will be judged by those residing within and learning from the communities.
In the Future: Upon initiating the community-led habitat restoration project in villages around Khalingduar Reserve Forest, we have come to realize that leveraging the traditional dong-bandh system is most suitable for sustainably sourcing water all year round. Over the course of the next 10 years, we will be developing and implementing action plans to ensure the creation of a holistic model for conservation and creating futures in Rural Eastern Himalayas --- RuFu.
5 â€˘ Water 3 â€˘ Energy â€˘ Waste Management
Projects: Community-led Habitat-Restoration Promoting afforestation as an ecosystem-service to generate economic impetus towards conservation Water 24x7 Project Leveraging traditional water-ways as a sustainable way of procuring water and furthering this by installing lowcast filtration systems Social Mobility Assets Education, healthcare, housing, etc., whose urgency is decided based on human-centred surveys and experiments Expected Outputs: ++ Creation of a human-centred prototype for conservation efforts worldwide ++ Propagation of the importance of socio-economic mobility of forestfringe communities as key to survival of forests and wildlife ++ Creation of innovative, customised sustainable experiments to ensure longevity of social assets such as water
Eastern Himalayan Botanic Ark
Eastern Himalayan Biodiversity Documentation Workshop at Botanic Ark (EHBA) Eastern Himalayan Botanic Ark KEY HIGHLIGHTS • 2000+ sapling plantation • 67 different tree, shrub and herbs species collected • 171 different variety of seeds collected The Eastern Himalayan Botanic Ark started as an experiment in 2005 through plantation of 15 species of plants, which included creepers and climbers, orchids and herbs, ferns, grasses and a few tree saplings, on a small parking lot to allow nature to grow and restore itself. The plot has now flourished into a dense forest with over 75 species of Birds, 72 species of Butterflies, 150 varieties of Orchids, and a diverse Spiders and Insect populations that re-instate our faith in nature. Located in the Eastern Himalayas at the Sonitpur District near Nameri National Park, Assam, the site receives an average annual rainfall of 216.3 cm and temperatures range from 29⁰ to 18⁰ C. Our journey at the Eastern Himalayan Botanic Ark has taught us that nature is the best architect and has the ability to look after those who look after it. This biodiversity has been tended to with care over the years and allowed to flourish through the commitment and knowledge of the local botanists. We are creating a Museum of Botany and Natural History of the Eastern Himalayas by preserving and conserving our natural resources and building botanic knowledge banks through community-based conservation for generations to come.
KEY HIGHLIGHTS • Workshop on Biodiversity Documentation was conducted through Assam Biodiversity Portal and India Biodiversity Portal • The workshop was jointly organized by Balipara Foundation and Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment (ATREE) at NaturenomicsTM School on September 20th, 2017
• We welcomed 53 participants from 16 organizations including colleges, institutes, NGOs and forest officials from the Sonitpur and Biswanath districts of Assam • Workshop included both in-class teaching and a field visit
Group photo of organizing Committee and participants of the workshop
The workshop is a part of the project titled “Building of a Biodiversity Information System for the State of Assam - Assam Biodiversity Portal (ABP)” initiated by the Assam Project on Forest and Biodiversity Conservation Society (APFBCS) in collaboration with Assam Forest Department and Assam State Biodiversity Board (ASBB). This initiative continues to provide a platform for the participation of diverse stakeholders in documenting, sharing and using biodiversity-related information of Assam. The objective of the workshop was to build the technology capacity of the participants and empower them to use the webbased biodiversity portal to store, share and retrieve information.
Outcomes ++ Creating awareness and providing information about the project to diverse stakeholders who are involved in biodiversity documentation, as well as to nature enthusiasts ++ Increase in the number of people registered in Assam Biodiversity Portal ++ Increase in the number of data/ information uploads by participants during the workshop
EASTERN HIMALAYAN BOTANIC ARK | 19
Celebration of World Environment Day 2017 KEY HIGHLIGHTS • 7000 saplings donated • Participation of 200 students from local schools • Supported by 7 different ethnic communities - Adivasi, Nepali, Bodo, Assamese, Garo, Nyishi and Mishing community • Covered 40 different villages • Plantation drive in forest restoration areas and school compound
World Environment Day is celebrated globally on June 5th of every year to inspire people around the globe to become aware about the environment and learn more about ways they can help to ensure the safe future of our planet. The Eastern Himalayan Botanic Ark team in association with MASK (Mahila Shakti Kendra) donated around 3000 saplings of Artocarpus heterophyllus (Jackfruit) and Dillenia indica (Elephant Apple) to the people of Bodo, Garo, Assamese and Nyishi communities. They jointly along with these communities planted
the saplings in a forest restoration site near Phuloguri Nyishi Village. Dr. Gitamani Dutta spoke about the importance of the day and about our environment during the event.
Sangita Deka and Manu Saikia visited the Adabarie T.E. School where they taught the students how to plant the saplings and to take care of them after plantation.
During the latter part of the day, the Meanwhile at EHBA, the rest of the team moved towards the team donated around 1000 Baligaon Green Village saplings to the students for saplings donation of Adabarie T. E. and plantation School and to the people of Adivasi drive. There they and Nepali donated around communities. 3000 saplings During the of Artocarpus event, the heterophyllus team along (Jackfruit) and with Mr.Rajen Dilleni aindica Kurmi and (Elephant Apple) Mr.Hardev Singh to the Mishing shared their views community. After Donation of sapling on environment and the donation and to students guided the students plantation, the team and the community people ended the day by having about the techniques of plantation. lunch at the riverside within the After the donations, Mr. Hardev Singh village along with the committee of felicitated Mrs. Seal, who instead of responsible eco-tourism by using killing or selling, helped the team to eco-friendly plates and organically rescue a Gecko found in their home. grown vegetables.
Plantation at the forest restoration site
20 | EASTERN HIMALAYAN BOTANIC ARK
Responsible Eco-tourism Initiative
Eco friendly plates prepared from banana flower
Acknowledgement letter received from Baligaon Miri Village
Komison Mili and Pabitra Mili receiving IGBC Green Village award for Baligaon Miri Village
KEY HIGHLIGHTS • Eco-tourism initiative with 9 different communities • Guided and supported Baligaon Mishing Village to achieve India’s first gold medal for Green Village • Three different Eco-tourism development committees were formed for executing the works of eco-tourism • 100+ tourists hosted by the village Eco-tourism development committee
We have started eco-tourism activities in the villages of different communities in order to conserve the environment, promote different cultures and traditions and sustain the well-being of the local people. The programme includes home garden tours, different recreational activities where tourists can enjoy leisure time by boating at the lake. The village Development Committee also organizes ethnic lunches using organically grown vegetables, served it in eco-friendly plates and glasses.
Baligaon Miri Village located in
Lunch at the Riverside organized by Eco tourism committee
Boating at Baligaon Miri Village wetland
Sonitpur District of Assam, received the Green Village award by Indian Green Building Council on 10th of October,2017. It is the 1st Green Village in Assam, 2nd in Northeast India and 8th in India. It is the first village in India to receive a gold medal in the Green Village award ceremony organized by Indian Green Building Council. The Eastern Himalayan Botanic Ark team has guided and supported Baligaon Miri Village to achieve this award, in all possible ways.
EASTERN HIMALAYAN BOTANIC ARK | 21
Training Workshop on Bamboo Utilization Aims: ++ To foster Rural Futures in the Eastern Himalayas ++ To create socio-economic and environment interdependence through the concept of Naturenomics™ ++ To provide training to bamboo artisans and entrepreneurs ++ To raise awareness on sustainable livelihood through bamboo-based activities and products in the region Trainer: Sponsored by North-East Council, Balipara Foundation has collaborated with the Cane and Bamboo Technology Centre (CBTC) in Northeast India, for a Bamboo Training Workshop to provide training to bamboo artisans and entrepreneurs and serve its purpose in raising awareness on sustainable livelihood through bamboo based activities and products in the region. Introduction to training workshop: Training workshop on Bamboo utilization was successfully held in the haven of Eastern Himalayan Botanic Ark during 6th February – 19th February 2018. There were 21 trainees from different backgrounds, including a daily wager, farmer, cook, student, along with a few unemployed people around Sonitpur. The participants came from Baligaon Miri Gaon, Gamani Gaon, Tarajan, 1 No. Phuluguri Garogaon, Eraliloga and Balipara Division Adabari T.E. These participants were carefully selected based on their noted interest to learn the skills and engage in community development work. Assam is rich in sylvan resources and most of its forests are richly stocked with bamboo and cane of various species. Bamboo is a raw material of great versatility and forms an integral part of the lifestyle and economy of Assam. North East Region stores 66% of India’s bamboo. Bamboo is cultivated in homesteads, village gardens, agricultural lands and field boundaries. In many states, farmers
grow bamboo on marginal and degraded lands as well. The training was organized in accordance with the climate and geographical features, as well as to raise awareness on sustainable livelihood through bamboo-based activities and products in the region. During the two-week workshop, training technologies on bamboo biology, bamboo propagation and management skills and bamboo utilization skills were transferred to trainees in both theoretical and practical ways. The main contents of the training included bamboo morphology, bamboo flowering and bearing, bamboo propagation, bamboo seedling, bamboo afforestation, bamboo forest management, bamboo forest protection and bamboo processing and utilization.
second workshop that will be held in September for the opening of bamboo school at EHBA premises. It was also a time for general discussions and networking The following was some of the feedback from the participants: ++ Several participants requested support for more planned Bamboo Construction Training workshop ++ It was suggested that a short video be shown prior to doing the practical on site work so the participants could better understand the process they were learning and the steps involved in the making process ++ One participant shared that he grew up around bamboo and worked with it his whole life but had not understood the importance of utilization of bamboo handicrafts and its potential as a livelihood till this workshop ++ Many participants were curious about specific bamboo construction techniques which will be covered in the next workshop in September ++ The importance of establishing a close connection with growers and farmers to ensure the proper, sustainable production of bamboo was discussed Bamboo Horai designed and handicraft during the workshop
Participants during workshop
Feedback from participants: Total 40 bamboo handicrafts were made during the workshop by the participants. On the last day of the workshop, we held a short reflection and wrap-up session. Part of the session was used to gain feedback from the participants on the training, as well as to introduce them to the
22 | WILD MAHSEER
Wild Mahseer Adventure Tourism in the Eastern Himalayas Named after one of the toughest game fish in the world, Wild Mahseer is a unique heritage stay for visitors to experience mindful tourism while living within the biodiverse haven of the Eastern Himalayan Botanic Ark. This biodiversity is tended to with care over the years and allowed to flourish through the passion and knowledge of the local botanists and Communities that live around the Ark. A BritishEra Heritage Bungalow nestled in the midst of Addabarie Tea Estate, Wild Mahseer is located on North Bank of the river Brahmaputra in Assam. Its splendid panorama of green plantations offers breath-taking views. Wild Mahseer is a unique haven for legendary conventions of the erstwhile British planters of Assam, where the life in the tea estates always seemed to be suspended on time. Wild Mahseer gives an experience of the indigenous colours of North East of India, capturing its enigmatic culture and hospitality. It boasts a traditional grandeur and art. The cuisine is locally prepared, using unique ethnic ingredients and promises to tantalize ones taste buds. The stay in the 108 year-old Heritage Bungalow gives a glimpse into the tea planter’s life. The rooms are elegantly styled in Victorian architecture, the lavish meal and the warmth of the fireplace in the dining area makes one truly sense the aroma of the Heritage Bungalow. The evening sums up by delighting the taste buds with a scrumptious spread of AngloAssamese or Continental dishes such as baked lasagne, potato or lamb chops, mutton stew, cold-cuts, seasonal salads, decadent puddings and custards. It allows one to immerse in the romance of the flamed tea-life during the British-era. The “First Flush” is a converted tractor
shed, with French windows, white furnishings, high ceiling fans and bright and colourful wall paintings. In the evening “First Flush” takes on its third incarnation when a bonfire is lit in the middle of the adjacent garden and guests can sit around to stare up at the towering trees and watch the evening sky deepen into a velvety starry night. Crafting ever-lasting memories as nature’s symphony serenades one. Wild Mahseer is set amidst 22-acres of verdant forests bestowed with abundant biodiversity. Called the Eastern Himalayan Botanic Ark, it is one of the nature Capitals of Assam, nurtured with tender love and care of the local communities in the region. Special occasions can be celebrated accompanied by exotic birds, vibrant butterflies and flowers as you take our botanic trail, aptly named “Conversations with nature”. Host your very own tea party in the plush and tranquil tea gardens, visited by magnificent Elephants and other wild animals. Listening to the sounds of joyful trumpeting, chirping birds and the rustling of the trees. For the adventure lovers, one can also follow the stream by river rafting on the gorgeous Jia Boreli river.
Picture Courtesy- Rahul Joshi
The perfect refuge for visitorsThe Heritage Bungalow at Wild Mahseer
WILD MAHSEER | 23
Exploring the Community Heritage of Assam on a Land Rover Escorted in our very own firstgeneration Land Rover, 19 members from Land Rover arrived in style in 5 new discovery models to the biodiverse haven of the Eastern Himalayan Botanic Ark. After travelling to the unexplored and densely forested hills of the land of dawn-lit mountains, Arunachal Pradesh and the fascinating wildlife sanctuaries of Assam; they took in the forest experience at Kaziranga and Nameri National Park and also visited Dibrugarh, the Tea City of India. The group ended their North-East Tour exploring the bio-cultural heritage of the Eastern Himalayas at the Eastern Himalayan Botanic Ark and Wild Mahseer – where history is your host. The group arrived on the morning of 9th February 2018 and were given a traditional Wild Mahseer welcome of Aarti along with a welcome drink of fresh coconut water for a refreshing start. This was followed by viewing a documentary on Rural Futures in the Eastern Himalayas – the Eastern Himalayan Botanic Ark, the story of a parking lot that has flourished into a lush green forest of flora and fauna of the Eastern Himalayas and communities that have tended to the Ark. The Eastern Himalayan Botanic Ark has been nurtured by forest fringe communities, living around the Ark. Conversations with Nature - a nature trail was demonstrated to explore and sight many rare plants and flowers such as Cassia Nodosa, Cleisocentron pallens, Papilionanthe teres and exotic butterflies such as Common Imperial, Lime blue, Common Jezebel, etc. Encouraging them to connect with nature and feel rejuvenated, detoxed and energized. The Eastern Himalayan Botanic Ark is a social enterprise that fosters Rural Futures in the Eastern Himalayas through the concept
of Naturenomics™ - creating socio-economic and environment interdependence. Towards this activities at the Ark focus on highlighting the interdependent relationship between nature and its nurturers. A splendid fashion with live models wearing ethnic and handwoven Eri and Muga fabrics, to showcase the handlooms and hand-crafted jewellery of the rural communities was also organized. If you are a lover of culture and anthropological practices, then the traditional dresses of the NorthEastern states will fascinate you a lot. To make the experience more engaging, we conducted a Live Organic Dyeing workshop and Silk Weaving. Natural organic dyeing and weaving helps generate livelihood for artisans and keeps the precious ancient knowledge alive.
& Indian food at the 108 yearold Heritage Bungalow. The lunch consisted of a scrumptious spread of baked dishes, organic vegetable stew, fresh salad made with locally grown produce, pulao, dal and a variety of home-made pudding and soufflé to indulge their sweet tooth. After a satiated meal, the group rested for a while in the heritage bungalow, that has an old-world charm and is tastefully decorated with artefacts that resonate British colonial history, wall hangings highlighting the biodiversity in the region and Rhino and Elephant figurines that symbolizes national pride. Bidding adieu, the group left the bio-diverse haven with memories of Assam’s rich culture, tea heritage, British- colonial architecture, nature capital and the diverse, vibrant and hospitable communities.
Also at display, were live silk worms to help us understand their lifecycle and the process of Eri silk making. The group also encountered an on-going Bamboo and Cane Crafts workshop that is being organized for local villagers for capacity building and to enhance their skills. Through these activities and workshops at Naturenomics™ School, we aim to emphasize on and encourage sustainable fashion, reduce the carbon footprint, display tribal fashion heritage and provide a platform to local artisans to showcase their skills and products. Visit to the Eastern Himalayan Botanic Ark is incomplete without a visit to the Naturenomics™ Store that displays Elephant County products, Assam tea, community products, handcrafted souvenirs from Assam and coconut shell and bamboo handcrafted products. Famished from their travel, the guests were pampered with continental
Land Rover team understanding the weaving tradition of the local communities
24 | CONVERSATIONS WITH NATURE
Conversations with Nature KEY HIGHLIGHTS • Nature trail at Eastern Himalayan Botanic Ark is called “Conversations with Nature” covering a total 19 stoppages • Haven of 100,000+ plant individuals of 300 species, 75+ butterfly species, 70+ bird species, 13+ snake species and 50+ insect species • Since its inception, 828 visitors from different parts of the world have visited the Ark, with 537 visits during April to till date
A few comments from the visitors: ++ “Exceptional design and very well demonstrated native plants. A tremendous future is ahead of this goal”. – Scott McMahan, Atlanta Botanical Garden. ++ “Very peaceful and beautiful” – Priyanka Yoshikawa, Miss World, Japan, 2016.
Wonderful forest, the experiment that you all are doing is a blessing for the Earth Beena Parikh
Fruiting of Capsicum
++ “Love for nature, the idea of conservation and the role of nature for the future of life is visible here. Each member has proved their high professional and passion. Will come back soon to celebrate nature”. – Dr. Arupjyoti Saikia, IIT, Guwahati. ++ “Wonderful efforts, look forward to come back”- Prof. Kamal Bawa, ATREE. ++ “It is a fascinating walk, Marvelled at the numerous species of trees all along the nature trail. It’s very well laid out.”- Mr. and Mrs. Kalyan Chatterjea, Singapore University. ++ “Lovely place, cool people and amazing hospitality”. - Peter Mortimer, Kunming Institute of Botany, China.
and long term (10 week) certification courses in various principles of NaturenomicsTM.
These words are an inspiration to progress further with goals of Conversations with Nature.
5. RAIN TREE PATCH Along with large numbers of rain trees, the patch contains some important species like arrowhead vine, etc.
The Eastern Himalayan Botanic Ark can be explored through Botanic TrailConversation with Nature to view its varied species of butterflies, birds, orchids and plants. The trail guides visitors to experience a wide variety of flora and fauna endemic to the region along with the thriving and threatened biodiversity of the region.
6. AQUATIC PLANT CONSERVATION SITE Aquatic plants are those plants that have adapted to living in aquatic environments. One can see different lilies, Tora (Alpinia nigra (Gaertn.) B.L.Burtt,) etc.
3. EX-SITU CONSERVATION SITE Ex-situ conservation is a process of protecting species, variety or breed, of plant outside of its natural habitat. A few important representatives are Teak (Tectona grandis L. locally known as Segun ), Red cotton tree (Bombax ceiba L., locally known as Shimolu) and many more. 4. COMMUNITY FISHERY Collection of fresh water fish sourced, maintained and consumed by community people.
WHAT YOU CAN SEE ON THIS TRAIL 1.BAMBOOSETUM Bamboosetum means a garden having a collection of bamboo plants. The Ark’s Bamboosetum contains most important bamboo species like East Indian brown bamboo (Bambusa tulda Roxb., its local name is JatiBaah) and Dragon bamboo (Dendrocalamus giganteus Munro, its local Assamese name is KakoBaah) etc. 2. NATURENOMICSTM SCHOOL The NaturenomicsTM School offers nature based experiential learning courses which are a series of short (1 day and 1 week),
A group of Japanese tourists experiencing nature walks during rainy season
7. VERMICOMPOST UNIT Vermi-compost is the product of the composting process using various species of earthworms, to create a heterogeneous mixture of decomposing vegetable or food waste. 8. AGROFORESTRY Agroforestry is a land use management system in which trees or shrubs are grown around or among crops.This area contains important species such as Chilli (Capsicum chinense Jacq., locally known as Bhutjolokia), paddy fields (seasonal). 9. NURSERY Nursery is for propagation and distribution of threatened, endemic and economically important plant species like Ritha (Sapindus mukorosii Gaertn.), Lipstick tree (Bixa orellana L., locally known as Senduri) etc. 10. MEDICINAL PLANT GARDEN Eastern Himalayan Botanic Ark’s medicinal plant garden contains important species: Bone settler (Cissus quadrangularis L., locally known as Harjura), Giloy (Tinospora cordifolia (Thunb.) Miers, Amar lota) and many more.
