Since its inception in 1994, AERF has been working in areas where no other conservation mechanisms exist. While treading this lesser-travelled path, AERF has been able to identify core areas of work in order to achieve maximum impact and ensure that the forests and its people thrive through a symbiotic relationship. AERF has built a framework around them in order to engage in ‘participatory conservation’ or ‘community based conservation’, thus defining problem statements in an appropriate way and involving the resident community in developing effective solutions for the long term. This framework defines the fundamental strategy by which AERF works - CONSERVATION ON THE GROUND - making a tangible difference at the grassroots level through maximum action and minimal activism. Although there is an intrinsic connect between our five programmes and all of our initiatives, the following map highlights the focal interconnectivity between them:
Sacred Groves are relic forest patches traditionally protected by communities in reverence of a deity. As a result, they are rich repositories of many plant and animal species of conservation significance. AERF has upheld the ecological restoration of 80 sacred groves so far and will continue to induce community action towards protection, restoration and management of these biodiversity havens in the Northern Western Ghats.
The linkages between communities, conservation and climate change have been a subject for debate and research since a long time. There is need to engage people and civil society groups to understand and deal with climate change using biodiversity conservation as an effective tool. AERF works on many projects that create possibilities to adapt to climate change and to develop sustainable livelihood options to the local communities
Biodiversity is a central issue to be considered in the production, distribution and consumption of energy – now and in the future. Bio-fuels present the best ever opportunity to promote sustainable natural resource management and conservation of underutilized and valuable biodiversity. AERF works on solutions to fuel wood demands, use of solar and other alternate energy sources at local level and creating energy awareness among stakeholders.
Applied Biodiversity Research entails a very systematic process starting from defining the problem through scientific data and extrapolation right up to formulating evidence based solution statements that are easy to execute at the target site by target communities. At AERF, research is one of the many tools to build the capacity of communities participating in conservation action.
Business and Biodiversity can no longer afford to be paradoxical any longer. AERF is trying to bridge the gap between the two through this programme by engaging businesses and corporate bodies in conservation on the ground and various capacity building activities. The objective is the engage businesses in a meaningful manner to generating awareness and capital both for the cause of biodiversity conservation.