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Ecotone Ecotone ISSN 0976-3589

A newsletter on environment and biodiversity of North East India

Volume 3

Issue 1

May 2011

A joint publication of Environ, Guwahati (Assam) and NECEER, Imphal (Manipur)

Ecotone Editorial Dear Readers,

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We are happy to present the first issue of the third year. The team Ecotone would like to thank all the supporter and readers for their constant love and encouragement since its inception. While we are covering various biodiversity research and conservation issues of north eastern region of India, same time also urging expert from other region to contribute to the guest column section. With tiger census report released on March 28, 2011 by National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) divulge that there has been an increase of 295 tigers from an estimated population of 1411 in 2006 to 1706 in 2011 in India. The main highlight of the new census was about 70 tigers estimated from the Marshy habitat of Sunderbans which have never been scientifically surveyed before. The affair for fascination is that the census shows 48 more big cats from the North eastern Hills along with similar jump in tiger number in the state of Tamil Nadu, Madhya Pradesh and Karnataka. While there has been several views and opinion over the number game, but the increase has to be linked with the thirteen newly included areas which were sampled this time. The situation is also remain critical sighting the fact that during 2006, the total area occupied by tiger were 93, 600 sq. km. which decline to 72, 800 sq. km. The decrease in tiger occupant area has been shrinking efforts has been made by MoEF, Govt. of India to cover more areas under the umbrella of Tiger researve. While ‘in-principle’ approval has been accorded by the National Tiger Conservation

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Authority for creation of six new tiger reserves, and the sites are: Pilibhit (Uttar Pradesh), Ratapani (Madhya Pradesh), Sunabeda (Odisha), Mukandara Hills (including Darrah, Jawahar Sagar and Chambal Wildlife Sanctuaries) (Rajasthan), Kudremukh (Karnataka) and Kawal Sanctuary (Andhra Pradesh). Besides, the States have been advised to send proposals for declaring some new areas like viz. Bor (Maharashtra), Suhelwa (Uttar Pradesh), Nagzira-Navegaon (Maharashtra), Satyamangalam (Tamil Nadu), Guru Ghasidas National Park (Chhattisgarh), and Mhadei Sanctuary (Goa) areas as Tiger Reserves under section 38V of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972 where a State governments are authorised to notify an area as a tiger reserve on recommendation of NTCA.

Kripaljyoti Mazumdar Editor-in-chief, Ecotone


Ecotone Editorial Board Editor-in-Chief Kripaljyoti Mazumdar Managing Editor Khuraijam Jibankumar Singh, FLS

Cover Page Swamp Deer (Rucervus duvaucelii)at Kaziranga Photograph by Dr. Firoz Ahmed CONTENTS

Associate Editors Karthik Teegalapalli, Kalpana Thaoroijam Navanath Saharia Assistant Editors Bidyut Bikash Sarma, Mohd. Sajid Idrisi Chinmoy Choudhury ADVISORY BOARD

2. Anti-Dam or Pro-Dam: Should we follow a third line of action for Northeast region? by Mahendra Singh Lodhi ________________________ 10 3. Celebrating Wildlife Week at Mizoram by Nimesh Ved ___________________________________ 11 4. Social and Ethical Dimension of Conservation among the Nunias of Barak Valley, Assam by Pinki Purkayastha ____________________________ 14 5. Reducing threats of endemic and endangered Cochabamba Mountain-finch Poospiza garleppi by NoemĂ­ E. Huanca Llanos ____________________ 18

Dr. Vishwas Chavan Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF) Denmark Prof. Abhik Gupta Dept. of Ecology and Environmental Science Assam University, Silchar, Assam Dr. Hemant K. Badola G.B. Pant Institute of Himalayan Environment & Development, Sikkim Unit, Gangtok, Sikkim Dr. Swapna Prabhu Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS), Mumbai, Maharashtra Mr. Amarjyoti Kashyap President, Environ, Guwahati, Assam

Railway track inside the Elephant Corridor at Deepor Beel Bird Sanctuary, Assam

Photo: Khuraijam JS

All rights reserved Š Environ & NECEER For any enquiries please contact: Kripaljyoti Mazumdar, Editor-in-chief Khuraijam Jibankumar Singh, Managing Editor E-mail:


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1. Tigers in Kaziranga National Park: field experiences by Kamal Azad ________________________ 7


LETTER TO EDITOR The need of the hour in environmental management education in India Sir,

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We see management institutions mushrooming all over India and students flocking to them in search of better career options and hopefully higher salaries. While some students benefit from this headwind called MBA most of them just end up adding one more degree to their resume. One needs to take a critical look at the benefit of these institutions to the ecology and conservation of natural resources in our country. Given our need for accelerated development, we end up over mining our natural resources thereby destroying our fragile ecology. On a recent visit to the North East India, I was told that over 100 project reports have been submitted to construct dams in the Brahmaputra river system. One hydro-electric project on the river Subanshiri is at least 50% complete when serious doubts have been raised over its impact on the environment. One wonders what the MoEF was doing when it gave a green signal for the project. It is anybody’s guess that these DPR’s (Detailed Project Reports) are written by smartly dressed, high salaried MBA’s whose understanding of numbers and Excel sheets tower their understanding and sympathy for the ecology. The need of the hour to bridge the gap between much needed development projects and very much needed environmental conservation is the introduction of environmental management as a core subject in every management institution. So what is environmental management and how should it be integrated in today’s management curriculum. While I am no expert in the field of environmental science or management, I shall attempt to pen down some ideas in this article. A few major areas that can fall under environmental

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management are water management, solid waste management, disaster management, climate change and renewable energy. A student of management needs to have a holistic understanding of environmental management and a right dose of theory and field study project will enable the same. A basic introduction to environmental science is mandatory to achieve best results from these graduates. While it is not an easy task to calculate the Net Present Damage (NPD) of any large project that affects the environment, latest research have provided us with a few sound methodologies. An effective curriculum warrants the adoption of latest research in the field of climate change, environmental science and financial modeling. Today’s management schools may not have the bandwidth to provide an entire suite of courses on this subject and in future we may find management programs dedicated to this area. Nevertheless, an introductory course in the field of environmental management should be a must to all graduating students of management. Business ethics was an unheard subject not too long ago. But after the Enron incident, Sub prime crisis and Satyam fiasco, business ethics courses are an integral part of any management curriculum. We have a much bigger crisis in the form of climate change and environmental damage today. It is only right if our management education introduces environmental management before it is too late. A proverb from our nation’s father needs to be reminded here. “The Earth provides enough resource to satisfy everyone’s need but not each everyone’s greed”. Yours etc. Arvind Krishnan CUBE BioEnergy, Andhra Pradesh E-mail: __________________________