Tinospora cordifolia- a miracle medicinal herb growing at medicinal plant garden
11. ORCHIDARIUM AND FERNHOUSE Showcasing different species of orchids and ferns. The Ark’s orchidarium contains: Foxtail orchid (Rhynchostylis retusa Blume, locally known as Kopouphul), Aloe-leafed Cymbielium (Cymbidium aloifolium L., locally known as mota kopouful), etc. 12. HERBARIUM AND SEED BANK Herbarium is a collection of plants that have been systematically arranged and labeled, often for identification. 13. TIMBER YIELDING PATCH The Ark’s timber yielding plant contains both economically and ecologically important tree like Sal (Shorea robusta Roth), Titasopa (Magnolia champaca (L.) Baill.ex Pierre) and many more. 14. WASTE CLUSTER UNIT A set up to set an example of waste management. 15. NATURENOMICSTM BAZAAR NaturenomicsTM Bazaar displays organically dyed ethnic clothes from the communities. Through community participation, local handcrafted natural products from the Eastern Himalayas, ethnic fishing and cultivation equipment’s were collected and is now displayed in the ethnic museum.
Local rice variety collection
26 | CONVERSATIONS WITH NATURE
16. BAMBOO EXPERIMENTAL PLOT Bamboo, one of the fastest-growing plants on earth has a reported growth rate of 250 cm in 24 hours due to its unique rhizome dependent system. In 2013, a total of 50 bamboo saplings produced through tissue culture techniques were planted in the bamboo experiment site covering an area of 500m2. From the 50 bamboo saplings, 30 belongs to Bambusa tulda Roxb. which is locally known as Jaati baah and 20 belonging to Bambusa balcooa Roxb. which is locally known as Bhuluka baah. 17. SECONDARY FOREST REGENERATION EXPERIMENTAL PLOT (STORY BEHIND PARKING LOT TO WILD HABITAT) A secondary forest (or second-growth forest) is a forest or woodland area which has re-grown after a timber harvest, until long enough period has passed so that the effects of the disturbance is no longer evident. In 2007, 15 random plant species were introduced in this plot. After that the plot was left without any human interference and at present supports 50 different plant species on its own. 18. BUTTERFLY SIGHTING SITE The plants in this area attract most of the butterflies in the Ark that make the place so interesting for butterfly watching. One example of a plant is Sunhemp (Crotolaria juncea L., locally known as Jhunjunia). 19. BIRD WATCHING SITE This particular area is selected for maximum number of birds sighting in early morning and late afternoon. This place is delight for bird watchers and photograph enthusiasts.
Black Rumped Flameback spotted at EHBA during Nature trail
EASTERN HIMALAYAN NATURENOMICSTM SCHOOL | 27
Eastern Himalayan Naturenomics™ School KEY HIGHLIGHTS • A total of 405 students have participated since inception of Eastern Himalayan Naturenomics™ School (October 2016 onwards) • Since April 2017, the School has hosted 88 participants at Eastern Himalayan Botanic Ark and interacted with 236 participants outside Eastern Himalayan Botanic Ark at their schools/villages • The Naturenomics™ School has hosted participants from local schools, colleges, Army and nearby villages. Housewives, tourists, teachers, etc. have also participated in activities at the Ark
Objective: To create a unique learning experience combining nature, traditional knowledge and new learning techniques to inspire a new generation of eco-crusaders. The Eastern Himalayan NaturenomicsTM School is ‘dedicated to inspiring the Eastern Himalayan community and promote the culture of interdependence’. Through the principles of NaturenomicsTM, we engage people of all ages and cultures to develop ‘sensitisation towards nature through practical activities’. The Eastern Himalayan NaturenomicsTM School offers multiple courses including one day, five days, eight weeks and different workshops to students ranging from children to adults interested in understanding their environment. We hope to include specialized skill-building and learning experiences for professionals, botanists, government officials, etc. Faculty The faculty will include: Indigenous experts / Regional scholars / National & international experts / Guest lecturers and Eastern Himalayan Botanic Ark team members according to availability and requirement of participants and faculties.
EASTERN HIMALAYAN NATURENOMICS™ SCHOOL OFFERS:
28 | EASTERN HIMALAYAN NATURENOMICSTM SCHOOL
SOME WORKSHOPS CONDUCTED BY EASTERN HIMALAYAN NATURENOMICS TM SCHOOL
Nature Walk The objective of the Nature Walk sessions at Eastern Himalayan NaturenomicsTM School is to educate and create awareness about the importance of plants in our daily lives and how it contributes to our environment through plant-water relation. With an aim to educate participants on how to critically assess the importance of Botany and the role it can play in conservation, the Nature Walk also focuses on plant classification and techniques of plant identification. Workshop on Herbarium Preparation Technique
snake even from a non-venomous one, whenever and wherever spotted. The workshop helps to identify and encourage the concept of living with snakes in harmony. One of the major objectives of this workshop is to spread awareness on first aid measures to mitigate spread of poison from a snake bite.
Workshop on Nursery Techniques The workshop on “Nursery Techniques” at the NaturenomicsTM School aims towards teaching participants basic hands on nursery techniques like substrate preparation, filling the substrate on poly bags, sowing seeds, making plant cuttings along with the process and techniques of grafting by local botanists, Bhadra Nahak, Khaden Ali and Rajen Kurmi at Eastern Himalayan Botanic Ark. Workshop on Waste Management Waste management workshops at the NaturenomicsTM School stand as an initiative towards the protection of the environment and health of the people. The objective of the workshop is to encourage people to avoid waste and learn practices of reuse and recycle. Awareness Workshop on Snakes and Snake Bite Management The awareness workshop on “Snakes and Snake Bite Management” at NaturenomicsTM School educates participants on basic ideas about the venomous and non-venomous snakes. The workshop focuses on sharing knowledge on myths and truth about snakes and to mitigate harm from a
Field Visit During NaturenomicsTM School’s field visit, participants have explored the “Chang ghar”, the Mishing traditional house that gives the experience of traditional Mishing lifestyle and has handicrafts, traditional fishing and agricultural tools of the Mishing community. Community experts guide them through the process of traditional farming and fishing and uses of each and every tool used by their community. Participants also explored the handlooms of the Mishings, where they learned about their weaving techniques. The students also enjoyed trying their traditional attire.
EASTERN HIMALAYAN NATURENOMICSTM SCHOOL | 29
Learning the Process of Organic Dyeing and its Importance At the NaturenomicsTM Store, the participants are exposed to the process of Organic Dyeing and are explained the importance of it. The aim is to create awareness on the process and the effort by the community to preserve the indigenous knowledge. TALKS AT EASTERN HIMALAYAN NATURENOMICSTM SCHOOL Amidst Nature A talk amidst nature on Sustainable Technology was given by entrepreneur, author and initiator of the Blue Economy, Gunter Pauli. His talk inspired all participants to use resources best which are locally available around us. This would thereby, help us generate value and to create jobs, housing and energy with ethics which is always beneficial. Renowned Botanist from Atlanta at Eastern Himalayan NaturenomicsTM School Scott McMahan, Manager of International Plant Exploration Program, Atlanta Botanical Garden gave an inspiring talk on the suitable nursery techniques at the Eastern Himalayan NaturenomicsTM School. His talk focused on detailing and highlighting the significance of correct procedures involved in growing a plant. With a belief that community participation is an essential tenet of all effective ecological solutions, McMahan enthusiastically engaged with the local communities, empowering them with effective seed germination methodology and nursery techniques.
Inspiring talk by Scott McMahan
GIS workshop at Eastern Himalayan NaturenomicsTM School A workshop on GIS was conducted by Dr. Smarajit Ojha, Professor of Nagaon Girls College, Assam at Eastern Himalayan NaturenomicsTM School. Members of Balipara Foundation and Wild Mahseer participated in the workshop. Dr. Ojha introduced the concept and taught the basics of GIS to the team along with the basics of practical knowledge. He showed how to take GPS points on field and to create maps using those GPS points. He also showed how to mark points and to spot an area on a map using the software QGIS.
A talk amidst nature by Gunter Pauli
Workshop by Dr. Smarajit Ojha
30 | EASTERN HIMALAYAN NURSERY
Eastern Himalayan Nursery KEY HIGHLIGHTS • Over the years, the Nursery has increased the sampling of endemic species and has tied up with local communities to encourage the planting of hardy endemic species, which can thrive in the local climes • Total of 1.05 lakh saplings donated in the year 2017-18
The Eastern Himalayan Nursery was created to conserve and propagate the endemic floral species of the Eastern Himalayan Region. The purpose of the Nursery at the Ark is to explore rare, threatened and endemic species from the region and through research and action create Social, Economic and Environmental Impact in the Eastern Himalayas.
The Eastern Himalayan Nursery is a living prototype of NaturenomicsTM which seeks to promote the principles of interdependence between humans and the environment. Our goal is to not only create a robust population of species which can be sold, but to also offer value added services such as landscaping and smart afforestation which can help create more diverse forests. The nursery aims to become the global knowledge resource center for robust endemic floral species of the Eastern Himalayan Region. The biodiversity rich Eastern Himalayan region inspires our efforts to foster conservation through innovation to energize current and future conservation efforts globally.
ENVIRONMENTAL ++ ++ ++ ++ ++ ++ ++ ++
Habitat enhancement Species Diversity & wildlife habitat Carbon sequestration Prevention of over exploitation of nature Reduced Pressure on protected forests Soil erosion Deterring monoculture Ground water recharging
ECONOMIC ++ ++ ++ ++ ++
Employment generation Timber & bamboo supply Non timber forest produce Research & education Revenue generation
SOCIAL ++ ++ ++ ++
Community building Experiential learning Research and education Institutional Partnership
20,000 40,000 20,000 saplings donated to the Locals
saplings donated to the Forest Department of Assam
Community and Locals
NUMBERS IN LAKHS 0.40 0.25
Eco Task Force
Key Impacts ++ The Nursery nurtures different types of plants: Endemic, Food bearing, Fruit bearing, Ornamental, Economically important ++ The plants will be sold individually but also be in packages: the Forest package, the Kitchen Garden Package, the Ornamental Package, etc. ++ Apart from sapling of different ages the nursery has also started selling seeds, individually and in packages, and has conducted workshops and Landscaping services ++ The nursery will source high quality seeds and sapling for developing robust populations of endemic species which are donated to Eco Task force, forest department, communities and locals ++ The Nursery integrates rural livelihood in conservation and is key in rural development in the region ++ The nursery is our “Seed for the Future” in the Eastern Himalayas
EASTERN HIMALAYAN NURSERY | 31
Revenue/ Donation Chart 2017-2018 (Values in INR Lakhs)
Donation 13.45 Smart Afforestation drive (100 ha) 1.30
Partnerships The Nursery shares its partnerships with the following ++ Campa Forest Nursery, Dharikathi, Department of Forest, Govt. of Assam ++ Eco Task Force, 134 BN., Indian Army, Govt of India ++ Kunming Institute Of Botany, Yunan, China ++ Tezpur University, Assam, India ++ Gauhati University, Assam, India ++ Communities and Locals of Balipara region of Sonitpur district of Assam ++ ATREE In the Future The nursery will seek to expand its reach and create more useful plant and seed packages with implementation of modern machineries and equipment. The goal will continue to be a center for excellence, research and development and revenue generation for the projects at the Eastern Himalayan Botanic Ark as well as promotion of endemic flora.
Sapling donation to Indian Army
The nursery will also look to expand into ancillary products such as gardening equipment and tools.
Plantation drive with School Kids
32 | NATURENOMICSTM STORE
NATURENOMICSTM STORE | 33
With an outreach of culture and communities in the Eastern Himalayas and standing on the principles of NaturenomicsTM, the store includes Wuya, NaturenomicsTM Museum and Bhelaghor. The NaturenomicsTM Store acts as an inclusive and participation program which lets the local communities create organic products leading to generation of alternate sources of revenue. The idea is to enforce employment and revenue generation which would thereby, lead to improvement of social life and betterment of the quality of life in the village and rural areas. WUYA Wuya as the name connotes, is conceptualised to support nature by encouraging natural lifestyle, at the same time to provide sustainable livelihood for the merited artisans. The journey of every single product of Wuya is unique in its own way, often taking shape with varied and almost extinct techniques of the skill, typically taking shape in the hands of more craftsmen than its clients who get to lay their hands on such elegance. NATURENOMICSTM MUSEUM NaturenomicsTM Museum is dedicated towards preserving the culture of the communities, their productivity, craftsmanship and entrepreneurial spirit. The NaturenomicsTM Museum lets visitors view and experience traditional fishing gears, cloth weaver, musical instruments and other antique objects that were/are used by communities of the Eastern Himalayas. Visitors of the Eastern Himalayan Botanic Ark get a glimpse into the historical heritage and sustainable lifestyles of these communities.
BHELAGHOR A hut type structure made of hay of the harvest field, Bhelaghor serves as an indispensable part at the Botanic Ark. An ethnic restaurant which envisions becoming a hub for diverse cultures and communities of the Eastern Himalayas, presents an enriching culinary experience to the guests visiting Eastern Himalayan Botanic Ark.
Elephant Country Products
The NaturenomicsTM Store
P RO D U C TS AVA I L A B L E AT T H E S T O R E
Visit to the Eastern Himalayan Botanic Ark is incomplete without a visit to the Naturenomicsâ„˘ Store that displays Elephant County products, Assam tea, community products, handcrafted souvenirs from Assam and coconut shell and bamboo handcrafted products. The NaturenomicsTM Storeâ€™s initiative endeavours to bring forward the local culture through handicrafts and cuisine of the ethnic communities.
The hut displaying WUYA Products
Elephant Country Products Bamboo Crafts Coconut Shell Crafts Eri silk Nuni Silk Muga Silk Naturally Dyed Sarees Rugs Fabrics Cushion covers and Runners
ELEPHANT COUNTRY | 35
Elephant Country: Udalguri Landscape Mission Conservation through Social Mobility The Udalguri Landscape Mission (EC:ULM) endeavours to identify and implement drivers for conservation & development and build projects that have long-lasting ecological, social & economic impacts. ULM is an outcome of the realization that the real decision makers of biodiversity conservation are the people that share space with it – the forest fringe communities. Our aim is to work with these communities through projects that will enhance social and economic mobility, thereby providing them with the capacity and opportunity to take educated & voluntary decisions, ultimately leading towards conservation of biodiversity and sustainable futures.
Workshops on Nursery Management A total of 5 Workshops were conducted during the year 2017. 4 of these workshops were focussed on Nursery Management and 1 on Basic Accounting. ++ 22 Members attended Workshop on Basic Accounting on the 19th of Jan 17. The Workshop was conducted by Robin Eastment of Balipara Foundation. Thereafter, a Site Petty Cash Book was introduced under the Guardianship of the EDC Treasurer- Ansuma Basumatry
KEY HIGHLIGHTS • A total of 5 Workshops were conducted during the year 2017. 4 of these workshops were focussed on Nursery Management and 1 on Basic Accounting • A total of 4 Exposure Trips were conducted in the year 2017 • 12 Mandatory Monthly EDC Executive Meetings were conducted in each of the 12 months to review and plan operations • The total number of plants planted till January is 66,861 • The On- site Project Nursery was established on the 20th of February 2017 • INR 8 Lakh was generated through direct and indirect income for local communities
++ 58 Participants attended a Nursery Management Workshop on the 20th of February 2017. The Workshop was followed by a ‘Ceremonial” gathering to announce the nursery “operational”. The Workshop was conducted by Pinaki Adhikary from the Eastern Himalayan Botanic Ark, Balipara Foundation. The Workshop covered the basics of seed handling, land preparation, watering, weeding and stocking ++ A Nursery Training workshop was organized on the 29th & 30th of March 2017. Mr. Pinaki Adhikary, Botanist from the Eastern Himalayan Botanic Ark (EHBA), conducted the program. With a total participation of 38 people, the workshop focused on techniques of soil preparations, seed collection, storing preparations, germination tracking, inter-cultural operations, green net setting. The target audience for the Program was the “Team of Five” that managed the day to day operations onsite. 6 additional members of the
EDC were also present, besides 3 representatives from Balipara Foundation ++ 23 participants attended 2 Nursery Management Workshops organized on 12th July and 19th August 2017 by Resource Persons from Bhairabkunda JFMC. While the first workshop was aimed at seed sowing techniques and inter-cultural operations, the second workshop focussed on poly-potting and sapling stocking procedures ++ An on- site training on the basic skills and to-dos related to poly bagging was demonstrated by Sita Sawra, Nursery Supervisor at Hatigor T.E. With participation of 8 people, the key components of the workshop included: Ration Mixing of soil and sand compost, Ideal Compactness, Easy Filling skills, Stocking & Watering Off-Site Exposure Trips A total of 4 Exposure Trips were conducted in the year 2017. ++ 28 EDC Members visited the Bhairabkunda Afforestation Project Site on the the 28th December 2016. The Project, between 20072012, has planted 14 Lakh trees over 730 Hectors of land, under similar site conditions and dynamics that exist at the Khalingduar JFM Project Site. Bhairabkunda JFMC, President Mr. Daimary, interacted with Members and spoke about the challenges, benefits and opportunities of undertaking Afforestation Projects. Questions from participants included: workings of an EDC Committee, protection from elephants, managing inter EDC
Exposure Visit to Afforestation Site
36 | ELEPHANT COUNTRY
Conflicts, nursery operations and other such activities. Thereafter, a tour of the Bhairabkunda JFMC Project site was conducted ++ 4 EDC Members, Mr. Amit Kujur, Mr. Sunil Kerketa, Ms. Doli Rani and Ms. Jurita Kerketa, visited the Eastern Himalayan Botanic Ark on the 11th of March 17. The trip included a demonstration tour of the Nursery followed by a trip to Afforestation Sites adjoining the Balipara Reserve Forest ++ Mr. Gangaram Prasad, Mr. Parmeshwar Rabha represented the EDC at the Eastern Himalayan Naturenomics™ Forum, an International Conference on Conservation. The Conference was held on the 2nd and 3rd November 2017 in Guwahati, Assam and the 3 participants took part as panellists in the session titled “Role of Communities in Conservation” ++ 6 Members visited the Eastern Himalayan Botanic Ark on the 18th of November 2017 for a demonstration tour of the Nursery followed by a trip to the Cleanopolis Biogas Energy Plant in Sonitpur, Assam Eco Development Committee Meetings 12 Mandatory Monthly EDC Executive Meetings were conducted in each of the 12 months to review and plan operations. The 1st Annual EDC Meeting held on the 17th December 2017 where, as per procedure, 7 changes in personnel to the EDC Executive Body were made. The key decisions that emerged from the meetings are mentioned below++ Major Plantation Activities would be undertaken during the April 2018 - September 2018 season. This was decided keeping in mind that NRC Updation, Land Ownership Surveys & Verification and Aadhar Registration procedures are to be conducted during this period by relevant Government Departments ++ The EDC decided to produce a Project Documentary for release during the Eastern Himalayan NaturenomicsTM Forum 2017 in
November 2017 in Guwahati, Assam ++ The EDC decided to explore opportunities for a Black Pepper Nursery to provide saplings for Local Farmers in April - July 2018 ++ Formation of Women Self Help Group to undertake Tourism Project ++ Setting up a Sports Center at Jorapukhuri High School by August 2018 ++ Conducting Workshops on Adolescent Women Health starting from January 2018 in multiple locations ++ Establishing a Local NGO by May 2018
The 1st EDC Executive Body
Core operations/ Planting The targeted planting numbers for the April 2017 to August 2017 seasons was 1,00,000 saplings of at least 10 species. ++ The first batch of planting was initiated on the 6th to the 12th of April 2017. Unfortunately, a herd of 40+ Wild Elephants passed through the plantation area on the 17th of May 2017 and destroyed 9,000+ of the 11,000 saplings planted ++ However, during the Executive Committee Meeting on the 2nd of July 2018, it was decided that since
has been 66%. The high rate of mortality, as against an expected rate of 20-35%, can be attributed to the fact that 63% of total plantings were “experimental direct seed plantings” rather than the preferred sapling planting that will be carried out in the coming season Core operations/ Nursery ++ The On-site Project Nursery was established on the 20th of February 2017 ++ In addition to the on-site Nursery, sapling raising was also outsourced to 3 other local nurseries ++ A total of 1.6 Lakh saplings of 24 species were raised in these Nurseries during the year 2017. An additional 0.6 lakh seeds are under germination and will be “planting ready” between January 2018 to May 2018 Community Benefits ++ INR 8 Lakh was generated through direct and indirect income for local communities ++ Direct income, consisting of wages and salaries, amounted to INR 3.57 Lakhs. 1400 Mandays of employment generated ++ Indirect Income, consisting of local procurements, seed and sapling procurement, local services, amounted to INR 4.43 Lakhs ++ Man days included Land Preparation, Nursery Operations and Sapling and Seed Collection
HIGHLIGHTS OF TARGET 2018: The 1st Sapling being Planted
the NRC Updation, Land Ownership Surveys & Verification and Aadhar Registration procedures, were being conducted by the State Government during the current period, majority of the planting activity be postponed to the April 2018 to August 2018 seasons ++ The total sapling planted to-date is 66,861. Mortality rate to- date
• Plant 4 Lakh Saplings of at least 18 species between April to Sept 2018 to complete Phase 1 • Prepare Plan & Proposal for Phase 2 for the period January 2019 to December 2020 • Integrate “enterprise driven” activity through a selection from tourism, black pepper, biodegradable plates, handlooms, memorabilia • Integrate activities on education, health and sports programs • Produce Project Documentary 2018
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Elephant Country: Asian Elephant Secretariat A Digital Haven for Conservation At the Eastern Himalayan Naturenomics™ Forum 2015, global stakeholders in Asian elephant conservation expressed a need for a common platform for sharing knowledge and data on the efforts in Asian elephant conservation the world over. This resulted in Balipara Foundation leading the development of Elephant Country: Asian Elephant Secretariat (www.elephantcountry.org), a virtual platform for Asian elephant conservation. It has been over a year since we began our efforts to realize our vision for a unified platform for Asian elephant conservation. In this time, we have developed a platform which has a live helpline number, an Asian elephant library, centralized project repository and an online community module. With enthusiastic participation from partners like Current Conservation, International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), Nature & Wildlife Association (NWA), Sanctuary Asia, World Wildlife Fund (WWF), Wildlife Trust of India (WTI), and many more who have expressed their support, the platform now has 2,800+ articles, 195+ videos, across 128 categories. One of the highlights this year was the Balipara Foundation team presenting this solution at the 12th Annual Green Economics Institute Conference at St. Hugh’s College, Oxford University, UK. The Asian Elephant Secretariat stood out as one of the few applications of Green Economics and innovation, receiving enthusiastic feedback and recommendations from the attendees.
