Bird Watching

The Birds Are Coming-an IWC outreach through EuroRSG in 2006

The Birds Are Coming-an IWC outreach through EuroRSG in 2006

-Susan Sharma

A group of executives in EuroRSG(an  advertising agency) came up with a novel idea.  An idea that targets the need to get the common man convinced and involved. An idea to promote field trips that ultimately help in promoting avian conservation efforts.   Naveen Theeng, who spearheaded the idea, approached us and we sent out a letter to IWC members in NCR area to participate in a unique car rally.    


"On January 7th 2006, volunteers will be starting out from Hauz Khas Village in their cars.  Each of the cars will have the car covers on with opening in the front and back to facilitate driving. On the side of the car covers will be printed the message: “THE BIRDS ARE COMING. See the annual winter migration at a sanctuary near you. Indian Wildlife”


"The cars will drive through South Delhi, touching Ansal Plaza, South Extension, Basant Lok (PVR Priya market) and finally ending at Hauz Khas Village."
This guerrilla activity is a totally voluntary effort. There are no sponsors. So unfortunately, all volunteers will have to buy their cars covers. Please let us know of your interest by filling in the response form and we will get the car cover printed at cost. 

The maximum cost on the covers should be around Rs. 500/- (or the price of a dinner for two).   On the club's internet site, we've added a micro site that will direct people to bird sanctuaries nearest to them. It will also give tips on how to get there, relevant information on the sanctuary, bird watching tips/techniques and other tools."


"We understand that this sort of activity has never before been done. Not in India . Not in Asia . Nor anywhere else in the world. But we can definitely show the way."

The idea was great and car covers got printed....Ten members signed up for the rally.   But the NDMC and Traffic Police put a break to the rally  citing danger to traffic on the road.  (This was long before "Meru" cars with ads splashed all over started plying the roads)
Finally they agreed to one car driving through the route.  And drive they did as the pictures show.  The efforts of EuroRSG got a mention at the Cannes Festival! 

I thought of pulling up this unique effort from our archives as it is as relevant today as it was then.


Corporates and Environment

"Living in harmony with Nature" Season II


"Living in harmony with Nature" season II

-Susan Sharma

The second in our series of planned one day workshops was concluded successfully on 28th June, 2014 in Gurgaon.  In the second part of the write-up on the workshop we bring to you the story of how Wildlife Trust of India (WTI) managed over a period of more than  eight years of concerted effort, to get the Greater Manas National Park of Assam out of the Danger List of UNESCO.  

Dr.Mayukh Chatterjee of WTI, primatologist and expert in wildlife conservation talked about "Conserving India's wildlife through integrative approaches".  

He presented two major case studies one on Greater Manas, Assam and one on Nagzira-Nawegaon, Maharashtra. 

The story of Manas can be viewed in the you tube clip below.

Mayukh's power point presentation titled "Conserving India's wildlife through Integrative and Holistic approaches"has been uploaded on and can be seen at the link

Archtect Deependra Prashad gave a talk on "Environmentally efficient building design".   He mentioned how more and more Government buildings are now certified by  GRIHA and LEEDS as Green buildings.  The country has now more than three different standards for EPI or Energy Performance Index of apartments, multi storey flats etc.  But are these sustainability standards helping in bridging the social divide?  For  the village or slum dweller, sustainability issues like drinking water, electricity are a daily struggle.  The low EPI of his dwelling is often way below the permissible EPI of an urban dweller.  INTBAU India or International Network for Traditional Building, Architecture and Urbanism looks at these issues and more. 

