Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Wisdom Walk to conserve Traditional Ecological Knowledge and Biological Resources

Historically, our communities survived on their traditional ecological knowledge (TEK) base. The products they manufactured formed part of their livelihood. Even today many local and indigenous communities meet their basic needs from the products they manufacture and sell based on their traditional knowledge. Maintenance of their health even now is based on traditional medicines derived from plants and other natural products. The developments of new technology, medicinal products, educational system etc. are major threat to the survival of many of these communities and their knowledge. TEK is generally associated with biological resources and is invariably an impalpable component of such biological resources.
In layperson’s words, TEK could be realized as knowledge which has been collected or accumulated by a community through years of experience, it is often attempted and tried out over long period of time, and it is also well adapted to local culture and environment. Traditional knowledge is deep rooted in every community across the globe. Such kind of knowledge system is vital for their well-being and for sustainable development. The traditional knowledge system has been developed by the communities to conserve and utilize the biological diversity of their surroundings.
Sources of TEK
If we look around in our environment, we will find out legion sources of TEK hidden in our villages, countryside, community etc. The main sources could are: farmers, community leaders, elder persons, folklore, painters, healers, shepherds etc. It is also apt to mention that TEK is locally appropriate and specifically adapted as per the requirement of local conditions, it provides a control in resources exploitation required for immediate survival, and it helps in having diversified production system without overexploitation of a single resource.
How to protect TEK
There are numerous reasons which depict the need to protect the TEK. “Until recently, western scientists have typically rejected the traditional knowledge of indigenous peoples as anecdotal, non-quantitative, and unscientific.  Today the scientific importance of traditional knowledge is recognized and valued by those carrying out research in areas that are inhabited by indigenous peoples.  Educators also recognize the importance of using traditional knowledge in the classroom and there are currently many efforts to develop culturally relevant curricula for classrooms all across the globe.” (L. C. Sommer, C. E. Talus, Fourteenth AR M Science Team Meeting Proceedings, Albuquerque,  New  Mexico, 2004).
 According to Berkes 1999, TEK is “[a] cumulative body of knowledge, practice, and belief, evolving by adaptive processes and handed down through generations by cultural transmission, about the relationships of living beings (including humans) with  one another and with their environment.”
  1. To improve the livelihoods of TEK holders and communities- TEK is a valuable asset to indigenous and local communities who depend on TEK for their livelihood as well as to manage and exploit their local ecosystem in sustainable manner.
  2. To prevent biopiracy- Biopiracy refers either to the unauthorized extraction of biological resources and / or associated TEK or to the patenting, without compensation of spurious inventions based on such knowledge or resources.
  3. To prevent knowledge erosion- Documentation and transfer of TEK is urgently needed in view of the rapid erosion of this knowledge base.
  4. To conserve the environment - The traditional communities are intelligent and have made agriculture sustainable through their different agricultural practices. They create a balance between the environment and requirement.
  5. To conserve resources- Strategy for protection should take into account the fact that genetic resources and TEK are inextricably linked.

Here is a link to a documentary by Timo Holthoff, Learn2Change - Global Network of Educational Activists.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Seed Balls for Dry and Arid Areas

We (105 children, my colleagues and me) were trying many methods to see some plants grow in the commonlands of Chittoor and Ananthapur but in dry and semi-arid areas where rainfall is highly unpredictable, this made the survival of planted sapling a TOUGH job.
Recently we tried a very old method for re-vegetation, Seedball distribution.
What is a seed ball?
Seed balls, simply put, are a method for distributing seeds by encasing them in a mixture of clay and compost.
Story of seed balls
The seed ball method has been working for centuries. The earliest records of aerial reforestation date back from 1930. In this period, planes were used to distribute seeds over certain inaccessible mountains in Honolulu after forest fires. Seed bombing is also widely used in Africa; where they are put in barren or simply grassy areas. Natural farming pioneer Masanobu Fukuoka has experimented with them.
What is it for?
Seed balls are useful for seeding dry, thin and compacted soils and for reclaiming derelict ground. Seed balls are particularly useful in dry and arid areas where rainfall is highly unpredictable. Most seeds are very light and there is risk of them being blown away by the wind, making them unsuitable for launching long distances.
How does if help?
When sufficient rain has permeated the clay, the seeds inside sprout and are aided by the nutrients and beneficial soil microbes surrounding them.  Seeds will remain dormant until their environmental needs are met with these factors: water, correct temperature and a good position to grow in.
Most seeds are light and there is risk of some of them being blown away by the wind. The compost offers nutrients for the seeds to germinate and grow strong during their infancy (seedling stage) and the clay binds the seed balls, making it hard enough not to break when it hits the ground. Seed balls have use in nearly any region where plants can grow: for reseeding ecosystems into areas of man-made deserts, avoiding seed eating insects and animals and protecting seeds until rains fall to soak the clay ball and stimulate the seeds.  Seeds contained in such balls then germinate in ideal conditions for each climate/region. It is ultimately one of ways the seeds get dispersed.