LETTER TO EDITOR Sir, It is really very nice to have ECOTONE in the conservation arena of north eastern region. But some more additions to the news letter may improve the participation among the people of North- East. So here are some of the topics which we thought if added to the newsletter may improve the people’s participation. In upcoming issues if focused on issues of Biodiversity Conservation and role of youth in conserving local biodiversity may be added. Some successful case studies on Community based conservation are to be published in order to motivate people in aspects of conservations. Many more areas have to be concentrated where the role of conservation has been successful (Especially in North Eastern Region). Involvement of student community and researchers working in this field if brought together on a common platform would be a good one. We think togetherness will bring better opportunities for students, researchers and common people also. Let this be a stepping stone for success in future. We hope that ECOTONE establishes itself deep rooted in future. Yours etc. Kuladeep Sharma and Murali Krishna.C Research Scholar, Wildlife resource and conservation lab, Department of forestry, NERIST Arunachal Pradesh -791 009 __________________________

Need to focus more on Biodiversity Conservation stories Sir,

of this northeastern part of India, my home region, which is a proven treasure trove of tremendous biodiversity. In some of your recent issues of Ecotone, I have read about the present status of some forest areas of this region including its floral & faunal diversity and the conservation problems that have been faced. For example, in your last issue, the topic “Pursuing a Suicidal Spot of Butterfly” penned by Kushal Choudhury draw my attention and I came to know about the Ultapani area and the status of butterflies and the tragic way multitudes of them get trampled on the road by passing vehicles with unfortunate regularity in that forest area. That was really interesting and informative and truly an amazing topic. And all these topics helped in giving my interests a broader magnitude and I have enjoyed reading all these articles the way a hungry individual devours food. I hail the heartfelt efforts of ‘Ecotone’ and wish a long road of success to the team behind it. However, as a passionate reader of your newsletter, it is my entreaty to you to carry some other articles on the present status of faunal and floral diversity especially on butterflies and their host plants as these one of the supremely beautiful creatures of our mother earth is also an important ecological indicator of our environment. It shall be very useful for young researchers or other amateur naturalists who are directly and indirectly related to the conservation of biodiversity and environment and I am sure many of us will be extremely benefited from these articles. Yours etc. Nabanita Das Entomology Laboratory, MAEP Division NEIST (formerly RRL) Jorhat, ASSAM __________________________

I am a regular and an avid follower of your newsletter ‘Ecotone’. With every fresh issue, the newsletter has kept expanding my mental horizon as I get to know a lot about many environmental issues


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Role of Youth and community in conserving local biodiversity


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Indian filmmakers bag Green Oscars LONDON: Indian filmmakers bagged two awards at the Bristolbased Wildscreen Festival, which showcases the best of wildlife and environment films produced across the globe. Better known as the Panda Awards or the Green Oscars, the two Indian winning entries were Mysore-based duo Krupakar-Senani's 'The Pack: Episode 5' in the Animal Behaviour category and Rita Banerji and Shilpi Sharma's 'The Wild Meat Trail' in the category to promote filmmakers from developing countries. The Wildscreen awards received 446 entries this year, of which 67 were shortlisted for the final. 'The Wild Meat Trail' portrays community and individual hunting practices in different parts of North-East India, tracking the complex transition of these utility and ritual-based hunting traditions into an increasingly commercial activity geared to generate cash. The film also traces the journey of an individual, Tarang, who is trying to bring in workable ideas of conservation and sustainability to his village and the Nyishi community of Arunachal Pradesh. Producers say that the film was made to draw attention to the rapidly declining wildlife population in the North-East and the possible ways to bring positive change through community-led conservation. Another Indian film that made the short list was Bangalore-based filmmaker Sandesh Kadur's 'NorthEastern Diaries: Seeking Wildlife in the Eastern Himalayas'. Source: Himalayan monks to launch green movement in Kolkata December 17, 2010: The fast-melting glaciers in the Himalayas could destroy Hindu pilgrimage spots as well as the caves where thousands of sadhus meditate, and monks have decided to launch a green movement by planting trees in and around Kolkata city and the Sundarbans area, said a spiritual leader just back from the Cancun climate summit. Talking about the ill effects global warming, Soham Baba, chief of Naga Sadhus, said here Thursday: ‘The glaciers across the Himalayan region are melting at an alarming rate which may lead to destruction of Hindu pilgrimage spots and meditative places of thousands of monks. A large number of birds and medicinal plants have also disappeared from the mountain range.’ Volume 3 Issue 1 May 2011

‘In continuation of my Global Green Movement, to protect mother nature the ‘Soham Baba Mission’ (a NGO run by Baba) has planned to plant a large number of trees in and around the city of Kolkata. We also plan to undertake mangrove plantation in the Sunderbans,’ he told a media gathering. ‘The Himalayan region is the most sensitive area, where three nations – India, China and Pakistan – with large nuclear power are existing. Lately, the huge flood in Pakistan and Ladakh due to the melting snow of the Himalayan peaks, were never so devastating in history. If this climate change of melting ice continues, there will be a huge shortage of drinking water in these countries, and then, the world will face most terrible and devastating scenario,’ warned the Baba. Soham Baba, who hails from Bengal, lives in the caves in Himalayas. He was invited to participate at the United Nations Framework Convention On Climate Change at Cancun, Mexico. Sharing his experience at the Cancun meet, he said: ‘I went there with the hope that there will be a settlement on the Kyoto Protocol, but I was disappointed. The problem of climate change cannot be solved only by investing funds from the developed countries and implementing bureaucracies or diplomacies. A global awareness about a green, healthy and happy planetary community must be manifested,’ he said. News by courtesy:

Assam's forest cover declines New Delhi, Nov 29, 2010: The forest cover of the country as whole has increased, but the area under forests in Assam has declined, the Rajya Sabha was informed today. An assessment report of the Forest Survey of India based on interpretation of satellite data shows that there has been a net decrease of 66 sq km over the previous biennial assessment in the forest cover of the country, Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh told the House in a written reply. At present the state has 2,59,700 ha under reserve forest and approximately 17,900 ha of the protected area is under encroachment, he said. The state forest department was carrying out eviction operations as per provisions of the existing laws to prevent fresh encroachment and to improve the quality of forests, Mr Ramesh said. Source: UNI



highest density over the world, more than 2000 Great Indian One Horned Rhinoceros, a healthy population of Asiatic Wild Buffalo, endemic subspecies of Swamp Deer, Sambar, thousands of Hog Deer and Sloth Bear; all these are the large mammals found in India. Can anyone imagine enjoying these animals in one place? In Kaziranga, one can easily observe all these animals. The winter migrants and the resident bird diversity make it a heaven for the visitors. The mainland of Kaziranga national park (430 sq. km) is a flood plain created by the dynamic mighty Brahmaputra. The vegetation mainly consists of alluvial grassland with Erianthus ravannae (ekra), Arundo donax (nal), Saccharum elephantanum (kher), Phragmites karka (khagori) etc. with several scattered woodland patches. Nu-


merous wetlands in the form of beels are spread throughout the Park. The beels are dead river channels of Brahmaputra River and its tributaries and hold diverse aquatic flora and fauna. It is a unique habitat and the functions of the ecosystem are still beyond exploration. The park is visited by all classes of peoples from the lay men to scientists, cultivators to novelists, poets and actors, backward villagers to foreigners from several thousand miles away, political leaders, national and international figures and lots of others throughout the year except the closed season of the park. God knows what they get here? I am here for more than two years to understand the ecology of the tigers with my team. It is a great opportunity and I feel lucky when I travel to the

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Several herds of Elephant, Majestic Tiger in the

Ecotone core areas of the park where the above mentioned peoples never get chance to visit. My mind goes far away from me when I travel inside the park. Especially when I see the mighty Brahmaputra with his dynamic systems, the dead river systems becoming wetlands and in the return journey in the evening when I see the sunset in the karbi hills with a hearty touch by cold breeze. I feel jealous of the sun that only he can touch the wavering of virgin karbi hills.

