Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment (ATREE) is celebrating its silver jubilee on August 18 and 19 at the JN Tata Auditorium in IISc campus with several panel discussions, guest talks, film screenings and other events taking place.
Started in January 1996 as a research organisation to address environmental challenges of biodiversity loss and conservation for sustainable livelihoods, ATREE has worked in the areas of conservation of biological diversity and sustainable development, improvisation of institutional and policy framework for conservation of biodiversity and has helped several government and Non Government Organisations to make best use of the scientific knowledge to solve the problems of conservation.
After its initial days, a PhD in Conservation Science and Sustainability Studies programme was started in 2008 and in 2009, another interdisciplinary research institution, CISED was also established by ATREE with donor support. Further, the Centre for Environment and Development, the Centre for Biodiversity Conservation and 20 research faculty members including environmentalists, geographers, sociologists and hydrologists also emerged. In 2019, ATREE launched two new centres, the Centre for Social and Environmental Innovation (CSEI) and the Centre for Policy design (CPD) for scaling up its environmental knowledge to the society and for engaging more with the government towards effective policy design and implementation.
Speaking to The Hindu on the occassion, Kamal Bawa — Founder, President & Chair, ATREE, said, “Our country has rich biodiversity and when we established ATREE, there was no institute that was looking at biodiversity in a holistic manner, that is all life in our forests, wetlands, rivers, oceans. Furthermore, we all know that biodiversity is declining all over the world and India was no exception, but this decline had ecological, social, political and economic dimensions. Thus, an institution was needed that had an interdisciplinary approach to conserving biodiversity and thus ATREE was born. ATREE is one of the few institutions that deals with the three major environmental challenges of declining biodiversity, water, and mitigation of climate change.”
The two-day event which is open to the public, will have discussion on state of conservation science and sustainable development, debates, book launches, film screenings and traditional performances.