Ecology in Agriculture: perspectives from the UK and India
This event follows on from a successful 2015 joint meeting between the Agricultural Ecology Group of the British Ecological Society and the Society for Agroecology, India was hosted at the Centre for Pollination Studies at the University of Calcutta.
The aim of the meeting was to initiate collaboration between those working in Agricultural Ecology and to scope the potential for developing a UK-India Agricultural Ecology Initiative. This current event will widen the scope of the collaboration beyond the founding organisations and further develop a bi-lateral platform and develop strong researcher links between India and the UK.
This two-day conference will comprise four academic sessions drawing on the priority research topics identified by delegates in an earlier meeting and subsequent discussions between attendees, the sessions will each comprise six talks, on the topics of:
Landscape scale ecology
Community engagement and participatory research
Programme of the conference:
Landscape scale ecology:
Prof. Parthiba Basu has a Ph.D. in Ecology. During his research career spanning over twenty five years he has been a Smithsonian Fellow of the Smithsonian Institute, a post- doctoral fellow at Ecole Normale Superieure, Paris and is a recipient of the Darwin Fellowship awarded by the Darwin Initiative, Govt. of UK. He currently teaches and heads the Department of Zoology, University of Calcutta. His focal research interest is biodiversity and ecosystem functioning along ecological gradients. In recent years his research focus has been the diversity and ecosystem service delivery by pollinators along agricultural intensification gradients in Eastern India. An evolving theme in his research group is to assess how stressors like pesticides and pathogens might impact the physiology and genetic mechanisms of the species providing key ecosystem services e.g. bees. Prof. Basu heads the Centre for Agroecology and Pollination Studies (previously Centre for Pollination Studies) at the University of Calcutta. Dr. Basu has also been an activist in the people’s science movement and the agroecological movements in the country.
Mark is an agro-ecologist, with experience working in ecological management around the agricultural industry. Mark’s main interest is in connecting people with wildlife, and agriculture provides a great platform to do this. Mark has especially focused on entomology and the ecosystem services that insects provide, such as conservation biological control, and has worked on a number of wildlife management projects in the UK and abroad, promoting sustainable business development alongside rich and diverse environments.
Raghunathan Nair Jaishanker
Dr. Raghunathan Nair Jaishanker is an associate professor and the coordinator of Ecological Informatics at the Indian Institute of Information Technology and Management - Kerala (IIITM-K). He was conferred Ph.D. in Agriculture by the Gandhigram University, India for his Studies on Integrated Crop Assessment Using Remote Sensing Based Acreage, Condition and Yield Estimation, carried out at Agricultural Resources Group, Space Applications Centre, Indian Space Research Organization. He was awarded the UNESCO postdoctoral fellowship in Ecological and Earth Sciences in 2008.
Jaishanker pioneered the establishment of the first school of ecological informatics in the Indian sub-continent. He is currently pursuing studies in floral radiometry, wherein he has integrated color science and ecology. Use of mobile operating systems in agro-ecological research and acoustic characterization of landscapes are two other themes that he is concurrently involved in. Six doctoral researchers are working in his laboratory.
Dr Francis Buner is a Senior Conservation Scientist at the Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust, specialising in farmland wildlife management and conservation, in particular of the Grey Partridge. He is currently leading an NSR interreg project called ‘PARTRIDGE’, which demonstrates how to reverse the loss of farmland biodiversity across the North Sea region. In India he is co-leading a bird ringing and monitoring capacity building project together with Indian and UK colleagues since 2010 which aims to improve avian ecological knowledge and conservation management along the Central Asian Flyway.
Dr Stephanie Williamson trained as an ecologist/biologist, with an MSc in Integrated Pest Management (IPM) and PhD on pesticide use by African smallholders. Formerly at CABI Bioscience working on biological control and IPM training, she joined Pesticide Action Network UK in 2000. She has over 20 years’ experience in pesticide issues and sustainable agriculture in Africa, Latin America, Asia and Europe. Her work covers promotion of ecologically informed alternatives to hazardous pesticides, pesticide policy assessment and advising food and fibre sustainability standards and companies on strategies for pesticide use and risk reduction. Her bibliography includes chapters for The Pesticide Detox book (Jules Pretty, (ed.) 2005) and Replacing Chemicals with Biology: phasing out Highly Hazardous Pesticides with agroecology (PAN International, 2015) and modules for University of Cape Town’s Diploma in Pesticide Risk Management for developing country professionals. Stephanie coordinated the Growing Coffee without Endosulfan project, including videos of farmers’ experiences, and provided international liaison for the Phasing out Highly Hazardous Pesticides in Costa Rica project. She wrote PAN UK’s trainers’ manual on Using the Food Spray Method to Enhance Biological Control in Cotton (2016) and is currently developing a toolkit for IPM and organic cotton with PAN Ethiopia.
