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Saturday, October 13, 2012

MA BHOOMI- this is my land

Killo Dombu of Anthriguda village in Dumbriguda mandal is proud of his achievements. Almost every plant is productive on his one-acre plot which yields cash crops. The innovative methods of cultivation adopted by him are a big draw today.
He is growing 40 varieties of horticulture plants, using bio-pesticides and adopting totally organic methods of cultivation. The crops being raised by him include vegetables, fruit plantations, forestry species, creeper vegetables, floriculture, tubers, oilseeds and medicinal plants. He has a bio-mass based manure pit in one corner of his plot. He also has cattle which give milk, cow dung and the stuff required for producing organic manure.

Dombu advocates growing multiple crops instead of mono-crop. His plantations include 40 plants each of mango, chiku, acid lime, red sanders, teak, bamboo, fish tail palm, jack, jamun, cluster apple, guava and Bahumia. Creeper varieties are pumpkin, beans, bottlegourd and ridgegourd. His plantation is fenced with trees such as euphorbia, agave and jetropha. Vegetables including brinjal, green pepper, chilli, pepper, rajma and cabbage are being grown as inter-crops along with medicinal plants.
P. Viswanatham, chairman of Vikasa, an NGO working to propagate organic farming among tribal farmers, told The Hindu that Dombu had been a source of inspiration to other ‘Maa Thota’ farmers. Dombu says that he is earning Rs.50,000 per year on the crop yield. Besides, the millet crops cultivated in his land take care of daily bread of his family members. A beaming Dombu shares his success story with his co-farmers and asks them to adopt his methods of farming. His wife, daughter and son-in-law together work in his ‘Maa Thota’ supported by NABARD. Not many visitors understand what he tries to communicate in chaste Odisha but the smile on his face and his green garden speak volumes for his achievement.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Intelligent management of ecosystems:include the poor in bio diversity conservation

Intelligent management of ecosystems can help to turn local economies around and give destitute households a chance to increase their incomes. Protecting biodiversity is humanity’s insurance policy against the unprecedented biodiversity loss and ecosystem degradation which has occurred in recent decades, undermining the very foundations of life on earth. All of us carry the enormous responsibility of facing the difficult trade-offs at the heart of biodiversity management.
In the race to increase national income, countries around the world are over-exploiting biodiversity by failing to integrate environmental measures in fisheries, agriculture, infrastructure and mining. This approach is understandable when governments are trying to quickly raise living standards but the risk of mismanaging biodiversity far outweighs short-term gains, reducing the ability of the environment to sustain the present generation, let alone meet the needs of future generations. Of utmost importance is the impact of biodiversity loss on the poor. Dependent directly on nature for food, clean water, fuel, medicine and shelter, poor households are hit hardest by ecosystem degradation.

In India, where ecosystem services account for 57 per cent of a poor household’s income and nearly a quarter of the country’s population depends on non-timber forest produce for their livelihood, important community-based models for managing diversity are showing impressive results.
An example of this is the village of Gundlaba in Odisha where the 1999 super cyclone destroyed habitats and livelihoods, mangroves and forests belonging to coastal villages. Fearing that their community may not recover, the village women formed a Forest Protection Women’s Committee. During the past 12 years, the committee has worked together to regenerate mangroves and other forests. Forest cover has gone up by 63 per cent and fish catch has increased from one to five kilograms per family.
The story of Gundlaba shows that the weight of ecosystems in the lives of the poor represents an important opportunity for achieving broader social and economic goals. Proper and intelligent management of ecosystems at the local level can help to turn local economies around and give destitute households a chance to increase their incomes. This is an important lesson to share with the world.

Investing in the protection of biodiversity is another important lesson. A government of India initiative to increase coral reef cover in the Gulf of Mannar Biosphere Reserve on the Tamil Nadu coast, which the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and Global Environmental Facility are proud to have supported, has resulted in diversified livelihoods at the local level and increased income. As a result of this program, more than 24,000 women now have access to more credit from microenterprises and thousands of young people have taken up new vocations after receiving technical training.

Recognising our shared responsibility to promote proper management of biodiversity, the UNDP at the global level has worked closely with partners in 146 countries to develop a Biodiversity and Ecosystems Global Framework to accelerate international efforts to reverse biodiversity loss and ecosystem degradation. The framework represents an important shift in focus towards harnessing the positive opportunities provided by biodiversity and natural ecosystems, as a driver for sustainable development.