Photo: Swamp Deer (Rucervus duvaucelii) at Kazi-

food and other resources to them during that period. In spite of this they are doing their best for the conservation of rhino and make it successful. Our working period is restricted to the postmonsoon and winter period. In the beginning of our work we have to undertake tiger sign survey to deploy the camera traps and also to know the sign abundance index. The roads are totally unclear and covered by short and tall grasses during that time. This makes the system risky as we can’t see the sides and thousands of dandis (trails) of most deadly rhinos (in Kaziranga) crossing the roads. The fresh dung releasing vapor from the dung heaps which are most frequently observed in our survey make the situation more horrible for us. Interestingly whenever we get any muddy place in the road we get pugmarks and it confirms the presence of tiger in that particular area. The sign encounter rate of tiger is also very high and it is obvious as Kaziranga holds highest density of tigers. We have to work in a pack schedule as we must finish camera trapping as soon as possible. We have another mission to Orang National park to monitor the tigers by the same method before the rain.

ranga. (Photograph: Dr. Firoz Ahmed) To know the status of tigers and prey animals and their relationship is the main part of our study inside the park. Our first report reveals that Kaziranga has the highest density of tiger (32.64 per 100 sq km) over the world. Why is the density highest in Kaziranga National Park? It is obviously the next question. It will be less scientific to answer this question without proper data.

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We are using camera trapping method for tiger density estimation and line transect method for the prey animals. The park is unlike central Indian deciduous forest. The park is not approachable by any means during the monsoon due to flood. The frontline guards patrol the park with elephants and boats. The guards who stay in the park live in a pathetic condition. It is very difficult to supply

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Photo: Pelican Birds at Kaziranga (Photograph: Chatrapati Das)


Ecotone During my study period in Kaziranga I have seen the tiger seven times. It is very difficult to see the tiger in Kaziranga type habitat as the ground cover is very thick and the tigers can sense us from far away, they leave the place before our arrival. The habitat of Kaziranga is ideal for tigers. The productivity of the grassland is very high. During the flood most of the area is submerged and siltation takes place which increases the fertility of the land. The burning of grasslands increases the productivity to an extreme level. Just after a week of burning the grasses, regeneration increases rapidly supplying nourishment for the herbivores. The density of Hog Deer in the grassland of Kaziranga is more than 150 per sq. km, a species that occurs more than 80% in tiger’s diet. The scattered woodlands with dense cane understory provide good shelter and protection for breeding tigers and sub adults. Water is a major limiting factor for tiger in other parts of India. In Kaziranga hundreds of wetlands including several tributaries of Brahmaputra and the River itself provide enormous water supply.


Kamal Azad Tiger Research and Conservation Initiative (TRCI), Aaranyak 50, Samanwoy Path, Survey, Guwahati-28, Assam. E-mail: __________________________

Large predators other than tigers like leopards are virtually absent, resulting in a high density of tiger. May be the field is not suitable as a compatible ground for leopard in the absence of huge woodland patches and annual flood. Professional poaching of tiger is negligible in Kaziranga due to the extraordinary efforts of the forest department to protect the rhino, which is one of the major threats for tiger in other parts of India.


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The ecosystem works its own way spatially and temporally. Several scientific documentations from various disciplines are very important to know and explore the ecosystem functions of this rich and unique part of Brahmaputra flood plain.

Ecotone FOCAL POINT Anti-Dam or Pro-Dam: Should we follow a third line of action for Northeast region? Mahendra Singh Lodhi

The lower Subansiri hydro-electric project and other big dams in Arunachal Pradesh are set to become a major issue in Assam with opposition parties bent on making it a tool for attacking the ruling congress government (Times of India, Northeast, 18 Nov. 2010, page 3). Such lines are visible in news papers these days on hydropower projects in northeast Indian, especially in Arunachal Pradesh and Assam. Almost every day there is news in news papers regarding agitation on dams. ‘Hydropower’, the term now seems more political instead of an energy or environmental matter of debate. There is no second argument for the facts that severe threats and vulnerabilities are associated with the upcoming development because of the massive scale of anticipated implementation. ‘Too many big dams’ is certainly a serious issue, the people are deeply frightened and angry because of the danger they are foreseeing as a result of such a huge development in the region. The threats get further exaggerated if we think about an unexpected disaster consequence because it is quite difficult to manage such high degree of problems.

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Being an environmentalist, I have negative bias on impact of hydropower projects and I have always tried to expose the negative impacts beyond they have been explored so far, but the principles of sustainable development talks about a balanced development for the people and with equal importance to the environment. With this analogy and looking on the available sustainably usable potential of northeastern region, I believe that saying straight ‘no’ to these projects will be little unjusti-

fied. If it is possible to use the water power of rivers without any objectionable damage, then the appropriate action should be to think about utilizing this development for economic upliftment of the northeastern region. Hydropower development in the region can really turn into an opportunity if planned rationally keeping economic development of North-Eastern states in mind. Thus it’s high time to strategically workout, i) a permissible or acceptable amount of development in the region, ii) a justified demand for completely rejection of some projects based on actual impacts without any political influence or alteration of big projects in small once, and iii) direct benefit to the states in terms of power, employment and compensation (including social as well as environmental). The political leaders are the representative of the peoples and thus responsible for protecting the rights of community. They are also the policy making and implementation authority therefore a lot of things depends on them in dealing with this issue. Indeed there is a chance to safely explore the available water power for sole benefit of the peoples of northeast but only when this development will be implemented in appropriate manner and utilized in best ways. Author:

Mahendra Singh Lodhi Scientist G.B. Pant Institute of Himalayan Environment & Development, North-East Unit Vivek Vihar, Itanagar – 791113 Arunachal Pradesh __________________________

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Ecotone JUNGLE FILE Celebrating Wildlife Week at Mizoram Nimesh Ved dyne (Kaladan) warranted breaks in the drive. We were on our way to participate in the program at the Lawngtlai College. The wagtails (Lailen) that gave us company during our travels during the week were fun. They flew ahead of our vehicle, about 3 to 4 feet above the ground. Their flight was along the curves of the road and at a safe distance from the vehicle. One occasion had 3 of them flying in unison for a while after which they veered off the road, one by one. Streams along the roads presented higher chances of them being sighted when compared to other spots. Pu Tlana seen below talking on Wildlife in Mizoram at the College is the Divisional Forest Officer at Lawngtlai. Has an enviable collection of images from various wildlife rich areas in Mizoram. To him, Environment and forest department of Mizoram and Lawngtlai College we are thankful for the event.