Presently acting as Professor and Head, Department of Agricultural Entomology, BCKV (State Agricultural University, West Bengal, India). Being involved in teaching and research (at UG and PG levels) guided 11 research students and 27 M.Sc. students. Basically works on bio-ecology and population dynamics of insects affecting field and horticultural crops like, fruit flies, pollinators, etc. Investigated projects on development of forewarning models of different insects, crop-pests mapping and advisory services, area-wide fruit fly control programme, etc. Published around 100 research articles, 5 books/chapter of books, publishes research journal (Journal of Plant Protection Sciences) as editor, farm magazines/bulletins, etc. Involved with a society, Association for Advancement in Plant Protection as Secretary. Regularly organizes National and International Symposia, farmers’ trainings and awareness days observance. Works on plant variety protection and farmers’ rights, formulation of geographical indications of different crops and preparation of peoples’ biodiversity register. In 2009, got National Urban Water Award from President of India.
Dr Dan Carpenter is an ecologist with over ten years of experience in ecological research and practice. Dan’s doctoral work (PhD, University of Reading) focussed on the role of earthworms in mineral weathering and soil development using a variety of techniques (X-ray diffraction, scanning electron microscopy and fourier transform infrared spectroscopy). In his post-doctoral work (Natural History Museum) Dan explored distribution patterns of soil invertebrates at different spatial and temporal scales and the environmental drivers of these distributions. Projects included studying broad patterns of soil invertebrate diversity in the New Forest, the effect of management on soil invertebrate diversity on heaths and the effect of spatial scale and disturbance on invertebrate assemblages in tropical forests. Dan also collaborated with a number of earthworm researchers to produce the first distribution maps of earthworms for the UK. In his current role at the Thames Valley Environmental Records Centre Dan is using biological records and other environmental data to help decision makers make better informed decisions about managing the natural
Professor Dave Goulson received a doctorate on butterfly ecology at Oxford Brookes University. Subsequently, he lectured in biology for 11 years at the University of Southampton, and it was here that he began to study bumblebees in earnest. He subsequently moved to Stirling University in 2006, and then to Sussex in 2013. He has published more than 260 scientific articles on the ecology and conservation of bumblebees and other insects. He is the author of Bumblebees; Their Behaviour, Ecology and Conservation, published in 2010 by Oxford University Press, and of the Sunday Times bestseller A Sting in the Tale, a popular science book about bumble bees, published in 2013 by Jonathan Cape, and now translated into ten languages. This was followed by A Buzz in the Meadow in 2014. Goulson founded the Bumblebee Conservation Trust in 2006. He was the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council’s Social Innovator of the Year in 2010, was given the Zoological Society of London’s Marsh Award for Conservation Biology in 2013, was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh in 2013, and given the British Ecological Society Public Engagement Award in 2014. In 2015 he was named number 8 in BBC Wildlife Magazine’s list of the top 50 most influential people in conservation.
Rajeswari S. Raina
Rajeswari S. Raina (Ph.D. Economics) is Professor at the School of Humanities and Social Sciences in Shiv Nadar University. She has a background in the sciences and economics, and is a keen student of the interface between development policy and knowledge. Current research focuses on theoretical and policy challenges, as well as capacities for (a) Sustainable Development Processes to achieve the SDGs, (b) Millet-based nutrition programmes in select States of the Indian Union, (c) Innovation for inclusive development in India and China, and (d) Changes in the agriculture-environment knowledge, policy and practice continuum. As a well published researcher, advisor to several environment-and-development programmes, and an active member of rural innovation, agro-ecological, water-science-policy and rainfed farming networks and professional societies, she is an ardent advocate of a bio-economic approach to a prosperous, equitable and sustainable world.
Lynn Dicks is an applied ecologist working on sustainable management of agricultural landscapes, with a focus on biodiversity, pollination and pest regulation services. Her PhD, completed in 2002, was on the structure and function of insect flower visitor communities, using network analysis. She has been funded by the Natural Environment Research Council as an Independent Research Fellow since 2011, and recently moved to the University of East Anglia. Lynn has expertise in knowledge exchange and evidence synthesis for science policy questions, and works frequently with policy makers. She is currently funded by the European Commission to develop a systematic map on the impacts of Ecological Focus Area options on selected ecosystem services. Lynn was a Co-ordinating Lead Author of the IPBES Thematic assessment of pollinators, pollination and food production and chairs the Eklipse expert group on knowledge synthesis methods. She is a member of Defra’s Pollinators Advisory Steering Group, and a biodiversity advisor to Waitrose and the Cool Farm Alliance.
