Applied Environmental Research Foundation
Our Sites

AERF is directly involved in the management of lands for the conservation and restoration of habitats and biodiversity. Through Our Programmes we aim to establish, manage, co-manage areas for conservation, restore biodiversity and habitats or combine conservation with existing land use systems. As a result of our various programmes, we have the opportunity to manage, monitor and restore biodiversity and habitats on private and community lands. This page introduces you to AERF’s conservation outcomes and progress through site protection and restoration as well as species protection and rehabilitation.
Sacred Grove Restoration Sites
Our longest running programme has been the conservation and restoration of Sacred Groves in the north Western Ghats. A core component of this programme is to manage and restore degraded sacred groves with the active and voluntary participation of local communities. We are currently in the process of restoring 10 sacred groves in the district of Ratnagiri, the oldest of which is a 7 ha sacred grove of the village of Vashi under restoration since 1998. Our other sites range from 2 ha to 10 ha currently being restored since 2004. We have prioritized another 20 sacred groves in urgent need of conservation and restoration which we aim to undertake as soon as possible. For more information see our Sacred Groves programme.
Private Forests under Management Agreements / Conservation Easements
The Sahyadri-Konkan corridor is one of the five major landscapes within the Western.
Ghats hotspot. Only 0.6% to 2% of forests in this region are currently protected within the existing network of statutory protected areas. The remaining forests within the north Western Ghats are found on privately owned lands. However, these forests are under threat due to clear felling for timber, conversion into monoculture and orchards and to make way for development projects. As a part of AERF’s Landscapes and Livelihoods .
The Suzlon Biodiversity Park
As India’s economy grows, more and more biodiversity is being lost. The private sector has an equal responsibility in ensuring the conservation and restoration of biological diversity. Many corporate bodies in India and throughout the world own large tracts of land which retain and support a considerable amount of biodiversity. As a part of its Business and Biodiversity programme, the AERF collaborates with private landowners, corporate groups and business firms to combine conservation goals in commercial land use systems. AERF has recently joined hands with Suzlon Infrastructure Limited to develop a Biodiversity Park on 34 acres of land adjoining a Special Economic Zone. This site will be the first of its kind in India whereby a diversity of habitats will be restored and re-created within an industrial park. The site will be used for environment education and will also demonstrate that corporate bodies have a large role to play in conserving biodiversity.
Species Protection through sustainable use and community involvement
AERF’s programmes in Applied Research and Energy have resulted in the protection and rehabilitation of a number of species in the Western Ghats. This includes protection of 13 nesting sites of the Great Pied and Malabar Pied Hornbills through the training and employment of local youth nest watchers. On the other hand, promoting the use of native tree species for bio-fuel extraction has stopped local communities from cutting these trees for fuel wood or timber. Promoting the use of native trees has also replaced the introduction of exotic plants and clearing of forests for bio-fuel plantations. Similarly the sustainable extraction, propagation and sometimes merely the knowledge of medicinal plants within forests and habitats in the Himalayan region induces communities to take action for species protection Sustainable use linked to livelihoods has resulted in the conservation of species, a strategy AERF firmly believes in. More information in Landscapes and Livelihoods

Trees of Pongamia pinnata and associated habitats protected by 25 villages in the district of Raigad
13 nesting sites of the Great Pied Hornbill and Malabar Pied Hornbill protected by community nest watchers
Rehabilitation of over 2000 saplings of rare trees into forest fragments