The website, currently a working prototype is allowing us to gain insights into the different use cases and needs of the users. In keeping with our organizational shift towards Human Centered Design we are exploring the various needs of the user and how to solve these in a user-friendly way. Our goal is to create a superior user experience which addresses the key needs of the users. For e.g. One of the questions many of our partners and potential users have raised is “How is the library section of this platform any different from search engines such as Google?” Digging deeper into this we have realized that while Google searches can unearth a plethora of useful information on Asian elephants, where the Elephant Country: Asian Elephant Secretariat offers value is in providing users with results which are vetted and have a strong scientific basis. In an age of fake news and questionable sources, in this way the Elephant Country: Asian Elephant Secretariat solves an important user need by providing them with reliable information. In the initial phase of testing this platform we are uncovering the many challenges that lay ahead of us. Some of these challenges include, defining the right target audience, sufficiently vetting the information on the platform for authenticity, a need for a closed platform for sharing proprietary information, etc. This year our goal is to scale up the utility of the platform and implement many of the solutions developed from the insights gained over the past year and a half. We will continue to evolve this platform in an iterative manner to ensure that it is robust enough to evolve with its users.
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Elephant Country: Products Elephant Country Products aims to raise awareness for the cause of Asian Elephant Conservation, as well as generate revenue to ultimately create a self-sustaining and scalable model for current and future projects. The idea behind launching these products is to provide alternative sources of revenue generation and therefore, livelihood to the many forest-fringe communities.
Canvas bag dyed with tea
Postcards portraying biodiversity of Eastern Himalayan Botanic Ark and Elephant Country
Cotton Cap dyed with tea with a stonewash effect
Handpicked tea leaves and bottled with ginger, lemon flavors
Stonewashed effect cotton T-shirt dyed organically with tea
Bookmarks with Natural Flora and Fauna
Balipara Foundation was formed with the vision of preserving the rich ecological and cultural heritage of the Eastern Himalayas. It has now launched the Elephant Country label to support community led conservation projects in the region. This label is a unifying brand with a mission to: a) Become the rallying cry of all those concerned with the well- being of Asian Elephants and their ecosystems. b) Amplify the efforts of all those working in or supporting Asian Elephant Conservation. c) Raise greater awareness of the plight of these pachyderms and their habitats along with the human communities residing within these habitats.
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EC Products at NaturenomicsTM Store
Eastern Himalayan NaturenomicsTM Forum Picture Courtesy- Mansi Parikh
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Eastern Himalayan Naturenomics™ Forum 2nd & 3rd November 2017. Vivanta by Taj, Guwahati, Assam, India THEME: FORUM | Day 1: Rural Futures Community Conservation & Botany COUNTRIES PARTICIPATED: India, Thailand, UK, USA, Nepal, UAE, Japan, China, Bhutan & France TOTAL PARTICIPATION: 700+ over the 2 days of the Events Eastern Himalayan Naturenomics™ Forum & Balipara Foundation Awards NOTABLE ORGANIZATIONS: Atlanta Botanical Garden, ATREE, Bhutan Institute of Himalayan Studies, McArthur Foundation, Kunming Institute of Botany, Missouri Botanical Garden, WWF-India, Wildlife Trust of India, Sanctuary Nature Foundation, Tata Sustainability, etc. RESOLUTIONS & OUTCOMES 1. Human Centricity Be more Human Centric and design community-based programmes localized to meet community needs 2. Green Power Focus on empowering people with renewables over simply generating green energy 3. Investment Corridors Build environmentally compliant investment corridors instead of mere industrial corridors 4. Best Practices Landscape Map “Best Practices” at a landscape level instead of measuring them at an individual or organizational level 5. Positive Communication Generate media/stories which look beyond the single species, and focus on larger trends and aren’t divided sector-wise 6. Knowledge Management Increase the focus on indigenous knowledge through documentation and propagation 7. Strengthen Mahout Communities Strengthen efforts to better the lives of Mahout communities in Assam in collaboration with WWF India 8. Measuring & Quantifying Impact Work together across disciplines to identify and implement better impact measurement on the ground
1. PROMISES WE MADE Keeping with tradition, Ranjit Barthakur, Founder Trustee, Balipara Foundation, kicked off the Eastern Himalayan Naturenomics™ Forum 2017, by setting the theme for deliberations along with a candid assessment of the progress on the resolutions of 2016. He began by stating that the most significant achievement from last year’s discussions has been the evolution of the framework of Rural Futures. He spoke about how two sides have emerged to the human being through evolution - the economic side and the ecological side. Our economic side has prospered aided by the democratization of information and technological advances, our ecological side however has suffered. In building our brain trust we have put the building of our natural trust, our Natural Capital Bank on the back burner. He spoke about the importance of promoting the concept of Naturenomics™ to create a framework for living which gives back to its ecosystem, but also assessing from time to time whether what we are doing is really Naturenomics™ or if we are veering away from nature purely into economics. In keeping with tradition, he also rated Balipara Foundation’s progress on the Resolutions of last year. While Balipara Foundation received a score of only 42/100 by his metrics, he mentioned the importance of introspection and an increased focus on new avenues like Rural Futures (RuFu) to address the resolutions with greater impact. He concluded by stating that there are many new developments in technology and economics, stating that there is a clear need to evolve how we fund conservation and development, and we need to come up with more local innovations to address these issues. He also stated the key role which committed long-term support from partners will play as Balipara Foundation and others strive to create a more interdependent model between humans, economics and nature. One of the key efforts that Balipara Foundation will make is in developing alternative methods of funding large scale conservation projects such as Rural Futures through the exploration of Development Impact Bonds (DIB) and Green Impact Bonds. 2.RURAL FUTURES FOR CATALYZING CONSERVATION EFFORTS – LAUNCH AND CONCEPTS Saurav Malhotra began his presentation recounting the programme history of Balipara Foundation over the past decade. He mentioned that in taking this journey Balipara Foundation succeeded in a few and failed in the execution of many, the most important outcomes were the learnings from each of these projects. Over the years these learnings precipitated into the launch of Rural Futures. He introduced the concept of Human Centered Design which forms the foundation of Rural Futures. He added that that major problems can be understood if we live among the communities facing the issue to understand and experience their problems hence allowing us to create successful human- centered solutions. Rural Futures, is a framework being created by Balipara Foundation which seeks to create a holistic approach to conservation. Through his experience in living with the Bodo communities in the Udalguri district Saurav learned about the various aspects of rural living which along with the learnings from Balipara Foundation’s past efforts now form the basis of the Rural Futures framework.
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3. RURAL FUTURES: INTEGRATING CONSERVATION & LIVELIHOODS This session chaired by Prof. Xu Jianchu and Dr. Sarala Khaling began with a series of speed talks presenting possible solutions like climate smart villages (Passang Lepcha), creating nature-based livelihood opportunities for social mobility (Robin Eastment), climate smart agriculture (Tshering Dorji Bhutia), and crop insurance schemes and development of elephant friendly villages (Jigme Dorji). The panel discussions which followed, examined the various challenges and successes in combining conservation and livelihoods. There was a general consensus among participants that any livelihood interventions need to be localized to the communities they seek to serve. Belinda Wright started the session with her talk on how to be involved with the community through PRA tools, where engagement with the community becomes the most important part in predicting and planning Rural Futures. Dhruba Das and Dr. Sarmistha Das spoke about their experiences in working with and studying communities where governments have attempted and failed at creating conservation programmes due to the lack of localization of these programmes. Dr. Peter E. Mortimer reinforced these views by citing the Forest Farms in the West Yunnan province of China, where the auction price of the harvest is based on the health of the forest areas where the mushrooms are harvested. Scott MacMahan and Mansi Parikh spoke of the importance of helping communities taste success through small wins therefore getting more buy-in from the communities, laying the ground work for long-term success. Shankar Venkateswaran suggested that corporates also have a crucial role to play in these interventions through by promoting skill volunteering opportunities of their employees in helping marry conservation and livelihoods through business skills and access to markets. He rightly remarked, â€œThere are two worlds which should live together, but are living apart i.e. conservation and livelihood.â€? 4. RURAL FUTURES: FORESTS & PEOPLE Dr. Anish Andheria, chair of the Forests & People session set the context citing the importance of forests in conservation of species. He remarked how changing land use has limited or restricted the movement of animals creating obstacles in the conservation of these species. Most importantly, he urged patience in conservation stating that we will have invest not just our money but our time as well. The speed talks for the session provided insights into the necessity for electric lights in preventing man-elephant conflict (Lailani Fouad), the importance of forest rights for forest dwelling communities (Annesha Choudhary), the importance of protecting forests for future generations (Urbashi Pradhan), the issues facing protection of forest lands by rangers (Rangku Sangma). The panel discussion which followed began with Dr. Varun Goswami reiterated the importance of creating community-managed habitats stating that community forests could play a secondary role in the conservation of the wildlife. Prof. Koyu Furusawa urged a reanalysis of development, to grant legality to extraction of forest products, thereby empowering the local people. On large mammals, Dr. Uma Shankar suggested that we revisit our current forest classification system and urged an emphasis on education, interaction and awareness over environmental assessments. Rachna Yadav urged participants
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to look beyond the famous landscapes like Kaziranga and emphasized the importance of community participation in projects, for long-term success. N. K. Vasu, spoke about the importance of understanding the needs of conservation locally. Prof. Koji Suga shared his perspective on how certain religions could play a major role in conservation. A question posed to the panel on their opinion on the debate between Industrial vs. Ecological corridors. Ranjit Barthakur, Founder, Balipara Foundation addressed that question by suggesting that we should instead use the term “Investment Corridors” where the investments should be made for social, economic and environmental impact. 5. RURAL FUTURES: NATURAL ASSETS & CAPITAL Bruce Rich set the theme of the session observing that Natural Capital valuation has been employed through history, starting from the times of Kautilya and Ashoka. He mentioned that such discussions yield more results when focusing on the practical applications as opposed to the theoretical frameworks. This was the perfect lead-in to Dr. Nilanjan Ghosh’s talk on how we should look at ecosystems services in a changing world. He observed that poor populations gain much more from ecosystems services than they do from their own incomes, and therefore benefit in keeping these services running. He concluded that we need to assess ecosystems services, understand the tradeoffs and create a framework for impact assessment, while understanding the implications on sustainability, reversing investments by studying the payoffs across alternate scenarios. Bruce Rich & Shankar Venkateswaran kicked off the panel discussion with incisive questions on the importance of cooperation between governments and NGOs and to what extent NGOs should integrate livelihoods and conservation. Bittu Sahgal observed that there is virtually no cooperation between governments and NGOs, emphasizing the adverse impact conflicting actions of agencies with conflicting agendas, working in the same landscape have on the protection of Natural Capital. Dr. N. M. Ishwar underscored the need for greater cooperation between governments and NGOs and the promotion of success stories, to motivate conservation and emphasized that studies in natural capital valuation
must focus on enabling policy makers in taking the right decisions. Alka Upadhyay stated that Natural Capital valuation is subjective, and Tata Group companies are assessing social costs of doing business against the business cost of damage vs. the business cost of avoidance. Arpit Bhutani observed that we need to develop a new economic system where the systems are designed to be regenerative so that there is no need for extra effort in conservation. 6. CIRCULAR ECONOMY OPPORTUNITIES IN INDIA Arpit Bhutani introduced the Ellen Macarthur Foundation, a think-tank with the sole purpose of accelerating the transition and transformation to a circular economy globally. He defined the Circular Economy as an economic system which eliminates the concept of waste and pollution providing a model for the future in which waste simply does not exist. In December 2016, the Ellen Macarthur Foundation released a report titled Circular Economy in India – Rethinking growth for long term prosperity focusing on three areas: food and agriculture, cities and construction, and mobility and vehicle manufacturing. The findings provide quantified data on how Circular Economies can help India and Indian institutions make profits out of being circular as opposed to the Take, Make Dispose model. Combining Circular Economy principles with technology and digital transformation, India has the opportunity to achieve high levels of growth and development towards a resource effective system gaining value for business environment and the population. Another report entitled the New Plastics Economy, unveiled at the World Economic Forum in 2017, has three main ambitions, 1) effective after-use plastics economy, 2) drastic reduction in leakage of plastics into natural systems and externalities and 3) decouple plastics from fossil feedstocks. Instead of criticizing the use of plastics, but is in fact one of the first to provide a concrete set of actions. He concluded by stating that, to encourage finding of solutions, in May 2017, the Ellen Macarthur Foundation along with the European Commission announced a USD 2 million innovation prize to identify design in plastics to make them as circular as possible. In October, ideas which were awarded the prize were able to create about 70% circularity with their solutions.
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7. RURAL FUTURES: ECO ARCHITECTURE Priyanka Bista stated that our dated notion of what is rural needs updating. The enormous biodiversity of Nepal faces direct threats from urbanization resulting in complex socio-economics changes like increased deagrarianization, increasing human density, declining rural livelihoods and growing out-migration of the youth. KTK-BELT’s outdoor education initiative was developed to address the need to link field-based educational opportunities to existing curriculum in public schools, through the Vertical University, anchored in 6 campuses along the learning grounds ranging from Yangshila (67m above MSL) to Mt. Kanchenjunga (8,586m above MSL). The 6 campuses represent 5 different climatic zones of the Eastern region of Nepal. The Koshi-Tappu campus will function as a bird and aquatic research centre, equipped with an observatory, classrooms, research labs, etc. The Yangshila VDC, will be a Biodiversity Research hub, developed to include seed banks, libraries, research station, herbarium, etc. Next, is Kurule-Tenupa, a region once home to 150 natural springs which dried up between 2010 and 2015, causing the loss of 25 species of fish which were the mainstay of the local fisherfolk. This campus is envisioned as a water harvesting complex for water storage in the dry seasons. The fourth campus, at Khandbari will focus on capacity building and training of youth in alternative livelihood strategies. Next, in Thudam, a region facing increased temperature changes and urbanization, leading to complex land-use changes, the campus is imagined as a mobile structure that can be carried on the back of yaks, in recognition of the yak herders present in in the region. The final campus is at the base of Mt. Kanchenjunga, the ‘roof of the world’ facing imminent threat from melting glaciers due to climate change. This campus will focus on the research of climatic conditions on glaciers, housing a climate monitoring station along with research residencies, greenhouse and classrooms. With these campuses and the Vertical University, KTK-BELT envisions, hopes and dreams that they can serve the local students, community and farmers – the real stewards of rural futures of the region.
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8. RURAL FUTURES: CONSERVATION & NATURE TOURISM OR CONSERVATION TOURISM Chairing the session Bittu Sahgal started by observing that tourism in the modern age is adversely affecting the biodiversity in the regions tourists frequent. He largely focused on the point that “Community must be the primary beneficiary of biodiversity”. Dr. Sunita Pradhan added that, tourism should be built as an alternative source of livelihood to the community. With conservation initiatives and dynamic approach tourism can cope with the market demand. The speed talks began with Harry Hakuei Kosato posited that India, with its rapidly growing population, should emulate Japan’s focus on eco-tourism in the 1990s to reduce deforestation and promote their culture. Tenzing Bodosa outlined his journey in making his farm an organic, safe haven for Asian Elephants which led to it being declared the first Elephant Friendly™ Tea Plantation. He spoke about how creating a haven for biodiversity is not only in the best interest of business productivity but can also open avenues for tourism and other livelihoods. Oken Tayeng shared his experience of conducting botany tours in the Eastern Himalayas. He observed that local communities are the real guardians of natural assets. He proposed that instead of enforcing certain ideals of biodiversity protection or tourism on these communities we should create livelihoods that are year-round rather than seasonal, to promote biodiversity conservation. Devraj Barooah cited his experience in building Chalo Hoppo to promote ‘experience tourism’ in the North East, in a way, that people can visit and learn about the unexplored parts and cultures of the region by living with the locals. He remarked that “We should look at (exploring) nature without exploiting it”. Belinda Wright pointed out that focusing investments to promote responsible tourism will benefit local communities who are the experts of their regions, along with investors and tourists. Merwyn Coutinho elaborated on his journey from corporate to travel and adventure and how he used his passion for travel and adventure to fund his social enterprise for electrifying villages.
9. RURAL FUTURES: EDUCATION Session chair, Dr. Dhruba Saikia set the context of the session by remarking that education has uses beyond social justice, distributive justice and equality, and stating the need to “reimagine education” Nimesh Ved, opened up the discussion by posing some important questions. “Can we give more value to multiple knowledge system?”, “Can we have a knowledge system which is not alienating?” and “Can we be more serious about the environment?”. Wangchu Bhutia in his speed talk, said that the primary goal of outdoor education is to provide children with regular and repeated access to natural spaces for emergent and inquirybased learning. He shared his experience with KTK-BELT, and how they immerse them in diverse learning activities helping students gain an understanding of biodiversity and its deeper value. The panel discussion began with Etsushi Tsuru, sharing his experience as a journalist and how environmental issues are an integral part of social and political issues. He explained how traditional media can be a facilitator of social progress by helping students employ critical thinking and cultivating their imagination. Chador Wangmo spoke about how nature is inculcated into the education system in Bhutan. This is then fortified by celebrating various nature-oriented festivals and the formation of social and environmental clubs. Biswajit De shared how Maria Foundation School bridges the gap between these systems by first empowering their students who then teach the same curriculum in village schools. This facilitates language exchange between the city schools and the village school. They have implemented this method in 50 village schools located in Assam and Meghalaya. Prof. Koyu Furusawa said that the seed of the human value system needs to be revitalized through the adoption of more environmental friendly approaches to business. Dr. B. K. Konwar stated that the formal education system is inadequate to address the needs, he encouraged forming a meta system which combines the efforts of governments and NGOs to close the gaps. Prof. Koji Suga highlighted that there is a difference in context of nature education in India and Japan which shouldn’t be overlooked.