Corporates and Environment

CSR Obligations mandated by Section 135 of Companies Act 2013

CSR Obligations mandated by Section 135 of Companies Act 2013 –Rules governing implementation by eligible companies
All eligible Companies incorporated in India are mandated to take up CSR Obligations. Foreign Companies with operations in India will also need to fulfill CSR Obligations.
1.All Indian Companies and Offices/Projects of Foreign Companies that qualify on the undernoted criteria will need to take on CSR Obligations as mandated under Section 135 of the Companies Act 2013. These criteria are:
Turnover     > INR 1000 cr                       
Net Worth > INR    500 cr
PAT            > INR 5 cr
2.Eligible Businesses will need to earmark and spend 2% equivalent of average PAT earned over the last 3 years (including the current financial year) on eligible CSR activities (defined in Schedule VII)
The Obligation kicks in beginning FY 2014-15
3.In the case of Foreign incorporated Companies, balance sheets of India based operations, offices alone will be taken into account while determining requirement for CSR Rules compliance
4.In case of India incorporated companies, Dividend Income derived from their offices, associate
Companies abroad may be excluded while computing PAT for the purposes of CSR Compliance requirements.                           Similarly any dividend received by Indian Companies from their subsidiaries/sister concerns in India may also be excluded while computing PAT for the purposes of CSR spend obligation if such associate/sister/subsidiary companies are themselves CSR compliant 
5.Any company which has been subject to CSR spend obligation under Section 135 if going forward, its average PAT over the previous 3 years has been less than Rs.5 crores will not be mandated to comply with CSR spend obligation
6.All eligible companies are mandated to have a 3 Member Board Committee (with 1 Independent Director as a Member in the case of Public limited companies) to frame CSR Policy and oversee implementation of the same.  The Companies will be required to provide details of CSR Activity and outcomes in their balance sheets.
7.Companies may implement CSR Activity (as approved by the respective Boards) either on their own, through a Trust or Foundation floated by the Company itself or through an Implementation Partner who has been involved with the related activity for at least the previous 3 years. The Act permits 5% of the CSR allocation to be used by the Company concerned for capacity building either within or at the partner-implementing agency

5 Steps to Institutionalizing a CSR Regime – For a sure-footed Start
To meet the requirements of Section 135 of Companies Act 2013 and ensuring desired outcomes in terms of compliance and long term Impact on Society

1.Developing CSR Strategy & Policy  ---------Setting up  Institutional Mechanism and
                 Operationalizing it 
2.Selecting an Implementing Agency--------Formulation/Development of a Project to take up

3.Project Approval   -------- Finalizing arrangement with the Implementing Agency
                                                    Relating to Processes, Fund Deployment, check points 
4.Implementation takes off  --------- Monitoring of Progress  and periodical reporting

5.Impact/Outcome Evaluation --------- Benchmarking, Consolidated Reporting/    
                              Corporate Communication

Our Role
We have the resources, reach and resource persons to provide customized assistance to your Organization at any one of the stages beginning with drawing up a CSR Policy and Strategy, Project conceptualization, Process engineering for keeping a tab on fund utilization, right through implementation, program evaluation and outcome reporting
Our Experience has been functioning as a Social Enterprise, fully immersed in Nature/Environment Conservation and Education. It has over the last 12 years grown into a Community of Practice with 7000+ registered members. Our Membership includes a large number of NGOs working on Environment and livelihood improvement projects all over the country. We also have a highly committed Member – Volunteers who wish to be involved in implementing on-ground projects for Environment Conservation. Many of our Members have been through reputed Environment Conservation Leadership Programs. 
At IWC we are geared to assist Companies having CSR Obligations at all stages of CSR Program implementation, including help in identification of Implementation Partner Agencies, Suitable Projects, helping Companies build capacity within (attuned to CSR/Social Enterprise mindset) and also in providing appropriate oversight through project implementation and Outcome Evaluation and Reporting
(Shashi Sharma is a business consultant associated with IWC from inception)


Wild honeybee project in Netherlands

Wild honeybee project in Netherlands
Koen de Louw

"Honeybees in the wild are decimated," said James E. Tew, an associate professor of entomology at Ohio State and honeybee researcher.   
"India’s Kullu Valley in the Himalayan Mountains is famous for its apple orchards and farms. But flowering plants are disappearing, and the numbers of pollinators such as bees and butterflies are declining. Crops are suffering, and farmers must “hire out” bees to ensure pollination. These changes are threatening the region’s traditional agriculture and its financial stability." writes Earthwatch Institute on its website.  

Here is what Koen de Louw sent in from Netherlands)

In our country(Netherlands) and many parts of Europe, its very rare to have places where honeybees can truly
be wild without interference. When hyves do swarm they mostly can't find a new home here.
Because of the lack of old trees or caves. sometimes they end up in buildings.

Instead of giving the hyves a box ( so as beekeepers we can benefit from the honey and pollination), we give them a hollow space in a tree  or a sculptured trunk.   This way we still benefit from pollination but the honeybees will be left untouched.
We think in the first place honeybees should be seen as wild animals and not as domesticated.  

If we as humanity really want to change things for the positive, we should look at nature differently and protect it, even for our own survival.  With our project and vision we recognize the honeybees as wild animals in the first place. We are depended on honeybees so they should be  a protected species. Can't wait for that day to come. 
Here are some pictures from the wild honeybee project.  The making of the sculptures and the hyves in the trees.


