‘Public participation in ecological conservation need of the hour’

(From left) Tarsh Thekaekara from the Shola Trust, Samantha Iyanna from Clean Coonoor, K K Kaushal, Field Director of Mudumalai Tiger Reserve and Mukurthi National Park, Godwin Vasanth Bosco, restoration ecologist, Suprabha Seshan, ecologist and educator and Mans Lanting, agriculture ecologist, during a discussion about the efforts necessary for the protection of native forests.  

Members of the public should be aware of the need for ecological conservation, participate in afforestation efforts and preservation of the landscape in the Nilgiris, said K.K. Kaushal, Field Director of Mudumalai Tiger Reserve and the Mukurthi National Park, at a panel discussion on the unveiling of the book, “Voice of a Sentient Highland,” held recently in Udhagamandalam.

Global warming

Mr. Kaushal said the whole world was addressing the issue of climate change and discussions were on involving multiple stakeholders about the immediate measures needed to be taken to reverse global warming and cutting down on greenhouse gas emissions.

He was part of a panel of experts, including Godwin Vasanth Bosco, a restoration ecologist and a member of the High Court appointed expert committee on invasive species management, who authored the book, “Voice of a Sentient Highland.”

The other members were Tarsh Thekaekara, a conservationist from the Shola Trust, Suprabha Seshan, ecologist and educator, Mans Lanting, an agriculture ecologist, and Samantha Iyanna, Managing Trustee of Clean Coonoor, a local NGO.

Responding to a question about rising human-animal interactions across the country, Dr. Thekaekara said that one aspect not being highlighted was the fact that people and animals, especially in India, were living together in relative harmony. “In the Gudalur region, where the Shola Trust works, elephants are spotted around 8,000 times a year, and only one percent of those interactions are problematic, (leading to deaths and injuries for both humans and animals),” said Dr. Thekaekara.

Explaining the research detailed in the book, Mr. Bosco said that one of the key findings was how native Shola forests were being impacted by greenhouse gas emissions, leading to premature tree death or “dieback,” a phenomenon where previously healthy trees start withering from their extremities and eventually die.

“The book provides evidence that the landscape is sentient and responding to the pressures, giving us clues in their patterns of the effects of global emissions, and what needs to be done by humanity at large, on a planetary scale, to preserve native forests,” said Mr. Bosco.

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Printable version | Jan 16, 2022 10:47:29 PM |

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