Book Reviews

ENVIRON magazine - A review

ENVIRON -a Review
-Anirban Chowdhury

Environ is a quarterly magazine for people who are nature and wildlife Lovers.   It is published from Kolkata in English.  

The first issue of the "Environ" quarterly magazine was published in 1993 and was  devoted to creating a stronger bond between humanity and nature.  "Environ" has since become an  established medium for nature enthusiasts in the country and abroad to showcase their skills in nature writing and wildlife photography and it has remained true to the core conviction- to inform, inspire, and engage humanity in becoming a significant force for defending the natural world. Every issue of Environ highlights places of known and lesser known natural importance in India and abroad, educates the readers on various emerging issues, discusses different threats and opportunities for the natural world and celebrates the joys of wilderness and helps develop a personal bond with nature.

The Birds Special issue for September has  the picture of the Indian Pitta gracing the cover.

"Beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder”- look around your surroundings for such simple beauties and they will present themselves in front of you! Likewise the beauty of the bird life never fails to unveil itself to the passionate birder, be it a bird sanctuary, a rural country side or an urban city life!!We are celebrating the simplicity and the elegance of these flying beauties of nature in the next issue of "Environ" dedicated to birds around the country.  This BIRDS SPECIAL issue will be available soon.  Get a copy and be a part of this celebration."

10, Chowringhee Terrace,
Kolkata - 700 020, India
Contact No : 91-33-22234148
Fax : + 91-33-22234148
Email :

The last issue was dedicated to nature spots and wildlife in Kashmir. will soon make available these wonderful magazines for subscription online. 

(Anirban is a keen naturalist and can be contacted at

Burning Issues

Climate Change and I

Climate Change and I 
-Shashi Sharma

i)Planet Earth is hugely Carbon-Constrained – Our rate of emission of Carbon Dioxide is higher than the Planet can absorb and process.
ii) 2005 has been the warmest year yet
iii) The warmest 10 years came about after 1980
iv) 50%+ of all Fossil Fuel has been burnt after World War II
v)Freak Weather Patterns are becoming more unpredictable, frequent and manifest with greater virulence/force
vi)Scientists have established that the climatic changes we are experiencing are a result of the Planet warming up by roughly 1 degree Fahrenheit. 
vii)50+ of the Global Fortune 500 Companies are convinced that Global Warming/Climate Change is not in the interest of society at large. In response they  have started taking steps to reduce not only their own carbon emissions but also started improving the  Products that they put into the market
Have I, as an Individual
i)Processed all that information?
ii)Do I believe that Climate Change is here and is affecting all of us - not just lifestyles but our livelihood?
iii)The Ganges which is considered sacred, is among the worst polluted rivers in the world. But it touches the lives of 600 million+ Indians. That is 50%+ of our Population. It also touches over 50% of India’s Land under agriculture………..the area that has been called blessed and our ‘Food Bowl’
iv) Trees in Catchment area in Uttrakhand have been disappearing, landslides have increased, Population in towns on riverside has increased and not only more dwellings and business establishments come up each year, they generate more human and other waste into the river…..So  have the Polluting Industries in Riverside towns which discharge pollutants into the river 24x7.



REFER TO THE ARCHIVES FOR MORE READING MATERIALS.  ( Just type ‘climate change" in the search box on top right hand corner of our homepage.   

Corporates and Environment

Are we doing enough to conserve natural water bodies?

Are we doing enough to conserve natural water bodies?
Susan Sharma
(With inputs from Ashish Shah, Anita Nandkumar and Vivek Kamboj)

With the tools of technology available today, it is possible to get facts at our finger tips to drown the noise when it comes to water conservation efforts.  Google maps are a great help to pin point water bodies and rivulets near the area one is living.  An aware citizenry can bring the existence of these water bodies to the knowledge of those who matter and make sure that these bodies are revived.  Depleting ground water levels are staring at us and the future generations, threatening to make water a rare commodity available only to those who can buy it at exorbitant prices.

A close up of embankment to direct rain water to the lowest point in the region.

