Aparajita Datta

Scientist, Eastern Himalaya

Aparajita swati 20sidhu 20crop 20copy


Aparajita has been involved in research and conservation in Arunachal Pradesh since 1995 and a primary focus of her work has been on hornbills. Her main interests include plant–animal interactions in rainforests, understanding anthropogenic effects on wildlife, and engaging with tribal communities for conservation.


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Forests, weeds and farms

Understanding a shifting cultivation system in the Eastern Himalaya


Hornbill Nest Adoption Program

Saving hornbill homes with communities

Mrunal interview 20in 20mizoram


Hornbill survey across North-east India

Survey to assess the status of hornbills in five north-eastern states



Linking rural energy and conservation

Linking rural energy and nature conservation in a tribal village 


Monitoring threatened wildlife

Establishing baselines for key faunal groups

Arunachal macaque photo by kripaljyoti mazumdar

Monkey of the deep jungle

Ecology and conservation of Macaca munzala



Pakke Nature Information Centre

A new learning and activity centre for visitors to Pakke Tiger Reserve


Plant-disperser mutualistic networks

Understanding the role of hornbills in plant-disperser networks

Turpinia 20pomifera 20seedling

Rats, seeds and rainforest trees

Plant-animal interactions: seed predation and plant demography

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Tracking hornbill movements and seeds

Hornbill ranging, fruit distribution and implications for seed dispersal


Tree phenology and hornbill breeding

Long-term monitoring of trees, hornbill nests and roosts


  • Book Chapter
    In press
    Top-down or bottom-up: the role of the government and local institutions in regulating shifting cultivation in the Upper Siang district, Eastern Himalaya, India (in press)
    Shifting Cultivation and Environmental Change: Indigenous People, Agriculture and Forest Conservation (Ed: Malcolm Cairns), Published by Routledge.
  • Report
    Hornbill Nest Adoption Program - 2016 breeding season
    HNAP 2016 Report

    PDF, 3.74 MB

  • Journal Article
    Shifting to settled cultivation: Changing practices among the Adis in Central Arunachal Pradesh, north-east India
    Ambio doi 10.1007/s13280-016-0765-x

    In the hilly tropics, although shifting cultivation is a widespread practice, government policies have attempted to replace it with other land-uses. However, several factors determine whether farming communities can make the shift. We tried understanding the factors that facilitate or impede the shift to settled cultivation through interviews with the Adi tribe in north-east India. Although settled cultivation was initiated in the sixties, about 90 % of the families practice shifting cultivation, observing 13 festivals associated with the annual agricultural calendar. Our results indicate that the economic status of a household affected the ability to undertake settled cultivation, while labour availability is important for shifting cultivation. Often, these nuances are ignored in government policies. We conclude that future policies should be mindful of cultural and socio-economic factors that affect the community and of the social-ecological resilience of the landscapes and not use a one-size-fits-all strategy.

  • Journal Article
    Field to a forest: Patterns of forest recovery following shifting cultivation in the Eastern Himalaya
    Forest Ecology & Management http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.foreco.2016.01.006

    The patterns of vegetation recovery in shifting cultivation landscapes that undergo a cycle of clearing, cultivation and forest regeneration are not well understood in Asian tropical forests. We determined for- est recovery patterns by comparing species composition, richness and forest structure in early and late fallows formed following shifting cultivation and in an uncut forest site in a mid-elevation subtropical forest in the Indian Eastern Himalaya. We also examined changes in functional traits of tree species to understand recovery processes with succession. Tree species richness in the 12, 25 and 50-year old sites was 37%, 54% and 82% the value of the richness in uncut forest, respectively, while basal area was 33%, 25% and 41% of the value in uncut forest, respectively. Species composition recovery, however, was low; with even the oldest fallow (50-year fallow) being less than 50% similar to uncut forest in terms of composition. Successional sites that recover over long periods may differ compositionally from uncut forest within a shifting cultivation landscape as these forests are often prone to other anthropogenic dis- turbances. Functional trait analysis revealed that early fallows were colonized by tree species that are animal-dispersed, insect-pollinated with small fruits and seeds, whereas uncut forest and late succes- sional forests were dominated by species that were tall, self-dispersed, wind-pollinated and of high wood density that are dominant mature forest species in the Himalaya. These results are in contrast with the patterns in functional traits of tree species in successional sites from the Neotropics. This points to the importance of site-specificity in succession following shifting cultivation.

  • Dataset
    Data from: Shifting to settled cultivation: changing practices among the Adis in Central Arunachal Pradesh, north-east India
    Dryad Digital Repository http://dx.doi.org/10.5061/dryad.6mq0n

    ZIP, 1.8 KB

    This data contains household level socio-economic information collected from five villages in the Upper Siang district, Arunachal Pradesh. The data is from the following publication: 

    Teegalapalli, K. & Datta, A. 2016. Shifting to settled cultivation: Changing practices among the Adis in Central Arunachal Pradesh, north-east India. Ambio doi 10.1007/s13280-016-0765-x

  • Dataset
    Data from: Field to a forest: patterns of forest recovery following shifting cultivation in the eastern Himalaya. Dryad Digital Repository.

    ZIP, 16.7 KB

  • Dataset
    Data from: Spatial and temporal variation in hornbill densities in Namdapha Tiger Reserve, Arunachal Pradesh, north-east India
    DOI: doi:10.5061/dryad.qr068
  • Report
    Hornbill Watch Report June 2014 to May 2015
    May 2015, www.hornbills.in

    PDF, 813 KB

    An update that summarises the information obtained on Indian hornbills contributed by people on the Hornbill Watch website for one year (June 2014 to May 2015).

  • Book Chapter
    Aparajita Datta, R. Nandini
    In: Mammals of South Asia: Volume 2, (eds A. J. T. Johnsingh & N. Manjrekar), pp. 513-573. Universities Press, Hyderabad.

    PDF, 2.63 MB

  • Book Chapter
    Hope for hornbills
    In: Allison Hegan (Ed.), Endangered Tales.

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