We participated in Wildlife Week 2010 Ac-

Rains did remind us of the extended monsoons that we have enjoyed this year. Rainbow over the rolling South Mizoram hills and the view of Kolo-


Their campus at Lawngtlai is wonderful; a Red Giant Flying Squirrel (Petaurista petaurista) or the A-bai (Biang) was recently sighted and photographed. The photograph made me believe that mortals like me too could see the species in wild.

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tion with the Forest Department, Mizoram. This was at the district headquarters of Lawngtlai and 3 villages near the Blue Mountain National Park; Bualpui, Lungpher and Cheural. The beautiful views the trip offered cemented my desire to put in time at the Phawngpui National Park; as it is also referred to. Frequent mention of bears (savawm) during the trip did come as a surprise, albeit a pleasant one; from my interactions I am given to understand that both the Asiatic Black Bear (Ursus thibetanus) and the Sun Bear (Helarctos malayanus) occur in these forests.

Ecotone Some of these young friends then came to surrender their catapults. It was indeed touching with even the unfinished ones being handed over ! With 2 of them I put in some time to understand how they make and use them. Catapults are a major reason for birds in these parts being shy! During my walk early morning I had come across Pied Bushchat (Saxicola caprata), Golden-fronted Leafbird (Chloropsis aurifrons) and Rufous-fronted Babbler (Stachyris rufifrons).

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The above slide (Trophies) formed a part of my presentation at the College. I had put in images depicting our actions in the initial slides and issues that I understand plague wildlife in these parts in the later slides. I was also eager to use fresh images. This slide in particular was to question the practice of having trophies (from wildlife derivatives) in houses in today's times. While my questions on identification of the Barking Deer (Muntiacus muntjak) (Sakhi) and the tortoise (Satel) met with immediate responses the discussions on other 2 images were interesting. Students of course were able to identify each of them correctly. With my presentation began the rains and it was fun to speak out loudly to be audible over the back ground music that the water pouring on tin roof composed. We had fun setting up the projector, speakers, laptop for film-screening and presentation in the Community Hall at Cheural. We put up posters and also screened Kalyan Varma's film - A Hunter's Tale. This film based in Arunachal Pradesh depicts wildlife that also occurs in these parts. The presentation had people asking details of compensation on account of damage caused by wildlife. We had a separate session at Cheural for our young friends during which they had a good time. Cartoon sequences talking of wildlife (in Mizo) and messages on wildlife by popular Mizo artists that Pu Tlana showcased were a BIT HIT.

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At Lungpher where we then went we enjoyed with the children to the extent that we forgot to make use of our cameras! Their father told me of Saza and Sathar not being very difficult to sight around the cliffs; and of their also being hunted. These are the Serow (Naemorhedus sumatraensis) and Goral (Naemorhedus goral). Even at Bualpu also, a large number of students participated in the program. We had presentations as also screened the film again. This time however we had lots of questions for the participants. We returned to Saiha but not before feeling overwhelmed with the love and affection we got during the trip. People went out of their way to make us comfortable. For these amazing times we shall never be able to thank our hosts and others we got to be with enough!



Over 40% of all tropical forests have been destroyed and another acre is lost each second.

Each year, humankind adds six to eight billion tons of carbon to the atmosphere by burning fossil fuels and destroying forest, pumping up the concentration of greenhouse gases responsible for global warming - an effect that could raise temperatures by three to ten degrees by the year 2050.

Dioxin and other persistent pollutants that are released into the air accumulate in our waterways, wildlife, food supply and human blood-streams. These poisons may cause cancer and reproductive disorders in human beings and other animal species.

Over the last 50 years, human activities – particularly the burning of fossil fuels – have released sufficient quantities of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases to affect the global climate. The atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide has increased by more than 30% since pre-industrial times, trapping more heat in the lower atmosphere. The resulting changes in the global climate bring a range of risks to health, from deaths in extreme high temperatures to changing patterns of infectious diseases.

Recycling one aluminum can saves enough energy to run a TV for three hours or the equivalent of a half a gallon of gasoline.

The amount of wood and paper we throw away each year is enough to heat 50,000,000 homes for 20 years.

One billion seabirds and mammals die each year from ingesting plastic bags. __________________________


Nimesh Ved E-mail: (Nimesh worked with Samrakshan Trust in Mizoram) __________________________


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Think Environmentally Facts and Information

Ecotone Social and Ethical Dimension of Conservation among the Nunias of Barak Valley, Assam Pinki Purkayastha

It was a morning of winter; I was there in a small

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village kuarpar, Nunia Basti for the purpose of project work for fulfillment of my B.Sc. degree in Anthropology honours. Topic of my study was belief, rites and rituals of Nunias. Suddenly I plucked a leaf from a tree unconsciously, then an old woman started gazing at me and at the peak of her voice told me not to pluck leaves from the tree as this special tree is the abode of lord Shiva .that tree was a banyan tree. During the entire course of study I met with several such incidents, made some extensive notes of their belief, rites, rituals ,t role of these beliefs and practices on the Biodiversity conservation and finally got some information about that nature-man – spirit complex that exists in the Nunia society. Being a student of Ecology and Environmental Science, during my M.Sc. days also I made some studies on them. That kind of study is generally considered as Social Ecology. Social ecology is a contemporary social theory that investigates the interrelationship between social institutions and the natural world. We all know that such kind of Naturism has helped the people of North east India to maintain the biodiversity of this region. The North-eastern Region of India, comprising the states of Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Sikkim, and Tripura, can be physiographically divided into the eastern Himalaya, the north-eastern hills (Patkai-

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Naga Hills and Lushai Hills), and the Brahmaputra and Barak valley plains. At the confluence of the Indo-Malayan and Palaearctic biogeographic realms, the region contains a profusion of habitats characterized by diverse biota with a high level of endemism. The region is also the abode of approximately 225 of India’s 450 tribes, the culture and customs of which have an important role in understanding biodiversity conservation and management issues. The region has been identified by the Indian Council of Agricultural Research as a center of rice germ plasm while the National Bureau of Plant Genetic Resources, India, has highlighted the region as being rich in wild relatives of crop plants. Two primitive varieties of maize, Sikkim Primitive 1 and 2, have been reported from Sikkim (Dhawan, 1964). It is the center of origin of citrus fruits. Although jhum cultivation, a traditional system of agriculture, is often cited as a reason for the loss of forest cover in the region, this primary agricultural economic activity Practiced by local tribes uses 35 varieties of crops. Nature worship or Naturism forms an important part of all the primitive religions of the world. The earliest form of religion must have been originated from the worship of the objects of nature. Gadgil and Guha (1992) argue that the belief systems, religions, and myths of hunter gatherer societies and the stable agricultural socie-




was set up before the people came to the village. After some days this village came under the ownership of Bhorakhai tea estate. The English manger gave land to the tea labourers of the village. Then it came to be known as ‘Bhorakhai mati’. The present name Ghungoor has its origin from the word ‘Ghumna’, which means ‘roaming’. The people from garden came to roam here to collect bamboo and straw for their houses. As Ghungoor covered some larger area, so the village Panchayats thought of giving some specific name to the village and the name came from the well present at the entrance of the village.