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10. RURAL FUTURES: GREEN ENERGY & TECHNOLOGY Prokash Dutta and Prabir Banerjea opened the session by giving a brief introductory discussion on green energy and how it can be classified under renewable energy. Shankar Venkateswaran started the discussion stating that the technology is available but we have not capitalized on how to utilize it; he stressed on solar energy in North East India, pointing to storage issues of energy and that the price of the solar panel and construction which make it prohibitive. He concluded saying that we need to understand which energy production system is best suited for the area and it needs further research. Prokash Dutta reinforced Shankar’s observations stating that the main problem of energy access is ensuring that the energy is efficient without compromising its effectiveness. He questioned whether there is a possibility that academia can team up with the tea estates to formulate green energy? Dhiraj Kakati spoke about the rural context, questioning whether green energy is an option and what the alternatives are. He also cited the failure of biomass gas fire or gobar gas, although successful in some areas but it has failed in majority areas. Dr. Khound added to this by highlighting the work that Prokash has been doing through CESIPL in trying to generate electricity from biogas while using the byproduct to create a range of fertilizers which can benefit the local communities. Dr. Konwar, spoke about eco-petroleum and the importance of micro energy. Citing his negative experiences with large scale renewable energy generation in Nagaland, he stated that due to the prohibitive costs and failure of technology, renewable energy may be more effectively generated at a smaller scale. 11. RURAL FUTURES: WATER ACCESS Session chair Dr. Shrinivas Badiger began the session by pointing out that traditional water systems remain the mainstay of agriculture. He stressed the importance of finding a balance between human, technology and ecology to conserve water. Session co-chair, Rituraj Phukan added to Dr. Badiger’s sharing his work through Walk for Water in bringing water to rural areas through Water ATMs. Rinan Shah presented the Effects of the State Entities on the Manifestation of the Domestic Water Scarcity. She spoke about the drivers of the water scarcity and how the water supply needs to be synchronized with the water provided by the government and the daily uses of the water. Francis Darlong, presented the highlights of the survey he conducted on natural springs on Darjeeling. Almost all the springs were managed by the ‘Samaj’, or the ‘community’ and the communities’ most dependent on these springs were poor, migrant workers, and labourers. He concluded by emphasising the need for the restoration of dry springs so that more water is available to marginalised communities. The panel discussion began with Dr. Indira Khurana commenting, “There is always a symbiotic relation between biodiversity and water. Biodiversity conservation can’t be possible without water conservation and vice versa.” Celebrating people’s relation with biology can be encouraged by focusing on local solutions using traditional water systems. She also stressed the importance of maintaining a balance between ground water and surface water.
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Prokash Dutta said that the basic problem of water in rural areas is, distribution of water. He emphasised the benefits of using technology to capture atmospheric humidity to turn into usable water. When questioned on the issue of water security and challenges of access to clean water for marginalized communities, Sarat Chandra Das, shared his experience working in 30 Assam villages, where his organization has created water access with contribution from the community. This model has proved successful thus far in all but one village, where the water dried up. 12. RURAL FUTURES: HEALTHCARE A series of standalone talks on healthcare yielded conflicting results by showcasing the perspectives of three distinct stakeholders in the field of rural medicine. Dr. Vikram Jit Singh Chatwal spoke about the need for “universal healthcare”. Using the JAM Trinity (Jan Dhan-Adhaar-Mobile) framework because it promotes social inclusion, he said we can disrupt how people access healthcare. 15 years ago, Telemedicine was being hailed as the next big revolution in healthcare, however it failed to live up to its hype. He concluded by saying that we will all have to apply new thinking to change healthcare access, which allows people to use mobile phones for their own help. Drawing from his experience as a doctor in tea estates Dr. Purnananda Khaund spoke about his success with Telemedicine introducing Telemedicine in 2015, APPL tea Estates. To overcome the challenges that they have to face in primary healthcare, such few service providers, doctors/nurses, poor communication, connectivity, etc. By introducing Telemedicine they have created a connection between primary care (e.HC) and secondary care (e.Hub). He concluded by highlighting the future benefits, such as strengthening primary healthcare, reducing delay in receiving ‘patient specialist’ care, reduce patients outside referral various hassles, early diagnosis, faster recovery, and reduction on treatment costs. Sentila Yanger put healthcare in the perspective of rural areas in North East India. In the context of rural healthcare, the most important concern is the affordability and availability. The non-existent services of doctors in the rural area is also due to the fact that young doctors do not wish to go back to rural areas upon graduation. There is also a large gap in the reproductive healthcare where women face
disadvantages of getting back to responsibilities such as agriculture, water gathering and caring for the family. She concluded that if rural communities meet with a serious accident/ injury, they will have to travel long distances through a broken road network and suffer if they get help in time at all. The question to think about is what could be the best solution to address the concerns of these communities? 13. RURAL FUTURES: CLIMATE CHANGE This session was a series of speed talks starting with Robbie Hart shared that on resurveying his data from the GLORIA project he has found that although there are more plants in alpine regions they are relatively lower elevation plants, and that alpine areas are becoming similar to sub-alpine areas. He mentions that as temperature increases precipitation increase and hence variability increase retreating glaciers and leading to glacial lake formation. Manish Kumar shared his findings about the changing rainfall in the Sikkim Himalayas where temperature increases have been increasing the water scarcity in the region. He summarized that annual rainfall has decreased whereas the number of rainy days have increased. K. K. Baruah spoke about greenhouse gases, along with fossil fuels and widespread deforestation, being the key drivers for climate change in the North Eastern region. Biomass burning in North East India is also an issue which contributes to climate change. He concluded by suggesting that there should be an intense coordinated research effort to study these changes. Shweta Basnet started her presentation by explaining phenology. Her research is conducted in areas with harsh conditions and short flowering window and her presentation she posed 3 questions, specifically in the context of rhododendrons, “How does phenology respond to climate change? How do climate variables respond to rhododendron phenology? What are the abiotic factors and phylogenic factors which affect the rhododendron budding peak?” She concluded her presentation stating that the abiotic factors alone can predict a phenological event, and the sensitivity of budding and fruiting agents can be affected by climate change. Kamal Pandya addressed the relationship between climate change and mining. Human intervention and environmental degradation are relevant to each other and if we follow all the laws, mining cannot have a negative footprint on water bodies and other environmental assets. The problem he said is not in the laws that govern mining, but in the implementation and enforcement of these laws.
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Day 2: Back to the Future 14. REINTRODUCTION OF ELEPHANTS Khun Sivaporn Dardarananda shared his experience at the Elephant Reintroduction Foundation, in Thailand, which has been buying captive elephants and releasing them into the forest for 15 years. He continued, stating that “reintroduction” is probably not the right word for what they do, given that most of their elephants have been born in captivity, in cities, villages and elephant camps. The over 100 elephants released have lived healthily in the forest, mated and produced 19 babies. They have helped to regenerate the forest demonstrating their true purpose. While 39 elephants have died, mainly from old age, and 19 babies the Foundation will achieve population sustainability in a few years. To increase the biodiversity in the sanctuary, they have introduced wild boar, Eld’s deer, barking deer and Asiatic brown bear, along with birds like wild fowl, hornbills, etc. Water reservoirs are built to provide water for the animals. The sanctuary also allows the Foundation to study the behaviour and social habits of the elephants and also study the elephants and how they impact the biodiversity in the habitat. The Elephant Reintroduction Foundation has veterinarians and field staff to monitor the health of the herd. The local community is also involved by inviting the local villagers to join in the religious ceremonies when any elephants die, allowing them to treat the animals with respect. The Foundation also works with veterinarian schools in the country. The Foundation along with the Forest Department is building The Elephant and Wildlife Knowledge Center at Sublangka to make it a knowledge centre for students and villagers to learn about elephants. He concluded by emphasizing that Human Elephant conflict is probably the biggest issue we face as the elephant tries to build the forest outward and the human population tries to invade the forest. With pressing issues such as climate change corporations and countries are taking steps to address the damage. He expressed hope that with understanding and due regard to all life on this earth and through human intelligence and ingenuity we will be able to achieve the long-term survival of the species. 15. COMMUNITY CONSERVATION AND ELEPHANTS Elephant Country Brand Ambassador, Miss World Japan 2016, Priyanka Yoshikawa started with a quote form Jungle Book, “The elephants created this jungle. Where they made furrows with their tusks the rivers ran. Where they blew their trunks, the leaves fell. They made all that belongs: the mountains, the trees, the birds in the trees. But they did not make you” – Bagheera. To her this iconic movie weaves a delightfully immersive experience of the relationship between humans and animals, driving home that Elephants are the primary custodians of the forests continued existence, along with the local communities engaged in looking after it. In Japanese culture, forests are considered therapeutic. The practice of forest bathing or ‘Shirin-Yoku’ allowing people to connect with nature, it is a longstanding tradition of living harmoniously with Nature, one that recharges and rejuvenates. She said that the reason she is supporting the cause of Community Conservation
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and Asian Elephant Conservation through Elephant Country, is to connect with Nature and Elephants, visit the rich green plantations and forests of Assam where Elephants roam wild and free, thriving alongside the Humans and where she can directly involve myself, and learn from people who work closely with Elephants. Through this partnership she hopes to bring together her Indian and Japanese cultures and inculcate an appreciation of Nature and Natural Heritage in the people of her generation. She concluded saying that the intrinsic coexistence of humanity and wildlife engaged in an integrative bond, with an inclusive approach and empowering aspiration, is an emulative and encouraging model which can pave a path of building a deeper connect between the two countries. 16. ASIAN ELEPHANTS IN CAPTIVITY The theme of Dr. K. K. Sharma’s presentation was Captive Asian Elephant: Past, Present & Future. He began by stating that of the 13 countries which form Asian Elephant ranges, India has the highest population of elephants (22,000 – 27,000) of which only 16% He traced the history of the Asian Elephant in Indian culture from being revered in the pre-Indus valley civilization to their evolution as beasts of burden in the during the British rule in India. After 1996 Indian government once the Indian government banned logging Indian elephant owners started selling the elephants illegally to other countries. Elephants also teach us how to use the Ayurvedic principles, when they are sick they eat specific plants and vegetation to cure their sicknesses. Their lifestyle also teaches the importance of orderly social behaviour. The most important aspect of Asian Elephants he talked about was “that Elephants may promise an answer to cancer”. Dr. Sharma concluded by emphasising the role of Captive Elephants as goodwill ambassadors of the species, allowing people to interact with them and learn more about their conservation.
17. TRUMPETING THE WILD Session co-chair Belinda Wright, spoke about her Wildlife Protection Society of India’s efforts in working with communities to mitigate Human Elephant Conflict using methods like flashing lights, and traditional methods like tin drums with strings, bamboo clappers, etc. in Orissa. Dr. Ravi Singh set the agenda for the discussion, urging the panellists to focus on executions to elevate the session from being just another discussion at a conference to action on ground. He concluded with a plea to all those present to help better the lives of the mahouts who look after the 3,500 captive elephants of the region. Dr. Sandeep Tiwari gave a speed talk on the updated publication Right to Passage, which documents the Asian Elephant migration corridors in India. He emphasised that the fragmented landscape makes it difficult to monitor, and that about 10% of the land reduction for elephants has led to a 70% increase in human elephant conflict. To improve awareness of these issues, the Gaj Yatra has been launched by the environment ministry to sensitize people about elephant corridors. Dr. Varun Goswami began the panel discussion by stating that for better elephant conservation we need to promote co-existence, “If we think about better future, we need to think about Co-existence”. WCS came up with intervention to avoid conflict during migration season by routing elephants to migrate through tea plantations instead of human habitation, avoiding crop damage and conflict. Andy Merk focused on reducing aggressive reaction to elephants. He emphasized the need to protect, restore habitats and also spoke about restricting elephants from getting their basic necessities i.e. food- water and security won’t solve the problems of conflict with humans. Dr. K.K. Sharma shared his experience in working on elephant rescues, he mentioned that the way we react to elephants in emergency situations is key. He also identified the areas which need attention such as medical facilities, provide food, birth control, community elephant reserves etc. Belinda Wright concluded the discussion by stating that Balipara Foundation should capture the discussions from the 4 Asian Elephant conferences in a white paper to be shared amongst all attendees.
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18. EVEN ELEPHANTS HAVE A SECRETARIAT Mansi Parikh gave an update on the progress of the Elephant Country: Asian Elephant Secretariat. Elephant Country is a unifying brand which seeks to become the rallying cry of all those concerned with the well-being of Asian Elephants and their ecosystems. By creating a unified brand it seeks to amplify the efforts of all those working in or supporting Asian Elephant conservation to raise greater awareness of the plight of these pachyderms and their habitats along with the situation of the human communities residing within these habitats. Elephant Country is defined as all countries which comprise of natural Asian Elephant ranges and others which work towards conservation of Asian Elephants and their habitats. Elephant Country: Asian Elephant Secretariat, an online platform for collaboration on Asian elephant conservation, was born from the resolutions of the Asian Elephants in the Wild 2015 Conference, a pre-cursor to the Eastern Himalayan Naturenomics™ Forum. The challenges identified as the basis of this platform were 1) Fragmented efforts, Multiple organizations, Duplication of Efforts 2) Lack of opportunities for cross-functional collaboration 3) Increasing Illegal Animal Trade especially in South East Asia 4) Lack of Adequate data about populations, illegal trades or state of ecosystems Since then much progress has been made in realizing the idea. At the Eastern Himalayan Naturenomics™ Forum 2016, Balipara Foundation unveiled the first iteration of the platform hosted at www.elephantcountry.org. The platform, currently in the “working prototype” phase, is divided into two main sections, the “Library” which provides visitors with verifiable information on Asian Elephants along with a repository of Asian Elephant Conservation projects globally, and the “Secretariat” which allows different conservation stakeholders to interact and share data and seek help on their efforts. Many partners such as Sanctuary Asia, Wildlife Trust of India, WWF India, etc. have already contributed content to the library section of the platform. There is also a working helpline number which can be used by organisations to address various conservation needs and issues that may arise for the communities and field teams in Elephant Country. Some features planned for future iterations include, sourcing of funds and volunteers, real time data sharing, etc. The the team is working to scale its features and is seeking to build partnerships with technology companies, conservation organisations and investors to scale up to its potential. Laying out the various challenges they face up ahead, Mansi concluded that the ultimate goals was to create an unparalleled user experience which will aid multiple stakeholders in Asian Elephant conservation, globally.
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19. LEGALISM IN SHAPING POLICIES Dr. Anish Andheria lead the discussion with the session cochair Dr. Ravi Singh by giving an overview of the importance of the crime department when it comes to conservation. Dr. Andheria identified the need for fast track courts, provision of international treaties and acts in which the role of CITES can be included within Indian provisions as key measures and highlighted the need to revive the wildlife boards which have been diluted due to lack of cross border implementation. Bruce Rich called the Right to Information (RTI) and National Green Tribunal (NGT), ‘path breaking’ environment legislations but stated his concern that National Parks and Wildlife Sanctuaries aren’t under the purview of NGT. Rohit Choudhary explained how the current government has overlooked the environmental laws for the sake of making improvements in business, with an adverse impact on the environment. Prerna Singh Bindra said that environmental laws in India have rich diversity, but in the field implementation, the steps taken are very slow. She also spoke about how; the social and cultural issues have to change their contextual frame of laws in the country. Harish Choudhary spoke about how the national and state wildlife boards are the ones who should be active and taking the initiative. Prashant Choudhury suggested having a ‘wildlife friendly’ fast-track court around all wildlife sanctuaries. Stating that the conviction rate for poachers is very poor, he proposed creation of a registry of poachers in India allowing the law to track them. Kartik Shukul said that while the existing laws are sound, there’s an existing problem of the implementation of these laws, which aren’t being enforced. He assumes that this is due to the lack of training. Dr. Ravi Singh by stating that our laws need to reflect the current situation in India as well as issues like climate change into account and summarized the session in the following points: ++ We need to create green benches at High Court level ++ Provisions for CITES, etc. should be included in our laws ++ Wildlife boards of the states and national have been diluted and need to be strengthened ++ Transboundary issues not only internationally but domestically need to be addressed ++ How can we integrate the acts to protect our wildlife corridors? ++ We should ensure changes without dilution
20. STORYTELLERS ON THE FRONTLINE The session began with a speed talk. Ganga Limbu’s, shared how she, the daughter of a landless farmer, at KTK BELT’s Vertical University, interacted with local farmers and captured local knowledge. In the process, she learned cinematography and use of filmmaking softwares. Lt. General Arun Sahni spoke about how the prevalence of Social Media has changed how people interface with knowledge and that we need to start looking at technology to ensure dissemination, pointing to the Elephant Country: Asian Elephant Secretariat as an example. He also commented on the need for bottom-up engagement. Bahar Dutt began by commenting on the need to assess what journalists qualify as knowledge, and whether they recognize the role of indigenous knowledge. She questioned whether positive storytelling impacts conservation policy, highlighting the media’s tendency to ignore issues like habitat degradation and fragmentation in favour of individual incidents like poaching and overkill. Nimesh Ved responded to Bahar’s point by stating that an effective way to approach this is by weaving the stories into larger narratives. Amit Patro, stated that media needs to strike a balance between developmental requirements of humans and advocating environmental protection. Answering Bahar’s question Ruella Rahman Khound said that she believes that there has been greater focus on NE in mainstream media but it is perceived as an exotic standalone entity, there is no cohesive platform to find mentorship or become sensitized to many issues. Naresh Mitra added that there is a perceptible change in environmental narratives, from focus on big infrastructure projects to politics and other aspects of environmental issues. Samrat Choudhury shared that as an editor he realizes that there are layers that affect coverage decisions and the focus is always on the lowest common denominator. Prerna Singh Bindra expressed her concern that we are putting environmental issues ‘in a box’ without context, whereas environmental issues actually have consequences in Health, Economy, Politics, etc. Prabal Kumar Das brought in the important perspective of cultural context. Journalists’ perspectives may result in many things get lost in translation. An important point highlighted by the audience was the need to empower people to tell their own stories rather than journalists telling it for them to bring focus to serious conservation issues.
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21. EASTERN HIMALAYAN BIOCULTURAL DIVERSITY The discussion began with Dr. Kamal Bawa who spoke about 3 major scales at which to tackle climate change. ++ Measure climate changes and how it impacts an area ++ Adapt and mitigate the effects of climate change ++ Figure out how to strengthen society’s response to these changes. He stated the need for an interdisciplinary approach, and proposed the idea of integrated knowledge system which consists of people from various disciplines. Dr. Bawa concluded that, “We all are becoming storytellers, especially in the age of Facebook and Twitter, we need more biocultural stories from the region”. Prof. Jianchu Xu briefly introduced the topic of biocultural diversity and its importance. Dr. Rinzi Lama then began the panel discussion by setting the agenda of the session, stating that biocultural approach to conservation has moved from people being treated as a threat to exploring more integrated approaches. She also mentioned that the panel will focus on the integration of the discipline of Botany to the knowledge system of our community. Robbie Hart started the discussion by stating the importance of acknowledging different stakeholders as the necessary first step towards building shared goals. in order to conserve local biodiversity. Scott Macmahan agreed with Robbie’s point sharing the Atlanta Botanic Garden’s method of ‘conservation through propagation’ through an example of New Caledonia, where the government has joined hands with private nurseries to save the conifer species in the region from extinction. Donglin Zhang suggested propagating Eastern Himalayan plants locally, not just for conservation, but also for economic benefit of local communities. Haikholet Kipgen opined that a “Mixture of Indigenous people and science is a correct way for protecting biodiversity and culture of the Manipur”. Dr. Sunayna Sarkar added her perspective as a geologist to the discussion by suggesting that if we take the geological aspects of the region into consideration, challenges faced by conservation could be better understood. Prof. Xu, concluded with the observation that now people not only care about conservation of natural assets but also assess who benefits from them in the global market. He expressed hope that we there will be more diversity, better economic status and more social responsibility in the coming decade.
