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  • India’s understanding of forest fires has been skewed by colonial-era policy

    India’s understanding of forest fires has been skewed by colonial-era policy

    Jayashree Ratnam, associate director of the wildlife biology and conservation programme at the National Centre for Biological Science, said that these forests are mesic savannas. “Having worked for a while in African savannas and being very familiar with the idea that mixed tree-grass ecosystems were distinctive from forests, when we returned to India and started visiting various field sites, we were struck by the similarities of these sites with African savannas,” she said.

  • The identity crisis of the Indian savannas

    The identity crisis of the Indian savannas

    In a study, published in the journal Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution, researchers from the National Centre for Biological Sciences, Bengaluru, have shown that grass-fuelled fires and seasonal drought, which are the characteristics of savannas, are also observed in the dry deciduous “forests” in India. These findings add to a growing body of evidence that these systems are, in fact, savannas.

  • Why are fires frequent at the Bandipur reserve?

    Why are fires frequent at the Bandipur reserve?

    Jayashree Ratnam from the National Conservation for Biological Sciences and fellow authors have noted in a recent study that the trees in this landscape were closer to those in a savanna than in rainforests 100 km away. Trees have dramatically thicker barks, implying that they had evolved to be fire-resistant.

    “When fires are relatively frequent, adult tree mortality in these systems is very low. Many saplings sprout shortly after the fire from underground reserves, and the system returns to its original state in a few years,” she told The Hindu.