~ by Satvik Parashar
A recent study by interdisciplinary researchers ( from McGill University, Rutgers School of Public Health, Johns Hopkins University and Deshpande Foundation, including some NCCI members from the University of Delaware, Columbia University, Foundation for Ecological Security (FES)) explores the efficacy of multiple cropping, seasonality and the socio-economic factors with respect to food security and especially dietary diversity. Specifically they explore the seasonal variation of dietary diversity and food security as well as the associations with multiple cropping and income sources in the region.
Food insecurity is a global problem, as 690 million people worldwide were still undernourished in 2019. Apart from this, the lack of diversity in dietary intake is responsible for chronic deficiency of micronutrients (vitamins and minerals, such as iron, vitamin A, and zinc). This deficiency is known as ‘hidden hunger’, and it affects around a quarter of the world population, especially in sub-Saharan Africa and south Asia. This calls for intensive agriculture strategies such as multiple cropping, which involves harvesting crops more than once a year. The study tests the efficacy of this cropping in increasing food security as well as dietary diversity among the households.
200 households were surveyed from 40 villages within five districts of Madhya Pradesh (see map below). Same individuals from each household were surveyed for the three seasons (summer, monsoon and winter), resulting in 600 surveys.
Map of study area showing location of the 40 study villages within the five study districts at the boundary of the Indian states of Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Chhattisgarh, along with the spatial distribution of winter cropping (the second crop) in 2016 (cropped area data source: Jain et al 2017).
Agroforestry as an avenue for enhanced livelihoods, lower ungulate-crop raiding and PES in central India
~ by Satvik Parashar
Since the last few decades, biodiversity conservation measures in India have largely been dependent on the creation of state-controlled protected areas (PAs). Despite the popularity, PAs in India face many conservation challenges that include fragmentation, insufficient size, limited connectivity, development pressure, close proximity to human population etc. Additionally, there can be resentment among some local populations in these areas as they are seldom part of the decision making processes that directly affect them. Inclusive strategies such as ecotourism and biodiversity-friendly agriculture are proving to be more sustainable steps in conservation. A recent paper focuses on the effectiveness of voluntary conservation initiatives on private agricultural lands such as agroforestry. For the involvement of landowners in agroforestry, the influence of factors such as 1) Program Design, 2) Land Characteristics, Demographic and socio-economic characteristics of landowners, 3) Socio-psychological variables of landowners has been studied in this paper.
Figure 1 :Program Factors and Landowner Characteristics that shape Landowner Preferences
~ by Amrita Neelakantan
The Narmada river has shaped much of the central Indian landscape. It is also known as "Life Line of Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat” with its invaluable contribution to the two states in many quantifiable and unquantifiable ways providing water for the heart of India and all of the people and wild places that it flows through. The Narmada starts from the Amarkantak plateau in Anuppur district of Madhya Pradesh and flows westwards over a length of 1,312 km before draining into the Arabian sea. Bordered by the Vindhya and Satpura ranges, the Narmada is one of three major rivers flowing from the east to the west. More on the river basin – here.
Source: Photo; Map
A recent study by Prof. Tarun Kumar Thakur (from the Department of Environmental Science at the Indira Gandhi National Tribal University in Amarkantak) and collaborators uses satellite imagery to look at decadal changes in land use within the upper catchment of the Narmada river. The study strongly suggests planners of urbanizing areas utilize spatial information from satellites to conduct similar studies to manage water resources in the face of climate change related struggles ahead. As is now common knowledge, water will be one of the main resources we will have to manage to the best of our abilities given uncertainty in monsoon rainfall and growing urban centres in central India.
An important consideration is that the Narmada and its tributaries such as Gayatri, Savitri, Kapila, Baitarini, Arandi emerging from Amarkantak region are all are fed by rain water. In years with ample rainfall there is a consequent positively correlation to the flow in these rivers. The Maikal range where these tributaries and the Narmada originate are under tremendous anthropogenic stress – indicators of which are clear in the changing land use and land cover dynamics as described for the Narmada catchment in this study.
~ by Mansi Monga
Project Dhvani takes you into the world of forests like never before. In 2018, NCCI members – Pooja Choksi, Sarika Khanwilkar and Vijay Ramesh began their journey of collecting data in the form of sounds (bioacoustics) for wildlife & forest management or as they like to call it ‘a mixtape from the forests of India’. These are used to detect biodiversity, and understand the relationship between biodiversity, land use cover and resource management.
The word ‘Dhvani’ comes from Sanskrit and means ‘Sound’, and sound is the essence of their project, becoming evident as we go on.
Using sound as scientific data for conservation efforts is as unique and intriguing as it sounds, and “opens a new window into the future of forests in India”.
~ by Aditi Patil
Rapidly growing road networks contribute to a country’s social and economic development, but this contribution comes at a high price that is paid by wildlife. Roads cutting through wild habitat adversely affect animals, with one of the most distinct impacts being Animal-Vehicle Collisions (AVCs). A recent study conducted by researchers at Dr. Bilal Habib's lab at the Wildlife Institute of India examined factors like animal behavior and traffic characteristics that influence AVCs, and how information about these factors can be used to prevent such accidents.
Increased connectivity through roads is critical for development. However, it increases construction of transport infrastructure, often passing through wild habitat. This poses a risk to wildlife. Animals attempting to cross roads often end up in collisions with vehicles. Notably, there are no natural factors of selection governing AVCs, meaning that these accidents occur entirely by chance. Both healthy and unhealthy individuals in animal populations are equally exposed to the risk. This non selective mortality can negatively affect a population through a loss of healthy individuals. Animals may deliberately begin to avoid crossing roads due to AVCs, thus leading to a barrier to movement. Such barriers will result in isolation of animal populations, and in some cases may even lead to the local extinction of species.
Project Spotlight highlights our members' work in Central India.
|Network for Conserving Central India||