22. COMMUNITIES SPEAK – VOICES OF THE PEOPLE FROM THE LAND Dr. Gita Dutta moderating an important conversation with members of the local communities, the session recognized the experiences and efforts of communities who have found successful solutions to dealing water, education, health and erosion issues in their villages. The session began with Ganga Prasad Sarma of the Nepali community in the Udalguri District, Assam. His community has realized that to solve the problems they face such as Human Elephant Conflict, they have to recognise the root cause of the problem, which in their case is depleting green cover. Also hailing from the Udalguri district, Amit Kujur focused on the shift in people’s mindset, their harmonious coexistence with Nature has been disrupted. This change has led to issues such as water scarcity, deforestation, etc. Through Balipara Foundation’s Udalguri Landscape Mission they have formed an Eco Development Committee which has undertaken afforestation programmes and is educating people in the region on how to work together to help conserve and develop the environment. Mainu Marak described educating and organizing women in her village about issues like soil erosion which resulting in flooding has resulted not only in restricting deforestation but active participation in afforestation programmes. Parmeshwar Rabha took the lead on creating awareness about the animals in his village. He would purchase exotic animals such as turtles, snakes, etc. sold at local markets and release them. Over time the community began to support him leading to a decrease in the sale of these captured animals. Suresh Pait spoke about how he worked with government authorities to convert conservation into a driver for tourism. He encouraged villagers to train as guides, cooks, shopkeepers, etc. and to stop illegal activity in the forest. Classrooms were built to educate villagers, helping them achieve 100% literacy. They created village homestays for direct tourism income and also help local organisations in planting and identifying trees, plants, animals, etc. He concluded that the local people have their own knowledge of conservation, which is equal to the knowledge of any scientist. This session established that if conservationists can work with the people from the regions they serve they can derive greater understanding by combining the indigenous knowledge with domain expertise.
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Balipara Foundation Awards THE ANNUAL BALIPARA FOUNDATION AWARD Presented to a government or non-government organization, whose contribution to the protection of wild nature has gone beyond the call of duty and which has displayed demonstrable success in the arena of nature conservation WINNER DR. DHAN BAHADUR GURUNG, BHUTAN An environmental steward, Dr. Gurung is an environmental educator whose teachings have inspired a new generation of botanists to dedicate their lives towards socio-economic development of Communities and preservation of the environment. He has been instrumental in building credit worthy programmes that have helped Institutions through revenue generation to meet capacity and infrastructure facility gaps. Major projects headed by Dr. Gurung include DANIDA-Bhutan and NRRHED-CNR. His research on aquatic biodiversity conservation against hydropower development has influenced the Government’s policy to maintain at least one major river in the country free of hydropower dams. In the social sector, Dr. Gurung’s work on ecotourism has been acknowledged by the government and many community –based ecotourism programs are initiated in his study sites that empower the local communities’ socio-economically. Social Impact As part of his PhD thesis, a study on ecotourism was conducted in a remote district in Bhutan and published in an International peer reviewed journal. Based on his study recommendation, the ecotourism initiative has been promoted by the Government benefiting local communities of one of the most remote district in the country. He is a founding member and species data curator of Bhutan Biodiversity Portal which is a widely used citizen science portal in Bhutan. Dr. Gurung is first national professional who studied and published a book on orchids of Bhutan and also motivated community group formation for conservation of orchids in Trongsa district, central Bhutan.
Economic Impact Dr. Gurung is a project team leader of Danida–RUB capacity building project. The project has supported one PhD student and number of research and publication benefiting faculty of the college. He is also a coordinator for NORHED - Bhutan project which stands for institutional capacity building project between Norway, Nepal, Pakistan and Bhutan (Ongoing). Till date the project has supported two PhD student and eight Masters Students, helping capacity development of college faculty while generating income for the country. Environmental Impact Dr. Gurung has conducted comprehensive studies on fishes in Punatshangchhu River where dams are constructed to generate hydropower publishing a preliminary checklist of fishes of Bhutan a new fish species (Parachiloglanis bhutanensis) was discovered, adding to the ecological value of the river. In the Department of Forestry, College of Natural Resources, Dr. Gurung teaches forestry and environment related subjects helping capacity building of staff under Department of Forests and Park Services. He has also introduced many programs at the College of Natural Resources at undergraduate and post graduate level helping capacity building of students to protect environment. Awards & Achievements Dr. Gurung is recipient of the Rufford Small Grant Award (2011). With this funding number of under graduate research of fishes were supported. AWARD PRESENTER: BAHAR DUTT Bahar Dutt is an Indian television journalist and an environmental editor and columnist for CNN-IBN. She spent seven years with the Bahelias, or snake charmers, across Haryana and Rajasthan. When the snake charmers’ practice of catching snakes and training them illegal, she worked to combine their knowledge of snakes and musical abilities into public performances and education without the use of snakes.
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NATURENOMICSTM AWARD Presented to a green entrepreneur whose financial and ecological success has proven to be sustainable in wealth formation through the securitization of natural assets such as food, water, energy and environment WINNER SAGIR AHMED, ASSAM Transforming waste coconut shells into intricate art pieces of jewellery and home decor, Sagir Ahmed is a Green Entrepreneur and owner of Dazzle Craft, who has used innovation & creativity to recycle and reuse a waste product. He has contributed towards imitating nature’s way of letting nothing to go waste, using the humble coconut shell to manufacture an expanding variety of useful, environmentally friendly products. His eco-friendly craft pieces are bought by many e-commerce website, retailers and wholesalers who buy these products & sell them through their sales platforms. The products are bio-degradable and hence non-hazardous and environment friendly. Sagir Ahmed aims to utilize coconut shell as a valuable currency.
AWARD PRESENTER: NAOKO GHOSH Naoko Ghosh is a yoga therapist who lives in Yakushima Island, which is a world heritage in Japan. She organizes forest walking and meditation tours, and teaches dry and wet method water painting.
Sagir Ahmed’s crafts have helped raise awareness on the valuable use of coconut shells of Assam and are a source of livelihood for selfhelp women groups.
Social Impact Sagir Ahmed’s crafts have helped raise awareness on the valuable use of coconut shells of Assam and are a source of livelihood for self-help women groups. These women who would earlier burn or throw these coconut shells now collect them as raw material for his business in exchange for a steady source of income. Economic Impact The business of Coconut shell craft is a profitable venture as the production cost is minimal so anyone can learn this craft and have a stable source of income. Wholesaler, Retailer, E- Commerce websites are also earning money by buying crafted coconut shell products readymade from Dazzle craft. This initiative is also profitable for the women self-help groups who are also earning their livelihood from the Coconut shell which they assumed as a waste material. Environmental Impact Coconut Shell products are eco-friendly products. The craft makes use of non-exhaustible natural resources and makes available an option to the harmful effects of plastic. Under the initiative of Sagir Ahmed, Dazzle Craft stands for creating environment friendly products, thereby recycling waste material into valuable home décor products.
He has contributed towards imitating nature’s way of letting nothing to go waste, using the humble coconut shell to manufacture an expanding variety of useful, environmentally friendly products.
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GREEN JOURNALIST AWARD 2017 Presented to the green journalist for their outstanding coverage of community stories and conservation in and around ecologically fragile wilderness WINNER AMIT PATRO, SIKKIM Amit Patro, an indomitable Journalist has been the pioneer of the culture of daily newspapers in Sikkim from 2003. Through the platform of Sikkim Express, he continues to bring to light several environmental causes, local stories, grievances of the local people and recognize local heroes in the pursuit of socio-economic empowerment of these societies and communities. His contribution towards the growth of media in Sikkim has been enormous. Conferred with Sikkim Sewa Samman, the highest civilian award, by the Sikkim Government for his contributions to advancement of media in Sikkim, he continues to report relentlessly on the environmental issues of Sikkim and highlighting NGOs that help preserve the environment. To this effect, he has dedicated pages to Environment storytelling in Sikkim Express. Social Impact When Sikkim Express decided to become a daily newspaper in 2003, slowly but steadily, the team began changing the mindset of the people. Relief work for people in distress, local cleanliness drives, plantation drives on World Environment Day, sensitisation workshops against human trafficking, no water supply in their village, became part of the daily. It showcases that the Sikkimese society is vibrant and remains engaged in various activities throughout the year. Economic Impact Sikkim is a bio-diversity hotspot. It has a varied mountainous topography, glacier-fed rivers and some of the most exotic flora and fauna. It is also a State where thrust is given on hydel power generation as a sustainable source of income and energy. It has also been a priority of Sikkim Express to give prominence to environmental stories. They follow the reports from Central and State agencies regarding environment in Sikkim and do their own reporting. They also give wide coverage to NGOs or individuals working in Sikkim towards environmental conservation. Environmental Impact Amit Patro has been writing a lot of editorials on environmental issues from the past few years. He has also
dedicated a page to Environment in Sikkim Express which is published every Sunday since 2007. Awards and Achievements ++ Received the Impulse Model Best Media Person Award for generating highest number of articles on human trafficking, in 2013 Trafficking in Person Conclave at Guwahati ++ Conferred with Sikkim Sewa Samman, the highest civilian award conferred by the Sikkim government, on the occasion of 38th State Day, May 16, 2013 for his contributions to advancement of media in Sikkim ++ Selected as a delegate for â€˜Capacity Building of High Level Officials from Law Enforcement, Lawyers and Media in using Information Technology effectively to Combat Human Trafficking in the North East Indiaâ€™s to London during October,2016 and organized by impulse NGO networking and supported by British High Commission. He is also a member of State Level Audit Advisory Board, Sikkim (SLAAB) AWARD PRESENTER: PRIYANKA BISTA Priyanka is the Design Director and Co-Founder of the KTKBELT Project, where she oversees the architecture, planning and capacity building areas of the project. Earlier she was working in informal settlements of Port Harcourt, Nigeria leading the mapping and planning components of the Human City Project implemented in collaboration with UNHabitat, Cities Alliance, NLE, and multiple projects around the world.
Through the platform of Sikkim Express, Amit Paro continues to bring to light several environmental causes, local stories, grievances of the local people and recognize local heroes in the pursuit of socio-economic empowerment of these societies and communities.
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EASTERN HIMALAYAN CONSERVATION AWARD Presented to an individual, community or organization that has significantly and successfully worked to protect the wildlife or wildernesses of the Eastern Himalaya upon which millions of people depend for their sustenance WINNER JOINT FOREST MANAGEMENT COMMITTEE, BHAIRABKUNDA, ASSAM Amid the gloom of large scale deforestation in the Udalguri region of Assam, 6 villages on the India-Bhutan border at Bhairabkunda have come together to regenerate a stretch of barren sandy forest land. This Joint Community Conservation Initiative under the Committee name “Sonai Rupa” has regenerated 500 hectares of deforested land to a picturesque man-made forest that was planted with 10 lakhs of sapling and now serves as a shelter to wild elephants, deers, monkeys, leopards, bears along with various species of flora. A small river with several canals -a few of those man-made runs throughout the forest, providing replenishment for the green cover. Nature loving Committee members believe that with some support from the Bodoland Territorial Council, the area can be developed as an ideal eco-tourism hub.
AWARD PRESENTER: KRISHAN KANT AGGARWAL Krishan Kant Aggarwal is the General Manager of Vivanta by Taj, Guwahati. Vivanta by Taj – Guwahati is 4th pre-opening assignment and his last assignment as a General Manager. Vivanta by Taj, Coorg under his leadership made news for being one of the best rainforest hotels in the world and won the most coveted award from Conde Nast Traveller, UK and USA. His career path has taken him across international waters with Luxury Cruise Lines in 2004, to be back with the Taj in 2007. Krishan has a keen interest in environment and sustainable growth and actively pursues Nat Geo,Frans Lanting, Sanctuary Asia.
Social Impact The restoration has led to conservation of much needed forest products for local use, food and medicine, meets the increasing demand for ecosystem services and generates livelihoods for the Communities. Economic Impact The restoration of forest meets the increasing demand for ecosystem services- in particular the many provisioning services of forests as many people heavily rely on forests for livelihoods and products such as timber, medicines, thatch, fibre and meat. It is a hub for labour intensive work such as plantation of trees, shrub planting etc. Environmental Impact Regeneration of forest expansion emerges as a shelter of wild animals and birds. They converted a plot of barren sandy lands measuring 500 hectare (5 sq KM) into a new picturesque forest by planting khoir, gomari, simul, shisum etc near Dhansiri river which is very close to Bhutan and Arunachal. The regenerated forest land now has rich vegetation and has given shelter to wild elephants, deer, monkeys, leopard, bears, etc. beside various species of flora.
This Joint Community Conservation Initiative under the Committee name “Sonai Rupa” has regenerated 500 hectares of deforested land to a picturesque man-made forest that was planted with 10 lakhs of saplings.
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GREEN GURU AWARD Presented to a ‘green teacher’ whose purpose in life is to inspire young people to respect, learn about and protect nature. The individual should have leadership qualities, including missionary zeal, passion and dedication so that others may seek to emulate his or her example WINNER DR. SOURABH DEB Dr. Sourabh Deb is a Professor at the Tripura University, arguably the only University in India where Forestry and Biodiversity is a subject in the Masters programme. A firm believer that research based teaching approach should be related to the economic upliftment of the students, the research outcome of his work is ultimately benefiting forest dwellers, farmers/orchardists, State Forest and other allied departments, and different NGOs. Along with the academic perspective, he is helping students relate to the changing dynamics of the society and environment. He believes that a mark can be made in academics when teachers and students complement each other and contribute to the betterment of society and environment. Social Impact He guides his students, who are mostly from rural communities, on the value of solution based forestry and biodiversity research in tune with the emerging global concerns on the degradation of Natural Assets. With a special focus on sensitizing his students towards nature and developing a genuine love and appreciation for the natural world, he is moulding future Green leaders to contribute to community and biodiversity conservation. Economic Impact Dr. Deb is a firm believer in a research based teaching approach which relates to the economic upliftment of the students. His research outcomes ultimately benefit forest dwellers, farmers/orchardists, State Forest and other allied departments, and various NGOs. He endeavours to promote economic development of the people of Northeast India, popularizing traditional medicines of the region through workshops and awareness programme has resulted in great impact on the economy of traditional healers. He was also the resource person in several workshops on Medicinal plants, identification of artisans, NTFP livelihoods, etc. for the economic upliftment of the people of Northeast India.
Environmental Impact Dr. Deb’s research in the last fourteen years shows great impact in the field of environmental sciences. His work on traditional agroforestry, shifting cultivation, community forest management, Non-timber forest products, macro fungal diversity, medicinal plants of Northeast India and many other aspects of environmental sciences have received great response among the scientific community. His publications were cited by 114 authors globally. His extensive work on biomass production and nutrient dynamics studied in traditional agroforestry systems in North East India, helped find the best agroforestry practices in the region. His research on innovation of shifting cultivation practices is popular, and it is observed that farmer-led technological innovations could help in perpetuation of jhum in Northeast India even after exposure to modern agriculture. His current work on assessment of carbon sequestration potential of different land use system of Tripura has also been formulated for ecological benefit and betterment of the native people. Awards and Achievements Awarded ‘Environmentalist of the Year 2014’ by National Environmental Science Academy, New Delhi for contributions in the field of environmental science. AWARD PRESENTER: ELSA HART Elsa Hart is an American novelist. Her first two books are historical novels set in the Chinese Eastern Himalayan region. They were published by Minotaur (Macmillan) in the USA and will appear in Chinese (Ginkgo Press). Elsa has participated in climate change research in China and Nepal since 2011, working with her husband Robbie Hart, and was involved in fieldwork in the Kanchenjunga area.
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YOUNG NATURALIST AWARD 2017 Presented to a young boy / girl (age 15 to 25) whose life has been dedicated to the protection of nature. These individuals are agents of change and thought leaders of tomorrow and may be students, researchers, employees, or villagers
FOOD FOR THE FUTURE AWARD Presented to a visionary individual, who might be a scientist, NGO, villager or entrepreneur who has made a significant contribution to the promotion of organic food, or has demonstrated alternative farming methods that increase yields using ecological principles that have brought about replicable change
WINNER HISKIYA SANGMA, ASSAM Hisikiya Sangma was a part of Ecosystem India and involved in Pigmy Hog Conservation Program. His videos helped the project authority to record the behaviour of this endangered animal. Besides this he has completed 2 documentaries “Life of a forest guard” and “Protected Area Community” for the State Forest Department, Assam. Currently associated with the NGO, MASK, he is playing an active role in natural resource management program in association with community. He is also involved in awareness programme conducted by MASK on forest conservation in rural areas. AWARD PRESENTER: DR. ROCHANA DARDARANANDA Associate Professor Dr. Rochana Dardarananda is the first speech pathologist in Thailand. As a faculty member in the department of Otolaryngology, Faculty of Medicine, Ramathibodi Hospital University, Dr. Rochana served as head of Speech and Hearing Clinic, impacting those from children to adults.
WINNER KRISHNA BORO (OMITA GAONPAPAYA VILLAGE), ASSAM What began as an initiative by one man in the village, 37-year-old Krishna Bodo is yielding economic returns for other farmers in up to 3 villages, who are replicating the same model of sustainable farming to grow Papayas in the village. The farmers are now being linked to creating a Farmer Producer Organization, an important initiative undertaken by the Ministry of Agriculture to promote and strengthen member-based institutions of farmers, who will provide the necessary skill building and training, raw material and machinery and financial advice. With the yield and consequent economic return, the farmers have a sustainable livelihood while equally benefitting the environment. Social Impact Community based farming initiatives are changing rural livelihoods in Assam’s Kamrup district. With the yield and consequent economic return, Krishna Bodo’s initiative has motivated fellow farmers in Boko. Economic Impact Krishna Bodo along with fellow farmers had previously tried their hands at other vegetables like strawberry, broccoli, cauliflower, pumpkin and bottle guard including banana of malbhog variety but papaya farming has fetched them premier returns. A plant produces 25 kg papaya in a year which fetches Rs. 1000 for the growers, including Rs. 300 input cost. The cost benefit ratio is an encouraging 30:70. Environmental Impact Farmers of the Bhogdabari village near Boko in Assam are transforming barren 61 bighas of land through sustainable farming into organic Papaya fields. AWARD PRESENTER: SCOTT MCMAHAN Scott is a Manager of International Plant Exploration at the Atlanta Botanical Garden. Scott oversees plant collection and evaluation, there as well as the creation of a visiting scholar program to promote the exchange of knowledge and plants with other botanical institutions around the world.
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NATURE CONSERVANCY AWARD Presented to a community or organization, government or non-governmental that has restored a parcel of non-forest land or deforested land to biodiversityrich forest for posterity WINNER BHUTAN GLORY ECO CLUB, NAGALAND In the remote areas of North East, in the Fakim village, hunting of Wildlife & Jhum Cultivation practice is causing rapid deforestation and degradation of the environment. In pursuit of inculcating pride in the youth of Nagaland towards the Natural heritage and the value of conservation for a more sustainable and equitable future for themselves, Tsuseki and Limthure started the Bhutan Glory Eco Club to include the youth in conservation with the mission “Shoot, but with camera, not gun”. Their work has helped bring more focus to Fakim Wildlife Sanctuary which boasts of the endemic butterfly species – Bhutan Glory. Along with community mobilization, awareness education and helping the forest department, they are expanding their domain to livelihood generation through horticulture and animal husbandry. They have played a very important role in all major activities of the forest department like Complete LED Village Program where Fakim Village became the first complete LED village in Nagaland. As local role models and Grassroots Leaders, Tsuseki and Limthure continue to involve more and more youth in conservation through their persistence and commitment. Social Impact Limthure and Tsuseki have brought a change in the mindset of the community members with regard to protection of their natural resources. They also documented the biodiversity of their forests and produced a booklet ‘Wildlife of Fakim Village’. This was reproduced by the forest department for further distribution. Economic Impact Acquaintance with several NGO’s and research scholars as well as Tourist is generating income to the locality. Environmental Impact They bought significant changes in collaboration with conservation related departments and Ngo’s – hunting, logging, etc. Also they, succeeded in bringing awareness on proper utilisation of dustbins, proper drainage system and controlling pig rearing.
AWARD PRESENTER: DR. SARALA KHAILING Dr. Sarla Khaling, is a native of Darjeeling, and Regional Director of ATREE - Eastern Himalayan - Northeast India Office. Dr. Khaling has a Ph.D in Wildlife Biology and a post-doc in Forests, People and Institutions. She has more than 15 years experience of working in the field of ecology, people and their relationship with biodiversity in the Himalaya. Prior to joining ATREE, she worked for WWF.
