Friday, February 24, 2012

Monday, February 6, 2012

Combining field science with conservation

Science has been the backbone of conservation and will remain so for ages to come. As a researcher I know and believe that there is a need for study and research to facilitate conservation and management of our resources and wild spaces.

But the need of the hour today is also to sensitize the urban as well as rural populations to document, highlight and protect natural resources for posterity. Gone are the days when we as a state could bask in the glory and say that yes, the entire stretch of Goa’s Western Ghats are protected areas, our coastline will be cleansed after every monsoons and our rivers will feed our populace and so on and so forth.

Thus the most important tool that has been used across the world however, is to collect and document quality data, by way of simple observations, records and surveys to save habitats or beaches alike by simple individuals or organizations that cut across economic, social or professional barriers and use the same to forcefully impress upon those in power, the media or judicial system the truths about the issues that are being raised.

It is thus a dire need that we, as environment educators, ecologists, wildlife biologists and conservationists alike, learn to train foot soldiers, volunteers and co workers, colleagues and all lay people alike the science of simple documentation and data compilation in our state.

A simple attempt to catalogue aspects of habitat disturbance and alteration, species diversity and threats, impacts of urban waste and other various aspects in our neighborhoods, urban establishments, forests,by a network of well trained field workers and volunteers can and has always yielded astonishing results in the past in the state as well as the country.

Let us plan, get together, share equipment, information and expertise then and empower those who have the skills and capacity to contribute towards biodiversity conservation as well as documentation...

Support our youth in taking up small and inexpensive projects for compilation of checklists, habitat sampling, mapping of green areas etc and you will be surprised how a network of committed individuals who study in our schools and colleges in the state, work in our state as professionals and stay in our coasts, plateaus and hinterlands can make a difference.

Teach our younger generations to monitor groundwater monitoring in our coasts, make bird lists of fragmented habitats, record man animal conflict impacts, observe the loss of traditional methods of farming, medicines, etc, anything that helps our generations to look at their environs in a scientific manner, where they can note down and come up with hard facts that stand when areas in their neighborhood, village or Vaddo are threatened or disturbed in the name of unplanned development and see how we as a people can influence policy, showcase our diversity and protect it too.

Interested nature lovers, social activists, anyone who has the inclination to protect Goa and its diversity is required to lend support, besides doing activism and awareness as this aspect is also important as is voicing their opinions and demanding their rights on environment related issues.

Contributions to this cause would eventually culminate into a larger storehouse of documented data that can be then interpreted by ecologists, activists, the legal system and policy makers and effectively used for the purpose of conserving wildlife habitats in the state and in the country.

On our part me and my team have had a great start and camps to train youth in field equipment, data collection and compilation with data sheets has begun! keep the faith.