The framework takes into account the real value of biodiversity and ecosystems to society—in relation to secure livelihoods, food, water and health, enhanced resilience, preservation of threatened species and their habitats, and increased carbon storage and sequestration—and calls for innovation to achieve multiple development dividends.

What is required is an effective governance system for making and implementing decisions on matters affecting biodiversity and ecosystems and discuss candidly the capacity of markets to reflect the real value of ecosystem goods and services and the true costs of losing them. Agreeing on ways that governments and markets can increase the flow of ecosystem services for the poor is equally important.
- Based on an article by Lisa Grande in THE HINDU

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

ONE BRAND, MANY FACETS- Come, explore.


Set beside the placid Kaithpuzha backwater in suburban Kochi, the Lake Symphony Resort is a delightful little boutique property set in stunningly beautiful surroundings with lake facing suite cottages designed with stylish rustic charm and equipped with all modern amenities.Mud plastered and eco friendly, each cottage consists of a bedroom, a fully equipped bathroom, a sit out that looks out at a row of Chinese fishing nets and the spread of backwater beyond.
A small pool sits amidst the lawns fringed by rows of pretty flowers. Further on, beside the water’s edge in a clearing beneath a clump of trees, a set of tables and chairs set beneath palm thatched umbrellas serves as the resorts dining area. The kitchen offers a limited menu of multi cuisine dishes.Looking out from the expansive ceiling to floor windows, a row of Chinese fishing nets are arrayed in a line close to the near shore.

A day dawns with a marmalade sun rising over the liquid horizon. Silence stirred by a gentle breeze, the water ripples and gurgles, fishermen go about the days business, fishing nets dip ponderously into the lake, make friends and you could get a part of the days catch for lunch. Canoes float gently by, bird calls elevate the soul. Life’s little secrets come to life, made profound. Drawing the day to an end, a rasberry sunset spreads across the western horizon, you have, through the day been an audience to the lake’s symphony.


The weight of history hangs over every nook and cranny of the heritage zone in Fort Kochi.  Set beside the Arabian Sea, Dutch adventurers seeking trade, evangelical Portuguese marauders and the East India Company have altogether made a pudding of memories that is hard to ignore.

The Mango Tree is a boutique hotel situated on the quaint Princess Street in the heart of the heritage zone, amidst shops with sharp eyed bric –a- brac sellers awaiting custom, ancient warehouses beside the shore line, Chinese fishing nets, spare churches, moss streaked buildings dignified by memory, white and yellow painted houses with tiny round balconies fringed by pots of begonia and orchids hanging down, small patches of home grown gardens, stern faced matrons, age lines melting at the sight of exuberant children playing child games in the alleys made austere by ancient facades.
The Mango Tree was once the home of the renowned Indian classical and popular musician Yesudas. Built around a mango tree that grows through the structure and out through the roof, guests are welcomed in a hallway anchored by a pair of enormous granite pillars. Exquisitely furnished rooms with red oxide tiles and the state of the art in amenities are situated in two floors bordered by a wooden balustrade. On the roof top terrace, where the mango tree gives flight to its branches, is a quaint little restaurant that serves a range of multi cuisine and fresh fruit juices. Here life is serene: long walks, leisurely meals under the mango tree, reading a book, making friends over coffee.


The Aashirvad Plantation Retreat is situated, nestled in a lush green coffee plantationat Krishnagiri, a small village between SulthanBathery and Meenangadi towns in Wyanad district. Surrounded by the Western Ghats mountains, Sahiyaadri and the Nilgiri hills, fields of paddy, lakes, forests and rivers; coffee, tea and spice plantations, the area has an ancient history believed by archaeologists to exist from the new stone age, very distinctive cultures and a pristine pollution-free environment.

The Wynad area is part of the Nilagiri biosphere, a biodiversity hotspot and home to a staggering diversity of flora and fauna many of them that are unique to the area.
The surrounding mountains present many stretches that pose challenges for guests interested in climbing. Numerous trekking trails wind through the forest and there will be many opportunities to spot wildlife and scenic spots for picnics. Bird watcher’s will find that the surrounding forests home to a fascinating variety of species.

Composed of cottages built in a pseudo rustic style and equipped with basic amenities, the retreat’s location is a haven for nature lovers anda serene retreat for those who might seek a getaway from the stresses of daily life. What you will receive, besides warm rural hospitality, are the wholesome benefits of all of nature’s bounty. Clean, bracing air, the aromas of spices, a profound silence brought alive by myriad bird calls, crystal clear water flowing down from the mountains and the space to be yourself.