An effort undertaken by IWC members from Gurgaon to document some of the water bodies in the Aravali region has been uploaded at 

Environment Education

Creative Solutions to Water Logging

Creative Solutions to Water Logging
-Text Susan Sharma Pics Sanjana 

Janki  Devi Memorial College, a girls only college of Delhi University, kicked off a water conservation campaign on 3rd September 2014, the first college in DU to take up water conservation for a serious campaign.  The campaign showcased the innovative team's work  guided by Management Professor Dr.Usha Krishna. The team studied successful rainwater harvesting efforts by Hero Motocorp Ltd., Centre for Science and Environment etc. before undertaking a survey of awareness among Delhiites.  Water woes were plenty, but when it came to conservation of rainwater and conservation of ancient water bodies, awareness was nil. 

The campaign organized a seminar wherein invited experts from WWF, BNHS and UNDP and IndianWildlifeClub shared the dais with College authorities to impart and share their work and knowledge with the large body of students who had gathered.

Left to Right-Nitin Kaushal, WWF India, Prof.Ray IIT Kanpur, Susan Sharma, IndianWildlifeClub, Dr. Usha Krishna Project Leader, Prof.Indu Anand, Principal

Dr. Susan Sharma addressing the participants

Campaign banner
The campaign topic " Creative Solutions to Water Logging"  hit the nail on the head as water logging is a symptom of not conserving water leading to inconveniences which city dwellers and villagers are both aware off.  The seminar urged the students to go deeper and think of rain water harvesting, spatial studies to divert and direct water flows to water bodies using natural methods.   A key take away from all the experts was that water conservation is possible when communities and individuals get involved. 
 The students participated in a quiz organized by Conservation Education Centre (BNHS)  and also raised pertinent questions about water conservation. 

The core panel with Usha Krishna  

The panel complimented the work done by the innovation team and also suggested getting students involved as volunteers in actual water harvesting projects which are being done by NGOs and other concerned agencies.  


Forest Training Institute, Gungargatti, Karnataka- Workshop

Film Release Function and Media Workshop
How to Protect Your Crops from Elephants
By Wildlife Research and Conservation Society (WRCS)

A lot of research has been carried out on how to mitigate elephant conflict but there is little relief for the farmers and 
the elephants when it comes to protecting crops and giving safe passage to elephants. In 2009, Wildlife Research and 
Conservation Society (WRCS) initiated the project, “Conservation of Elephants in North Kanara Landscape” in 
which the farmers were trained and motivated to participate in community-based conflict management program. The 
main objective of the project was to introduce and popularise the use of low-cost and indigenous measures for crop 
protection among the farmers and mitigating elephant conflict with the participation of local communities. WRCS has 
introduced a number of simple mitigation measures for crop protection in the area. The project has been successful in 
motivating the farmers in use of low-cost measures for crop protection.

This project, a long-term initiative of WRCS, with the objective of conserving elephants in North Kanara landscape 
was initiated in 2009 in Haliyal and Yellapur Division with the support of CEPF- ATREE Western Ghats Program and 
is subsequently being supported by the Asian Elephant Conservation Fund (AECF), USFWS. 
WRCS has printed a handy guide in the form of a flip chart to illustrate various mitigation measures and a 23 minute 
Kannada film based on success stories of local farmers. The objective of this outreach material is that of taking the 
concept and methods of Community-based Conflict Management (CBCM) to the farmers in a simple, engaging and 
effective manner. 
The media is an important stakeholder and plays a vital role in conservation issues. The purpose of this workshop is to 
share with the media the work that has been achieved on field, the learning’s and the way forward. We have arranged 
the workshop at two different locations to facilitate participation from different areas. Please find the details of the 
workshop below. 
Forest Training Institute, Gungargatti, 
Dharwad (22nd Sept 2014)