Photo-2: Traditional fuel-wood used for cooking This area is rich in biodiversity. Most common types of plants available in this area include bamboos, peepal, guava, betel nut, holy basil, Banyan, wood apple trees etc. Among the flowering plants, china rose is most common in the village. Animals which are most commonly seen in this village are cow, dog, goat, pig , hen, sheep, duck, buffalo etc. If we consider the institutions of human social life, the rites-rituals, taboos associated with it, we see bonding of an individual with those institu-

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ties tend to emphasize conservation themes and the wise use of natural resources because these groups have learned over time to live within the constraints of a fixed resource base. In contrast, the beliefs of pastoralists and rapidly expanding agricultural and industrial societies emphasize the rapid consumption and destruction of natural resources as a way of maximizing growth and asserting control over other groups. These groups move to new localities when the resources of any one place are exhausted. The rituals found in many ancient religions that involve burning wood and sacrificing animals are seen by Gadgil and Guha as an attempt to dominate and subdue the natural world. Modern industrial states represent the extreme development of cultures of excessive and wasteful consumption, in which resources are taken to urban centres in ever-widening circles of resource depletion. The worldview of the modern society is that all benefits are man-made which has leaded the entire world at the point of destruction. According to Watson, animistic religion contained greater truth than the classic modern scientific and technological worldview. He notes that contemporary science has confirmed the animistic view that humans are physically and psychologically continuous with nature. So, let me tell you about the village where my observations were noted down, the village Nunia basti (also known as Kuarpar) is located about 10 Km from silchar town. Name of this village Kuarpar was derived from the word “kua” or well because at the entrance of the village there is a well nearby. The village kuarpar is situated in between Silchar Medical college and R.E.C (present NIT i.e. National Institute of Technology) by the side of main road i.e. Hailakandi Road. In the east side of the village there is Jogipara and in the west side there is New Ghungoor village . History of the village Kuarpar (Nunia Basti) started when the name of the village was ‘TINTULI’ . The name was derived from the word ‘tinfuti’ which is nothing but the name of the 3ft. Broad stream which is main source of water for the village. It was the middle of the second world war, before that the place was covered almost by Jungles. At the time of Second World War, a temporary military camp

Ecotone tions, associated beliefs and practices begins just after the birth. In Nunia society, the man-nature relationship socially begins with birth initiation ceremony, which is also known as Shasthi puja Celebrated on 6th day of birth. On that day a special kind of tree commonly known as “boul” is worshipped and leaf of the plant is burnt for protection of the child from evil spirits. On 12th day of birth “Baroia” is celebrated by them. On that day goddess Ganga is worshipped at first then the baby takes bath. Just after taking bath the newborn baby wears new clothes and kuldevta is worshipped. In that connection we find the establishment of the relationship between water and human being.

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At the age of 6th month hard food giving rituals are performed. In that ceremony maternal uncle (mama) gives rice into the mouth of the baby. Here again we see that the central position of the rituals performed on that occasion is occupied by rice grains, here also we find a sense of establishment of nature-man relationship celebrated in an institutionalised form. During marriage ceremony the ways of paying homage to the nature form a very very much important part of the ceremony. Nunia marriage mainly consists of the following parts Ghanna,Tilak, Haldi, mehndi, shadi, kakhan ,Chauthari and phira. In all the parts of marriage ceremony grasses, turmeric, sandal, mango leaves etc. are must.. on the special day of Haldi the function starts with the worship of lord Ganesha by offering turmeric paste to him. After that turmeric paste is applied on the body of bride / groom. On the actual day of marriage i.e. shadi , bride is not allowed to eat anything .At the morning water is brought from the well where the bride also accompanies her mother, sisters and other female individuals. The bride carries a knife with betel nut .while pouring water bride touches the pot with that knife. After coming back her mother digs some soil in the courtyard. Then some offerings are paid to the ancestors, Gods and God-

Volume 3 Issue 1 May 2011 the evening the Barat comes and marriage is performed. The next ceremony celebrated in the house of groom is kakhan where oblation of fire is performed. On the day of chauthari puja mother of the bride goes to the river, perform some offerings to “Ma Ganga”(river Goddess) then she goes to “Baramthan” a place under a big banyan tree where lord shiva is worshipped. Mother of the brides moves round the banyan tree with a thread (dhaga), offers water at the base of the tree and prays for the happy and successful life of her daughter. The banyan tree of Baramthan is considered as the form of lord shiva himself. There is another tree named as “Judagach” these are two Peepal trees with crossed trunks. These are considered as the forms of Goddess Durga and Kali. There are many other plants like tamarind plant, plant of Indian berries etc. which are considered as the abode of evil spirit so these are also never harmed.

Photo-3: A ‘Baramthan’ in the study site. During pregnancy women are not allowed to go to the cremation ground or any other place which is believed to be full of evil spirits. During pregnancy


Ecotone women offer their salute to sun God just after taking bath. They worship sun as they believe that by doing so their children will be as powerful and as glorious as sun. They always offer water to the Holy Basil plant (Tulsi) for the welfare of mother and child. In this way devotion and fear both have helped a lot in the field of biodiversity conservation. As those plants provide abode and means of subsistence to large number of animals, birds etc. so, they not only add plant diversity but animal diversity too. So, from the set of observations it can be said that primitive societies like Nunia community still play great role in the maintenance of biodiversity and the environmental ethics of the society is much greater and relevant from point of view of sustainability .Thought different social institutions, belief, rites and rituals a sense of love for nature is evoked in the heart of the people of the community and that also plays an important role in establishment of a sustainable life style among the Nunias of Barak valley, Asssam.. References— Dhawan, N. L. (1964):“Primitive Maize in Sikkim.” Maize Genetics Co-op Newsletter 38:69–70. Gadgil, M. and Guha, R. (1992): This Fissured Land: An Ecological History of India. Oxford University Press, Oxford. Watson, David. Beyond Bookchin( 1996): Preface for a Future Social Ecology. Brooklyn, NY: Autonomedia.

Author: Pinki Purkayastha


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Research Scholar, Deptt. Of Ecology & Environmental Science, Assam University, Silchar. E-mail: __________________________

Ecotone GUEST COLUMN Reducing threats of endemic and endangered Cochabamba Mountainfinch Poospiza garleppi Noemí E. Huanca Llanos

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Cochabamba Mountain-Finch “Poospiza

garleppi” or “Compsospiza garleppi” is an endemic Bolivian bird (Hennessey et al., 2003; BirdLife, 2008), specifically to the humid montane slopes of the Tunari Cordillera near the city of Cochabamba in central Bolivia (Fjeldså and Krabbe, 1990) (Fig.

