Establishing the Case for developing a new Index for 'well-being’
Ecological society has been engaged in studying 15 relevant indices which look at one or more elements of sustainability through a comprehensive state of the art review. This review has been carried out to establish a need for developing a more holistic development and well-being index. We propose to produce a monograph on this project, which will be sent to appropriate government agencies.
Ramnadi Restoration Mission
Pune’s main rivers, the Mula and Mutha have several smaller tributaries. These form a part of the Upper Bhima Basin. One such small river is the Ram-Nadi, which originates to the South-West of Pune city and joins the Mula within city limits. Unfortunately, the river is bunded in several places and fragmented because of human interventions.
The Ram-Nadi Restoration Mission is undertaken by 13 NGOs, under the aegis of Kirloskar Vasundhara and intends to bring back the glory of this small and once beautiful river. The program aims to improve the condition of Ram-Nadi, through a collaborative implementation which transforms human relationship with water. We intend to enhance and integrate existing and ongoing River Basin Reform Initiatives in the Ramnadi River Basin. This initiative was launched on 14th March’2019 (International Day of Action for Rivers). Check out the short clip about this mission here.
Friends of Ecological Society
Over the last 21 years, Ecological Society has over 700 alumni working in their own fields and contributing in some way to nature. A group of alumni have now come together to form FES with the intention of identifying projects, raising funds and mobilizing action for ecological restoration. Several projects are now in the pipeline and will be announced here shortly.
Ecological Guidelines for Riverfront Development of Mula-Mutha rivers (Read Report here)
Over 3 months, the Ecological Society team studied the Mutha river from Rajaram Bridge to the Aga Khan Bridge. We documented biodiversity, cultural hotspots, human interventions and ecologically important characteristics of the river. Studying various riverfront projects all over the world, we prepared ecological guidelines for riverfront development. The report was commissioned by Centre for Environment Education (CEE) and has been presented to Pune Municipal Corporation and PMRDA.
Ecological management of Pashan Lake (Read Report here)
The Pashan lake is a man-made unique ecosystem in Pune city. The lake is home to several species of fauna and attracts migrant birds. However, the current state of the lake is highly degraded, with water hyacinth and water cabbage covering most part of the lake. Ecological Society studied the current state of the lake, interviewed experts, scientists and communities around the lake. Based on these observations and insights, we prepared a plan for managing the lake ecosystem in a way that keeps the ecological productivity of the lake high.
Floral diversity improvement plan for Mayureshwar Wildlife Sanctuary (Read Report here)
The Mayureshwar Wildlife Sanctuary (MWLS) is a small but popular wildlife destination within easy reach of Pune and Mumbai cities in western India. The sanctuary has a typical dry scrub vegetation with sparse and stunted growth trees. The sanctuary is a home to the Indian gazelle Gazelia bennetti, locally known as the Chinkara, Indian grey wolf Canis lupus, Hyaena Hyaena hyaena and Indian Fox Vulpes bengalensis, besides a variety of insects, birds and reptiles. The grasses and Acacia trees provide food for the Chinkara. Historically, even before declaring this region as a sanctuary, there has been excessive grazing on it. The sanctuary is surrounded by villages which have a sheep and goat population of nearly 250,000 animals. As the sanctuary is devoid of any fencing, these animals are left to graze in it. This leaves the sanctuary with a poor ground cover and excessive soil erosion. Presently, it has reached a state where the sanctuary cannot host any tree plantations because of the lack of soil depth. Funded by the GFW Small Grants Program, the Ecological Society, Pune-India undertook a project to recommend measures for improving the floral diversity within the sanctuary. Using Aqueduct, the water tool and conducting field visits and interviews with the forest officials, the team analyzed the current situation. A rapid hydrogeological survey helped understand the water availability for the purpose. Based on these studies, a recommendation plan was prepared which stressed the need for fencing and complete protection of the important parts within the sanctuary; plantation of grasses within these parts and monitoring the areas.
Assessment of Panshet dam catchment
Funded by World Resources Institute, Global Forest Watch, we completed a project in the Western Ghats of India which is a designated biodiversity hotspot. This involved ecological and socio-economic assessment of the Panshet dam catchment region, and ground truthing based on the satellite data from Global Forest Watch to assess the health of the forest ecosystem. Additionally, biodiversity assessment of the Bhimashankar Wildlife Sanctuary was also completed. This film summarizes our assessment and alerts about the threats to local ecology and biodiversity.
Ujani Reservoir Project
The Ujani dam is constructed on the river Bhima, one of the chief rivers in Pune district. The river collects treated and untreated sewage from upstream urban areas, industrial effluents and non-point run-offs from the agricultural fields growing irrigated cash crops. The water shows high values of biological oxygen demand and high Maximum Permissible Number counts. The dam is located in the rain-shadow region of the Sahyadris with rainfall less than 50 cm per annum. The reservoir is a shallow water reservoir and treated as a wetland. The water level shows high fluctuations as its supply is dependent on the releasing of water upstream and demand for water in command area. The farmers utilize the exposed area of the submergence region for cultivation and grazing of livestock. Cultivation and Grazing on Bank has rendered the area barren and infested with weeds like Alternanthera. Weeds like Eichhornia and Ipomoea spread in the submergence area. The vegetation and habitats along the rivers and streams joining the reservoir are degraded.
Ecological Society took up this region to prepare a management plan for the Ujani reservoir that included reconciliation of the interests of wildlife and people. We undertook several ecological restoration measures over one year, which yielded the following results:
The pools recorded an increase in fish numbers.
The grass growth and the rainwater puddles attracted grassland and wet meadow birds.
The shallow water areas showed good growth of sedges like Cyperus and attracted marsh birds.
The pools attracted surface feeding waterbirds like spot-billed ducks.
It was observed, that during high water level the surface feeders dominated while during the low water level wet meadow birds dominated.
During the project implementation of the project, the area experienced drought conditions. This led to the spread of Paspalum and the saplings introduced had to be watered by irrigation.
Restoration potential area determination for select dam catchments in Western Ghats
The objective of this research is to evaluate the restoration potential of select dam catchments in Western Ghats, based on the vegetation classes developed in earlier GFW project
Eco-development plan to improve riverfronts in Pune (1983) (Read Report here)
This project undertook a detailed survey and assessment of Pune's rivers, recording species and physical features and human use of river. The report contains recommendations for ecological improvement in the river ecosystem
Other completed projects
Panshet dam catchment restoration project
Nirmal Ganga Abhiyan
On the trail of wintering Black necked Cranes in India
Welfare of the tallest flying bird in the world
Ecological survey of the Konkan coast