(Koen de Louw,  Wild honeybee project.  He can be contacted at Koen de louw (  

Gardening for wildlife

Bio agents for organic farming

Bio-Agents for Organic Farming
 K. Amina Bibi

(second in a series of articles)

Organic Farming is a method of cultivation done in line with nature. For a cultivation which facilitates biodiversity,  a cost effective method is to involve Bio-agents. Bio-agents include Bio-fertilizers, Bio-Pesticides and Bio-Control Agents. This piece deals with Bio-fertilizers – its types, uses and advantages. These are low cost inputs which helps farmers.   It is so affordable even to poor farmers and the produce excels in quality compared to the chemically produced ones. Hence farmers get premium price.  As a bonus to the ecosystem and environment, the microbial load is increased, the farmers’ friends (insects like spider, earthworm and many beneficial insects) and their food web are protected. 

Organic Farm

For increased yield, farmers should maintain the fertility of the soil. Only when the soil is fertile, the crop can absorb the nutrients from soil. Nutrient transfer from source to sink decides the quality and quantity of the produce.  Bio-fertilizers are eco-friendly means of supplying nutrients to the soil.  Bio-fertilizers are ready to use live formulates of such beneficial microorganisms which, on application to seed, root or soil mobilize the available nutrients by their biological activity.  They also help build up the micro-flora and in turn the soil healthy. 

With intensive agriculture farmers have dumped a lot of chemicals in the name of fertilizers which are actually salts which have drastically reduced the microbial load of the soil.  Also fertilizers being a derivative of fossil fuels, make us more dependent on sources out of farm. Bio fertilizers are a good alternative to the chemical fertilizers.  Use of biofertilizers in crop cultivation helps in safeguarding the soil health and also the quality of crop products.  It increases the crop yield by 20-30% as it stimulates plant growth.
For increasing the Nitrogen content, Rhizobium is used for legume crops like black gram, green gram, red gram, chick pea and so on. Azotobacter and Azospirillum are used for non-legume crops and Acetobacter for Sugarcane only.  Blue-Green Algae (BGA) and Azolla are suitable for low land paddy only. There are bio-fertilizers to solubilize Phosphorus, Potash and Zinc.

To use bio-fertilizers, the farmer has to mix it with either farmyard manure or vermicompost and broadcast in field.  Bio-fertilizers are inoculums which feed on the decomposed farm residues.  On decomposition they provide nutrition or they  convert from one form to another excreta or exudes) which make the soil fertile by enriching it with the needed nutrients. The texture of the soil is altered from hard to fragile which facilitates root penetration and facilitates the root system to perform better.

With the soaring price of chemical fertilizers, the farmers can use bio-fertilizers as an alternative and can keep agriculture going in a profitable way both economically and eco-friendly. 

Dragon fly which eats many harmful insects' eggs, and their larvae 

These are the photos of Organic Field and a photo of Dragon fly which eats many harmful insects' eggs, and their larvae, a photo of wolf-spider which eats many pests of paddy field.
Azospirillum is a nitrogen fixing bio-fertilizer.  Nitrogen is a major nutrient for all plants. Azospirillum lipofereum is a very useful soil and root bacterium. It is an associative symbiotic nitrogen fixing bacteria.  It is found in the soil around plant roots and root surface. It also produces growth-promoting substances like indole acetic acid (iaa), gibberellins, pantothenic acid, thiamine and niacin and it promotes root proliferation and it improve the plant growth yield.  It increases the rootlet density and root branching resulting in the increased uptake of mineral and water.  Azospirillum is recommended for rice millets, maize, wheat sorghum etc. and it fixes 20-40 kg N/hectare.

The aerobic bacteria, Azotobacter chroococcum is known to fix considerable quantity of nitrogen in the range of 20-40 kg of nitrogen / ha in the rhizosphere in non-leguminous crops. The lack of organic matter in the soil is a limiting  factor in the proliferation of Azotobacter in the soil. 
The bacterium induces hormones that help plants in better germination, early emergence and better root development. 

Azolla is a water fern. It fixes atmospheric nitrogen into the soil with the help of blue green algae by symbiosis process. Its application improves soil health and soil fertility.  Azolla suppresses weed growth, reduces loss of applied chemical Nitrogen fertilizer. Azolla bio fertilizer technology is simple, economic and ecofriendly. In rice field Azolla grown once before or after planting can produce upto 25 tons of fresh biomass and contribute upto 50 kg N/ha.  Azolla grown once during the cropping season can easily supply 20-40 kg N/ha. Azolla can be used as a feed for poultry, duckery, fish and cattle.  It is suitable for flooded condition which fixes upto 40-80 kg N/hectare.  When applied in desired quantity,  around 10 q of Azolla is required for a hectare of land.

BGA is an algae, fixes 20-30 kg N/hectare. Its application to rice increases yield by 15-20%.