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1). It is considered Endangered because of its small fragmented population which are declining because to the destruction of its Polylepis woodland habitat. Much of the species’ native Polylepis has been cleared for agriculture and they have been replaced by Eucaliptus and Pinus plantations, and remnant patches are degraded by firewood collection.


Ecotone Recent studies have found the Cochabamba Mountain-Finch to use cropland and all nesting records for the species are from shrubbery vegetation associated with communities (Huanca, et al., 2009). The use of agricultural land by the Cochabamba Mountain-Finch presents conservation threats not before considered, such as pesticide use and clearing of shrubbery vegetation.

When present in territories, Polylepis and Alnus were used as perches and occasionally for vocalizing, but these trees did not seem to be preferred over the other woody shrubs. When single or small clumps of exotic Pinus and Eucaliptus were present in territories, they were also frequently used as perches.

The aim is to assess threats to the conservation of the Cochabamba Mountain-Finch associated with its use of agricultural land reducing threats within a framework relevant to sustainable community development. The specific objectives were to 1) study the habitat use during the breeding season 2) raise local awareness and involvement in the conservation of the species, 3) evaluate conservation threats associated with use of agricultural land.


Photo -1: Poospiza garleppi distribution in Bolivia (South America) As part of the education program we have taught the children to observe P. garleppi, to draw, to paint (Fig. 2a) and to watch. The children were fond of looking through the binoculars. We also offered posters, calendars and Poospiza’s T-shirts (Fig. 2b) to all the people of both communities, and, they feel very glad to have to P. garleppi in their community. We also we also worked with the ladies of community, making up new recipes for them with the purpose to gain their conficence (Fig. 2c).

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The studies have been realized in two adjacents key sites, they are Palcapampa and Ch’aqui Potrero 17° 19’ S, 66° 23’ W., in the high mountains of Tunari Cordillera, 3500 meters above the level sea in Quillacollo – Cochabamba, Bolivia, South America. The sites are located within Important Bird Area (IBA) BO 023 (Soria & Hennessey, 2005) and Endemic Bird Area 56 (Stattersfield, et. Al., 1998). In the biological part we evaluating P. garleppi’s, breeding habitat use, the territories were mapped and observations of habitat use were recorded. All territories of P. garleppi were in areas of mixed agricultural land and native shrubs. The territory size during the breeding season was 1.5±0.36 Has. The dominant vegetation in each territory was crops (40%), shrubs (20%), Poaceas (10%) and Polylepis (10%). We found the couples of P. garleppi keep their territories of last year, and nest inside dense shrubs and other species of native vegetation such as the Polylepis.

Ecotone We also worked with the men and see with them how they can improve their farming in an agroecological way. In order to achieve this, personal interviews, visits to their farmlands to teach them the use of organic products instead of agrochemical products have been realized. Finally, we had meetings with the Mayor of Quillacollo (Fig. 2d) in order to let her know about this little endemic bird living with local people, she was too interested and she wants to work with us in order to conserve this endangered bird. This project was supported by Conservation Leadership Programme, Kilverstone Wildlife Charitable Trust, and F. Skutch Research AwardAssociation of Field Ornithology, we are thankful with all of them and with the volunteers and all people who helped us.


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BirdLife International (2008). Species factsheet: Poospiza garleppi. Downloaded from on 3/11/2008.


Fjeldså, J. & N. Krabbe. (1990). Birds of the High Andes. Copenhagen: University of Copenhagen & Svendborg: Apollo Books.


Hennessey, A. B., S. K. Herozog & F. Sagot. (2003). Lista Anotada de las Aves de Bolivia. 5ª Ed. Asociación Armonía/BirdLife Internacional. Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Bolivia.


Huanca, N. E., P. A. Hosner and A. B. Hennessey. First Nest Description, Song Recording and Natural History notes of the Endangered Cochabamba Mountain-Finch Poospiza garleppi (Emberizidae). (Manuscript under preparation).


Soria, R. W. & Hennessey, A. B. (2005). Áreas Importantes para la Conservación de las Aves en Bolivia. Pp 57-116 en BirdLife International

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y Conservation Internacional. Áreas Importantes para la Conservación de las Aves en los Andes Tropicales: sitios prioritarios para la conservación de la biodiversidad. Quito, Ecuador: BirdLife Internacional (Serie de Conservación de BirdLife No. 14). 6.

Stattersfield, A. J., M. J. Crosby, A. J. Long & D. C. Wege. (1998). Endemic Bird Areas of the World: Priorities for Biodiveristy Conservation. Cambridge, Reino Unido: BirdLife International.


Noemí Esther Huanca Llanos Project Cordinator “Poospiza garleppi” Conservation Project Asociación Civil Armonía Av. Lomas de Arena # 400 Santa Cruz – Bolivia E-mail: __________________________


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Photo- 2: (a) Children with their Poospiza’s paints, (b) Local men with their Poospiza’s T-shirts. (c) Local women with their Poospiza´s cake, (d) The Quillacollo Major with her Poospiza´s poster


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NECEER, Imphal

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The first ever environment youth summit of Manipur organized by North-East Centre for Environment Education and Research (NECEER), Imphal, was held today at Lamyanba Shanglen, Palace Gate. The inaugural session of the summit was graced by Th. Ibobi, Project Director of Loktak Development Authority (LDA), James Mayengbam, founder of E-Con, Mumbai, Pradip Phanjoubam, editor of Imphal Free Press, Dr. RK Ranjan, state coordinator of Bombay Natural History Society, and RK Sunita, junior scientist of Manipur Remote Sensing and Application Centre, as the chief guest, president and guests of honour respectively. Speaking at the inaugural session, the editor of Imphal Free Press, Pradip Phanjoubam stated that environmental issues such as global warming, rise in sea-level, carbon emission etc. are major global issues which must be tackled carefully at every level. There is need for active participation of all people, especially the youths across the world in the campaign for the preservation of the environment and its ecology. The environmental issues cannot be considered as mere local matter as degradation in the environment in one part of the world will affect other parts too in some way or the other, he said. Pradip cited that rise in the sea-level in the coastal areas of Bangladesh might even affect Manipur which is very far away from the sea as well

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Ecotone as located at a comparatively higher altitude, as the problems that will be faced by the Bangladeshis due to such environmental catastrophe may be extended to the eastern Indian states in search of their new habitat place whereby affecting the demographic pattern of these Indian states. It is the collective responsibility of the people all over the world to preserve the environment for a better world. Moreover, the people should be conscious about the ecological balance which should be maintained by preserving different kinds of plants and animals including small insects, he said. The preservation of wildlife should not be focused only to some high profile animals such as the Sangai or the Bengal Tiger, but it should also include other lesser known animals and insects as all life forms contribute immensely in the maintenance of ecological balance. The project director of LDA, Th. Ibobi stated that the youths should play great roles in tackling the environmental issues. The youth summit on environment as such will make the youths of the state aware of various environmental issues and also motivate them to join the campaign for a greener and safer world. Dwelling on the bio-diversity of the state, Dr. RK Ranjan stated that the NorthEast, especially Manipur is abundant in medicinal and useful plants. The people should explore the vast bio-diversity resources rather than exploiting them. The Loktak Lake which has been enlisted as one of the important wetlands according to the Ramsar Convention should be conserved by the people of the state. The environmental issues should also be held equally important to social issues, he added. Scientist RK Sunita asserted that the people should act locally and think globally to conserve the environment. The people should have access to advanced technologies related to environmental studies and render help and support to make the earth- a safer and greener planet. As a part of the youth summit, seminar and photography contest on environmental issues were also held in which large number of students participated fulfilling objectives of NECEER to create more awareness on environment to the people.