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LIFETIME SERVICE AWARD Presented to an individual whose life has been devoted to the ecological welfare of the people of the Eastern Himalayas and whose philosophy and purpose has been guided by the need to protect, restore and care of nature. We are in search of a true hero; an Indian woman or man who is an inspiration to all WINNER HAOKHOLET KIPGEN, MANIPUR Under the leadership of Haokholet Kipgen, FEEDS has adopted many innovative and unique community inclusive projects that makes the best use of our natural resources and brings into complementary relationship the needs of economic development with our living environment. The centre is of relevance not only to the Himalayan region and India but the world as a whole for its contribution towards development of Rural upland Agro-forestry, family base Tea Plantation, Commercial flower cultivation, conservation of orchids and extension service. The Center is the first in India to grow Emu in cold regions and the first in introducing Emu into North East. A major focus area for the organization is to impart education and facilitate rural livelihoods, skill training and capacity building for the millennials. In order to cope up with the prevailing deteriorating environment and economic conditions, FEEDS has introduced Silvi-AgriHorticulture plantation to preserve ecology and improve economy of the region. Social Impact The organization has acquired tremendous experience in terms of its activities and commendable achievements in the development of Rural upland Agro-forestry, family base Tea Plantation, Commercial flower cultivation, conservation of orchids and extension service. Presently the FEEDS has planned to launch a training cum awareness programme on turkey farming with objectives of popularizing turkey farming among the hill people of the district. Economic Impact The foundation has distributed 300,000 saplings of various kinds of plants to the villagers and the field assistants are assisting in the plantation works. In order to cope up with the prevailing deteriorating environment and economic conditions, the FEEDS introduced Silvi-Agri-Horticulture plantation to preserve ecology and improve economy of the region. It has developed demonstration farm of gladiolus, avocado, kiwi fruits and raised a 2 ha nursery of indigenous orchids farm.
Environmental Impact Under the initiative of Mr. Kipgen, one of FEED’s major area of focus is to impart education as well as job opportunity to many youths and more particularly the farmers AWARD PRESENTER: LOBSANG SANGAY His Excellency President of Central Tibetan Administration Dr. Lobsang Sangay is an expert on International Human Rights Law, Democratic Constitutionalism, and Conflict Resolution. In 2011, he was elected to the post of Sikyong, the democratically elected leader of the Tibetan people and political successor to His Holiness the Dalai Lama of Tibet, in an unprecedented and competitive democratic election in the Tibetan Diaspora. On August 8, 2011, during the swearing–in ceremony of Sikyong, (Formerly Kalon Tripa) His Holiness the Dalai Lama said: “When I was young, an elderly regent Takdrag Rinpoche handed over Sikyong (political leadership) to me, and today I am handing over Sikyong to young Lobsang Sangay. In doing this I have fulfilled my long-cherished goal.” Dr. Sangay was re-elected as the Sikyong in 2016 (termed as President from 2017 onwards) for the second consecutive term and at the swearing-in ceremony graced by His Holiness the Dalai Lama, he unveiled the Five-Fifty Vision: Shaping Tibet’s Political Future. He continues to travel extensively around the world for speaking engagements and leads high-level diplomatic engagements and political advocacy for Tibet, thus keeping Tibet not only on the radar but also atop the global political discourse and agenda.
A major focus area for the organization is to impart education and facilitate rural livelihoods, skill training and capacity building for the millennials.
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RANGERS AND GUARDS OF THE EASTERN HIMALAYAS AWARD Presented to forest staff of Forest Departments for their exemplary service towards the protection of Fauna and Flora in National parks and reserve forest of the Eastern Himalayas WINNER KHAGEN BHUYAN Forest Ranger Khagen Bhuyan is a man of extraordinary resilience. A Grassroots Leader, he has worked relentlessly to motivate fringe forest communities to desist from illegal exploitation of forest products, leading to a decrease in poaching incidents and has participated in numerous plantation drives to improve the Karbi foothills habitat. He has been actively involved in civil society efforts to improve the socio-economic condition of the area by helping the Community in conflict management and lending support for building social mobility assets for them, thereby empowering them to protect the Elephants. Khagen Bhuyan is also the man behind the first conviction in the region of poachers caught red-handed for illegal smuggling of forest products. Social Impact Khagen Bhuyan has initiated, supported and participated in programs in collaboration with grassroots civil society and community groups for awareness and sensitization activities to reduce man-animal conflict in the Karbi foothills. Economic Impact Mr. Bhuyan has been supporting the civil society initiatives for improving the life of the poor by providing blankets, mosquito nets, etc. Environmental Impact He has mobilized villagers to participate in measures to improve the degraded Karbi foothills elephant habitat by participating in mass tree plantation drives. He has also supported and participated in civil society initiatives for involving local communities in management of humanelephant conflict. AWARD PRESENTER: PRERNA SINGH BINDRA Prerna Singh Bindra has been at the forefront of the battle to conserve India’s wildlife for over a decade. She served as a member of the National Board of Wildlife and its core standing committee and on Uttarakhand’s State Board for Wildlife. Prerna’s primary focus is protecting wildlife habitats and critically endangered species. She is a widely published author with over 1500 species of nature and wildlife.
RANGERS AND GUARDS OF THE EASTERN HIMALAYAS AWARD Presented to forest staff of Forest Departments for their exemplary service towards the protection of Fauna and Flora in National parks and reserve forest of the Eastern Himalayas WINNER CHAKRAPANI RAI, ASSAM Forest Ranger Chakrapani is a Range Officer in Rajiv Gandhi Orang National Park at Orang. Rajiv Gandhi Orang National Park is located in a strategic location, encircled by hostile immigrant population. The National Park is rich with biodiversity- over 30 Bengal Tigers and about 100 rhinos. Mr. Rai has adopted a carrot and stick policy in handling the people, supports good people of the fringe villages and dominates the outlaws and poachers. He has established a good network of information and strikes with precision. A good ranger is equivalent to a thousand activists and a true leader, he has fearlessly lead anti-poaching operations and killed 8 poachers, arrested 38 and recovered 14 weapons. A true hero he also involves himself in activities that enable socio-economic development of forest fringe Communities. Social Impact Mr. Rai has taken up lots of PR activities and established a good relationship with law abiding people of the fringe villages and dominated the outlaws with firm hands. Environmental Impact He eliminated 8 poachers during last Five Years of his service as Range Officer, Orang N.P. Poachers Arrested: 38 Nos last Five years. Arms Recovered: (1) .303 Rifle 11 nos, (2) Handmade 2nos, (3) AK-47- 1 No Total- 14. Ammunition: .303 Rifle ammunition 149 rounds, AK-47- 17 rounds, Gun-5 rounds. Achieved Zero poaching: During 2015, zero poaching in a calendar year after 12 years. AWARD PRESENTER: LT. GEN ARUN KUMAR SAHNI Lt Gen Arun Kumar Sahni is a decorated scholar–soldier, with 40 years of commissioned service in the Indian Army. His experience encompasses command and staff assignments, in the country’s most inhospitable and conflict affected areas to battle external and internal security challenges. He aspires to contribute meaningfully to all levels of society through experience sharing and formal interface at the operational, directional and strategic level with all kinds of organizations.
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RANGERS AND GUARDS OF THE EASTERN HIMALAYAS AWARD Presented to forest staff of Forest Departments for their exemplary service towards the protection of Fauna and Flora in National parks and reserve forest of the Eastern Himalayas
RANGERS AND GUARDS OF THE EASTERN HIMALAYAS AWARD Presented to forest staff of Forest Departments for their exemplary service towards the protection of Fauna and Flora in National parks and reserve forest of the Eastern Himalayas
WINNER ZAKHUMA DON, MIZORAM A forest guard with the Mizoram Forest Department in the Dampa Tiger Reserve, Zakhuma is an extraordinary and quiet grassroots conservationist. In 2015, he was selected as a fellow by the Green Hub and here, learnt the basics of video documentation and editing. Despite owning no personal equipment, and having very limited access to editing softwares and the internet, Zakhuma has created a breathtaking repository of natural history images. His spectacular portfolio of images is used by the department for conservation outreach, awareness and action. Zakhuma has undertaken a long- term project to document the lifestyle of the Chakma tribal communities that inhabit three villages on the fringe of the Dampa Tiger Reserve and their dependence on the forest and the on- going protection efforts in the area.
WINNER SANTIRAM CHETRY, ASSAM A Forest Guard at the Kaziranga National Park, Santiram Chetry is a long-standing officer who has dedicatedly protected the inhabitants of the World Heritage Site. Due to his courage and self-networking many definite Rhino poaching attempts by the miscreants could be averted. His field knowledge in terms of animal behaviours and its movements is unparalleled. Calm and composed in the gravest of situations, Chetry has been instrumental in guiding his team in the right direction for conservation of habitats and suggest measures that help conserve and maintain the rich flora and fauna of the National Park.
Social Impact Zakhuma wishes to use the documentation to make informative audio-visual presentations and documentaries in order to increase conservation awareness among people around Dampa and also more widely in Mizoram and Northeast India while also helping the forest department to build stronger conservation strategies in this area. Environmental Impact Working in the dense rainforests and bamboo stands of the northeast, he spends weeks on anti-poaching patrols, whilst coordinating camera-trapping exercises for the department and diligently documenting the exquisite but little-known biodiversity and cultural heritage of the region. AWARD PRESENTER: S.K. DUTTA S.K. Dutta was associated with the Globally Managed Services as a mentor for many years. He retired as Deputy Chairman of a tea broking firm and is an Alumni of St. Edmundâ€™s School and St. Stephenâ€™s College, Mr. Dutta hails from Dibrugarh and now enjoys his retirement in both Kolkata and Guwahati.
Environmental Impact Due to his cool and calm nature he could guide his fellow works and subordinates in right direction for conservation of habitats and give appropriate suggestions to his superiors in terms of conservation and maintenance of flora & fauna in Kaziranga National Park. AWARD PRESENTER: ROBBIE HART Robbie Hart is an Assistant Curator at the Missouri Botanical Garden, where he studies high elevation ethnobotany and climate change ecology in the Willam L. Brown Center. At the WLBC, Robbie leads programs in high elevation plant ecology, climate change, and ethnobotany. His network incorporates sites and collaborators in Pakistan, Nepal, Bhutan and China, and monitors dynamics of and connections between vegetation, climate and ethnobotanical practice.
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RANGERS AND GUARDS OF THE EASTERN HIMALAYAS AWARD Presented to forest staff of Forest Departments for their exemplary service towards the protection of Fauna and Flora in National parks and reserve forest of the Eastern Himalayas WINNER JAMPEL LHENDUP, BHUTAN Jampel Lhendup is a forester by profession but he has taken special interest in the application of Spatial Monitoring and Reporting Tools (SMART) in wildlife management. Through his effort, Royal Manas National Park has become the first park in Bhutan to implement SMART approach of patrolling in 2013. Today, the SMART technique is replicated in all the protected areas and Divisional Forest Offices in the country through technical support from Jampel. This initiative has helped inspire many other field staff in the department to learn about the SMART software and the efficacy of wildlife protection and conservation has improved. The adoption of the software has led to cost efficiency and project support from international donors for capacity building of the field staff. The SMART application for protection of wildlife and its habitat involves use of technology such as SMART phones. Today, Department of forests and Park Services has become first department to use real time data logger smart phones to collect data.
Economic Impact The SMART application for protection of wildlife and its habitat involves use of technology such as SMART phones. The information can be generated using the desktop based software. This has saved lots of manual work and cost of manual patrolling. In addition, the adoption of SMART patrolling brought project support from international donors to build capacity of field staff. Today, Department of forests and Park Services has become first department to use real time data logger smart phones to collect data. This is made possible due to Jampel’s hard work and personal interest.
Social Impact Jampel is forester by profession but he took special interest in the application of Spatial Monitoring and Reporting Tools (SMART) in the wildlife management. Through his effort, RMNP has become first park in Bhutan to implement SMART approach of patrolling in 2013. Today, the SMART technique is replicated in all the protected areas and Divisional Forest Offices in the country through technical support from Jampel. This initiative has helped motivate many other field staff in the department to learn about the SMART software.
AWARD PRESENTER: ARITA KASHYAP Arita Kashyap started her career as a Silk clothing designer with a traditional touch and evolved into producing finest Muga silk in-house in most exquisite textures and patterns that have grown to become of international importance. It all started in 2005, with in-depth studies, workshops, field visits and practices. Arita’s deep rooted passion in the field combined with her inherent love for local societies and the traditions of North East India is her driving force.
Environmental Impact With the introduction of SMART patrolling techniques in the country, the efficacy of wildlife protection and conservation has improved. The delectability of illegal activities have improved and number of offence cases are found to reduce. Jampel’s role as national SMART trainer has helped improved capacity of the field staff to protect environment.
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Global Legends in Asian Elephant Conservation
L-R-Priyanka Yoshikawa, Miss World Japan, 2016, Japan, Khun Sivaporn Dardarananda, Elephant Reintroduction Foundation, Thailand, Miss Parbati Barua, Queen of Elephants, Assam, India
At the 5th Balipara Foundation Awards, 2017, we welcomed and honored global legends in Asian Elephant Conservation. These legends have done remarkable work in the field of preserving and conserving the most iconic species and in lending their voice to support community and Asian Elephant conservation efforts. Khun Sivaporn Dardarananda Secretary General of Elephant Reintroduction Foundation is taking forward the vision of her Majesty Queen Sirikit. Under his leadership and team of researchers, scientist, rangers and veterinarians, they have successfully reintroduced captive elephants into the wild in Thailand. The Elephant Reintroduction Foundation was founded in 1996 by HM Queen Sirikit to reintroduce domesticated elephants into the wild, restore wild habitats with indigenous plants and wildlife, research and propagate knowledge about elephants and promote appropriate management of elephants in Thailand for their long-term survival. The total elephants reintroduced by the foundation is 84 until 2012. The elephants are acquired either through donation or purchase of captive elephants and reintroduced to protected forest habitat to live as wild elephants. Eastern Himalayan Elephant Princess, Priyanka Yoshikawa is the winner of the coveted Miss World Japan, 2016 title. A half Indian and a half Japanese, Priyanka represents the bio cultural heritage of both Japan and India. She is
the brand ambassador of Balipara Foundation’s Elephant Country. She has a Laos National Certification, Cambodia for Elephant Training and is evangelizing connecting with Nature and Elephant. Through her visit to Assam she hopes to create a partnership between India and Japan- where the Sun meets the Sun and we inculcate an appreciation for Nature and our Natural Heritage in the people of her generation. Who need to move away from the digital world and come and spend quality time in the forests and in the Animal Kingdom. Parbati Baruah affectionately known as The Queen of Elephants, is the daughter of the legendary Prakhitish Chandra Baruah (Lalji), known for his knowledge and passion for elephants. She was initiated in to the field of elephant management by her father and has earned recognition by Governments across the country for her knowledge of elephant conflict management and her skills at handling both captive and wild elephants. The Assam Government appointed her the ‘Honorary Chief Elephant Warden of Assam ‘and the West Bengal Government appointed her the Course Director. She is also a member of the Asian Elephants Special Group of IUCN and a Member of the ‘Man-Elephant Conflict Task Force’ of the Government of Assam.
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Preserving Tibet- The Water Tower of Asia
His Excellency President of Central Tibetan Administration, Dr. Lobsang Sangay at the 5th Rabindranath Barthakur Memorial Lecture
His Excellency President of Central Tibetan Administration, Dr. Lobsang Sangay, delivered the 5th Rabindranath Barthakur Memorial Lecture, 2017. In honour of Shri Rabindranath Barthakur, he speaks about preservation & conservation of the Eastern Himalayas and the Tibetan plateau- the Water Tower of Asia. He drew our attention to the changing context of the new global world that we are entering into â€“ one that is balanced with democratization, technological advancements and development and at the same time conflicted because of wars, extremism, intolerance and violence. He highlighted the accelerating rate at which we are developing and the human population vis a vis the decline of our natural resources that may lead to wars
in the future due to lack of the most important natural resource - water, causing global crisis. And for this reason, he urges to preserve Tibet â€“ the water tower of Asia, which sustains 1.4 billion people who depend & survive on the 10 major rivers of Asia that flow from Tibet. He states that to understand global warming and climate change, we need to understand the fragile Tibetan plateau, the melting glaciers and the depleting flora and fauna that impacts not just Tibet but the ecosystem of the whole world. He also emphasized on the Tibetan value, rooted in Buddhism, to share their natural resources with the rest of the world and to live in harmony with nature. Which makes it essential for the world to respect the fragile nature of Himalaya and the importance of the Tibetan plateau.
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BALIPARA FOUNDATION AWARD WINNERS 2013-17 CATEGORY
ANNUAL BALIPARA FOUNDATION AWARDS
Pangti Village Community & Forest Department of Nagaland
Achintya Kumar Sinha
Sendenyu Community Biodiversity and Wildlife Conservation Committee
Dr. Dhan Bahadur Gurung
Richard Belho Rupjyoti Saikia Gogoi
Hong Village Community
Dr. Anwaruddin Choudhury
Khanchendzonga Conservation Committee (KCC)
Miksak Apal Natural Resource Management Group
Joint Forest Management Committee
NATURENOMICS TM AWARDS
GREEN LEGAL AWARDS
EASTERN HIMALAYAN NATURE CONSERVANCY AWARDS
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GREEN GURU AWARDS
Nimesh Ved Biodiversity and Nature Conservation Network (BIOCONE)
Purnima Devi Barman
Dr. Sourabh Deb
Omita Gaon (Krishna Boro)
Karbi Anglong Police Department (KAPD)
Panchan Lakhar Community Conserved Area Management Committee (PLACCAMC)
YOUNG NATURALIST AWARDS
FOOD FOR FUTURE AWARDS
NATURE CONSERVANCY AWARDS
Bhutan Glory Eco Club, (Tsuseki Limthure Yimchunger)
NATURE ACTIVIST AWARDS
YOUNG ENTREPRENEUR AWARDS
HABITAT CONSERVATION AWARDS
Tana Tapi, Takum Nabum and The Ghora Aabhe Society
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BALIPARA FOUNDATION AWARD WINNERS 2013-17 CATEGORY
CONSERVATION THROUGH INNOVATION AWARDS
WILDLIFE CONSERVATION AWARDS
ECOLOGICAL RESTORATION AWARDS
Dr. Kashmira Kakati
Purna Chandra Rabha
Dharmistha Medhi Das
Amar Sing Deka
Sontush A. Sangma
Santi Ram Chetry
MARK SHAND MAHOUT AWARDS
FOREST RANGERS AND GUARD AWARDS
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LIFETIME SERVICE AWARDS
Assam & North Bengal
Dasho Paljor J. Dorji
Assam & North Bengal
Dr. Tirtha Bahadur Shrestha
Winners of Balipara Foundation Awards, 2013
Winners of Balipara Foundation Awards, 2014
Winners of Balipara Foundation Awards, 2015
Winners of Balipara Foundation Awards, 2016
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LIFETIME SERVICE AWARDS 2013-16 ANNE WRIGHT Recipient of Lifetime Service Awards, 2013 - Assam & North Bengal Anne Wright was born the daughter of British ICS Officer and she spent her childhood in the forests of Central India. She is also the founder trustee of World Wildlife fund for Nature – India, which she helped setup in the late 1960s. She was appointed by the late Prime Minister Indira Gandhi as a member of the Tiger Task Force for Project Tiger in 1970. She then served for 19 years on the Indian Board for Wildlife and was closely involved with the passing of the Wildlife Protection Act. She was awarded ‘Order of the Golden Ark’ and the ‘Most Excellent order of the British Empire’ for her contributions towards wildlife. Her journey to being one of the initial pioneers to ‘Wildlife Conservation in India’ began with her growing up in the Central Provinces (CP), among the jungles of Balaghat and Melghat, where she learnt about observing wildlife and other basic field skills that set her path towards becoming a vivid wildlife explorer. Her mother died at the age of 12 after which she did not visit India until she was 17 years old, when her father was posted as a Counsellor to the First British High Commissioner of Independent India. She then married Bob Wright, a merchant from Kolkata and continued to live there with occasional visits to England. Initially, Anne and her husband would indulge in social hunting of wild animals in the forests of Bihar. She was even close to killing a tiger herself, but fortunately it evaded from getting shot. Anne felt strongly to bring about positive change and contribute in their work which resulted in the initiative providing water to not just wildlife in its landscape but also 17 forest villages as well. She then encouraged CCF Shahi to give up his guns and resort to documenting of wildlife using cameras. After her stint in Bihar, she started working towards combatting illegal wildlife trade in Kolkata and uncovering the extent to which tigers were being killed illegally without proper hunting licenses, to facilitate the wildlife trade demand. Anne wrote an article for the Stateman in 1970 and New York Times in 1971 on the illegal trade of wild animals, especially tigers and leopards in India. Her articles were one of the initial documentations that highlighted the poaching and hunting scenario that India faced post-independence. Anne was a member of the state wildlife boards of West Bengal, Sikkim, Orissa, Bihar, Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya, and Andaman and Nicobar Islands. She is also a chairperson of the Rhino Foundation through which she has contributed towards saving the Rhinos of Northeast India.