Rhizobium is a nitrogen fixing bio-fertilizer.  Rhizobium sp. is the symbiotic nitrogen fixer which assimilates atmospheric nitrogen and fixes in the root nodule, formed in the roots of leguminous plants. These bacteria infect the roots of leguminous plants, leading to the formation of “lumps” or “nodules” where the nitrogen fixation takes place. The bacterium also produces enzymes (nitrogenase) that supply a constant source of reduced nitrogen to the host plant.  Rhyzobium is suitable for Ground nut, Black gram, Green gram, Red gram, Cow pea, Bengal gram, Mustard, Soy bean, French bean, Cluster bean, Lab-lab, Sesbania sp, Leguminous trees etc.

Rhizobium + Phosphobacteria at 200 gm each per 10 kg of seed as seed treatment are recommended for pulses such as pigeonpea, green gram, black gram, cowpea etc, groundnut and soybean.
Azotobacter + Phosphobacteria at 200 gm each per 10 kg of seed as seed treatment are useful for wheat, sorghum, maize, cotton, mustard etc.
For transplanted rice, the recommendation is to dip the roots of seedlings for 8 to 10 hours in a solution of Azospirillum + Phosphobacteria at 5 kg each per ha.
Rhizobium is used for pulse legume. It fixes 50-100 kg N/hectare with legumes. For different pulse crops specific rhizobium cultures are required.

wolf-spider which eats many pests of paddy field.

Seed treatment: 200 g of nitrogenous bio-fertilizer and 200 g of Phosphobacteria are suspended in 300-400 ml of water and mixed thoroughly. Ten kg seeds are treated with this paste and dried in shade. The treated seeds have to be sown as soon as possible.
Seedling root dip: For rice crop, a bed is made in the field and filled with water. Recommended bio-fertilizers are mixed in this water and the roots of seedlings are dipped for 8-10 hrs.
Soil treatment: 4 kg each of the recommended bio-fertilizers are mixed in 200 kg of compost and kept overnight. This mixture is incorporated in the soil at the time of sowing or planting. 

Phosphorous plays the key role in the integrated nutrient management to plants next to nitrogen. It is the key factor for the crop productivity. It is one of the major essential macro-nutrients for plants and is applied to soil in the form of phosphate fertilizers. However, a large portion of soluble inorganic phosphate which is applied to the soil as chemical fertilizer is immobilized rapidly and becomes unavailable to plants. 
Phosphobacteria solubilizes the available source of phosphate in the soil and made readily available to the plant and improves soil properties in turn sustains soil fertility as it aids utilization of Potash and other nutrients. It stimulates the growth of the plant. Hence it results in plumpness and succulence of fruits and grains with increased protein percentage. An increase in yield from 10% to 20% is documented. Such produces fetch good prices.

Phosphorus is a major nutrient for plants inducing vigorous growth and also contributing to their disease resistance. Phosphorous helps in root formation and plant growth. The plants utilize only 10–15% of phosphate applied. The balance 85 – 90% remains in insoluble form in the soil. The bio promoter has highly efficient phosphate solubilizing bacteria (Bacillus megaterium) that grow and secrete organic acids, which dissolve this unavailable phosphate into soluble form and make it available to the plants. Thus, the residual phosphate fertilizers in the soil can be well utilized and external application can be optimized. It facilitates root formation and plant growth, improves soil quality with subsequent uses.

Potash Mobilizer is a beneficial bacterium capable of mobilizing Potassium available in soil into the root zone of plants. It works well in all types of soil. Use of such bacteria in powder form can increase the availability of more potash in usable form to the plants. When applied to soil, potash mobilizing bacterium multiplies, and helps to mobilize potassium fixed in soil. This mobilized potassium is easily available to the plants and reduces Potassium application. The mobilizing power is so high that it can save upto 50-60% of the chemical potassium fertilizer. Potash mobilized is immediately available to the plants. It stimulates flowering and fruiting. It improves soil properties and sustains soil fertility. It encourages plumpness and succulence of fruits and grains and increases brix level. Increases the yield from 10% - 20% and it improves the quality of produce and thus fetches good price.

Zinc Mobilizer is a bio-fertilizer made of pure cultures of naturally occurring soil-borne zinc solubilizing bacterium. Zinc solubilizing bacterium multiplies, secrete organic acids and helps to solubilize insoluble and chelated zinc fixed in the soil. This mobilized zinc is easily available to the plants.

(K. Amina Bibi is a Post Graduate in Agriculture with specialization in Plant Breeding and Genetics. She is currently working as Agriculture Officer in Karaikal, Department of Agriculture, Government of Puducherry)

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