G. V. Ramanjaneyulu
Dr. Ramanjaneyulu has a Ph.D. in Agriculture from Indian Agricultural Research Institute BSc (Ag) and MSc (Ag) from Andhra Pradesh Agricultural University. He is at the moment working with farmers in AP, Telangana, Maharashtra, Punjab, and Utter Pradesh in establishing ecologically and economically sustainable agriculture models. he is focusing on building a Community marketing System ‘Sahaja Aharam’ linking farmer cooperatives directly to consumers. He works with a resource organisation supporting the programs of state and central governments. Currently working with the Government of Andhra Pradesh in promoting natural farming, with Maharashtra State Livelihoods Mission, North East Rural Livelihoods Project and Bharat Rural Livelihoods Foundation in building the capacities of the staff and organisation involved in the program. He works also on public policy issues impacting on food systems and farmers livelihoods. He has an interest in Open Source Seed systems.
Professor Richard Pywell (www.ceh.ac.uk/staff/richard-pywell) is a globally leading expert in agroecology and the management of biodiversity to support human livelihoods (98 peer-reviewed publications, WoS h index = 33). He has worked extensively with Government policy makers and the farming industry to mitigate the impacts of agriculture on the environment, and to enhance ecosystem processes underpinning food production. This combines targeted monitoring, large-scale experimentation and the analysis of long-term datasets. He is also responsible for CEH’s 1,000ha research farm and he co-leads a £11M research programme funded by NERC and BBSRC to develop future sustainable agricultural systems (http://assist.ceh.ac.uk/). Finally, he recently published a book on the management and conservation of insect pollinators on farmland (www.ceh.ac.uk/book-habitat-creation-and-management-pollinators).
Anshuman Das (Male, 1975 Born) has over 17 years’ experience in working with community participation in natural resource management in South Asia with special focus on small holder issues. He had been instrumental in coordinating the first ever Integrated Farming System Research Programme in India supported by Department of Science and Technology, Government of India across 16th states of India, named BIOFARM – which was later on up-scaled by Welthungerhilfe in India, Nepal and Bangladesh under his guidance. Anshuman is a farmer trainer, agroecological farm designer by skill. He developed manuals, guidelines and frame work for developing ecologically integrated farms for farmers and practitioners. He also teaches Agroecology in Calcutta University (CU) which is a collaborative programme between Norway University of Life Sciences (NMBU) and Welthungerhilfe. He currently works with Welthungerhilfe, one of the biggest international organization.
Dr. Bhullar is Senior Scientist at the ‘Research Institute of Organic Agriculture (FiBL), Switzerland’. Being ‘Theme Leader’ for ‘Sustainable Agriculture in the Tropics’, he leads several projects focused on agricultural research for development in tropical countries. Before joining FiBL, Dr. Bhullar obtained his PhD from the ‘Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) Zurich’ and then undertook postdoctoral research at the same institution. Being focused on enhancing agricultural sustainability, his research projects have high agro-ecological significance. The use of multi-stakeholder and participatory on-farm research methodologies is of high importance in Dr. Bhullar’s research tools, along with the conventional on-farm research. He has published several research articles, review articles, book chapters and published a book entitled ‘Agricultural sustainability – progress and prospects’. Recognizing his research excellence, he was awarded with the SFIAR Award 2014, which is a prestigious and competitive accolade given by the Swiss Forum for International Agricultural Research.
Sujana is the Executive Director of Under The Mango Tree (UTMT) Society, India, an organisation that trains small farmers in beekeeping with indigenous bees. Bees are seen as an 'agricultural input' for small farmers. The entire value chain around beekeeping - micro -enterprises to produce beeboxes, bee veils; nurseries of native plants to increase forage, Master Trainers - is also developed thereby creating more livelihoods and incomes for poor communities. UTMT has trained more than 4000 farmers,including women, in the states of Gujarat, Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh. This model was awarded the prestigious World Bank Development Marketplace award in 2013 and the Asian Apiculture Association award in 2016.
Professor Steven Newman is a leading expert who has worked for over 30 years in rural development and natural resources including agricultural development livestock development, forestry and horticulture. He is a world expert on agroforestry and climate change. In the UK he established and managed the largest network of agroforestry research sites and was the first to characterise yield advantage in temperate agroforestry as compared to monocultures under the same level of management. He is currently Visiting Professor in the School of Biology at Leeds University where he is facilitating research and consultancy ventures linked to agroforestry, biodiversity, forestry, climate change and low carbon futures. He is an associate member of the UK Centre for Climate Change Policy and Economics under Lord Stern. He has worked in consultancy projects in over 60 countries as team leader and as CEO of consultancy companies. He has been responsible for developing and managing many multi-million pound investments in agroforestry worldwide. He has a first degree in Environmental Biology from Oxford Brookes University and a PhD in Agroforestry. He has written over 50 papers on agroforestry and biodiversity and is a co-editor of the leading text book on temperate agroforestry. He is now working on the 2nd edition.