Social Impact Anne’s initiative to provide waterholes in the forests of Bihar during the draught of 1968 had a very prominent impact on the Forest Department of Bihar as it led to the Department providing water to 17 forest villages. Economic Impact Kipling Camp, a sustainable wildlife tourism-based camp that she started, provides employment to local community members in and around Kanha National Park in Madhya Pradesh, India. Ecological Impact Anne was a part of the Tiger Task Force that was constituted in 1970 by late Prime Minister, Indira Gandhi along with other influential member’s like Dr. Karan Singh, Dr. M.K. Ranjitsi nh, Zafar Futehally and Kailash Sankhala. She was a part of the team that helped declare India’s first nine tiger reserves. The program was funded by the Central Government and Guy Mountfort of WWF. The program required Anne to stay in two of the tiger reserves for three months each and she chose Palamau in Bihar and Manas in Assam. She was also influential in redrafting of the 1912 act that levied a fine of Rs.50 for hunting tigers. A new Wildlife Protection Act Law was passed all over India except for the states of Jammu and Kashmir, which helped deter hunting and poaching of wildlife in India. During her tenure as state wildlife board member of several states in India, the board team pushed forward the creation of Bhitarkanika Wildlife Sanctuary (WLS) in Orissa in 1975, Dalma WLS in 1976, Gautam Buddha Wildlife Sanctuary in Bihar in 1976, Buxa Tiger Reserve in West Bengal in1983, Namdapha National Park in Arunachal Pradesh in 1983, Sundarbans National Park in West Bengal in 1984, Nameri in Assam in 1985, DibruSaikhowa Wildlife Sanctuary in Assam in 1986, Neora Valley National Park in West Bengal in 1986, Balphakram National Park in Meghalaya in 1986, Chilka Lake in Orissa in 1987, and Jaldapara in West Bengal in 1990. Awards and Achievements 1983 Awarded the ‘Most Excellent order of the British Empire’ 2013 Lifetime Service Award by Sanctuary Asia Magazine
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DASHO PALJOR J. DORJI
B. M. KHAITAN
Recipient of Lifetime Achievement Awards, 2014 Bhutan
Recipient of Lifetime Achievement Awards, 2015 Assam & North Bengal
Called as the Godfather of Conservation in Bhutan, Dasho Paljor J. Dorji has had a distinguished career with the Royal Government of Bhutan, serving three kings in the capacity of Magistrate of Paro District 1969-1972, High Court Judge 1972-1974, acting Chief Justice of Bhutan 1974-1985, Chief Justice of Bhutan 1985-1987, Deputy Minister for Social Services 1988-1991, Ambassador to the United Nations and European capitals 1991-1994, Deputy Minister to the National Environment Commission 1994-1997. Dasho is also the Founder of the Royal Society for the Protection of Nature in Bhutan (RSPN), Bhutan’s First Environmental NGO and the Founder President of the Bhutan Ornithological Society as well as the Bhutan Ecological Society launched in the year 2010. He is also the Ambassador to the United Nations in Geneva, also accredited to Austria, Finland, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Netherlands, EU (Brussels), IFAD (Rome), and FAO (Rome). Dasho initiated the Bhutan Trust Fund and also facilitated multiple environmental conservation efforts in the country. At present, Dasho serves as a Special Advisor to the National Environment Commission under a Royal Command from His Majesty the Fourth Druk Gyalpo. Social Impact Dasho helped in improving lives of local communities in and around Protected Areas. Ecological Impact Dasho was involved in promoting and encouraging various conservation efforts in Bhutan. He encouraged research studies and conservation-based conferences in Bhutan. Dasho was also involved in fundraising for the wildlife conservation work in Bhutan. He helped in the setting up of various environment-based NGOs for the welfare of wild animals. He has attended and spoken in various environment and conservation-based conferences to support and promote the biodiversity of Bhutan. Awards and Achievements 1988 Global 500 Laureate from UNEP, for his service 1994 Officer Order of The Golden Ark Netherlands presented by the late Prince Bernhard
Brij Mohan Khaitan, also known as B. M. Khaitan, is the founder of the B. M. Khaitan Group. He heads McLeod Russel, the world’s largest tea company, and is known for his involvement in philanthropic activities for the welfare of community and wildlife. Mr. Khaitan is an eminent Industrialist and owns the Eveready Industries India, Ltd (EIIL). He is also involved in the manufacture of various metal and chemical products. Mr. Khaitan is also called as the ‘Evergreen Team Man of India’ within the Tea Industry. Social Impact Mr. Khaitan has been involved in the acquiring of various tea estates and companies in Assam and has managed to keep them in safe hands from being converted to plantations. He has also carried out several community welfare-based programs. Economic Impact Mr. Khaitan has been involved in playing a crucial part in the making of McLeod Russel into the world’s largest tea company. He also was responsible in making Eveready Industries India, Ltd (EIIL) into India’s largest battery maker. Ecological Impact Mr. Khaitan is known to have helped carry out multiple soil-conservation programmes in Assam. He has also been involved in various programmes and initiatives to conserve the biodiversity around tea estates in Assam. Mr. Khaitan has also continuously supported the Assam Valley Wildlife Society to carry out Pygmy Hog and White Wood Duck conservation programs that helped in the revival of almost disappearing populations of the species. Awards and Achievements 1988 Global 500 Laureate from UNEP, for his service 1994 Officer Order of The Golden Ark Netherlands presented by the late Prince Bernhard
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LIFETIME SERVICE AWARDS 2013-16 DR. TIRTHA BAHADUR SHRESTHA Recipient of Lifetime Achievement Awards, 2016 Nepal A leading authority on Nepal’s biodiversity and taxonomic classification, Dr. Tirtha Bahadur Shrestha has devoted his entire life to the conservation of biological diversity and ecosystems in the Eastern Himalaya. The foremost botanist and a hero of environmental conservation of endemic plant species in Nepal, Dr. Shrestha served as the team leader for the creation of Makalu-Barun National Park and has helped to classify major forests in the country throughout his career. As the author of Nepal’s Country Report on Biodiversity, Dr. Shrestha has conducted the classification of rare and endangered taxa across the country. Not only that, he has authored more than 20 books, and hundreds of articles, containing new discoveries, concepts and ideas that have helped mainstream conservation through education and journalism. His management plans identified indigenous wisdom to be necessary to create locally-viable solutions for Nepal’s national parks were way ahead of its time. Dr. Shrestha was also the coordinator of Nepal’s National Heritage Programme in the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN). He spent a decade as the Member Secretary at the Royal Nepal Academy. Besides teaching at high schools for a while, Dr. Shrestha also joined the Department of Medical Plants at Amrit Science College. He also contributed towards the making of Nepal’s initial vegetation maps. Early in his career, Dr. Shrestha intensively explored Nepal and its collection of medicinal and aromatic herbs, where he was in the pursuit to discover and collect rare, endemic and threatened plants to create an inventory of medicinal herbs of the Himalayas. He engaged in plant collection in all 75 districts in Nepal. He has advocated for classification of lichen, mosses and fungi, and helped classify most of the country’s angiosperms. Dr.Shrestha earned his Ph.D from Grenoble and his doctoral work involved studying the ‘Ecology and Vegetation of North-west Nepal’. He is the author of numerous books and articles including ‘Gymnosperms of Nepal,’ ‘Classification of Nepalese forests and their Distribution in Protected Areas,’ ‘Himalayan Flowers and Trees.’ He has been a vocal critic of animal sacrifice. Inspired by Poet Bhupi Sherchan and how ‘literature’ can be used as a
useful tool, Dr. Shrestha authored a book called ‘A Hundred Questions in Science’, aimed at addressing children’s questions and also to attempt integrating science with literature and culture. During his learning years, he had come to realize how important it was for scientists and non-scientists to communicate and collaborate, as it was the best approach to changing mindsets and sensitizing the community towards the environment. He is the author of numerous ground breaking, comprehensive publications on Nepal, which took years of study to formulate, including studies on rare and endemic species and classification of forest types in the Eastern Himalayas. Social Impact Dr. Shrestha is the author of numerous books and articles including ‘Gymnosperms of Nepal, ‘Classification of Nepalese forests and their Distribution in Protected Areas’ and ‘Himalayan Flowers and Trees’. Dr. Shrestha has contributed immensely towards educating the mass about the importance of the biodiversity-rich Eastern Himalayas. Environmental Impact Dr. Shrestha has helped classify major forests in the country throughout his career. He also engaged in plant collection in all 75 districts in Nepal. He has advocated for study and classification of lichens, mossed and fungi, and helped in classification of most of the country’s angiosperms.
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XX | COMMUNICATIONS AND DIGITAL
10 years of positive nature’s stories at Balipara Foundation During the last decade, Balipara Foundation has strived towards communicating nature’s stories and the stories of the environmental crusaders in the Eastern Himalayas to create a positive impact in the field of community conservation. We have documented case studies of conservation efforts and published books in partnership with influencers and researchers in conservation and botany, which serve as a knowledge and educational tool on Naturenomics™ and the Nature Capital of the Eastern Himalayas. Balipara Foundation Award Winners have published 17+ books, 500+ scientific articles. The theme of our communications has evolved from biodiversity conservation to community conservation with a focus on Rural Futures in the Eastern Himalayas. With the democratization of knowledge and information, we have leveraged the digital and traditional media along with documentaries to communicate these stories and engage audiences in meaningful discussions.
Communications & Digital Picture Courtesy- Varsha Wadhwani
Through the Eastern Himalayan Naturenomics™ Forum, we collaborated with key influencers and organizations such as Anish Andheria, Bahar Dutt, Bittu Sahgal, Miss World Japan 2016, Priyanka Yoshikawa, etc. and organizations such as ATREE, Ellen Mc Arthur Foundation, WWF India, Widlife Conservation Trust, etc., and cumulatively achieve a sum of 756,280 Impressions through our digital platforms during the Forum itself. The media outreach resulted in publication of 62 articles in leading blogs and publications, in 5 different languages – English, Hindi, Assamese, Japanese, French and 4 Prime Time shows.
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We have also highlighted the rich bio-cultural heritage of the Eastern Himalayas through Wild Mahseer, and fostered eco-tourism in the region. Through the launch of our publication The Himalayan, we endeavour to create a social forum for all our partners to contribute their perspectives and create a wealth of content on conservation and Rural Futures in the Eastern Himalayas.
adventure tourism enthusiasts, etc to foster meaningful tourism in the region ++ Highlight the rich bio-cultural heritage in the region and the role of local communities in conserving our natural and cultural assets ++ Engage with key influencers and partners to inspire conversations about eco-tourism in the Eastern Himalayas
This year, we hope to deepen our collaboration with partners such as Current Conservation, ATREE and Sanctuary Nature Foundation to curate and deliver engaging content through photography, videography, illustrations, info-graphics and thought-provoking stories. We aspire to create positive impact in the field of conservation efforts through collaborated efforts for a greater and powerful reach.
Communication Objectives: Balipara Foundation ++ Evangelize the Rural Futures framework by collaborating with innovators and thought leaders globally ++ Engage with key influencers to inspire meaningful online conversations about Rural Futures ++ Highlight community conservation efforts and stories of environmental crusaders of the Eastern Himalayas through partnered content, projects & events ++ Build a rich repository of perspectives on conservation through our Naturenomics™ publication, The Himalayan (www. medium.com/the-himalayan) Elephant Country ++ Drive conversations with partners to build an Asian Elephant Knowledge Repository that is robust and verifiable ++ Highlight case studies of successful efforts and innovations in conservation Wild Mahseer ++ Drive conversations with travelers, bloggers, nature & travel enthusiasts,
Followers – 2,213 Tweet Impressions 110,738 Mentions - 95 Total tweets - 230 Total Likes - 884 Re-Tweets - 352 Top Age Group Followers – 245 Posts - 101 Impressions - 12,702 Engagement - 1,474 Reach - 8,472 Followers - 11,340 Reach - 1154700 Reactions, Comments & Shares - 61,491 Posts - 240 Users - 19K Sessions - 26K Page Views - 69,257
Important Stats Page Views: 69,257 (up from 39,435) Mins / Session: 03:11 (down from 03:57) Bounce Rate: 63.9 % (down from 55.17 %) Users: 19K (up from 7,646) Page views – 69,257 Elephant Country Page Views: 12,265 (down from 17,854) Users: 4,866 (up from 388) Page Views: Wild Mahseer Page Views: 18,316
Mins / Session: 01:41 Bounce Rate: 64.34 % Users: 6,913 Elephant Country - Website Engagement - 1359 Posts - 28 Reach - 14035 Followers - 311 Wild Mahseer - Website Engagement - 147,240 Posts - 48 Reach - 937923 Followers - 3,538 Social Media Insights During Eastern Himalayan Naturenomics™ Forum Twitter 36.4K Impressions Facebook Organic Reach – 58K Paid reach – 602K Paid reach of 87.9K and organic of 5.3K during Eastern Himalayan Naturenomics™ Forum promotions Website 10.1K Page views compared 6.8k in 2016 55.44% users more than in 2016 52.23% sessions more than in 2016 1.63% new sessions 11.67% more bounce rate Himalayan 694 Views 439 Visitors 659 Minutes Read
FINANCE | 77
Consolidated Cash flow statement for the period from 01st April 2002 to 31st March 2017 CERTIFIED BY RR SHET & COMPANY, MUMBAI PARTICULARS
AMOUNT IN INR
58,691,051 4,229,300 12,947,703
22,164,262 457,641 2,079,445
93,291,843 39,821,895 789,690
33,820,540 2,822,787 5,855,564 498,900
INFLOW OWN FUND: Share Capital with premium Trusteeâ€™s contribution Donation received from Associate Company Loan received from Director
96,504,620 INFLOW FROM OPERATIONS: Donation received (others) Income from operating activities Income from non-operating activities
22,164,262 45,954,875 8,656,273 76,775,410
OTHER INFLOW: Loan received from others Total Inflow:
OUTFLOW Revenue Expenditure Capital Expenditure Investment in Fixed deposit Working capital
127,112,383 42,644,682 5,855,564 1,288,590 176,901,219 Total Outflow:
Net increase in cash flow
Cash and cash equivalents available at the end
FCRA Consultants- A.R. Parikh & Co.
XX | KNOWLEDGE & PUBLICATIONS
Knowledge & Publications
The Himalayan is a Naturenomics™ publication by Balipara Foundation focused on bringing fresh thought and innovation into conservation. In keeping with the Foundation’s desire to constantly experiment, learn, develop and record, the Himalayan will be a showcase of perspectives, positive case studies and innovative thought to inspire more effective conservation and community development in the Eastern Himalayas. Objective: The Himalayan aims to catalyze a deeper interest, awareness and impact on human centered sustainable development. Structure: The Himalayan is currently hosted as a publication on Medium (a blog based social media platform), at www.medium.com/the-himalayan. The Himalayan will host the most thought provoking of the perspectives, stories and articles submitted to the Balipara Foundation’s website. To maintain the integrity of the content, submitting authors will receive due attribution and each story will be edited by the editorial team of The Himalayan. This team will consist of members from the Balipara Foundation team, and ably supported by selected partners and Balipara Foundation Advisory Council members. Readership: The intended audience of The Himalayan will be young professionals aged 18 – 35 yrs. Some characteristics of the readers: ++ Professionals – Conservationists, Entrepreneurs, Technologists, Educators, etc. ++ Interested in learning about the environment ++ Disrupters – Understand and use disruptive technologies ++ Tech Savvy – Interested in and avidly use technology in their everyday lives Geography: Global inspiration with a firm focus on applicability in the Eastern Himalayas. This means that we welcome stories/case studies from around the globe, thereby appealing to a larger audience, but only stories
with clear applicability in the Eastern Himalayan region will be published. Themes: The focus will be on topics serving as input to the Rural Futures framework being developed by Balipara Foundation. Some agreed upon themes by the Naturenomics™ team are – Communities, Forests, Water, Education, Design, Tourism, Asian Elephants, Economics, Science, Technology. Authors: Balipara Foundation team members, Balipara Foundation network of partners, professional writers (paid), key influencers and individuals with knowledge and expertise on the aforesaid themes. Positioning: Through The Himalayan, we aim to create positive, engaging content that appeals not just to people from the field of conservation but to also curate content that appeals to the millennials and nature lovers. We want to communicate stories that create awareness and inspires hope and ideas through creative writing, illustrations, info-graphics and photography. Through this we hope to foster conservation as a mainstream subject. Through knowledge and information that enables human progress, economic development and nature conservation to take place together we hope to inspire more innovations and cross-pollination of ideas. Marketing: Tap into the subscriber base and mailing lists of partner publications and build our own through subscription on the website. Promote The Himalayan through digital platforms, partner platforms, e-mail marketing and contests for engagement. Annually publish popular stories in print to be showcased at the Eastern Himalayan Naturenomics™ Forum. Beyond The Himalayan: There are many opportunities Balipara Foundation can explore for The Himalayan such as Syndication & Sponsored/Partnered Articles. Medium also offers an opportunity to create a paywall of sorts by offering stories only to paid viewers with revenue being shared with publishers based on article popularity.
To contribute to The Himalayan, we invite you to create an account on Medium (www.medium.com) & add your story to our Publication or submit your written work to us and we will add it through the Foundation’s account with due credit
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Indira Gandhi: A Life in Nature
Author Jairam Ramesh In Conservation with Prof. Arupjyoti Saikia In the book discussion of “Indira Gandhi: A Life in Nature” on August 28th, hosted by Balipara Foundation, Jairam Ramesh engaged in a conversation with Arupjyoti Saikia, a renowned professor of IIT Guwahati & environmental historian.
He further goes on to point out that the book is different. Unlike other books written on the woman of steel that focus on her image as Durga and her role during emergency, this book explores her perception of herself and her personal tryst with wildlife and the environment. In Jairam’s words, “She saw herself as a reluctant politician, and despite grappling with national upheaval and a very tumultuous personal life, she managed to create a niche for nature and found time to pursue her inner calling as a green ambassador”. Citing examples of her commitment towards nature, even as she was busy with the Seventh Non-Aligned Summit in Delhi, she took time out to write to the Governments of Pakistan & Afghanistan on protecting the Siberian Cranes. She declared a ban on the felling of green trees in the Himalayas and encouraged introduction of environmental education and awareness. Conscious about poverty in the country and need for economic and social development, she frequently insisted on ecological balance and greater sensitivity towards the environment in planning for economic development. With the presentation of interesting anecdotes from her letters to her colleagues in the Ministry, questioning planning decisions and driving the agenda of harmony between sustainability and urbanization; we see her as a visionary, who often persuaded, cajoled and educated on the subject of climate change, deforestation and wildlife extinction in an era when the threats were not as profound. She was, both nationally and internationally, an ecological pioneer, who was the only head of government to attend the historic first UN global conference on the human environment (UNCHE) Stockholm Conference in 1972 speaking about Man and Environment.
Balipara Foundation is proud to be associated with the book “Indira Gandhi: A Life in Nature,” in which Indira Gandhi has been viewed as an iron lady with a dynamic political legacy, and also written about her passion and love for nature. Jairam Ramesh, through the discussion, revealed details, chapters and insights from the book through the eyes of Indira Gandhi, stating that the leader saw herself as “a child of nature, who grew up in nature, who lived with nature and became a Prime Minister of nature”. He calls her compelling, charismatic and controversial, but an environmentalist at heart, who found her inner peace in the company of birds, plants and stones, staring at the universe of constellations, living in the hills and protecting the forests and wildlife of India.
