Supporting conservation and livelihoods in the Western Ghats, India
Building resilient landscapes and communities for climate change adaption and biodiversity conservation in the northern Western Ghats
We love working with AERF on their ‘Living in Harmony with Nature’ project. The mountain range of the Western Ghats is a global biodiversity hotspot; a haven supporting 5000 species of flowering plants and 600 species of birds. We support AERF‘s work in safeguarding these precious areas by building conservation agreements with landowning farmers through sustainable agriculture and forest management.
Since its inception in 1994, Applied Environmental Research Foundation (AERF) has been working in the Western Ghats of India in areas where no other conservation mechanisms exist. While treading this lesser-travelled path, AERF has been able to identify core areas of work in order to achieve maximum impact and ensure that the forests and its people thrive through a symbiotic relationship.
AERF has built a framework around them in order to engage in ‘participatory conservation’ or ‘community based conservation’, thus defining problem statements in an appropriate way and involving the resident community in developing effective solutions for the long term. This framework defines the fundamental strategy by which AERF works – CONSERVATION ON THE GROUND – making a tangible difference at the grassroots level through maximum action and minimal activism.
The Living in Harmony with Nature Project
The Living in Harmony with Nature Project runs from 2020-2023 and will have following objectives:
- a) Restore abandon agricultural fields and degraded forests
- b) Build capacity of local communities in social and economic benefits of sustainable agriculture/ forest management
- c) Provide market opportunities and and recognition to traditional crops. Native species and sustainable practices
Essentially this will mean exploring locally resilient, nutritious, as well as economically viable species such as Ragi (finger-millet) and Black sesame seeds along with medicinal herbs such as Turmeric and Brahmi.