Download the .ppt that we used for training from this link-
See this shot clip made with pictures of us (only children)-

Monday, June 1, 2015

A page for forest fire

1. This video show the destruction of my home texas.-
2. Video shot by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department shows how quickly a wildfire is moving through Bastrop State Park. At least two-thirds of the 6,000 acre park have burned. (Sept. 6)-
3. Camera captures video and temperature as a high-intensity crown fire rolls through. From the International Crown Fire Modeling Experiments in the Northwest Territories. (2000)-
4.An overview of the International Crown Fire Modeling Experiments in Canada's Northwest Territories. (1997)-
5. An overgrown canyon goes up in a firestorm as firefighters pull out in this major brush fire in Southern California. There is little they can do to save homes nestled amongst old timber growth without proper brush clearance. We stay as homes burn. Listen to the hiss of propane tanks and the pop of live ammo going off towards the end of the clip.-
6. Malibu goes up yet again in this most recent incident (11-24-07). Footage shows homes burning as residents and firefighters do what they can to save what has not yet taken off. Additional footage shows fire advancing through upper Latigo Canyon in fuel strands that have not burned in 50 years...This is not footage that was taken off the television - this is footage that was shot right from the firelines by the poster.-
7. 9-11-2013 A grass/ bushfire started on bringelly rd and travelled fast towards Camden valley way . the fire was stopped by helicopters and also the hard work of fire rescue and the rfs-
8. Night scenes of a forest fire with huge flames. Watch the vehicle lights of Hellenic Firefight Service as flames approaching them. Listen to the terrible "noise" a forest fire is making.-
9. Here is three hours of a crackling log fire in high quality sound. Its a blazing hot one for all my fellow pyros out there. Use headphones if you want to hear the holophonics of this soundscape. I will be posting more soundscapes soon, thanks and enjoy.-

Professor. Hitesh V. Bhatt

Professor. Hitesh V. Bhatt 

Hitesh Bhatt works in IRMA. Prior to joining IRMA, he was Head of the Centre for Management Studies at Dharmsinh Desai University in Nadiad, Gujarat. He started his career with Reliance Textile Industries Limited in 1979 and has a total of 18 years of industrial experience - of which 8 years is as CEO/Country Head of large organisations in India and in Tanzania (you can hear the story from- - Personal life and work life). Apart from Reliance, he has worked in Mafatlal group of mills, Sunflag group of textile and garment factories in Tanzania, Kenya and UK, and finally a joint venture company (Indo-Bhutanese-South Korean) in Sanand, Gujarat. During this period, he set up of 2 large textile mills and revived another textile & garment factory (employing over 2500 persons) from near closure to a position of envy in East Africa. Since 2001, that factory is the most efficient operation in the entire East Africa. He started his academic career in 1995 with IRMA as an Associate Professor and since then has been involved in teaching, training and consulting in diverse areas. He has trained different cadres of persons in a variety of organisations government, non government, cooperatives, dairy unions, industrial units, educational institutions and corporate. He has delivered talks in a number of organisations both in India and overseas on diverse topics. Ref:

Link to some of his talks and photographs are here, apologies for the disturbances during recording that reduced the quality of audio: