Western Ghats

A global biodiversity hotspot and one of the most irreplaceable areas  for conservation, this region has a staggering plant and animal diversity overlapping with a dense human population. In this region, our work focuses on human impacts on wild species and habitats, biological surveys, human-wildlife conflict research and mitigation, and ecological restoration.

Wildlife and Human Ecology

The Western Ghats forests, rivers, and grasslands contain an extraordinary diversity of species, including rare and threatened species and endemics found nowhere else in the world. These species survive in landscapes that are a mix of protected and human-use areas. Understanding plant and animal ecology, human impacts on wildlife species, and how people use and relate to natural resources is all critical for conservation and these motivate our research in the region.

Ltm with infant

Wildlife in rainforest fragments

Life in the treetops and undergrowth in rainforest remnants

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The secret lives of leopards

Understanding the ecology of leopards in Karnataka 

Gh in flight

Hornbill hotspots

Hornbill distribution and conservation threats

Koomati 20hut

Completed

People of the rainforest

Tribal communities in the rainforests of the Anamalai hills

Tea1

Of forests and farms

Conserving wildlife in forests and plantations in the landscape

Figure2

Completed

Whittled-down woods

Plant communities and invasive species in forest fragments

Gopr0731

Completed

Otters in troubled waters?

Otters in the Kaveri - sharing space with riverine fisheries and sand mining

Conservation and Communities

Living with wildlife: reducing conflicts and human impacts and ecologically restoring degraded areas

Elephant 1

Reviving the rainforest

Ecological restoration of degraded rainforest in the Anamalai hills

9 madhusudan electricfence july2008

Making good neighbours

Understanding and reducing conflict between farmers and elephants

 gan7842

The Elephant Hills

From conflicts to coexistence in the Anamalai hills

Ltm kalyan 1020

Completed

Towards wildlife-friendly roads

Studying and reducing impacts of roads on wildlife in the Anamalai hills

 gan1079

Completed

Living with leopards

Carnivore, conflicts, and conservation in the Anamalai hills

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LTM in the neighbourhood

Building coexistence to conserve an endangered primate

Policy and Outreach

Translating scientific research results and understanding to lasting changes on the ground involves communicating to a wide variety of stakeholders. There is also a need to translate ideas for change into policy and practice, whether it is to transform land use practices or to reap the benefits of conservation. Towards these ends, we continue to engage with policy and outreach in the Western Ghats.

Varattuparai 201

Completed

Fostering eco-friendly plantations

Linking sustainable agriculture and conservation in plantation landscapes

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Making room for elephants

Landscape level conservation planning for elephants in Karnataka

Cover

Nurturing nature appreciation

Rekindling conservation awareness and connections with nature

People

Funding

Publications

  • Report
    2018
    Population assessment of the Nilgiri tahr (Nilgiritragus hylocrius) using the Double-observer Survey method in the Anamalai Tiger Reserve
    Technical Report, Nature Conservation Foundation, Mysore, India
    Download

    PDF, 4.59 MB

  • Journal Article
    2018
    Breeding biology of Great Hornbill Buceros bicornis in tropical rainforest and human-modified plantation landscape in Western Ghats, India
    Ornithological Science, 17:205-216
    Download

    PDF, 356 KB

    Loss of mature tropical forests to agricultural expansion often creates landscapes with forest fragments embedded within a matrix of human-modified habitats and land uses. Such habitat fragmentation may be detrimental to species with specialized habitat and foraging requirements and their ability to persist in such landscapes may depend on their adaptability to habitat modification. Great Hornbills Buceros bicornis, among the largest birds in Asian tropical rainforests, depend on large trees for nesting and a diverse array of patchily distributed fruiting trees. In the human-modified landscape of the Anamalai Hills, India, we compared the breeding biology and nesting behaviour of Great Hornbills in contiguous rainforest (N=3 nests) and in modified habitat consisting of coffee plantations and rainforest fragments (N=5 nests). The nesting cycle of seven of the eight nests monitored varied between 114 and 130 days. Nest provisioning behaviour was similar in contiguous forest and modified habitat in terms of visitation and food delivery rates, but visitation tended to be higher and food delivery rate lower during the nestling phase than during incubation. As expected, tree density and native food plant diversity were lower in modified habitat than in continuous forest. The diversity of food provisioned was lower in modified habitat with a 57.5% dietary overlap with contiguous forest. Hornbills in the modified habitat of coffee plantations used non-native tree species for nesting and foraging, indicating their adaptability to modified landscapes.

