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Strengthening Community Institutions for Sustainable Livelihoods

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Understanding the unparalleled service offered by pollinators in Nature


K
eystone has been working in the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve (NBR) over the last 21 years (since 1993) with indigenous communities on eco-development initiatives. During the last couple of years, seven thematic areas have taken form, derived from the original idea of a holistic approach to the issues of livelihoods, conservation & enterprise. These areLivelihoodConservationOrganic Market DevelopmentCulture & PeopleEnvironmental GovernanceTraining & Information and Finance & Administration.


Videos
 

India Biodiversity Portal Organizes Invasive Species Campaign

The India Biodiversity Portal is organizing an invasive species campaign through the month of August 2015: Spotting Alien Invasive Species or “SPAIS”. India Biodiversity Portal (IBP) is an online, open-access repository of information on India’s biodiversity. It has already conducted several campaigns involving citizens in documenting, contributing and sharing biodiversity information from diverse parts of the country. With the SPAIS campaign, IBP and its partners aim to create awareness about, and to map the occurrences of, a set of widespread invasive species in India. The campaign will be conducted online at: http://indiabiodiversity.org/group/spotting_alien_invasive_species/show The SPAIS campaign will be conducted in association with WIKWIO (Weed Identification and Knowledge in the Western Indian Ocean), IISER-Kolkata, University of Kashmir, Institute of Environment and Sustainable Development at Banaras Hindu University, the G.B. Pant Institute of Himalayan Environment and Development, Dakshin Foundation, Nature Conservation Foundation, Keystone Foundation in Kotagiri, and several others. The success of this campaign depends on participation by citizens. What is the significance of studying and mapping invasive species? The rapid proliferation of numerous exotic invasive species of plants and animals poses a threat to native biodiversity, the structure of valuable wildlife habitats, and the survival of vital water bodies, and can have severe impacts on the country’s agricultural economy. In India we still know very little about invasive species, let alone where they occur or the full extent of their ecological and economic impacts. Through this collaborative effort between researchers and citizens to map the distributions of these intruders, the Spotting Alien Invasive Species (SPAIS) campaign hopes to obtain important clues to the management and control of these problem species. Such information could potentially enable us to collectively answer questions such as: Are there certain habitats that are particularly vulnerable to species invasions? And, in time, to answer questions such as: How might a particular alien invasive species be expected to spread under a scenario of future climate change? Ecologist, Dr Ankila Hiremath, from Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment (ATREE), has worked on invasives for over 10 years and is one of the organisers of the SPAIS campaign. She says, “Humans have always moved plants, animals, (and inadvertently, diseases) around the globe. But with growing global trade and travel, the rate at which species are being introduced to new region – whether deliberately or accidentally – is unprecedented. Not all these species are useful. Some of them, those that become known as ‘invasive alien species,’ can have serious impacts on the environment and on human wellbeing. Costs of invasive species due to losses in agriculture and forestry alone are estimated on the order of billions of US $ per year. It is much harder to quantify less tangible costs due to the loss of biodiversity and ecosystem services.” Participate in this fun activity with friends and neighbours, with students, teachers, and colleagues; take a SPAIS walk, upload a photograph, tell a story! Sign up  at http://indiabiodiversity.org/group/spotting_alien_invasive_species/show and register now. For more information, write to spais@indiabiodiversity.org Images of common invasives available at http://indiabiodiversity.org/group/spotting_alien_invasive_species/page/98 Steps for participating shared at http://indiabiodiversity.org/group/spotting_alien_invasive_species/page/100

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Invitation for a meeting on ‘Consolidation and Devolution of Climate Finance in India’

There have been a number of national and international developments on climate change finance recently. While allocations for climate change have been made in the last few budgets in India, internationally, the Green Climate Fund is expected to start disbursing funds from later this year. In this context, Keystone Foundation and Oxford Climate Policy recently undertook a review of climate finance arrangements in India, specifically from the perspective of channelling adaptation finance to poor and climate-vulnerable communities, who are likely to be the worst impacted by climate change. The resulting paper, Consolidation and Devolution of Climate Finance: The Case of India, identifies existing gaps in the climate finance architecture, and in readiness to channel national and international funding to vulnerable communities. We would like to invite you to a meeting on 7 August, that will bring together critical government actors, including those who already work with climate-vulnerable communities but are not currently part of the discussion on climate finance (such as the ministries of rural development, Panchayati Raj, water and agriculture, and State and local actors). The discussion will focus on: How to widen participation and ownership of climate finance and action, to include missing sectors and actors; How national and international climate finance can be consolidated to work towards common, nationally-determined, goals and targets; How climate finance can be devolved, to reach the most vulnerable; Latest developments under the Green Climate Fund, particularly with respect to a new modality of Enhanced Direct Access (EDA), and how India can leverage this new modality to benefit vulnerable communities and strengthen existing national programmes such as NREGA; and Mitigation-related climate finance in the context of channelling funds from the GCF™ Private Sector Facility to micro-, small- and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs). (Based on another paper on Mobilizing MSMEs). The meeting will be restricted to a select group of government representatives from critical sectors, and take place in a round-table format to provide an opportunity for open debate.We hope you will be able to join us, first for lunch at 12:00 pm, and then for the meeting from 1:30-5:30 pm. We would also like to invite you to a drinks reception following the meeting at 5:30 pm, hosted by the European Capacity Building Initiative (ecbi). We will be happy to pay the cost of your travel, and boarding and lodging.   Date: August 7, 2015 Time: 12:00 pm – 5:30 pm, followed by a drinks reception Venue:  Seminar Hall 3, India International Centre, New Delhi

