In the first week of March the UN declared 2021-30 as the decade of ecosystem restoration. The resolution pioneered by El Salvador was supported by calls from the international community to put ecological restoration at the forefront of national agendas. The Society for Ecological Restoration (SER) has called this an important step toward focusing the world’s attention on the imperative of restoring degraded ecosystems. The UN declaration is expected to bring political commitment, scientific research and financial muscle to scale … Read More
Mapping the Last Grasslands of the Palani Hills, Tamil Nadu
Grasslands in Twilight, Shola in Ascendance.
The Palani Hills of Tamil Nadu are in the midst of significant ecological change. It’s not the kind of process that is easily observed and most people, including those managing forest resources, have been taken by surprise by just how fast the montane (high altitude) landscape of the hills has changed. These are the conclusions of regular observation and photo documentation by the author as well as, a peer- reviewed scientific study using satellite … Read More
Last Day! The Hills of Murugan – Photo Exhibition by Ian Lockwood
To Chop, or Not to Chop? The Issue of Exotic Invasive Trees in the Western Ghats
The Tamil Nadu Forest department is required to respond to a petition filed in the Madurai High court that asked the Forest Department to act to solve a problem. This problem has been in the making for over 50 years and has no simple solution. I define the problem, its complexities, and some interventions that could help guide a response to the court order in the short-term, and possibly address the problem in the long-term.
Over fifty years … Read More
Gaur in Town!
This image of Gaur in Kodaikanal town in the Palani Hills of South India represents a common sight these days. The reasons for their sauntering into urban areas and hanging around need to be studied in detail, but some, or several, of the following factors, may play a role: habitat fragmentation due to the haphazard growth of Kodaikanal town, private estates, and plantations (and perhaps the fencing around these lands), rampant tourism and development, invasion of the shola-grassland ecosystem by … Read More
Lantana in India: A Losing Battle?
Lantana (Lantana camara) has become one of the world’s most invasive weeds. Shonil Bhagwat and others analyze the history of lantana invasion and management in India, Australia and South Africa. These are the highlights from their study published in the journal PLoS One, summarized for Conservation India by Krithi K. Karanth.
- The authors examined 75% of known historical records for the species in India, Australia and South Africa.
- Aggressive extermination measures taken by the government over the