  • Journal Article
    2018
    Seasonal variation in wildlife roadkills in plantations and tropical rainforest in the Anamalai Hills, Western Ghats, India
    Current Science. 114(3): 619-626.
    Download

    PDF, 1.42 MB

  • Journal Article
    2018
    Whose habitat is it anyway? Role of natural and anthropogenic habitats in conservation of charismatic species
    Tropical Conservation Science 11: 1-5.
    Download

    PDF, 493 KB

    Developmental activities have been one of the major drivers of conversion of natural forest areas into mosaics of forest fragments, agriculture, and plantations, threatening the existence of wildlife species in such altered landscapes. Most conservation research and actions are protected area centric and seldom addresses the importance of landscape matrices around these protected areas in providing habitats to a wide range of species. In this article, we bring out the crucial role of natural and anthropogenic habitats for the existence of three charismatic species, namely, Asian elephants, leopard, and lion-tailed macaques. The larger public perception of where the animals should be and where the animals actually are is also discussed. We emphasize that, while habitat generalists often adapt behaviorally and ecologically to modified landscapes, habitat specialists, such as the lion-tailed macaques could find survival harder, with increasing anthropogenic pressures and loss of their habitats.

  • Book
    2018
    Pillars of Life: Magnificent Trees of the Western Ghats
    Divya Mudappa, T R Shankar Raman, Nirupa Rao, Sartaj Ghuman
    Nature Conservation Foundation, Mysore.

    For millions of years, the forests of the Western Ghats mountains have been home to a host of extraordinary trees. These range from the peculiar conifer, Nageia, whose family origins can be traced back to the age of the dinosaurs, to the grand trees in the rudraksh family, to the jack and fig trees that occupy a familiar presence in India’s forests and countryside. This book showcases thirty remarkable tree species through beautiful illustrations and artwork. It conveys the wonder arising from the beauty, the diversity, the individuality, and magnificence of trees in the Western Ghats, and evokes a greater sensitivity to the diverse values and enrichment that trees bring to our lives.

    Foreword by Pradip Krishen
    Botanical Illustrations
    by Nirupa Rao
    Sketches
    by Sartaj Ghuman

    Available here: https://www.instamojo.com/NCF/pillars-of-life/

  • Book Chapter
    2018
    Expanding nature conservation: considering wide landscapes and deep histories.
    Pages 249-267 in G. Cederlöf and M. Rangarajan (editors), 'At Nature's Edge: The Global Present and Long-Term History,' Oxford University Press, New Delhi. 331 pp.
  • Journal Article
    2018
    Physiological stress responses in wild Asian elephants Elephas maximus in a human-dominated landscape in the Western Ghats, southern India
    General and Comparative Endocrinology
    Download

    PDF, 749 KB

    Increasing anthropogenic pressures on forests, especially in the tropical regions of the world, have restricted several large mammalian species such as the Asian elephant to fragmented habitats within human-dominated landscapes. In this study, we assessed the effects of an anthropogenic landscape and its associated conflict with humans on the physiological stress responses displayed by Asian elephants in the Anamalai Hills of the Western Ghats mountains in south India. We have quantified faecal glucocorticoid metabolite (FGM) concentrations in focal individual elephants within and across herds, inhabiting both anthropogenic and natural habitats, and evaluated their physiological responses to different socio-ecological situations between November 2013 and April 2014. Physiological stress responses varied significantly among the tested elephant age- and sex categories but not across different types of social organisation. Adults generally showed higher FGM concentrations, even in the absence of stressors, than did any other age category. Males also appeared to have higher stress responses than did females. Although there was no significant variation in mean stress levels between elephants on the plateau in the absence of human interactions and those in adjacent, relatively undisturbed forest habitats, FGM concentrations increased significantly for adult and subadult individuals as well as for calves following drives, during which elephants were driven off aggressively by people. Our study emphasises the general importance of understanding individual variation in physiology and behaviour within a population of a seriously threatened mammalian species, the Asian elephant, and specifically highlights the need for long-term monitoring of the stress physiology and behavioural responses of individual elephants across both human-dominated and natural landscapes. Such studies would not only provide comprehensive insights into the adaptive biology of elephants in changing ecological regimes but also aid in the development of effective management and conservation strategies for endangered populations of the species.

  • Popular Article
    2018
    Kolap Paravaigal கோலப் பறவைகள்
    The Hindu Tamil News Daily, Uyirmoochu Supplement. 27th January

    Jeganathan, P. (2018). Kolap Paravaigal (On birds in Pongal Kolam (Rangoli) in Tamil Nadu). The Hindu Tamil News Daily, Uyirmoochu Supplement. 27th January 2018.Link here.

  • Popular Article
    2018
    Paravai Thangigal பறவைத் தாங்கிகள்
    The Hindu Tamil News Daily, Uyirmoochu Supplement. 17th February 2018

    Jeganathan, P. (2018). Paravai Thangigal (On natural and artificial bird perches). The Hindu Tamil News Daily, Uyirmoochu Supplement. 17th February 2018.Link here.

  • Popular Article
    2018
    Nadiyai Nadi நாடியை நாடி
    The Hindu Tamil News Daily, Uyirmoochu Supplement. 8th September 2018.

    Jeganathan, P. (2018). Nadiyai Nadi (On watching Lesser Noddy in Tamil Nadu). The Hindu Tamil News Daily, Uyirmoochu Supplement. 8th September 2018.Link here.

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