T R Shankar Raman
Scientist, Western Ghats
I like to imagine that I am a writer turned wildlife scientist turned writer, living in a landscape of rainforests and plantations in the Anamalai hills of southern India. As a wildlife scientist, I focus on the ecology and conservation of tropical forests and wildlife—especially rainforest plants, birds, and mammals—mainly in the Western Ghats. In parallel, I write creative non-fiction and essays on nature and conservation for newspapers, magazines, and blogs, besides occasional book reviews and op-ed or feature articles.
I am also interested in animal welfare and ethics, empathy and aesthetics in humans and other animals, music and poetry, public reasoning, openness in anything from software to knowledge, and human capability and freedom and flourishing, but have done precious little about any of this except for strapping on headphones and tuning out.
I like to read a fair bit and you can see what I am reading here. My blog 'View from Elephant Hills' is on the Coyotes Network. And here is my Wikipedia user page, linked to my Wikimedia Commons photo gallery (works in progress).
Wildlife and shifting cultivation
Forest, wildlife, jhum, and plantations in the Dampa landscape, Mizoram
- Popular Article2016The culling fieldsThe Hindu (op-ed) 17 June 2016, page 9.
A better approach to man-wildlife conflict management requires an integration of scientific evidence, animal behaviour, and landscape and socio-economic context.
- Popular Article2016The march of the triffids.The BOU Blog, 8 August 2016
Shifting agriculture supports more rainforest birds than oil palm or teak monocultures
- Popular Article2016In clouded leopard countryThe Hindu Sunday Magazine, 8 October 2016, pages 1-2.
In the rainforest, the rewards of silence sometimes exceed your wildest expectations. From where I sit quietly, I don’t hear a single artificial sound. Unseen cicadas shrill and set the air ringing, woodpeckers cackle from the treetops, and frogs click and boom from the rock-pools alongside the singing river below. From somewhere in the undergrowth, a grey peacock-pheasant sounds an echoing, guttural laugh. In the distance rise great grey cliffs, home of serow (a forest goat-antelope) and bear, overlooking the rainforests where every morning the hoolock gibbons still hoot and sing. Around the steep rock slope where I am stretched out on my back, the looming rainforest envelops me like an amphitheatre. I feel like a tiny flame steady in an evergreen sconce. As yet, I have no inkling of what we are about to witness.
- Popular Article2016Icons of Anamalais: Malabar Whistling ThrushPollachi Papyrus, July – September 3(3): 38-41.
Shorter, edited version of article ‘Musician of the Monsoon’ that appeared in The Hindu Sunday Magazine on 6 Sep 2009.
- Popular Article2016Why Mizoram must revive, not eradicate, jhumThe Frontier Despatch, March 4 – 10, 2016, page 6.
- Popular Article2016Is oil palm expansion good for Mizoram?The Frontier Despatch, March 18 – 24, 2016, pages 6-7.
- Art & Literary2016Elephant crossingOrion 35(3): 6. (May | June 2016)
- Popular Article2016The silence of India's wildlife scientists, including myself, rings louder than gunshots.Scroll.in, 20 September 2016.
Eight reasons why those like me stay away from India's most important debates.
Republished from my blogpost at View from Elephant Hills: http://coyot.es/elephanthills/2016/09/16/conversation-biology-eight-reasons-why-i-am-a-silent-scientist/
- Popular Article2016Get the monkey off the back.The Tribune (op-ed), page 9.
The decision to cull macaques is clearly a dramatic response by the Himachal Pradesh government to defuse a situation that was turning into a public embarrassment. There are other ways to negotiate the man-animal conflict at the heart of the issue.
- Dataset2016Data from: Shifting agriculture supports more tropical forest birds than oil palm or teak plantations in Mizoram, northeast India.Dryad Digital Repository. http://dx.doi.org/10.5061/dryad.pk78j.2
This contains the dataset corresponding to this publication:
Mandal J, Raman TRS (2016) Shifting agriculture supports more tropical forest birds than oil palm or teak plantations in Mizoram, northeast India. The Condor: Ornithological Applications 118(2): 345-359. http://dx.doi.org/10.1650/CONDOR-15-163.1