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EYSM Vol. 1(1). February 2011


HOTTER HIMALAYAS: URGENT CONCERN Active Youth Participation: Himalayan Climate Change Summit

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new issues which are only confined to media world. Utilisation of Media as tool in creating awareness as well as in advocating policies related to climate change and other environmental issues was one of the hot topic discussed during the session.

Hotter Himalayas: Urgent Concern, an interactive programme on climate change in the Himalayas was conducted on 13th March 2011 at National Gandhi Museum, Rajghat in New Delhi. The event was organised by North East Centre for Environmental Education and Research (NECEER), Imphal in collaboration with Delhi Greens and The youths from different parts of the country took part in the event. The programme witness active youth participation with good interactive sessions on different issues on climate change and the Himalayas. The session on Media and Climate change led by Ms. Mehnaz enlighten the youths on role of the media in highlighting and creating awareness on climate change. The discussion brings about many Volume 3 Issue 1 May 2011

Ms. Mehnaz Mr. Anurag Maloo spoke on holistic approach for tackling climate change. Also, he talked about the concept of Sustainable Living to solve the Climate Conflict and Human Conflict. His talk put emphasise on the harmony and healthy balance among all the creatures of the earth, nature, Biodiversity, humans, and every element of Mother Earth. He talked about the co-existence and thrives of People and Biodiversity without doing harm to one another. He also discussed that Human Species are the most flexible, but least adaptive creature on Earth. He also discussed to find


Ecotone solutions for the survival of both as resources grow scarcer and humans, wild plants, and animals are forced to adjust. Living through Ecosustainability is the solution for all problems.

Ms. Aastha Kukreti

Mr. Anurag Maloo Ms. Priya Atri, the last speaker of the morning session, gave an eye opening talk on impact of climate change on the river basins of the country. She addressed several facts which is threatening our river basins (Gangetic, Brahmaputra and Indus) due to melting of glaciers in the Himalayas.

Ms. Anjana Dey talked on impact of tourism on Himalayan Climate. She said if one wants to enjoy nature, one must also be willing to preserve it lest all the exotic destinations will become extinct and the world may no longer be a beautiful place to live in. She also said (Eco) Tourism has the potential to create beneficial effects on the environment by contributing to environmental protection and conservation.

Ms. Anjana Dey

While talking on the topic Climate change and biodiversity in the afternoon session, Ms. Aastha Kukreti said Climate change is one of the most important global environmental challenge and the many types of impacts and vulnerabilities are needed to be understood and assessed, before adaptation strategies can be developed. She said biodiversity adaptation to climate change is presently a hitherto unknown concept but with the threat only getting bigger each passing day, we must develop and look for in situ as well as ex situ ways of conserving the Himalayan biodiversity.


Last talk of the event was delivered by founder and head of NECEER, Imphal, Khuraijam Jibankumar Singh. He highlighted the diversity of the flora and fauna of the Indo-Bangladesh region and also expressed concern on the impact of ever increasing population in Bangladesh on the natural resources. The threats of the illegal influx of immigrants from Bangladesh to porous border of Northeast India and the threats that it pose to the rich diversity of the region was addressed in detailed. Official website:

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Ms. Priya Atri



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Pune chapter of the Worldwide Save Loktak Lake Campaign was successfully organised on 28th February 2011 at Nowrosjee Wadia College, Pune (Maharashtra, India). The campaign was organised by North East Centre for Environmental Education and Research (NECEER), Imphal in association with Department of Geography, Nowrosjee Wadia College, Pune.

Dr. B.B Thakur - Principal of Wadia College, Dr. Ak Botte- Head of Geography Dept and Dr Ujjwan R. Khara grace the occasion as the chief guest, guest of honour and special guest respectively. The campaign started with a small talk on Loktak Lake by Alam Mk, an NECEER volunteer. It was followed by mesmerizing speeches from Chief Guest Dr BB Thakur, the guest of honour and the special guest. "To save and conserve the beautiful Loktak lake in Manipur is the need of hour. Youth should be made aware of the grievous condition of the lake and they should be involved in conserving the lake," said Dr BB Takur, Hon'ble Principal of Wadia College. NECEER is doing a commendable job in mobilising the youth to conserve the lake he added.

Shouting slogans to save Loktak lake, the Pune volunteers conducted a mass rally around the Wadia campus to bring awareness among the masses specially youth. The rally was launched after a brainstorming session on Loktak Lake.

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Ecotone Around 70 students from various colleges participated in the campaign. It can be mentioned that Pune is the 10th city hosting the Save Loktak Lake Campaign. Anthony Moirangthem and Rajkumar Jyotin Singh were the Pune Co-ordinators of the

campaign. Lulel Sagolsem, Kolhapur co-ordinator supported them in organising the campaign. The NECEER in association with Department of Geography, Nowrosjee Wadia College organised the campaign successfully.

Conveying the absolute need to conserve Loktak Lake immediately with a tagline-Loktak, the Lifeline Of Manipur, North East Centre for Environmental Education (NECEER),Imphal organized the third phase of Save Loktak Lake Worldwide Campaign at Marina Beach on 26th March under the leadership of Mr. Thangjam Bicky as the Chennai City Coordinator. The Campaign was conducted with the help of 20 volunteers. It was started with a pledge to save Loktak Lake.


Then the group was divided into a group of approximately 6 teams, each with a mission to make people aware of the Loktak Lake and explain the immediate needs to conserve the lake. People’s responses, comments and opinions about the lake and its campaign were taken and noted. It was stressed that if we lose the lake, India will be losing a great asset and the lake in an internationally acclaimed biological ecosystem of universal importance. People were made to realize the calamities possible aftermath of the lake's disappearance. Pamphlets were distributed to people to better understand our voices towards the conservation of the lake.

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As a part of the Worldwide Save Loktak Lake, Puducherry chapter, awareness campaigns were organised in Pondicherry University Campus and Pondicherry Rock Beach on 10th and 16th April 2011 respectively. The event was carried out under the city co-ordinator Ms. Chanchan Yumnam along with 18 volunteers from different states and several supporters. About 250 people took part in the campaign. People from various age groups participated in the event ranging from school going children to college students, research scholars, professors, shopkeepers, retired officers and housewives. During the campaign at Pondicherry University Campus, a simple questionnaire on Loktak Lake was provided to people who participated in the event. Through the survey it came into picture that more than 50% of the people who participated in the event were unaware of the largest freshwater lake in North East India and also 55% of the people do not know anything about the World’s only floating National park.

