Localizing biodiversity conservation through participatory action
August 2017: MSSRF organized a two-day workshop on developing a strategy and action plan for biodiversity conservation in Wayanad on August 18 and 19. The aim was to identify biodiversity related issues in selected nine panchayats of Wayanad and suggest methods to develop.
The workshop was inaugurated by the District Collector Sri.Suhas IAS who expressed his support for ecological restoration and biodiversity conservation, pivotal for Wayanad’s sustainable development. Prof. E. Kunhikrishnan, environmentalist, shared how ecological degradation, exploitation of forest resources and expansion of plantations, had damaged the ecological balance of Wayanad’s agrarian economy.
P.U.Das, Soil Conservator of Wayanad, spoke on restoration of wetland ecosystems conservation of small streams and rivulets to bring back the micro-climate. Dr. Balakrishnan Pisupathi, Vice Chancellor of Trans Disciplinary University, Bangalore, P. Ushakumari, President, District Panchayat, Shri. Balagopal IAS, former Consultant to UN spoke on the occasion.
A series of panel discussion of local self government representatives and experts were held on the second day. Dr. Anil Zachariah, Department of Veterinary and Animal Husbandry shared the ecosystem challenges of uses of urea, importance of zerobudget farming and loss of microhabitat of amphibians.
Mr. C.K Vishnudas, ornithologist, Hume Centre for ecology and wildlife biology, shared how major threats like mountain fire, invasion of alien species, affected bird diversity.
Dr. Ratheesh Narayanan, Botanist and Asst. Professor of Payyannoor College spoke of the status and distribution of flowering plants while Dr. V. Balakrishnan Head CAbC-MSSRF presented on Agro biodiversity and wild edible plants of Wayanad. Mr. V. V. Sivan, Senior Scientist, M S Swaminathan Research Foundation presented ‘The diversity of medicinal plants in Wayanad and the threat. The concluding session developed an action plan presided over by Shri. Balagopal, I.A.S. The panel of conservation practitioners including experts, activities and representatives of local governing bodies shared their experience and inputs to the strategy.
M S Swaminathan Research Foundation (MSSRF) established in 1988 is a not-for-profit trust. MSSRF was envisioned and founded by Professor M S Swaminathan, agriculture scientist with proceeds from the First World Food Prize that he received in 1987.