Kulgi Nature Camp, Dandeli Sanctuary 
(23rd Sept 2014)
11.00 – 11.20 Registration of Participants, Tea Registration of Participants, Tea
11.25 – 11.45 Opening, introduction to the workshop and 
introduction of participants
Opening, introduction to the workshop and 
introduction of participants
11.50 – 12.05 An overview of the project by Dr. Prachi 
An overview of the project by Dr. Prachi 
12.10 – 12.25 Release of the Film by Mr. Sanjai Mohan, 
(APCCF-Training), Dharwad 
Release of the Film by Mr. Srinivasalu (CF 
Dandeli-Anshi Tiger Reserve), Mr. Venkatesh, 
(DCF Yellapur) and Mr. Manjunath Chavan, 
(DCF Haliyal)
12.30 – 1.00 Screening of film Screening of film
1.05 – 1. 25 Address by Forest Officers Address by Forest Officers 
1.30 - 2.00 Interaction with Audience and Media Interaction with Audience and Media
2.05 – 3.00 Lunch Lunch
3.05 Group Photo and End of Program Group Photo and End of Program 
WRCS is hopeful that the CBCM initiative will help in easing the farmer’s difficulties and securing Asian elephant’s 
future in North Kanara landscape.
Thanking you,
Dr. Prachi Mehta, Mr. Jayant Kulkarni, Mr. Peeyush SekhsariaLocation Map for Forest Training Institute Gungaragatti, Dharwad
From Dharwad Central Bus Stand, please go along the Bangalore_Pune Highway (NH 4) for 10 km 
and then turn left at Post Mammigatti. (There is a signboard there). From Mammigatti, the Forest 
Training Institute is located at a distance of 2 km.

Gardening for wildlife

Pests of Pests – Farmers’ Friends

Pests of Pests – Farmers’ Friends

-K Amina Bibi

Any crop ecosystem contains a balance of community of organisms living in harmony with the environmental factors. Community of organism is the food web prevailing in the place in order to facilitate decomposition and nutritional cycle. The balance is maintained according to the non-biological factors like temperature and moisture. The process of adaptation and survival of the fittest are in full swing. In agriculture, the natural balance is disturbed and importance is given to the prolific growth of any one or more crop which is of economic importance or human interest. In such situations, a new ecosystem is developed for any particular cultivation – Paddy ecosystem, pulse ecosystem, wheat ecosystem.

Dragon fly eating

Paddy ecosystem consists of Paddy crop, the soil, the microbes dwelling in the soil which decomposes the crop residues and determines the fertility level of the field, group of insects – live on paddy for their survival (Pests) and organisms feed on pests. Pest is any organism causes economic damages and hindrances for the existence of crop or human being. Pests in agriculture causes damage to the crop growth and either kills the plant or create economic loss by drastically reducing the yield. 

Ladybird beetle

By encouraging the growth organisms which feed on pests we can effectively keep the pests in control in a natural way. They are called Natural Enemies. They are the real heroes in keeping the agricultural scenario pesticides-free. They facilitate death, weakening, or reduced reproductive potential of harmful pests. The commonly visible natural enemies are insects and spiders, they feed on plant feeding insects and protect crop from economic loss. Natural enemies can be classified into two broad types – Predators and Parasitoids. 

Preying mantis feeding on assassin bug

Predators consume one or more living prey insects. Predatory behavior is common in insects, spiders and mites. Common predators are spiders, mites, ladybird beetles, dragon fly, and bugs. The diversity of predators in agro-ecosystem is enough to keep pests in control. When predators could not keep pest population below economically damaging levels, they actually slow down the rate of pest population increase. But the pesticide usages have disturbed the balance of such Biological shields of crop. Predatory insects, spiders and mites feed on any or all stages of their prey, by killing, disabling eggs, larvae, nymphs, pupae or adults. 
Beetles chew their prey. 
Bugs inject toxins into their prey and immobilize, later suck their juices. 
Dragon flies catch their prey in flight
Praying Mantis wait for their prey, camouflaged and catch their prey by surprise. 
Spiders trap many pests with their web and consume later.
Hover flies hover and dart in flight.

Spider eating wasp

Parasitoids live in or on the body of their host insect during at least part of their life cycle. Parasitoid is the term used to describe an insect that parasitizes and kills its insect host. Endoparasites insert their eggs into a host’s body. Ectoparasites lay their eggs and their larvae develop on the outside of the host’s body. 