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Improving Livelihoods of the Indigenous Communities in the NBR

Keystone Foundation’s NRM programme, partly supported by SDC/IC NGO programme has 4 main facets – forest based livelihoods, biodiversity conservation, water resource management and reviving traditional agriculture systems. The NRM programme was initiated in 1995 in the Nilgiris Biosphere Reserve (NBR) and works with 6 different indigenous communities (henceforth ‘Adivasis’). The objectives of this ongoing programme are – To improve livelihoods of Adivasi communities of the NBR, particularly the honey hunters and collectors of Non-Timber Forest Produce (NTFP). To conserve forest biodiversity through ecological monitoring of NTFP, sustainable harvesting systems and technology, trade and value addition. To study communities and their water management systems in hill areas and implement small drinking water projects. Conduct research and revive traditional agriculture systems towards improved food security and household nutrition of the indigenous communities. Download the full Article  

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Inauguration of Pattarai

Our newly constructed Pattarai is a training and creating centre which has three major sections – Carpentry, Metal & Masonry and electrical-electronic-plumbing section.  Pattarai is a traditional Tamil word meaning artisan’s working place (carpentry, blacksmith, bamboo craft, pottery etc). The building was inaugurated on the 15th of June. The construction of the Pattarai is supported and funded by the Jamnalal Bajaj Foundation because Keystone won the award for outstanding contribution in the field of Science and Technology for Rural Development. The carpentry unit is equipped with a multi functioning wood work machine which has numerous functions like planning, grueing, cutting, grinding, drilling, battering and sizing.  This unit will work on production and training of making bee hives, wooden packing items, designing various displays etc. The metal work section is to handle honey equipment, driers, filters, pre- fabricated alternative construction items and water harvest-purification-storage systems. The electrical and electronic section is to train and work on assembling of solar light & energy equipment, repairing of water pumping and solar-electric fencing equipment for crop protection. Gallery | Related Story – Jamnalal Bajaj Award – 2013 Introductory Electrical plumbing training A three days introductory electrical and three days plumbing training was conducted to tribal youth from June first to the sixth. Eight Irula tribal youth from Sigur region participated effectively. The introductory electrical training curriculum included – one and three phase house wiring, fixing consumer meter board,  light points, 5-15 amp sockets, one way – two way controls, earthing, fixing water heater installation and problem solving. During the plumbing training, demonstration on cold & hot water lining, solar cum electrical water heaters, pump set mechanism and erection was conducted. The stay and food was arranged during the training and Rs.100 per day was supported as stipend. Some of the participants have expressed interest to undergo a three months complete training in the future.        

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Ecological Sustainability for Non-timber Forest Products

Ecological Sustainability for Non-timber Forest Products Dynamics and Case Studies of Harvesting There is growing knowledge about and appreciation of the importance of Non-timber Forest Products (NTFPs) to rural livelihoods in developing countries, and to a lesser extent, developed countries. However, there is also an assumption on the part of policy-makers that any harvesting of wild animal or plant products from the forests and other natural and modified ecosystems must be detrimental to the long-term viability of target populations and species. This book challenges this idea and shows that while examples of such negative impacts certainly exist, there are also many examples of sustainable harvesting systems for NTFPs. The chapters review and present coherent and scientifically sound information and case studies on the ecologically sustainable use of NTFPs. They also outline a general interdisciplinary approach for assessing the sustainability of NTFP harvesting systems at different scales. A wide range of case studies is included from Africa, Asia and South America, using plant and animal products for food, crafts, textiles, medicines and cosmetics. More Details & Purchase Text from Routledge Taylor & Francis Group    

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3rd Springs Initiative Partners Meet, Bhimtal – 2015