The author summarizes the discussion with parting thoughts that while the book weaves personal, political and environmental history, it is an off-beat biography and documentary evidence of Indira Gandhi’s private passions, which comes in the centenary year of her birth, an occasion for the nation to look back and reflect on her role as a green warrior and her contribution to our green legacy.
Jairam Ramesh in conversation with Prof. Arupjyoti Saikia
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Medicinal Plants and Mushrooms of India By Jatindra Sarma
Dr. Kamal Bawa- Founder,ATREE inaugurating the book Medicinal Plants and Mushrooms of India
Since ancient times, medicinal plants have been used in all parts of the world for the treatment and aiding of various ailments. The use of medicinal plants is as old as mankind itself. Given that man is an integral part of nature, our human body is compatible with medicines coming from nature. People have sought safety and relief for their health problems in medicines from nature. Jatindra Sarma has made a collection of medicinal plants and mushroom which is found in India with special reference to Assam. Jatindra Sarma is a senior Forest Officer of Indian Forest Service presently serving in the state of Assam (AssamMeghalaya Cadre). He has been working on documentation of medicinal and aromatic plants including mushrooms, specially of Assam, since 2003 while conserving, propagating many of the rare and endangered species of plants. He was a Member of the Technical Committee of the Medicinal Plantsâ€™ Board, Assam from 2007 to 2009. He has also been an honorary Advisor of the NIRD from 2011 to 2013 in a project on Medicinal and Aromatic Plants of North-East India. He has extensively travelled almost throughout the country and possessed a vast knowledge on medicinal and aromatic plants and biodiversity resources especially of the North-East India. He has published more
than 15 research articles on plants which are added to the Flora of Assam, new to the flora of India including few new to Science. Balipara Foundation is proud to be associated with the book, medicinal plants and mushrooms of India which provides the incredible amount of information on the medicinal benefits of plants available in different parts of India including some rare plants and the ones on the verge of extinction. For sustaining interest of all sections of society including students, scholars, botanists, professionals, practitioners, entrepreneurs and scientists. This book is more detailed and yet easier to understand which is written in latest valid nomenclature in scientific parlance with available vernacular names in Assamese, common names in English, Sanskrit and Hindi. The most important message of this book is to have some native foods which contain high amount of active compounds that can be used as a medicinal plant. The book was launched at 5th Balipara Foundation Awards by Dr. Kamal Bawa, Founder ATREE in the presence of His Excellency Dr. Lobsang Sangay and Former Chief Minister of Assam Shri Tarun Gogoi.
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The Green Economics Conference, Oxford, UK, June 2017
Ranjit Barthakur- Founder Trustee, Balipara Foundation at the Green Economics Conference
Members of the Balipara Foundation attended the Green Economics Conference in Oxford over a 3-day Event from 10th-12th June 2017 and presented their efforts towards community-based conservation efforts in the Eastern Himalayas. Ranjit Barthakur, Founding Trustee of the Balipara Foundation spoke on behalf of Tata Consultancy Services and presented his ideas on ‘Working with nature, not against it: a new business paradigm’. Saurav Malhotra, who is associated with the Udalguri Landscape Mission project in Assam spoke on how social and economic mobility can act as catalysts for conservation efforts. Mansi Parikh, who looks after strategy and partnerships gave insights on Balipara Foundation’s new efforts on creating a digital platform to unify Asian Elephant Conservation efforts - Elephant Country. The talks were received with much appreciation and they brought a lot of practical insight into the conference. This opportunity also brought the Eastern Himalayas in the limelight as one of the few biodiversity hotspots of the world and the efforts being undertaken for its protection. The Conference had participants from over 22 Countries - UK, USA, Senegal, Nigeria, Japan, Norway, Sweden, Italy, Malta, Germany, France, India, Pakistan, Brazil, Australia, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, Switzerland, Ireland and etc. The conference is designed to create a unique global discourse of social and environmental justice, inclusion, fairness, resilience, survivability, and reforming mainstream economics and creating new discourses which can allow the human species to survive another 10,000 years. Participation at the Conference gave us social insights into the world of finance and how India could source funds for more community centered project and we learnt about
(L-R) Mansi Parikh - Strategy & Partnerships, Balipara Foundation & Saurav MalhotraDesigner- RuFu, Balipara Foundation at the Green Economics Conference
the importance of international cooperation to change legislation and lead to change. Green Economics synonymous to Naturenomics™, as defined by the founder Miriam Kennett – is the green movement’s challenge to mainstream orthodoxy in economics and it is gaining ground globally and in the corridors of power as the best alternative to solving climate change, the credit crunch, poverty and biodiversity losses. It is about reclaiming the practices and policies of economics,
Working with nature, not against it: a new business paradigm
Balipara Foundation’s Naturenomics™ Team participates in a global Think Tank for Greening the Economy for all people everywhere, nature, other species, the planet and its systems. It is about provisioning for the needs, impacts, effects and responsibilities, for everyone and everything on the planet. The Green Economics Institute was founded in the United Kingdom in 2004 and has grown into one of the largest green research centres in the world. It is an international non-governmental, non-profit organization which operates in 47 different countries, leading a global movement for change through green economics. It is operated by a core team of 20 economists and researchers, including Miriam Kennet and Volker Heinemann, and directs a network of 5000 professionals on whose work it can draw for specialist inputs into bids and projects. It publishes an international networking magazine, The Green Economist. The Institute also offers a Masters in Green Economics and runs a large international internships programme during the summer.
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Empowering Grassroots Women through Solar Light Distribution
Mahila Shakti Kendra (MASK) is working in Sonitpur, Assam with an aim to provide various knowledge, skills and opportunities to the marginalized women to generate income for their livelihoods. Through the Eastern Himalayan Botanic Ark, an ex-situ conservation site, we have been working closely with MASK to support sustainable livelihoods in the region. With an objective to empower these grassroots women, under a joint initiative by Balipara Foundation and MASK, funded by Assam Investment Advisory Society, 20 solar lights were donated to fulfil the needs of rural women entrepreneurs and families. The solar donation drive was conducted at Chariduar on 4th January 2018. In energy starved Indian villages, these women face a lot of hardships in their daily lives. They spend a large part of their income in buying lamps and candles to light up their homes after sunset. Women finish their cooking and children their homework before the sun sets for the day. Alternate sources of power, such as solar systems, are important as they provide basic electric light and power
and are cheaper and safer than the kerosene and dry cell batteries currently used in households that lack a reliable electricity supply. The initiative is aimed at improving their quality of life so they live safer, brighter and more productive lives. At Balipara Foundation, we focus on empowering grassroots leaders and rural development as community ownership has an important role to play in the sustainability development of the region and gender inclusion is one of the driving forces in the success of Rural Futures. Women were given Sun King brand of solar lights that are designed to deliver life-changing solar power for families living off the electricity grid. The solar lights were distributed by Prabir Banerjea, Gautam Baruah and Mallika Basumatari from Balipara Foundation and Dhruba Das from MASK. Dhruba Das presided over the event and also shared details of the challenges that these women face. A start up guide was also provided to the beneficiaries by Mr. Niranjan Thakuria, Senior Area Manager, Sun King.
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Thanking the real hero of our Community, Retired Shri Naren Chandra Das of Assam Rifles through a humble gesture Retired Havildar Shri Naren Chandra Das is the last lone survivor of the Assam Rifles Group, who escorted His Holiness Dalai Lama to Tawang, 58 years ago. He is 79 years old and hails from Balipara, Sonitpur District of Assam. Shri Naren Chandra Das visited the Eastern Himalayan Botanic Ark on 8th April, on an invite from Shri Ranjit Barthakur, Founder Trustee, Balipara Foundation. He allowed us the privilege to spend time with him and shared the story of his emotional meeting with His Holiness Dalai Lama. He also spoke about his personal life and the journey since his retirement. We got to know in our conversations with him that he has been through emotional challenges through the loss of his wife and mortgage of his property, for the treatment of his wife. In a humble effort to support Shri Naren Chandra Das and share his challenges, Balipara Foundation in collaboration with Khanamukh Brick Industry Owner Association pooled in Rs. 21,000 to aid release of his mortgaged property.
Press Release - Regional paper, “Niyomiya Barta” on 11th May
On 10th May, 2017, members of the Eastern Himalayan Botanic Ark, Eastern Himalayan Naturenomics™ School Advisor Shri Kamison Mili accompanied by Secretary of the Assam Students Union of Balipara region and local community members shared the details with Shri Naren Chandra Das at his residence. Also Read: http://baliparafoundation.com/en/blog/ honoring-real-heroes-our-community-eastern-himalayanbotanic-ark-april-08-2017
Shri Naren Chandra Das with Smt and Shri Barthakur, Shri Kamison Mili and Dr. Gitamani Dutta at the Eastern Himalayan Botanic Ark
Shri Naren Das with Shri Kamison Mili and community members at his residence
Acknowledgement letter received from Shri Naren Das
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Pakke Paga Festival 2018
In the heart of the Eastern Himalayan Biodiversity. Partnered by Balipara Foundation
KEY OBJECTIVES • To popularize the role played by the local Nyishi community and surrounding communities in conserving hornbills in Pakke • To create interest and awareness amongst the visitors about the cultural and wildlife heritage of Arunachal Pradesh, especially of Pakke Tiger Reserve • To create a unique learning Experience through workshops combining Nature, traditional knowledge and new learning techniques to inspire a new generation of eco crusaders
Over the years of our conservation efforts in the Eastern Himalayas, we have realized that Conservation initiatives will succeed long- term in the mission of conserving the biodiversity only when there is a broader and deeper engagement with the communities. Our Communities are our future. The 3rd edition of the Pakke Paga festival partnered by Balipara Foundation celebrated the role and culture of Nyshi community in preserving the Natural Assets in Pakke Tiger Reserve and other wildlife around Pakke. Balipara Foundation is rigorously seeking and focused on creating community-based conservation models in the Eastern Himalayas, that will encompass all human needs and one, which allows Wildlife to strive alongside- through our Rural Futures framework. The festival took place between 18th January to 20 January, 2018 at a venue
on the bank of the Pakke River bordering the Pakke Tiger Reserve for successful community conservation effort and Hornbill Nest Adoption Programme. Various participating NGOs working in and around the Pakke Tiger Reserve shared details of their work through displays in stalls, presentations and films. Along with stalls that displayed various traditional handicrafts and culture, various other activities including tree planting and other activities with local school children and dedicated stalls to highlight the diversity of Pakke and the conservation efforts in the area were also the highlights in the festival Balipara Foundation also took some active roles by financing the event and organizing NaturenomicsTM workshops. The foundation also carried out a cleanliness drive with the local students after the event.
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Balipara Foundation at PakkePaga Festival ++ Organic Dyeing Workshop ++ Wildlife Photography Workshop ++ Drawing Workshop ++ Snake Management Awareness Campaign ++ Cleanliness Drive
with local cultural programs, a volley ball competition also took place in Day one of the festival. An awareness campaign on Snake Bite Management was conducted by Gautam Baruah- Project Executive, Balipara Foundation. More than 30 students participated in the campaign.
Social Impact ++ Workshop on Organic dye, wild life photography and coconut shell handicrafts were the conducted, to inspiring the Eastern Himalayan community and promote the culture of interdependence through the concept of NaturenomicsTM School ++ More than 200 school students from the locality participated at the workshop including visitors ++ Snake bite Management Awareness Campaign was conducted. The campaign saw participation of 50+ students of Vivekananda Kendriya Vidyalaya and Nivedita. The snake was released afterwards ++ Documentary Film Seeds- Eastern Himalayan Botanic Ark was screened in the presence of various participating NGOs and students
Day 2 Poo Alo (Wreathed Hornbill Day) 19th January 2018 On the second day at Pakke Paga Festival, Mr. Prabir Banerjea, CEO of Balipara Foundation was invited as chief guest of the program. Balipara Foundation‘s NaturenomicsTM School conducted workshops on Wildlife Photography and Organic Dyeing. With the participation of above 90 students as well as other visitors at the Festival, the organic dyeing workshop was a successful one. At Balipara Foundation’s NaturenomicsTM Store, handicrafts made from bamboo and coconut shell, Elephant Country products and organic dye crafts and materials were on display and sale. The stall also saw the presence of the MLA of Arunachal Pradesh. Musical Chair game took place in which Mallika Basumatari from Balipara Foundation won the second prize. The day concluded with presentations and discussions by participating NGOs.
Environmental Impact ++ Balipara Team along with members of MASK took an initiative of Clean Arunachal Cleanliness drive at the PPF venue on the last day of the program ++ A special effort was made to minimize the use of plastic by encouraging the local stalls to serve food and beverages on traditional leaves and in bamboo mugs ++ Students from Govt. Sec Darlong, VKV Seijosa and VKV Nivedita also participated in Cleanliness drive Day 1 Paga Alo (Great Hornbill Day) 18th January 2018 Registration for various tourist activities as well as workshop began early morning followed by opening of various stalls at the festival. There was a grand welcome of Chief Minister of Arunachal Pradesh- Mr. Pema Khandu with the various cultural events conducted throughout the day. Along
Day 3 Gare Alo (Oriental Pied Hornbill day) 20th January 2018 On the last day of the festival, various local sports like arrow shooting, pole climbing was held throughout the day. 91 students and visitors to the Festival attended the second day workshop. Balipara Foundation’s team took the initiative for a cleanliness drive at the Festival along with team MASK and thestudents of VKV, Seijosa. Felicitation and prize distribution program took place in the evening which was followed by a rock show by band MENWHOPAUSE from Delhi.
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Surrounded by Green Carpets: Eastern Himalayan Botanic Ark in residence at Wild Mahseer
Nestled amongst the bequeathed green hills of the gentle tusker giants and the one-horn Rhinos lies the Wild Mahseer in the heart of the Balipara region of Assam. With 22 acres of pure nature sprawling and guarding the relentless old character of the colonial bungalows surrounded by the evergreen Addabarie Tea Estate, we were left dazed to the vibrant sight of humble trees and its permanent chirping, winged residents flying across from one branch to another. Surrounded by green carpets, the Wild Mahseer or Eastern Himalayan Botanic Ark consists of four bungalows for the purpose of stay with one being a century old. Named after the first pluck of the tea leaves in its growing season, ‘First Flush’ a subtle central-dining area having large windows with shimmering light finding its way through the tall trees feels nothing less than an organized opera show with the whistles of the wind in the background. Our well-curated stay at Wild Mahseer consisted of a tea tasting session with Mr. Prashant Sehgal where he briefly explained about each of the tea varieties under the categories of orthodox and CTC tea meticulously and its growing culture in the green carpets of Assam. Sipping and taking in the robust aroma of the tea through each cup, we were ashamed with the little knowledge we had about tea but glad we educated ourselves about it! The ideologies of eco - tourism through community conservation lies deep in the nerves of Wild Mahseer with the help of Balipara Foundation at the Botanic Ark which can be prominently seen through its segregation of waste to decomposition for manure. Balipara Foundation at the Ark not only plays a paramount role in making the 100+ species of the evergreen flora and fauna breathing and alive but also educating the human community around it. The concepts of sustainable tourism lie beyond just conserving the nature but also empowering and encouraging the locals about their culture, heritage, and livelihood. The locals are well-trained by the foundation
for the fields of hospitality and conservation which can be prominently experienced by their impeccable service first hand at Wild Mahseer. One may find it tough to put it under the bracket of a ‘Hotel’ with the quality of service topped with the humble and polite persona of the staffs which feels nothing less than being at a home. The history serves you through its architecture and essence of its era it respired at as you chat with the locals and the guests about their experience of stay under the moonlight along the bonfire sipping your hot cup of soup. The guests at Wild Mahseer can be part of the environment through the means of trails at its botanical park and that’s what we did. The aged old forest welcomed us as the monkeys teased our presence by hanging around. The guide enlightened us about the diverse species of nature around as we gradually and silently made our way through the fallen rustic leaves on the trail. Our walk ended at the seed bank of the Balipara Foundation where distinct and varied types of seeds ranging from rice to flowering plants are showcased and preserved. Adjacent to the seed bank we proceeded towards the nursery followed by our visit to the NaturenomicsTM store, a local store dedicated to the meticulously made handicrafts ranging from saree’s made from silkworms, bead jewelry, handmade book, papers and more. One can also engage with frequent workshops being held by the locals about the art and culture to visiting the tribal villages nearby empowered by the Balipara Foundation. The experience at Wild Mahseer are rare and delicate where everyone and anyone can be a part of the glory where the forests lie untouched by the urban world for better where conserving them isn’t seen as a need but as a necessity through community efforts initiated by the foundation. - Rahul Joshi- Founder & Chief Editor, India Gram
XX | EASTERN HIMALAYAN NATURENOMICS FORUM
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Eastern Himalayan Naturenomics™ Forum 1st & 2nd, November, 2018 Guwahati, Assam, India RURAL FUTURES: TOWARDS SOCIAL, ENVIRONMENTAL, ECONOMIC INTERDEPENDENCE The real decision makers and front liners of biodiversity conservation are the people that share space with it- Our Communities. With increased local capacity, responsibility, and participation in the sustainable management of natural resources, communities are much better positioned to effectively preserve the natural environment and wildlife of their area. To explore, innovate and discuss sustainable experiments to ensure longevity of our communities and our natural assets such as water, education, tourism etc., Balipara Foundation is pleased to present the Eastern Himalayan Naturenomics™ Forum 2018. Rural Futures is our solution to a socio- economic interdependence and ecologically balanced future. Eastern Himalayan Naturenomics™ Forum 2018- Rural Futures: Towards Social-Environmental-Economic Interdependence will be a highly- participatory gathering to explore the crucial role of local communities in the Eastern Himalayas, in conserving local environmentalists and at the same time supporting local economies and livelihoods. The conference will bring together indigenous,
community, university, government, and NGO people from around the world, aiming to produce lessons of relevance to communities, policy- makers, researchers and range of organizations- at all levels from local to global. DISCUSSION TOPICS, 2018 Day 1 Rural Futures: Ethnography Rural Futures- Human – Centric Geology Rural Futures: Ethnobotany Rural Futures: Communities Speak Rural Futures: Mindful Community Tourism Day 2 Rural Futures: Water & Sanitation Rural Futures- Technology & Conservation SOCIAL IMPACT RECOGNITION CITATION, 2018 Annual Balipara Foundation Award NaturenomicsTM Award Green Legal/ Journalist Award Eastern Himalayan Conservation Award Green Guru Award Young Naturalist Award Nature Conservancy Award Forest Rangers & Guards Award
90 | TEAM BALIPARA FOUNDATION
Team Balipara Foundation
ANSHUMA BASUMATARY Field Officer
ASHOK KUMAR GUPTA Assistant- Executive Accounts
BHADRA NAHAK Real Hero of EHBA
DARSHANA BORAH Project Executive
GIRISH KARNIK Manager Operations
JITEN DEKA Executive
JOHN SONA Office Assistant
KALPESH POPAT Webiste
MALLIKA BASUMATARI Programme Executive
MANSI PARIKH Strategy & Partnership
MARY DUTTA Programme Executive
MARY KONWAR Programme Executive
NITU KUMAR KALITA Finance & Admin
PHULEN DAS Real Hero of EHBA
PINAKI ADHAKARI Project Executive
PRABIR BANERJEA Managing Member
SALU TANTI Real Hero of EHBA
SANGEETA MANEZES Executive Assistant
SANGITA DEKA Project Executive
SAURAV MALHOTRA Designer- RuFu
TEAM BALIPARA FOUNDATION | 90
DEBO DEKA Field Supervisor
GAUTAM BARUAH Executive- Ops & Research
KARISHMA AHMED Programs & Publications
KHADEM ALI Planter
NIBEDAN KURMI Field Assistant
NIRMAL SAIKIA Saikia Nirmal Real Hero of EHBA
RAJEN KURMI Real Hero of EHBA
ROBIN EASTMENT Project Officer
TEZ BAHADUR Real Hero of EHBA
VARSHA WADHWANI Communications
Picture Courtesy- Nitu Kumar Kalita
92 | BALIPARA FOUNDATION AWARDS
The league of extraordinary individuals At Balipara Foundation Awards 2017
www.baliparafoundation.com @baliparafoundation @baliparafoundation @naturenomics www.medium.com/the-himalayan
Progress & Impact Report 2018