A typical female parasitoid searches for a host insect and, depending on the species, deposits one or more egg in or on the host. The eggs hatch and develop inside the host insect. When parasitoid development is complete, the parasitic larvae emerge and pupate outside the host, or, in the case of many parasitoids, pupate inside the host insect and emerge as adults. Most parasitoids are in the wasp (Hymenoptera) and fly (Diptera) orders. There are a few species of beetles (Coleoptera) that parasitize other insects. The small group of twisted-wing parasites (order Strepsiptera), consists entirely of parasitoids. Parasitoids are categorized based on their host stage they attack as egg, larval, and cocoon parasitoids. Many parasitoids are small and difficult to see. 


Field release of egg parasitoid Trichogramma japonicum at weekly intervals during egg laying stage of rice borer in very effective as the parasitoid kills the pest in the egg stage itself before the pest could cause any damage to the crop. Trichogramma chilonis at weekly intervals keep leaf folders on control as the parasitoids lay its egg in stem borer larvae hence kill the pest, multiplies themselves and spread rapidly. It is very economical as the Tricho-cards are low cost inputs. Cost involved to control the pest otherwise is detrimental both economically and environmentally. Let us choose a GREENER way of pest control to live longer healthily. 

Photos Credits TNAU Agritech Portal


(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)


A public installation of Art at Shantiniketan, West Bengal

A public installation of Art at Shantiniketan, West Bengal
-Ashish Ghosh


Public Installations by artists is a common feature in many developed countries.  Many Indian Sculptors have earned a name for themselves through public installations abroad.  Ashish Ghosh, a Professor at Vishwa Bharati University, West Bengal is no exception.  He is one of the twenty Indians in the 830 participants of the permanent art exhibition in Naples, Italy named  ”International Contemporary Art Museum".   This article showcases the nature installation Ashish has done in collaboration with his student Silpa Sadana, at the  Lal bandh  eco park , Shantiniketan, India,  covering a total area of approx 100 feet /80 feet.   The materials used in the installation are, jute, bamboo, dry palm leaf, palm shied, earth color, natural thread, stow and dry leaf.   

"Life Nature at Stake"

The text in the sculpture above, which is part of the installation at ShantiNiketan reads thus

" Searching for life is going on in planet far away but we are not at all concerned to protect the nature and life in our earth. Life of human being is balanced with life of his/her environment and its members. In the last two hundred years we have destroyed so many species, plants, etc.. Gradually tigers, red crabs, cranes, etc. are decreasing and will be specimen of museum if the encroachment and brutal haunting is continued. The man-grove forest of Sunderban is gradually disappearing endangering both the Bengal and Odissa.  
        My this installation is an appeal to the consciousness of all to save the nature and animals and different species. It is visible that the tiger is struggling to get safe shelter, birds are afraid; red crabs  are passing through sand  and man of Sunderban is taking refuge in trees. It will be blessing to me if even or one animal and bird is saved as a result of my sculpture.   
       Let us take an oath to save the earth."

More close-ups of the installation


This is what Ashish has to say about his art

"As a sculptor, I feel that the infinite treasure of beauty and taste is hidden in changes and transformation of nature. Function of art is to express a message beyond truth and beauty, the artist travels on his way with  the thirst and irritation to touch and feel that truth in his creation.  My passion as a sculptor is to discover myself in my creation crossing the  barrier of time and social order. The universe, Earth and Time are colorful, .colorful is life also."

On what inspired him to be a sculptor

" From my child-hood I was very interested in sculpture and used to make different images and toys of clay and wood. I used to see the image making of different God and Goddesses in rural area of Bengal, where I spent my child-hood and that observation used to create urge and thirst for creating the sculptures. Different form of clouds with change of season, the mountains, streams, water lily and lotus in ponds create waves in my mind which fermented and compelled me to express these feelings as sculpture. So, in the long run my dream became successful when I came to art education. Gradually I understand that the  true observation of nature is inspiration for  me for  my  creation".

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