The Springs initiative is a network of organisations working on revival and conservation of Springs by understanding the geo-hydrology and looking at Springs as ground water. The initiative is supported by Arghyam and Technical support by ACWADAM. Training of Trainers The first four days of the meet was to disseminate or share the knowledge vested with each partner to the other partners. The four day programme had various sessions facilitated by various organisations. ACWADAM– Himanshu and Kausthubh trained the participants on Geology and understanding the various rock types and their structures. Keystone Foundation and Grampari (Representing Western Ghats) – Gokul, Selvi and Jared Presented about the Importance of looking at the Spring and the ecosystem around the Springs and its catchment. Selvi presented the case study from Keystone about the ecological restoration done in the Happy valley Spring Shed. Vishaka Jilla Nava Nirmana Samithi (Representing Eastern Ghats) – Siva and Rao presented their work on gravity fed water supply system (GFWSS) and slow sand filters in the Eastern Ghats. People Science Institute – Ankit presented about the various quality parameters and their affects on human health. Himalaya Seva Sangh (Himalayan Range) – Manoj spoke about the Himalayan springs and the pressure and exploitation due to various factors affecting the ground water. CHIRAG – Chirag hosted the event and also shared their knowledge on Springs. Transerve Technology – ODK App for Springs data collection. India Water Portal and Hindi Water portal – The 2 media partners documented the whole event and made a few movies on the field. Field Day The first day in the field, we spent time in one of the working areas of CHIRAG where we were divided into groups to put theory into practice. The groups mapped the geology, rock types, dip direction, slope aspect and spring type. We were also able to talk to the villagers in Kulgaud. The women were explaining the rock types and the importance to understand the geology of the area before doing interventions. They also explained about how the community took efforts to convince the neighbourhood village for doing recharge interventions as the recharge area of Kulgaud spring was in the village upstream and on the other flank of the valley. The spring type was identified by the participants and data was collected on springs, discharge and quality. The Application was tried in the field and feedbacks for development were given. The Fourth Day ended with an Advocacy Workshop with the Uttarakhand government. The Meghalaya and Sikkim Government attended the workshop and spoke about the springs in Sikkim and Meghalaya and the importance of springs conservation with a scientific approach. After the Training of Trainers, the partners met to discuss about the plans by each partners for the next quarter. Keystone Foundation presented the vision statement for the Springs Initiative. It will go through a few changes as suggested by the partners. Keystone will also be doing a research on “The Economic of Supplying Drinking Water to Off-grid Habitations”. Keystone also committed to take up the Research on water and sanitation by roping in other partners from the network. A group from the TOT will go to Meghalaya by the end of July or the beginning of August to train the Meghalaya government on various specialised aspects. The 4th Springs partners meet was proposed to be held at Keystone Foundation. Gallery

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Training of Range officers from TNFA

Keystone model of eco-development- a topic of hot discussion with Range Officer Trainees of Tamil Nadu Forest Academy. On May 20th 2015 Keystone Foundation was invited to give a guest lecture cum practical exposure to eco-development by the Tamil Nadu Forest Department at he Hasanur Keystone Resource Center at Sathyamangalam. Robert Leo welcomed the group of 40 trainees and their senior co-ordinator Shri Chandrasekaran. After which Anita Varghese gave a 15 minute talk on eco development followed by the screening of a short clip from the honey hunting film. This was followed by a barrage of questions from the trainees which was responded to by Leo, Anita and Sumin. Some of the questions were on the issues of sustainable management of forest resources, importantly on what criteria can we make these decisions. There was an interest to know about each one of Keystone’s activities and the functioning of an NGO. This was the first visit to an NGO for the trainees and they were a very keen and observant batch. Following the interaction they were taken around to see the production center by Moorthy Sir, Rangasamy, Rajamma, Chitra and other production staff of Aadhimalai Producer company. The products on display were a huge attraction for the trainees as were the value addition machinery and processes. We are certain that the visit has had an impact on the batch and they will remember how forests, indigenous people, traditional knowledge and value addition are interlinked for eco development activities.

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Nilgiri Field Learning Centre, 2015

A collaboration between Keystone Foundation, Kotagiri and Cornell University, Ithaca, USA. 12 students graduated from NFLC yesterday from Cornell, USA along with five from Adivasi communities of Irula and Kurumba in Nilgiris. Collector P. Shankar, IAS gave the certificates to the first batch and heard presentations from students on: Infant feeding, exploring Kurumba health perspectives, dietary diversity, forest rights act and waste and water. NFLC is a 15 weeks spring semester course where Cornell and Indigenous students undertake an unique journey of transformative education through practice, classes, field visits. Designed to create in a multi-cultural setting: international, national approaches, interactions create possibilities of fresh, new insights and local, global perspectives. Gallery

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Neighborhood Trees Campaign 2015, Saravanmalai

As a part of the Earth Day Celebration and Neighborhood Trees Campaign (Organised by India Biodiversity Portal), NNHS & Keystone Foundation organised a shola trail led by Shiny Rehel on 19 April 2015. The trail started at Attadi Junction and went upto saravanamalai formerly known as Tenerife. 13 enthusiastic participants walked through tea estates, plantations and shola forest. Acacia, Casuarina, Cupress and Pine were the trees commonly observed in plantations. This was a trail where the plantation was more dominant than the shola forest; but shola trees were seen in a small patch and along the plantation. The shola trees observed were  Gardneria ovata, Vaccinium leschenaultii seen along the border, Litsea spp., Schefflera capitata, Ternstroemia japonica, Turpinia cochinchinensis, Rhododendron arboreum subsp. nilagiricum and  Litsea spp. Gallery

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Keystone Foundation
Keystone Centre, PB 35
Groves Hill RoadKotagiri 643 217
Nilgiris District, Tamil Nadu India

Telefaxes: +91 (04266) 272277, 272977, 275297
Email: kf at keystone-foundation dot org

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