The Hindu

YETI 2011 throws up strategies to meet conservation challenges in northeast

Leading ecologists, wildlife biologists, conservation experts and research scholars of the country on Thursday came up with a number of workable strategies to meet conservation challenges in the northeast at the conclusion of the three-day Young Ecologists Talk and Interact (YETI), 2011, held at the Indian Institute of Technology-Guwahati.

Initiating a panel discussion on ‘Conservation challenges in NE India’, Usha Lachungpa, Scientific Officer of the Department of Forest, Sikkim, underlined the need for sharing research outputs among government departments and researchers for effective conservation of natural resources.

Taking part in the deliberations, Ravi Chellam, Director, Madras Crocodile Bank Trust, said that the common impression that the northeast region was a remote corner of India should be shed to better understand conservation challenges of the region. “India is diverse, but within India, the northeast itself is very diverse,” Dr. Chellam said. He stressed the need to bring the conservation issues to larger forums outside the region.

Aparajita Dutta, senior scientist, Nature Conservation Foundation (NCF) and Anirban Dutta, research scholar, Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment (ATREE), who have been working in Arunachal Pradesh to understand the hunting practices of different tribes in the region, felt it was important to understand the socioeconomic and cultural factors that lead to hunting by tribes in the State.

Narayan Sharma, doctoral research scholar, National Institute of Advanced Studies, gave a historical perspective of forest cover change in the upper Brahmaputra valley from pre-Ahom to post-Independence eras, highlighting the importance of understanding the past for addressing future conservation challenges. The panel discussion was moderated by Hilloljyoti Sinha, assistant professor, Assam University, Silchar and Anamika Barua, IIT-Guwahati.

The final day of YETI 2011 had a number of oral presentations that covered a wide range of topics. A talk by Joli Borah, a student at Wildlife Institute of India, was based on her study of four species of kingfishers and provided information on the species’ foraging behavior. Mr. Sharma’s talk, related to his work in the Gibbon Wildlife Sanctuary in Assam, pointed to the coexistence of up to seven species of primates in the sanctuary, a phenomenon previously widespread but now not seen in many other parts of the northeast because of various human disturbances.

One of the participants, Nandini R, presented an interesting work on gliding squirrels, while V.V. Robin spoke about how natural gaps in the landscape could potentially help create variations in species, with an example of his work on shortwings in the Western Ghats. Workshops were held parallel to the panel discussion and covered a spectrum of issues from getting the most of a scientific paper to photography to designing a study and more.
(The Hindu is the media partner for the event)

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