Training on practice of ecological restoration held

AN eight-week course of the Foundation Training Programme on the Practice of Ecological Restoration (FTPPER) conducted by Maharshi Karve Stree Shikshan Sanstha’s Dr Bhanuben Nanavati College of Architecture for Women (BNCA)’s Center for Ecological Landscapes (CEL); in collaboration with Society for Ecological Restoration (SER) and Junglescapes India, concluded recently with a valedictory session.

The course was coordinated by Dr Swati Sahasrabuddhe, Head of Landscape Architecture Department, BNCA, Ramesh Venkatraman, Board and Executive Committee Member at Society for Ecological Restoration (SER), and Kaustubh Moghe, Ecologist and assistant coordinators Anupama Khatavkar, Assistant Professor, BNCA. The session was conducted under the guidance of Dr Anurag Kashyap, Principal, BNCA. 

The programme is the first of its kind in India and Asia in collaboration with the USA based Society for Ecological Restoration (SER). BNCA’s Center for Ecological Landscapes (CEL) was initiated by Dr Anurag Kashyap and Dr Swati Sahastrabuddhe in order to expand the horizons in the practice of ecology and its restoration. The programme was concluded by giving certificates to the participants as well as the resource persons.

According to Dr Sahastrabuddhe, the course aimed to introduce its participants to concepts and practices of ecological restoration, and its principles through field training, site visits and guidance from international experts. It included topics like understanding degradation, restoration of abiotic and biotic components of an ecosystem, international standards and best practices, restoration project management and field techniques, management of invasive species, and integrating ecological restoration into landscape architecture. Additionally, resource persons for the course were invited from over India, and outside the country. 

Dr Sahastrabuddhe further added that in the near future, the programme intends to work on-ground with respect to restoration of ecology in and around Pune, and also to focus on implementing the learnings from this training programme. Furthermore, the development of internship as well as advanced training programmes is also in the works.

Commenting on the site visits in Pune, Ramesh Venkatraman said that with the students and other colleagues, we could get an opportunity to study the forest and grasslands in and around the city, by which the study on Pune’s environmental development was assessed to an extent. This study will certainly help our students with any kind of ecological restoration work anywhere in the world. The exercise has also helped us to go further and plan for an advance curriculum of the course in the coming days.

Urging the students to implement practices taught in the programme in real life, Dr Sharvey Dhongde, Professor and Academic Coordinator, BNCA, said “I think it is only right for an architecture college to institute such a course. We as architects are responsible for a lot of modifications to the environment, as we have a significant impact on the ecology around us. It is our duty to look after our surroundings and adopt sustainability as we work towards this cause.”

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