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Recent updates from the HSS department

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Rufford Foundation's research grant to Akashdeep Roy
January 23, 2023
 
PhD student Akashdeep Roy has received a research grant from the Rufford Foundation. The amount received from this grant will be used to conduct the fieldwork for the PhD titled 'Understanding the construction of human-wildlife conflict through a political ecology framework in North Bengal region'. The amount will be used for field vehicle, accommodation, field assistants, and field equipment among others.

As described on the website of the Rufford Foundation, the project contributes to the 'more-than-human' political ecology literature which visualizes elephant as a political actor whose agency shapes the HWC and also the conservation outcomes. Further, it highlights the role of inanimate materials such as electric fences (which is believed to mitigate conflict) and rice beer (which is believed to escalate the conflict). This project also has a component of camera trapping to understand elephant behaviour around electric fences and notified elephant corridors.

fairSTREAM stakeholder workshop
January 17, 2023
 
As part of an ongoing collaborative project fairSTREAM, Dr. Bejoy Thomas from the department was involved in organizing a day-long stakeholder workshop of select participants from the Bhima basin in IISER Pune campus on January 17, 2023. The topic of the workshop was ‘Identifying water, food, and biodiversity nexus challenges in the Upper Bhima basin’. It was organised as part of fairSTREAM, a collaborative project between the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA), Vienna, Society for Promoting Participative Ecosystem Management (SOPPECOM), Pune, and IISER Pune, and the proceedings were conducted in Marathi.
 
The main objective of fairSTREAM project is to develop and demonstrate a systems-informed stakeholder knowledge co-production process in the Bhima basin for fair and sustainable policy options. The workshop brought together some of the key stakeholders of the Upper Bhima basin representing government agencies, researchers, NGOs and local communities and facilitated an inclusive dialogue on the key sustainability challenges in the basin. Geographical distribution of natural resources, socioeconomic activities, infrastructure as well as pressures and drivers were identified for the upper Bhima basin through participatory systems mapping exercises. This was followed by developing causal loop diagrams and group discussions to identify current challenges and issues within the food‐water‐biodiversity context and their relevance to the different parts of the basin. Participants provided critical inputs for the project and for prioritizing its future activities.
 
 
Group photo of about 30 participants from the workshop