After the questionnaire survey, volunteers explained the importance of Loktak lake to the people and the prevailing degrading condition of the lake due to siltation, eutrophication and also due to the impacts of Loktak hydro-electric power station. The event also gave stress on the consequences that may come up if immediate actions are not taken up to conserve Loktak which is referred to as the lifeline of Manipur. At Pondicherry Rock Beach, a signature campaign was organised and many local people, tourists from other states even from other countries took part. People of all age groups participated in this campaign. Some of the foreigners were eager to know more about the lake, even enquired about the means of transport to reach there. They assured us that they will soon be going to the lake and will try every possible means to save the lake. Pamphlets describing about the Loktak lake, its ecological importance and the current threats to the lake were distributed. A total of about 400 people participated in Puducherry campaign.

It can be mentioned that the first and the second phase of the campaign have been conducted in 2010. Delhi, Guwahati, Manipur, Silchar and Shillong witnessed the first phase of the campaign. The second phase was conducted in Mumbai, Kolhapur, Sikkim and Darjeeling. Both the phase has been a huge success with mass involvement all over India.

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Increasing number of the youth involvement is a proof to the success of the ongoing Worldwide Save Loktak Lake Campaign.

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Involvement of youth and mobilization of public for the conservation of Loktak Lake is the main objective of the campaign. The campaign is supported by more than 20 international and national organizations. The campaign will conclude in 2012 with a grand campaign at the vicinity of the


Lake by involving the local inhabitants, local NGOs and Government officials.

Loktak Lake

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The campaign is an awareness programme initiated by NECEER, Imphal for the conservation of Loktak Lake. More than 700 volunteers and 32 city Coordinators are involved in organizing this campaign. The campaign is to create awareness about the conservation of Loktak Lake, the largest fresh water lake in Northeast India. The lake was recognised as Ramsar site in 1990. Keibul Lamjao, the only floating national park in the world is situated at the south west part of the lake. It is home to the endangered Manipur brow antlered deer ‘Sangai’ - Cervus eldi eldi and many endangered species. The lake is an Important Bird Area identified by BNHS, Mumbai and Birdlife International.



SOLID AND LIQUID WASTE MANAGEMENT AT MADHYA SUALKUCHI GRAM PANCHAYAT Solid waste is becoming a major problem of entire Sualkuchi areas, where there is an urgent need for an eco-friendly Solid Waste Management. In this respect model vermicompost unit can take a great roll which will be utilized as demonstration unit cum seed centre for producing more numbers of vermicompost units to utilize biodegradable solid waste, where more support from the Government will be required.

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Though the Sualkuchi is covered under the rural areas, but in reality geographic nature of the ‘Madhya Sualkuchi’ areas are totally urban natures. Localities do not have the space for backyard composting and to utilize waste water in the kitchen garden and floriculture. Dense population and lack of open space with clogged drain creating a demand for the Door to Door Collection of both Biodegradable and Nonbiodegradable Solid Waste. Therefore in the

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Madhya Sualkuchi Gram Panchayat Door to Door Collection of Non-biodegradable Solid Waste will be continued in a sustainable manner. On the other hand there is an urgent need for a sustainable Biodegradable Solid Waste Management. In this respect simply Door to Door Collection of Biodegradable Solid Waste along with cleaning of roadside dustbin and ordinary disposal in the land field will not solve the problem. An eco-friendly Integrated Solid Waste Management Project for production of “Biogas Electricity” which can be utilized for “Street Lighting” in Sualkuchi is most needed to welcome the tourist at evening to the internationally famous place of Assam. Under the total sanitation campaign programme a pilot project on development of a model gram


Ecotone panchayat for solid and liquid waste management was commenced from 1st February, 2010 at Madhya Sualkuchi gram panhayat under Sualkuchi Block in Kamrup district of Assam as per the work order (enclosed as annexure). The pilot project was supported by the CCDU, PHED, Govt. of Assam through the division 1 of Kamrup

district. The responsibilities of the nine month duration pilot project was vested upon the ENVIRON, the NGO largely working on solid waste management in North Eastern Region which is now extended for another nine months due to its necessity.

Promotion of different handicraft product from Plastic Waste


from the segregated plastic waste like. Objective of these activities is to utilize the house hold generated plastic waste at source so that there will be less chance of mixing of plastic waste with biodegradable solid waste. As per the study of ENVIRON, once the plastic waste is segregated at source then the biodegradable solid waste in the land field will not create any problem rather it will act as soil conditioner.

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ENVIRON is promoting different handicraft product from plastic waste which was initially supported by Assam State Social Welfare Board. Varieties of garland along with chair back, mattresses, table top container, table mat along with different decorative and useful items are now producing by the members of ENVIRON from plastic waste. In this connection ENVIRON is organization different household level training programme to produce different necessary household utensils


4th Issue (December Issue): Last date of article submission 25th September 2011 Contributing authors Corresponding authors should be subscriber of the journal and member of North East India Biodiversity Network (NEIBN). For details and instructions to authors, please visit: Journal website: or contact Khuraijam Jibankumar Singh, FLS Editor-in-Chief at

UPCOMING EVENTS 6th ACAS International conference: Nature and Culture: Environmental Issues in Asia For its sixth international conference on July 29, 2012, the Ateneo Center for Asian Studies (ACAS) invites scholars, graduate students and practitioners to submit papers on NATURE and CULTURE: ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES in ASIA. The papers may be theoretical, historical, empirical, or philosophical. Details: or, Deadline: 19 December 2011 National Conference on Environment and Biodiversity of India, December 2011, New Delhi Researchers, academicians, students, conservationists, environmentalists, foresters and policy makers across the country are welcomed to be part of this conference. Exciting programme of lectures, panel discussions and poster presentations will be organized.

Organized by: NECEER, Imphal Deadline for abstracts/proposals: 30 September 2011 E-mail: Details: International Conference 'Molecular Ecology (February 4 - 7, 2012): The International Conference Molecular Ecology (February 4 - 7, 2012) will cover the recent advances in following research areas like Population and Landscape Genetics, Molecular Tools in Ecology, Genetic Analysis of Populations, Genetic Variation and Diversity, Molecular Evolution, Phylogenetics and Phylogeography, Molecular Approaches to Behavioral Ecology, Conservation Genetics & Genomics, Applied Molecular Ecology Abstract submission deadline: November 3, 2011 Early bird registration deadline: November 10, 2011 Detail:

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Readers, You are welcome to contribute articles, photographs with details, news or in any other form pertaining to the regional environment and development related issues, North eastern region for publishing in our subsequent issues. Please send your views and opinions to The Editor, Ecotone at Š Environ, Guwahati & NECEER, Imphal

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