Thursday, January 15, 2009

Happy New Year 2009

May I wish you all a very happy new year! I hope it is not too late to wish you and anyway this is our first blog entry for the 2009.

The year started with a really busy schedule. All ECO-V project staff members got together on the 1st January and started working on Monkey project. Still we all are in a stage where there are many questions in our minds about the methodology, field accommodation, data etc. We went to Waga on 1st January afternoon and found a place for all of us to stay during the project period. However the confirmation is still pending. I had a long discussion with Dr. Rudy on the 1st and did able to get more valuable advice from him.

The next day I had to fly to Bangalore, India to meet Ramesh Kannan at ATREE (Ashoka Trust for research in Ecology and the Environment). The purpose of the visit to Bangalore is to participate in a conference on Forest Invasive plant species. It was an International conference on this subject where there were many important speakers present from US, UK, South Africa and many other South Asian Countries. The symposium was held in Bangalore from 4th to 6th and following the course there was a field study tour organized by ATREE where we had a very good experience on Lantana Camara Management. We traveled to Male Madeshvaran Forest Reserve (M M Hills in Eastern Ghats) and Bilgiri Rangaswami Temple (B.R.T Sanctuary in Western Ghats) to see the level of Lantana camara spread as under story. It is really alarming and impossible to eradicate. We also did able to get a very good experience in how Lantana can be used to make furniture. India has a good potential for marketing furniture made out of lantana sticks and is also a good substitute for Rattans, obviously cheaper than cane products.

ATREE also agreed to develop the partnership with ECO-V in combating invasive plant species and I am sure their experience will be very useful for us to make it a success.